Monthly Archives: July 2004

July 28, 2004 Camden, Maine

5 am awoke to rain filtering through heavy pine trees. Finally back to the small roads and time to stop and photograph and just enjoy the show.
Since Atlanta we’ve been taking big roads and in a bit of a rush to arrive in Maine. Not the way to see the country. You miss so much on the interstate; lose the flavor of the land you’re passing through.
There still is an individual america out there but you gotta get off the big road and search it out. It’s no where near as obvious as it was in the sixties, the last time I spent time on the road, but it is still there. Behind the walmarts, mcdonalds, home depots, burger kings and strip malls, not to mention all the manufactured housing, you can still find the small Mom and Pop stores and People living lives that involve a structure somehow different than the mall culture we’ve all come to accept.
Cruising down the back roads of Maine takes me through small towns and 35 mile an hour speed limits allow me to truly see the land I am traveling through. Wandering down Highway 90 I passed, then turned around (it still amazes me I can turn the truck and trailer around on the small roads, remember I’m 50 feet long!) and came back to Conrad LeBourdais’s home. What caught my eye was a forest green wood frame garage, hidden among the trees, with many horned animal skulls adorning it. That in and of it self is quite typical here but the human skeleton amongst the other animal bones set this one apart.
When one first approaches a stranger’s home, especially to ask to photograph (and you always ask!) there are moments of hesitation, if not terror, as to who you will find and what reactions they may have. There is a moment when you want to turn and run but know the photograph is worth the fear so you continue and usually find there is so much more to photograph once you meet the folks behind the walls. The door to the trailer next to the garage opened and out came Conrad LeBourdai. A more engaging man you’d be hard pressed to find.
After explaining why I was in his yard and how much I admired his garage wall, especially the human element, I was immediately ushered around the back of his home and into the den to see all the other antlers and memorabilia of his life. The walls were full of deer and moose antlers, photographs and american Indian imagery. Along one wall was an old gun rack full of walking sticks with curious carving on them. Turns out Conrad is a carver, in addition to many other talents. At first glance the sticks feel american Indian but as you get into the imagery you realize it is more African or Egyptian. Soon Conrad is flipping through the National Geographic Magazines piled in the corner to show me the origins of his work.
The only time he has been out of Maine was when he served in the “Big War”.
After returning to the garage and making his portrait I was gifted with two of his walking sticks and a wreath, also made by him, of marine rope, a small plastic bird and plastic flowers.
With a plastic bird keeping watch over me as I headed down the road.

Nubble Light House

DMK and HCD at York Beach

July 27, 2004 York Beach Maine

After another interstate haul I arrived last night in Maine. Again a wrong turn took me toward York Beach, Maine. Looking in the rv site book I found The York Beach Camper Park but there was no cell service and so as it began to get dark and I began to wonder how to find the place there it was just ahead on the right.
The York Beach Camper Park is a great little rv park. As you drive in your are greeted by numerous small vignettes of plaster animals and other adornments with one of the focal points being uncle sam tied up with Christmas light in a sleigh Then I met Dianne, at the office, and after half hour of Maine hospitality I got into my site and needed to find lobster. Turns out a 5 min walk took me to the beach, restaurants and the boardwalk. After a lobster dinner I went back and got Henry and had a good walk along the beach. Today will be the first full day to explore the coast of Maine. I remember old sea towns and rough coasts from my childhood. I’m curious how well the memories will hold true.

York Beach Camp

Water at York Beach

Henry’s first lobster

July 26, 2004 Easton Ct.

July 26, 2004

Made rush from Pennsylvania to Easton Ct. and have spent the last few days here. Visiting my parents and regrouping for the last haul to Maine. Apologies to my friends in the tri-state area for not visiting but I’m rushing up to Maine so I can do some shooting prior to returning to Omaha to get some printing done and go over the work shot so far on the trip. Will be back again with more time to spend here.

Mom and Dad

July 24, 2004 Bernville Pa

Spent last night and most of today on Jack and Nancy’s farm in Bernville Pennsylvania. Great place, great folks. Nancy is a friend and my copyright lawyer from the old New York City days, Jack her significant other. Great place to take a breath and relax. Made some great images especially (I think) one of Jack on the swing with his niece. Look for it soon in the work on the road section. I am  looking forward to spending more time there on our way out to Omaha.


The dock and Pond

July 22, 2004 Allatoona Lake Georgia

Arrived at Allatoona Lake, Georgia just outside Atlanta on the 18th.. Huge lake, strange campsite great swimming but it took some time for Henry to get use to me in the water. I think he felt his job of going into the water and getting the stick was threatened when he realized I could get in the water as well. Have spent the time here meeting with David Sheridan and Tom Lamar of the 2000 AD Agency/Gallery very interesting folks and hope we can do some interesting things together. Also had dinner with Joe and Carolyn Rude at a great Italian Restaurant. They have a great house right on the banks of the Chattahoochee River just outside of Atlanta. (Friends of Don Moritz). Had a very enjoyable time and it was good to be “citified” again for a few days, but the road and Maine are calling. Off I go now directly to Maine!

