When it Rains…

•November 7, 2013 • 2 Comments

Have you ever had a day where one thing just leads to another?  (Honestly, who hasn’t?)  Tonight, the simple act of grocery shopping set a unique chain of events into motion.

Come to think of it, it may have started even earlier than grocery shopping.  I had plans to come straight home, settle in, process a few headshots, and hopefully send out the remaining invoices that were sitting in my queue.  On my way home, traffic blocked me from my usual exit.  Rather than fight it, I took it as a sign to go grocery shopping – something I was going to skip because I just didn’t feel like it.

Grocery shopping (and other “Oh, I’m out… I might as well…” errands) complete, I finally made it home.  Since things have been rather busy lately, cleaning out the refrigerator hasn’t been a major priority; however, it suddenly became a priority when I realized there was no room for the groceries I just purchased.  (Do I really need to be able to close the door?)  Operation Evacuate the Inedible commenced.

Naturally, the refrigerator purge lead to the addition of dirty Tupperware containers to the small collection of pots, pans, plates, and silverware already awaiting a good scrub.  Having first safely stored the day’s supermarket harvest, I turned to the dishes.

Halfway through washing, I reached under the sink for more dish soap.  To my utter delight (please note the sarcasm), I discovered the myriad of chemicals and cleaning supplies, sponges and trash bags, paint brushes and plant food swimming in a pool of what I could only hope was water.

Now began operation Chemical Soup Cleanup.  Out came the dish soap, the Windex, and three kinds of floor cleaner; silver polish, all-purpose cleaner, and Magic Erasers.  With the kitchen floor now littered with any potion you might possibly need – some of which clearly predated my time in the apartment – I set about sopping up what I was relieved to find was in fact only water.

Sop, wring, rinse.  Repeat.  Sop, wring, rinse.  Repeat.  I had almost finished cleaning up the mysterious puddle when I stepped back to observe the disaster area.  I proceeded to slip on the mixture of product that had accumulated on the floor.  Next up: mopping the floor.  Oh joy.  With buckets currently occupied by various products, I opted to rinse the mop in the available half of the sink.  Easy peasy.

Finally, under the sink was clean.  Bonus, the floor was clean!  It was time to assess the water situation unhindered.

But lo!  What scourge ‘neath yonder basin drips?  The puddle hath returned!  I could hear a faint “drip, drip drop”.  Something was not right.  Perhaps it was the fumes… Perhaps I was just hallucinating.  I sopped up the puddle again.

Upon initial discovery of the mess, a hypothesis had taken shape.  Dishes, running water, pool.  Mopping, running water, puddle.  The scientist in me decided that the way to test this was obvious: run the water again.

Apparently, when it rains, it pours.  Quite literally, tonight.  What started as a simple detour to the grocery store lead to the discovery of a leak under the sink.  At least the kitchen has been improved a bit: the fridge is cleaner, the pots and pans are drying on the dish rack, and the floor is sparkling from its chemical peel.  I guess all that is left is to relax and enjoy the fumes.  (And maybe call a plumber.)

With that, I’ll leave you with a photo I processed a few weeks ago since (clearly!) I’m not meant to get anything done tonight.  My little bit of daily zen on my drive home: the view of Portland from Baxter Boulevard.



The Farmers’ Market

•July 4, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Happy Fourth of July from Portland, Maine!  It’s a beautiful, sunny summer day today – just perfect for cookouts and fireworks!

Sunny days have been almost as hard to come by as days off, recently.  My world has been so full of theatre and excitement the past few months, it’s hard to keep up!  Soon, I hope to share some of what I’ve been working on at Maine State Music Theatre (Dreamgirls, Hair, Les Misérables!), but for now I’d like to share a few photos from a sunny day that I really had the chance to enjoy.

Last Saturday, I found myself with an entire day off – no commitments, no pre-determined plans.  Honestly, I had no idea what to do with myself.  The weather seemed a bit indecisive that morning – gray and foggy – which I love about Maine.  Oh, the fog!  I grabbed breakfast at Aurora Provisions and wandered around the West End for a little while.  I started to head home when I realized the Farmers’ Market was open.  I haven’t been in a year or more, so it often slips my mind.

Walking into the park, I was amazed by how many new vendors I saw and the number of people walking around.  The produce looked and smelled amazing.  There was a good breeze blowing through the park – on it traveled the scent of fresh strawberries, rosemary, and garlic.  I wanted to buy it all, rush home, and cook.  I ate with my eyes, instead, enjoying all of the colors and textures.

I was also struck by the variety of offerings new (to me) to the Farmers’ Market.  Meats, eggs, cheeses, popsicles, smoothies!

Flowers were available in abundance the last time I visited the market, but now there were bigger plants for sale, like mini blueberry and raspberry bushes!

Adding to the energy were musicians, two couples practicing a little acro yoga, and a poet for hire.  I wish I’d had a little extra money – I would have commissioned a haiku.  Perhaps next time!

After filling my shopping bag with leafy greens and fresh strawberries, I wandered around the park for a little while.  I’ve never really spent any time in the park when it was this quiet before, so it was a nice change of pace.  There were ducks everywhere; almost as abundant were giddy toddlers, fascinated by their feathered, waddling peers.

The vendors at the Farmers’ Market began to pack up just as it started to sprinkle.  I ventured home with my findings and enjoyed a few fresh strawberries on the porch.

The sun emerged from the clouds, just in time for a beautiful walk downtown and the last day of the Greek Food Festival.  That’s a post for another day, though – the July sun is calling to me, now!  Have a safe and happy holiday, everyone!

Waterfront Project: Rebuilding the Grebe

•January 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Over the course of the past year and a half, I’ve been working on a project to document Portland’s Waterfront District.  The idea was fueled one day by the realization that, despite all of the time I spend in downtown Portland, there is so much that I fail to see.  It’s not that I’m not looking, I just haven’t stopped to pay attention.  Honestly, I think that’s true of anyone who spends an extended period of time in one area.  The novelty fades; the wonder and excitement is replaced by apathy – sometimes even irritation – as we go about our day-to-day lives.

My personal goal for the project involves satisfying my own curiosity and my desire to capture the everyday events of the working waterfront.  In turn, I hope to rekindle a deeper awareness of the beauty and history that we, as Portlanders, experience every day. Five of my works are currently on display in downtown Portland, so that’s a start!

Prior to installing my show, I caught an exhibit of Winslow Homer works at the Portland Museum of Art.  It was titled “Weatherbeaten” after his 1894 oil on canvas painting of the same name and it showcased a wide range of his works, both in time and media.  His honest depiction of the volatile Maine coast enthralled me.  He painted many familiar locations in a wide variety of conditions, but it was the dark, stormy seascapes that really caught my attention.  Stepping back from the actual work of art, I also noticed the titles that Homer chose; the honesty in his work also stemmed from this – from the way he so simply named the scene he had translated from his eyes to his canvas.

At the time of the Homer exhibit, I was struggling with titling a few of the photographs I intended to include in my show.  To me, each photograph told a piece of the story of the Waterfront; at the same time, they each told their own individual story.  One in particular had me stumped.  There was a boat down a long wharf that was being worked on – the paint had been stripped, new wood had been added to her bow.  She fascinated me.  What would be her fate?  Was she being decommissioned or would this be a renaissance for her?  After seeing the Homer exhibit, there was one simple question I wanted answered more than any other: What was her name?

The afternoon following my visit to the museum, I set out to find her.  The second major snow storm in less than a week was brewing and by the time I left my house, fat, white flakes had begun to fall.  The streets of Portland were still mostly covered with ice and compacted snow from the storm earlier in the week; this made the driving a little rough since the tires on my car are completely unfit for any sort of weather.  Regardless, I barreled down the wharf to find exactly what I expected: the boat was gone.

It had been more than a year and a half.  At this point, I hoped someone might remember it.  I wandered back down the wharf and into the fish market.  A woman there thought she knew whose boat it might be, but she suggested I check with the owner of a store down the street – she might know since her store was a local hangout for the “the guys”, as she referred to them.  I followed the woman’s directions and after a short walk I found myself standing in front of a building I’d passed hundreds of times before, yet never noticed.  I was greeted by a very kind young lady who explained that the owner was usually only there in the mornings.  On a whim, I mentioned what the woman in the fish market told me – that the guys hang out there sometimes.

It turned out that a few were there that afternoon, relaxing by the front window.  The young lady introduced me and I explained that I was looking to find out more information about a boat I’d seen on the wharf.  (Here comes my favorite part!)  I described the time frame and the work being done and almost before I could finish, one of the men exclaimed “That’s my boat!”.  I was almost speechless, as I had no expectation of meeting the owner (at least, not so easily).  After showing him the 4×6 copy of the photo I had been carrying around, he confirmed.  I learned her name – Grebe, after a type of sea bird that builds floating nests – and that she was a 1933 40′ Colin Archer design.  She was relatively unique, I guess, because this particular style was usually built to be several feet longer.  There were two other captains there, as well.  We talked for a while about the boat, which he encouraged me to go see even though snow was covering her deck; we also talked a little about the culture of the waterfront and how so much had changed over the last 25 years.  From my perspective, I’m sure the changes I’ve seen are only superficial – these men were referring to deep, substantial changes in a way of life.

In that moment, I would have loved nothing more than to stay and to listen for hours, but the snow was falling heavily at this point.  I decided it would be best to head home.  I promised the captain a copy of the print – one without all of my scribbles on the back – so I hope for another opportunity to hear an insider’s perspective.

On my walk back to my car, I paid Grebe a visit.  I never would have recognized her in the water, but there she was – covered in snow, safely moored with steam rising from her funnel.


Details for the current exhibit can be found here: Portland Waterfront Photography Exhibit

Seniors – 2013

•October 12, 2012 • Leave a Comment

It has been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to post anything here.  I have lots of exciting things from the past year that I want to share, so I’ll be changing that!

For starters, I had a fabulous group of seniors this year.  They are all kind, bright, outstanding young women with a wonderful future in whatever they put their minds to.   Congratulations and the best of luck to you all!






•May 31, 2011 • 2 Comments

A few weeks ago, I was house sitting for some friends of mine.  They have three wonderful cats – they’re the biggest, quirkiest love bugs you’ll ever meet.  One afternoon, after it had been raining for what felt like two weeks straight, everyone piled out the back door for some much-needed fresh air.  The cats set off to cause trouble, and I set my eye on the blooming crab apple tree.

While I was shooting, Lucy (a.k.a. “Lucy Liu”, “Lucyfur”, “Little Monster”, etc.), the youngest of the bunch, decided she wanted attention.  She stalked my feet through one of the flower gardens, and then proceeded to fly up to the top of one of the trees.  She paused for a moment on the ground while I took her photo, but catching her in the tree was more difficult – she leapt through the branches like a child on a jungle gym.

The following images were my favorites.  I enjoy the first because I think it captures Lucy’s calmer side (however fleeting), but also because of its tack-sharp quality.  Lately, I’ve had trouble getting images as sharp as I’d like them, so nailing the focus on this shot pleases me.  The second I like because it has a softer, more romantic feel – the bokeh, the glow from the sun shining through the fog, a little lens flare.  It’s a style (and post-processing technique) I’ve been trying to improve.  I also like that she looks so at ease – a far cry from the kitten that, two years ago, climbed thirty feet up a tree and couldn’t figure out how to get down.


•May 18, 2011 • Leave a Comment

It’s been a busy couple of weeks between work (the day job) and photography happenings.  So busy, in fact, that I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking.  (Please forgive the image quality, though – my iPhone is ancient…)  I have two exhibits currently up and running, so here’s a little bit about each.

First Exhibit: I’ve been planning a small portrait show for a while.  It is intended to advertise a gift certificate for a portrait session that I donated to Portland Players.   Selecting the portraits wasn’t the hard part – I’m lucky, I have very attractive clients and friends!  The hard part was finding the little details for the setup.  I wanted a minimalistic display, so I was looking to avoid bulky frames, glass, nails, etc.  What I envisioned was to string wire across a black board and have clips hanging off of the wire, holding the photographs.

This is the space I was kindly allotted – 16.5 square feet, all to myself.  Here I have the wire strung, looped around metal push pins.  You can’t really see it, but I haven’t secured the far end, yet.

Here I’ve attached the clips that are going to hold the photos.  Originally, I thought one clip per photo would do, but two was better for stability purposes.  I strung the clips on the wire and then secured the second end of the wire around the push-pin.

And now, with photos!  I presorted the photos in Lightroom and sent a screenshot to my iPhone, so this step was easy as pie.

That’s my brochure and business card on the end…

Finally, just another view for fun!

Second Exhibit: About two weeks ago, I got an e-mail from a friend asking me to show my photography at the Fiddlehead Center for the Arts.  They needed someone to have something up within the week – lucky me, mine was just hanging around on my walls at home!  It has been a while since I’ve had the time to do a big show, so I jumped at the opportunity!

Upon entering the Fiddlehead Center, this is the view to the left.

To the right, my favorite shot (of the coast of Maine, at least) and my bio.  The flute headshot was requested for this, but I really need to get a good “action shot”, as my friend calls it – a photo of me taking a photo of something.  Every pro has one, right?  (Too bad I’m horribly camera-shy.)

Beyond the bio, two more Maine shots to tease the viewer into the next room.

Beyond the blue lobby awaits a room with pale peach-colored walls.  Here is where most of the show hangs.  It’s more broken up than what I’m used to, with some of it in the front and some here, but I like it.  I was most concerned with the color of the walls, but it really doesn’t bother me at all.  It definitely goes with the show’s theme of color and texture!

All pieces are for sale, with a portion of the proceeds directly benefiting the Fiddlehead Center for the Arts.  If you’d like to view the show online, please visit the Art Exhibit gallery on www.audrahatch.com.

From the Archives: Pittsburgh

•April 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Finding myself with an overwhelming amount of (mandated) free time on Thursday (due to some nasty bug that’s been going around), I took the opportunity to keyword more photos.  I started with the first folder on my list, which happened to be photographs from a trip to Pittsburgh back in 2009.  (For more info on the trip, see: From the Archives…) I picked a few that I liked from wandering around the city.  I think I’ll let the photos do most of the talking.

A view of the city from the conference hotel:

A bird’s-eye view of Phipps Conservatory:

Music-related sculptures near a kick-ass, hole-in-the-wall Indian restaurant:

More interesting statues… or creatures ready to attack:

Yet another statue, near Phipps Conservatory:

I guess I was drawn to statues and city views, this round.  We’ll see what I find, next time!

From the Archives: Sunrise in Bar Harbor

•April 26, 2011 • Leave a Comment

It’s finally beginning to feel like spring in Maine.  We’ve shed our winter coats in the hopes of 50 degree weather and sunshine, which, when it happens, is quite a treat; more often than not, though, it seems a winter coat has simply been replaced by a rain coat.  April showers bring May flowers, right?

Life has been pretty busy in the last two weeks, so I feel like most of my free time has been occupied by everything but photography.  While I haven’t had much time to shoot, I have been slowly (but surely) getting my archives in order.  Just about everything has been moved to its proper home; now, all that’s left is to deal with the duplicates!  I’ve also started to learn my way around Lightroom.  I’m hoping it provides a superior kewording/tagging experience than other programs I’ve used in the past.  Since other programs have always been somewhat lacking or cumbersome, I’ve never properly tagged my photos.  If I don’t start, though, I’ll never be able to find anything.

I gave Lightroom a trial run the other day when I imported batches of photos from their newly organized folders.  From there, I began setting up new keyword categories, adding options to each.  I started to go through the images, keywording as I went, when I found photos from a vacation to Bar Harbor last fall.  I hadn’t actually looked through most of them when they were imported, so it was neat to finally have a minute to look through the whole lot.  I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I thought I had (note to self: next time, take more!).

On the morning we were heading home, I woke up early with the intention of photographing the sunrise.  We happened to luck out with our room reservation – it had a beautiful view and a private balcony which was perfectly situated, facing the islands.  There was already a little sliver of golden light on the horizon when I woke.  It was a balmy 36 degrees, not accounting for wind chill and the heaviness of the air after having rained the previous day.  I bundled up.  (At this point, I realized what a genius I was: I had left my tripod home.)  As I huddled out on the balcony, snapping a few test shots, I watched other guests on their morning walks.  A few came prepared with cameras – the smart ones even had tripods.  (It’s a good thing it was windy – that way, they couldn’t hear me cursing my stupidity.)  I used the railing from the balcony to stabilize, as needed.  I made do.  After about half an hour in the cold and the wind, I gave in and went back inside to warm up.

Below is the shot that I processed the other day.  It certainly was a beautiful morning, despite the cold, and an amazing way to start the day.  The clouds glowed pink and purple as the sun rose directly out of the middle of the island on the left.  After about an hour, the sun had burned off any remaining fog and haze, leaving us with bright blue skies and temperatures in the upper 50s.  It always amazes me how what we might consider to be just an “ordinary” day can start as something so ethereal.

Yellow Bicycle

•April 14, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I love finding little gems.  Take this yellow bicycle, for example.  I was at Fort Williams on Sunday, making my way around the Cliff Walk trail toward the lighthouse.  When I finally rounded the last corner where the gravel trail opens up into a paved roundabout, there she sat – chained to an otherwise empty bike rack.  It struck me that she’d been riding these roads and trails for some time; she had character.  First, I noticed her wonderful color, which popped against the gray sky and the light fog that was slowly setting in; second, I noticed her chrome wheels, which reminded me of a vintage Schwinn.  Perhaps she really caught my eye because I’ve been thinking about buying a bicycle.

When I happened upon her, there was a gentleman nearby taking pictures of the lighthouse.  I snapped a few quick shots, but thinking the bicycle might be his, I didn’t linger too long.  I continued on, walking past the lighthouse down to another lookout point.  When I saw him pass by, paying her no mind, I wandered back.

It’s the little things that I really love: the oily gears, the pitted chrome, the bokeh as the spokes fall out of focus.  The details, and the fun of scrunching myself up into a little ball to find the perfect angle for capturing such a fine specimen.

Homage to a Great Man

•April 10, 2011 • 2 Comments

Photography is a hobby that seems to run in my family – my sister is a photographer, my mother is a photographer, my father is a photographer, my grandfather was a photographer, and my great-grandfather was a photographer.  If relatives even further back had access to a camera obscura or a sliding box camera, I’m sure they were photographers, too.  If we put all of our cameras together, we’d have enough stock for a small museum.  They range from late 1800s/early 1900s to modern DSLRs.  A No. 2 Brownie sits on my bookshelf, longing for a fresh roll of 120 film.

A quick look into the cozy photography storage chest reveals Canon, Kodak, Nikon, Pax, Rolleiflex, Topcon, and Voigtlander (and probably more).  The bellows cameras are stored elsewhere, and I couldn’t even begin to imagine their makers.  (That’s for another day.)

Today’s hunt revealed my grandfather’s Nikon N6006 with an AF Zoom Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.3-4.5 lens attached.  After figuring out how to remove it (switch to manual-focus mode), a quick test revealed that it worked with my Nikon D70; I set out to discover its personality.

I took a trip to Fort Williams Park [slash] Portland Headlight in Cape Elizabeth, ME.  It’s a location that I’m very familiar with and have photographed many times.  I wanted to try the lens in a variety of situations, and Fort Williams has a little bit of everything.  (Except for portrait opportunities, in this case, since I was wandering aimlessly by myself.)  In honor of my grandfather, the film camera from which the lens was uncoupled, and the scores of black and white film that can be developed in one man’s lifetime, I decided to process my favorite shots from today in black and white.

Thinking back, I never really thought to share my photography with my grandfather; I really wish I had.  This series is for him.