In plenty of time for the year 2020, photographer Robert Mitchell 20th “Around Boothbay Harbor” calendar in 20 years is now available. As he points out, that’s 240 “cherished views.” It’s uncanny how he continues to produce unique takes on familiar scenes and locales. While he carefully pairs images with the seasons, the photos run the gamut from dramatic and moody to bright and crisp, from nearly monochromatic to full of color.
Another feature that sets Mitchell’s calendars apart is the personal “year in review” and family photo. With his customary warmth, Mitchell tells of the creative efforts and life-changing travels of those near and dear to him. He even shares a celebratory announcement. While the six subjects in this year’s family photo are wearing timeless winter parkas, hats, and boots, the photo is as modern as can be; the camera was mounted on a drone.
A tour “around Boothbay Harbor” begins 2020 with a January page that produces shivers. Lobster boats locked in ice floes occupy a snowy East Boothbay land-and-sea scape in shades that range from stark sun-drenched white to vivid blues.
In the February photo, the warmth of the light shining on a Capitol Island dock contrasts with the cold snow dusting every surface.
The March image, taken from the opposite side of Boothbay Harbor, looks past docks, a pair of lobster boats, and a distant Spruce Point to the empty horizon. A lone seagull is the only sign of life.
While the caption tells us the April page shows “Southport Island,” the lion’s share of the photo is of a narrow band of sunset the colors of a ripe mango between calm water and a cloudless azure sky. Silhouettes of small islands and a dock at the edge of the image link us to land.
For the May page, Mitchell chose a striking view of the interior of the legendary schooner Ernestina-Morrissey undergoing reconstruction at the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard. Light filtering through the open deck above highlights the knotty texture and sheer weight of the hull’s massive timbers.
June offers up a Windjammer Days scene, which also serves as the calendar’s cover. From a vantage point very near the water’s surface, Mitchell captured two windjammers under full sail on a perfect day in Boothbay Harbor. You can almost hear the flags flapping and rigging creaking in the stiff breeze.
The permanence of Monhegan Island is accentuated in July’s image of a cottage dwarfed by the craggy rocks on which it’s perched. The sun slants under storm clouds to bring a glow to the home’s windows and aged shingles.
It might be August, but the water flowing over and around smooth multicolored rocks looks, and surely is, cold. The pleasure boats in the photo are a clue that it’s the height of the summer season.
There’s a painterly quality to September’s photo. Heavy clouds touched with strokes of pink and mauve are mirrored in the still waters of East Boothbay’s Little River. Edged with silhouetted docks and trees, this sunset view points downriver to the open ocean.
October’s image is of a single dinghy surrounded by water that shimmers with fall colors as if it’s made of burnished copper. Only through the caption do we know this is Boothbay Harbor’s Lobster Cove.
November brings a forested hillside in the full flush of autumn reflected nearly perfectly in Knickerbocker Lake. But for the weathered float with its shiny chrome ladder, this scene could have been from a century ago.
The year 2020 comes full circle in December with a view past a Southport cottage to bright-blue water and sky. New-fallen snow covers everything, including a porch where no footprints have yet appeared.
“Around Boothbay Harbor 2020” calendars are available in locations across the Boothbay region, as well as through Connections Publishing at 207-633-3166 or mitchellphoto.com. Continuing a tradition, Mitchell will once again donate a portion of the proceeds to Teens to Trails, which offers young people opportunities to enjoy and learn from the Maine outdoors.