All posts by Brian Feulner

Brian Feulner is the visual editor at the Bangor Daily News and a photographer in the state of Maine. Feulner frequently freelances for a variety of publications and companies and operates Feulner Studio and Gallery in Bangor.

Maine’s largest pin hole camera

Photos and Text by Gabor Degre

Did you ever wonder how cameras work? With the marvel of digital equipment, it seems almost like magic.  You push a button and the image appears instantly.  Photo archivists with the Penobscot Marine Museum Kevin Johnson and Matt Wheeler came up with the idea of having a very large camera obscura built, allowing people to walk inside to experience first hand how the image is created and the basic concept of how cameras work.

The first written record about viewing an image like that dates back roughly 2,400 years in China. Later, Aristotle wrote about the use of the principal of the camera obscura , while observing a partial solar eclipse. In the 13th century Leonardo da Vinci gave a detailed description, and using a pinhole camera, in the mid-1820’s Joseph Niepce, a French inventor, captured the first known photograph on bitumen-coated metal plate.
You might be surprised that the principal of the camera remains the same today.  With the advancement of technology, pinholes were replaced by lenses made of very high quality glass, to project a tack-sharp image. The recording of that image also went through several changes and now a computer captures the image with the aid of sensors, that replaced the light sensitive materials.
To see first hand the inner workings of the camera obscura and images inside it, visit the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport. The Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light exhibit from the museum’s huge photography collection will open on May 23rd. For more information about the upcoming exhibits visit:
To illustrate the image I improvised a crude pinhole camera.  The images are blurry, but this was done in a few minutes, from a modern digital camera using a dust-cap and a piece of tape.


A year later, the good life

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One year ago today we launched “The Good Life” a project retracing the “Back-to-the-land-movement” during the 60s and 70s in Maine.

The BDN was honored with an Online Journalism Award in 2014 for the project. We had photographers and reporters share the stories of different Mainers who have made this lifestyle, their way of life.

Photographer Troy Bennet recorded a full soundtrack of banjo music we coined “banjournalism.”

Gabor Degre visited the Nearing’s farm, two people who are credited with the surge of people from “away” to Waldo County with their book “The Good Life.”

I travelled to California to see a woman who grew up in Monroe with no running water who now works for biotech company in San Francisco. Finally I was able to spend time with John McIntire and his partner Nancy Rosalie who shared their treasured way of living with me, and allowed me into their home with open arms.

“The Good Life.”

The Marsh and Saudabscook Stream racers get wet and wild

Visuals editor Brian Feulner spent the weekend photographing two canoe races in the Bangor area, the Saudabscook Stream race on Saturday and the Marsh Stream race on Sunday. Racers paddled through miles of white water filled with class two and three rapids where some lost their balance, paddles and boats.  The Kenduskeag Stream Race is scheduled for Saturday, April 25 and brings racers from all over New England and Canada.

View more photos from the Souadabscook Stream Race
View more photos from the Marsh Stream Race

Motorcycles on ice, circular track racing on Sebago Lake

Text and Photos by Robert F. Bukaty

RAYMOND, MAINE – Ask a biker why they race motorcycles on ice and you’ll most likely hear something like this: “Because I’m an adrenaline junkie…”

That’s exactly what Jamie-Lynn Worden, 25, of Gorham, said after an exhilarating practice ride on a circular track plowed on Sebago Lake’s Jordan Bay a few weeks ago.

Worden got in several quick laps around the track while her fiancé and nine-month-old son watched  from the edge of the frozen lake.

Ice racers use dirt bikes equipped with studded tires for traction. The tires, which sell for about $500 each, are put on a lathe to grind down the knobs on the right side of the tire. Then studs are put in the remaining knobs, enabling the riders to lean severely into left turns without sliding out.

Vito LaVopa, another rider out that day on Jordan Bay, is also an admitted adrenaline junkie. He says it’s an addiction he had since 1967.  That’s when his father took him out for a short ride on a bike he was fixing.

“He took me down the cul-de-sac on the tank and back,” said Lavopa, 50, a plumber from Windham.

Lavopa says he has always had a bike since age 11. On the ice Lavopa races a Kawasaki 250.

