Looking back over my last 22 years of painting, I’ve had to do a lot of photography in order to get just the right photographic material for my next painting. Sometimes things didn’t always go as planned. In the old days things like having to change the film just when you think you have the perfect shot seemed to always happen. Occasionally, if you didn’t get the holes in the film perfectly lined up with the sprockets in the camera, the film wouldn’t advance properly and all of the photography would be for naught. On a rare occasion, weird, peculiar, odd and somewhat funny things would happen!
I’ve always considered myself a safe and careful driver but the first time I drove into Shaw’s parking lot in New Harbor, Maine, I was so captivated by a dark green lobsterboat leaving the quintessential fishing village that I forgot to put the car in park. It was the perfect picture! I grabbed my camera and jumped out of the car with the engine still running and the gear still in drive. If it wasn’t for Jen’s cry for help the car would have ended up in the harbor with her in it! I missed the shot.
On another occasion, I wanted to take some photographs of a beautiful view of Curtis Island Light in Camden Harbor, Maine, from a charming grey shingled estate owned by a friendly acquaintance. She had painted wicker furniture on the deck with flower baskets hanging from the porch. The quaint porch with Curtis Island Light in the background set against the Penobscot Bay, I thought would make a gem of a painting. We wanted to commission our artist friend, Ed, to paint a watercolor painting of this scene for us. I was also considering doing my own painting of it, so we both decided to go photograph it one day. On a previous occasion, Jen and I had gotten permission to photograph the property but we called to make sure it was OK. Of course, when I called there was no answer. Nobody was home. Perfect, I thought. We’ll go photograph her home and the magnificent view and not bother anybody. We told Ed not to worry if someone finds us taking pictures and that we already had permission. Well sure enough, as we were both photographing this wonderful woman’s home from the driveway, a car pulled into the driveway. Ed totally panicked and started running for our car as I yelled “No Ed, don’t run”! We looked totally guilty. I was mortified. After a few minutes of damage control our day was made by a guided tour of her beautiful home. When we look at our commissioned watercolor that Ed painted, we always picture our artist friend trying desperately to make a quick and unnecessary getaway!
On a business trip to Boca Raton, I was on a mission to photograph the MBNA office building within a limited time period. I only had a few hours in the afternoon to get the shots needed for a quarterly report cover that I was to paint. When I arrived on location the lighting was perfect. I knew it was now or never and I grabbed my camera and started taking as many pictures as I could before the lighting changed. In doing so, I neglected to follow the MBNA protocol and check in with security upon arrival. Next thing I knew, I was in the security office getting patted down and peppered with questions. Of course I didn’t have my MBNA badge on me to identify myself, so a call to headquarters was required to prove I actually was who I said I was, the resident artist. It really was comical how it all went down. My painting is pictured below.
My good friend Charlie, the Schooner Hunter, took me out one day on his 13 foot skiff to photograph the Maine Windjammer Fleet on Windjammer Weekend. It was unusually rough water and super windy that day. The schooners only raised their sails half-way because of the stormy seas. I had my camera bag wrapped up in a plastic bag to protect it against the elements. Charlie worked us out as far in the bay as he could, knowing how much I wanted the shots. I was standing up in the bow of the skiff facing the stern, with my camera and zoom lens in hand, when a large wave splashed over the bow and hit me hard on my backside. Next thing I knew the boat was half flooded and we were heading for shore. While this was all going on, Jen was back on shore talking to a Maine friend with a lifetime of nautical experience, who asked “Where is Bill?” When Jen said I was out in a 13 foot skiff photographing the schooners she said “Are you kidding! It is way too dangerous to be out in a small boat in these conditions.” She went on to say that a number of years ago, Camden would have issued a small boat warning on days like this but they stopped doing it. “I hope he’s OK.” Jen was so glad to see me drive up and see that I hadn’t been lost at sea. The shots were all a little crooked due to the rocking of the skiff but I lived to tell about it.
Whenever I have unusual experiences like these, Jen will invariably say to me in jest “Why couldn’t you have just been an accountant or a lawyer or something other than an artist?” I hope you found some humor in my mishaps and misfortunes! It was fun reminiscing.