In between the travels and events I write about here, I have many weeks that feel more like Groundhog Day than a grand adventure (wrangle children into the car for school/camp, work, pick up children, recommence wrangling, repeat). During these times, the photos you submit of beautiful places around the state buoy me. And when we solicited shots of Maine dream homes for our inaugural Reader Photo Contest? I was in heaven. Every day for nearly two months, images rolled in of a yurt on North Haven, a houseboat with an amazing container garden in Penobscot Bay, a legendary lobsterman’s Queen Anne-style farmhouse on Isle au Haut, an adorable little mansard in Round Pond — and hundreds more intriguing places that do not appear on my daily shuttling route. As I journeyed around with you, I felt relieved to be a spectator in this endeavor as opposed to a judge. That tough job fell to Down East’s director of photography, Ben Williamson, and architectural photographer Jared Kuzia, who selected the winning images, revealed here with their commentary and notes from the contestants. I think you’ll find that these gorgeous pictures speak even louder when illuminated with their words.
Ed Fletcher, Scarborough, Maine
Moon Setting Over Pine Point
Canon 7D, 160mm
Ed Says: “I love this home because it sits right on the tip of Pine Point and has an unrestricted view of the sunrise. It has been recently renovated and enlarged with New England-style shingles. I love the way they arched the shingles over some of the doors and windows. It is also wonderfully landscaped and has its own private beach. I went to Ferry Beach on the morning of May 10 specifically to catch the full moon setting near this house. I do not like the moon to dominate a photo, but rather add to an already great landscape. I love the pinks and blues of the sky against the grays of the home. And it’s nice that the water was calm so that the moon and house are reflected.”
Jared Says: “A big part of being a good photographer is being in the right place at the right time and knowing when and where that is. This photographer took advantage of the perfect time of day and framed the subject beautifully in its surroundings rather than just focusing in on the home itself.”
Steve Beckwith, Harrison, Maine
Sony a7R II
Steve Says: “My wife, Annie, has always wanted to live in a little log home in the woods. I designed our house myself, gave those plans to a draftsman to turn into construction prints, and we had our dream home built in Harrison. We enjoy gardening during the summer months and in the fall the grounds here are covered with ferns that appear to be on fire with their blazing colors. But winter may well be our favorite season in our log home. This image was taken on February 12, on the eve of a huge storm. We have a snowshoe trail in the woods behind our house and we were coming back from a walk. We knew the woodstove was cranked and our furry family was waiting anxiously for our return, but we couldn’t help pausing to take in the warm and inviting look of our home. As much as we loved our time in the snow, we were happy to step inside and sit by the stove warming our hands.”
Ben Says: “A winter wonderland is made so much more beautiful when there is a source of warmth and refuge from the cold. With the glow through the windows and the snowfall outside, this is somewhere I’d want to be. I appreciate how the photographer used advanced techniques to compensate for the high dynamic range between the light in the home and darkness outside, and how the long shadows in the snow lead the eye right to the main subject. It’s a beautiful home, and a beautiful photograph that captures it perfectly.”
Jill Odice, Littlerock, California
Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, Maine
Jill Says: “I came across this house while I was visiting with friends who live in New Hampshire. We wanted to have a lobster dinner and see some lighthouses on our trip. I lived for many years in Provincetown, on Cape Cod, and moved to the Mojave Desert in Southern California 15 years ago. I have been homesick for the ocean and the East Coast and good seafood. We cannot get anything like that where we live! While we were driving around, I saw this scene and knew I had to shoot it. I thought about how lucky the folks are who live in that house — to get to see that view from their window whenever they want! We arrived just in time for beautiful fall foliage, which added to the appeal of the image for me. We are currently looking for a home in Maine to relocate to. I’m not sure where yet, but I would love to find something in the Belfast area.”
Jared Says: “So much of the time, architectural photographs are taken close with a wide-angle lens. I love how this photographer stepped back and used a longer lens. The distant perspective is very flattering on the subject here. And the colors of the foliage, combined with the boats, evoke a strong sense of place.”
What do you think of the winning images? Let us know your thoughts below and remember to submit your own #mainehomelife photos here! Stay tuned next week, too, when I’ll be revealing the Readers’ Choice finalists in our photo contest.