“I ride a high-end booster.  At the rear wheel I’ve got about 180 horsepower, “ he said.   Although he figures he hits about 50 miles per hour on the straightaways, he says the thrill of riding on ice doesn’t just come from the speed.

Anybody can twist the throttle and go fast, ” said Lavopa.  “But the corners are where it’s at.”

From pro bowl to rock n’ roll: On assignment with photographer Ben McCanna

Text and Photos by Ben McCanna

It was an unlikely location for a professional bowling tournament.

Bayside Bowl is a hip, vibrant spot within an otherwise ramshackle neighborhood  — a largely abandoned zone where the City of Portland stashes piles of snow amid crumbling, industrial infrastructure.

Bowling is clearly implied in Bayside Bowl’s name, but the establishment isn’t exactly synonymous with the sport. It’s the kind of bowling alley that places equal (if not greater) priority on quality food, craft beers and raucous nightlife. So it was a surprising choice for a world-class bowling event.

But it was also a good choice.

The nightlife atmosphere that so often permeates Bayside Bowl was on full display Sunday afternoon during a final showdown between the elite rollers of the Professional Bowling Association. In other words, it was a party.

A crowd of about 200 ticket holders took roost on sets of risers and cheered wildly after each strike and spare. Some wore costumes. Some held signs. Others spilled beer. Everyone was cheering. And it was time for me to go to work.

Luckily, I was in my element.

A self-employed photographer can sometimes feel like an unemployed photographer. Last summer, when I took the plunge into freelancing, I knew there would be peaks and troughs. It was inevitable that I might go a week or more without any assignments whatsoever, and that feast-or-famine lifestyle was a potential career killer. Every successful photojournalist will tell you that the key to success is making photos every day. So, in order to ensure regular work, I started a concert photography blog called Post Mortem.

The blog, aside from being a terrific hobby, kept me shooting on the days between sports or news assignments. It kept my skills sharp, but it also taught me how to be nimble in a crowd; how to courteously (but fearlessly) weave in and out of tightly packed bodies that are all straining to witness the same action.

More importantly, it taught me that the audience is often the most compelling part of an event.

So, when I waded into the crowd at Bayside Bowl (on behalf of The Forecaster), I knew I had to inject a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll into what was ostensibly a sports assignment. To tell the whole story, the circus-like atmosphere had to be evident in every frame.

Eagle lookalikes, downeast photographer catches glimpse of golden eagle

Text by Brian Feulner
Photos by Don Dunbar

It was well before sunrise when Down East wildlife photographer Don Dunbar grabbed his blind and headed out to Pembroke, Maine, to photograph coyotes.

“A number of eagles and ravens usually show up throughout the day, so I spend my time watching and taking pictures of them,” Dunbar said.

As he sat and watched the tree line an eagle flew in that looked a little different. He made a picture and then zoomed in on the back of his camera to get a better look.

“I knew it was a golden eagle… a first for me,” Dunbar said.

Dunbar ended up staying in the blind for 10 hours that day, partly in an attempt to get better photos of the raptor.

As with many bird species, telling the difference between some bird species isn’t always that easy. After sharing the photos around to some bird experts in the field, I came back with mixed thoughts on the identification of the bird.

The immature bald eagle can look very similar to a golden eagle and is often mistaken. Because of the common brown color of the young bald eagles, they look very similar.

Golden eagles also are very rare to see in Maine. The Maine Department Inland Fisheries & Wildlife website reads: “Golden eagles have been designated an Endangered Species in Maine since 1986. This is the most widely distributed, successful species of eagle in the world. It lives in all continents of the northern hemisphere. Nevertheless, the species has always been a rarity in Maine and most of eastern North America.”

“I am absolutely positive it’s a golden. My biggest way to tell is that the feathers come down to the toes, I have never seen an immature bald like that,” Dunbar said.

Dunbar also said that he noticed that when the golden flew in, all the other eagles would take off and sit in the trees to wait for it to leave. They did this every time it showed up. They didn’t care if another bald eagle, adult or immature, flew in.

A day after our correspondence, Dunbar called to tell me he also shared the photos with Maine raptor specialists Erynn Call and Charlie Todd. Both agreed: It was a golden eagle.

What are your thoughts: golden or immature bald eagle?