I was to meet up with Jim Buxton to accompany him on a scallop diving trip last Monday, only two days before the end of the scallop season in Maine. It is still winter, and his boat cut through the skim ice on the harbor as he pulled up to the dock at South Port Marina to get me. Don’t let anyone tell you that salt-water doesn’t freeze.

We then headed over to Portland to pick up another diver, Paul Fischer. They had no ‘tender’ on board (someone to steer the boat while the divers are underwater), so they took turns throughout the day diving 30-50 feet deep to scour the sandy bottom for scallops. On this day, Paul and Jim were greeted  in the depths below by a loon and a minke whale respectively, something that normally never happens they say. I must have brought good luck.

Personally, I love scallops. I had no idea how they were harvested, and I now hold an amazing amount of respect for those who choose to dive deep in the dead of winter to pull the tasty morsels to the surface.

 


Scallop on the sea floor, image by Jim Buxton

 

Maine shrimp have long been a staple catch and reliable form of winter income for Maine’s fishermen. This year, Maine’s shrimp fishermen are facing a shortened season, and low-catch quotas due to a shortage of Maine shrimp. Captain Proctor Wells of Phippsburg, Maine allowed me to come along to photograph how these tasty little crustaceans are caught. It’s a long process, started well before dawn, on cold winter mornings, and the day often doesn’t end until after sunset. Due to the fishing restrictions put in place early in the 2013 season the fishermen are only allowed to shrimp on Mondays and Wednesdays. Despite rain, howling winds, and high seas they head to sea to drop their nets and hope for a decent catch and good prices. Proctor estimated that about half the typical fleet didn’t even try to get out on the water this year due to the low imposed quotas, it’s just not worth it to get the boats and gear ready. Next year there is talk that there might not even be a shrimp season at all.

Getting the gear ready before dawn.

Mark Wells rests in the wheel house during a tow.

A snow covered winch.


Captain Proctor Wells

 

Digging in the mud for soft-shelled clams day after day, in the cold, rain, heat or snow is hard way to make a living. Bobby Willette of Scarborough, Maine allowed me to come along on cold, clear morning in January to photograph his very ‘Maine’ way of life. Next time you’re in Maine and sit down with a big pail full of steamers, or a bowl of clam chowder, thank Bobby.

If you’ve come here looking for my old website, www.visualalex.com, you’ve come to the right place, I realize it doesn’t look the same. You see, after over ten years, I’ve decided to retire that site, and relaunch as: www.alexdaleyclarkphotography.com it has been a long time coming, and I’m excited to share my work here now. Welcome.

I’ve also decided to make my passion, my focus of this new site. I live in coastal Maine, and over the years many stories have come my way about the ocean; the islands, fishing, and the working waterfront. This is the work that I’ve loved the most, and it is what I am most passionate about. Do what you love, and love what you do, right? You’ll still find some of my other work here, but I’ll be concentrating on the fisheries work from this point forward.

Many years ago I made the decision to hike the Appalachian Trail, the whole thing. Mind you, I didn’t even know if that was really possible, but once I spoke it aloud it became real. It became doable, and it became an obsession. I did it. From Springer Mountain in Georgia, to Mt. Katahdin in Maine, over the course of over six months I walked north. It was one of the best, yet most fool-hardy challenges I’ve taken on. This new website is my Springer Mountain for 2013, a New Year’s Resolution of sorts manifesting itself on the internet. I’ve spent the month of January combing through my archives, pulling work that represents the work I want to do more of. I’ve also been shooting, and talking to people in the fishing industry. I’m giddy with the excitement of the possible work coming my way.  I’ve excited by the work I’ve done in the past, now that I’ve revisited it.  Below are some frames from the past. New work will be posted below this post.


(Clockwise from top left) Chris Peterson, tuna fisherman aboard the Dantilu, Casco, Bay, Maine.  Project Puffin founder, Dr. Stephen W. Kress, on Eastern Egg Rock, Muscongus Bay, Maine (shot for the New York Times). Tagging groundfish aboard the F/V Stormy Weather, New Hampshire (shot for The Scientist Magazine). Dawn at Cape Porpoise, Maine, January 1, 2013.