Good photographers make great pictures from situations that are loaded with visual possibility. Great photographers make something out of nothing. The Portland Press Herald’s photographers consistently make interesting, beautiful, moody and emotional photos not only from important news events but also from the most ordinary events of our lives. In 2016, our photographers covered politics, from the heated presidential campaigns to the emotional election night gatherings. They traveled the state, photographing lobstermen in Stonington and residents of the remote town of Allagash. They spent time with people like Arianna, a 5-year-old girl who was living in the woods until her family found an apartment. And they captured everyday moments, from a game of pickup basketball to a bird’s-eye-view of a crane operator high above Portland. They made thousands of frames and drove thousands of miles to tell Maine’s stories. This collection represents some of their best work from the year.
When my family first moved to New England in the early ’80s, I remember my father – who grew up in relatively warmer climes of Pennsylvania – was amused by the novel sight of ice fishing.
“That looks like the most boring thing in the world,” he scoffed. “All you do is sit and freeze your butt.” Those words rang in my head as I drove to Auburn last February to photograph champion ice fisherman Brady Ouellette for our weekly Outdoors feature. “How am I going to make this interesting?” I fretted.
I had a long drive to ponder the question – to visualize the different angles through which I might view someone standing in the middle of an open, white plain. About midway through the drive, it occurred to me that I could get underneath Brady using a GoPro waterproof camera placed in the hole in the ice.
To get this shot, I mounted the GoPro to a monopod, stuck it just below the surface of the water, and triggered the shutter with a remote. I shot a 30-frame burst, which I thought would allow me to play with the water depth and maybe capture some ripples or bubbles. Instead, Brady immediately caught a fish and hauled it skyward.
Maybe ice fishing isn’t so boring after all.