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Fort Popham is located near Phippsburg, Maine. Shaken by the British invasion during the War of 1812 and the burning of the White House, the US built 42 coastal forts, dubbed Third Systems forts, between 1816 and the US Civil War. They usually had thick masonry walls and vaulted ceilings in compartmented areas, but those in Maine such as Fort Popham had walls of granite blocks. Ironically the only combat any saw was during the US Civil War, and newly developed rifled artillery rounds rendered their masonry construction ineffective.
Many of these places have been preserved either by the US Park Service or various state agencies and allow serious photography. Even in the most visited like Fort Hood under the Golden Gate Bridge, if you arrive when first opened in the morning and know what areas you’re most interested in, you can work carefully and undistracted. Lesser known forts like Popham are even more enjoyable to photograph.
For this image, I used my 24mm tilt-shift lens to create a flat stitch panoramic image. By shifting the lens a set amount to the left of center and the camera an equal amount to the right, taking an image and reversing the positions for the second capture, you can then overlap the two in just about any image editor without concern for warping or assumptions about projection. You are effectively holding the lens in fixed position and moving the camera’s sensor from one side of the large image circle to the opposite. It takes longer to describe this technique than it does to do it.
Fort Popham and further north Fort Knox make enjoyable stops of several hours while traveling along the Maine coast between Portland and Acadia National Park. We usually stay overnight at an inn within walking distance of Pemaquid Point Lighthouse.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor