Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Searsport House

There's an old house just north of Searsport, Maine, that I've been watching decay slowly for the last 20 years. When I first saw it, I dreamed of rescuing it, restoring the fanciful dormers, polishing the wood floors ... no question now that it's too late for rescue. Now it is a waiting game - how long before the ell's roof caves in completely? When I drove past it last month after taking the show down in Portland it occurred to me that it is now a classic haunted house, and I began to wonder where the full moon would sit in the sky near it.
I have a neat little app on my iPad called LightTrac, which shows you the location and angle of sunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset for any given date.
 I did my best to figure out my haunted house's location on Google maps, and got the moon angles for the next full moon, which was October 11. Using LightTrac, I decided the moon would most likely be close enough to the house to photograph around 5am. So I lured another photographer along with the promise of unique lighting, and we left the island at 3:30 in pursuit of the full moon. (Next time, the rainbow?)
Found it, too. Unfortunately, there's a car dealership across the street that is not a member of the Dark Skies school of thought. They banish shadows from their lot with sodium streetlights, which cast a garish yellow orange glow over my lovely ruin. NOT what I had hoped for. On the other hand, the facade was certainly well-lit.
I learned a good deal about color-correction in Photoshop while working on these shots. I also learned that there is an amazing amount of traffic on Route 3 at 5am. Seriously. I started out trying to take shots from across the street, to get the moon in the shot with the house. I was doing 25 second exposures, and I only managed to get one in which a car did not come through and leave a red line of taillights across the image. That means there was a car or truck at least every 25 seconds. Fortunately the headlamp I had with me has a red setting (which I like because it helps keep your night-vision), so I kept the light on and facing the road, so the drivers wouldn't have any excuse for flattening me. Or my tripod! So if you drove through Searsport around 5 in the morning last week and saw two dark figures lurking in the shadows with suspicious equipment and a lurid red light, that was me!

1 comment:

  1. Hi there. I am writing a blog post about this house and am wondering if I could use one of your images for the article? I would link back to your website and do whatever you needed me to in order to protect the image. Please let me know asap. Thank you.