Henery discovers fish


July 17, 2004 Okatibbee Lake Miss

Woke up early to great “quite light” and spent the first few hours of the day photographing the lake, cypress tress and soft shadows.
Traveling down more back roads following signs to blues festivals that happened 3 weeks ago- I found instead Fosters Corners and Jonathan Hamm. See his portrait coming soon in the gallery. Driving past Fosters Corners Alabama was like taking a trip back in time. It’s an old wood frame gas station/general store with old gas pumps and a couple of wooden benches by the door. As I pulled by I realized I had to turn around and stop. A few miles down the road I found a large enough area to do a 180 with the airstream and  headed back.
As I walked up to the doorway an old black gentleman got up off one of the benches and asked if I wanted to see his snake. Why not, and out came the bucket with a very large Rattlesnake (dead) coiled up in the bottom. Turns out he had beat it to death with a thin plastic pipe while he was picking peas. He was just walking the rows picken when he almost stepped on it. It didn’t mover or rattle and he realized it was even more dangerous, being quite and all so he killed it.
When asked about holding it for a portrait he said he would but only with a large pair of pliers. As I went off to the airstream to get camera and pliers Jonathan came over to me and said he’d hold the snake for a photograph, if I had a leather glove… Somehow this became the photograph and when I look around for the true killer of the snake he had vanished, as all great super heroes do once their task is completed.
I was on our way again. Maine seemed a long way away……

Trees at Lake Okatibee

Lake Okatibee Campground

July 16, 2004 Lake Okatibbee, Miss

July 16, 2004

Off to a great start to Maine. Drove 190 miles out of New Orleans. Between trailer repairs (minor), an unintentionally long lunch at Mom and Dad’s Buffet in Petal Mississippi and the making of two photographs I didn’t do too bad on my goal of getting to Maine this summer….. Perhaps the biggest hurdle was deciding what road to take. There was interstate 10, then interstate 59 all the way to Birmingham, Alabama.
Looked good on the map but after a few miles on 10 then a few more on 59 with the country side a blur at 70 mph- little route 11, that seemed to sort of parallel 59 on the map, looked much better and off the big road I went. Route 11 meander through old Mississippi towns and great countryside. Traveling at a much more realistic speed of 35 to 55 mph I began to think that perhaps I should deal with the heat a bit longer and get to Maine a bit later. At least I’ll see where I’ve been.
Tonight finds me at Okatibgee Lake, Mississippi. Arrived after dark so no real idea as to where I am but from all the noise there are lots of critters here and the sign says it’s against the law to feed the alligators- you will be fined if caught.

rail tracks and airstream

at work late into the night

July 15, 2004 New Orleans, LA

Spent the last four nights in New Orleans, day trip into the city and around the bayous. Decided that there is a lot of material here to work with but right now it’s too hot and the wanderlust won’t let me slow down enough to really get into the city. This will be a good place to winter and work. Met some interesting folks on my way here. Whitney Dardar, a ship fisherman on the Bayou Lafourche among others. Made a good portrait of him.
In New Orleans we looked up Jeffery Holmes, who runs the Mazant Guest House just north of the French Quarter. We heard about Jeffery from Candice Russell, the writer who did the article on me for the Florida show. She stayed there while she was working on a photo book on voodoo and said that not only was it a great place to stay but Jeffery was a great deal of help in connecting her with people. Well, I agree the guest house is great and I enjoyed Jeffery very much. The house is out of the tourist district in a very old neighborhood that is just beginning to enjoy a revival. I plan on staying there and using it as my base when I go to photograph in the area. Rates are reasonable you can reach him at 504.944.2662.
Have decided that it is a better plan to head up to Maine now and come back down south when it gets a bit cooler. Seems like a plan would be a good thing and it’s a bit backwards to be here now and in Maine in the fall/early winter so tomorrow we head north perhaps at a more rapid pace.
First stop will be Atlanta to meet with a potential gallery. Then follow as straight a path as possible to Maine and the ocean.

Bayou Lafourche

July 10, 2004 Bourg, LA

July 10, 2004
Bourg La
Grand Bois Campground

Made a formal Newman Family portrait this morning and after sad good byes and promises to stay in touch I was on my way again. I’ve been so blessed meeting such good people on my travels. The last eight days have flown past and it was good to be grounded, but the wanderlust and road have been calling my name the last day or two and it was time to be heading south. Towards New Orleans (sort-of) and on to Florida. Then up the coast to Maine, unless I head west. Or go to Maine then back to Florida, it’s kind of hot down here right now. Hope to spend a few days in the back country and do some exploring around the bayous. It’s hard to do while pulling the trailer so I’m looking for a place to camp for a few days and head out with just the truck or on the bike. It’s still kind of scarier heading down a dirt road that keeps getting smaller and smaller with 26 feet of airstream behind me and the possibility of no turn arounds in front of me. I believe it is possible to detach the airstream from the truck and using the metal wheel and a come-a-long turn the airstream around in a very small area, but as yet I have not tested this theory and probably should before I take any really small roads.

Hand and a Banana Spider

July 9, 2004 Buller, LA

July 9,2004
Buller La

So after eating pounds of the little guys I began to wonder where they came from. A short drive brought us to Paul Heinen’s crawfish and/or rice fields. Paul’s son Scot and a fella named Red where out in the boats fishing, so I hung out on a levy and watched. It was about lunch time when Paul’s truck drove up and the two boats headed toward me. I introduced myself and talked about making a photograph or two. Paul jumped into one of the boats and said “Sure! Where do you want it?” Afterwards, a portrait was in order. See their portraits and the other images coming soon in the gallery.

The boats and the whole crawfish experience is quite unique. First the crawfish are held up in fields that are flooded with about one foot of water. The boats are driven by gas engine attached to hydraulics that turns a paddle wheel affair at the stern of the boat. The paddle wheel can drive the boat by pushing water or digging into the mud. The boats have rubber wheels about midway so the boats work as well on land as they do in the water. It’s quite a sight to see them navigate the fields, levies and muddy roads around the fields.

The crawfish are caught in wire traps that are baited with stuff you don’t want to know about. One day is spent baiting traps and the next pulling traps. Each boat is manned by one person who drives the boat and pulls traps, dumping the crawfish into a metal tray with 3 funnel like corners that go into burlap bags. As each bag gets full it is tied off and a new one is put in its place.

Crawfishing boat- note wheels