V. Kelly Bellis is a licensed professional land surveyor and artist living with his beloved wife in Ellsworth, Maine since arriving from Ohio on the heels of a nor'easter in January 1988 with their three young sons. For more information, check out the About Panocea page

Jan 252016

Fannie H. Eckstorm’s 1941 publication Indian Place-Names of the Maine Coast (page 210) in discussion of Adowaukeag mentions the tide-falls “where every now and then, on the ebb of the tide, the great “Cellar Hole” gapes below the white sheet of the falls.

I wondered if that feature could still be discernible and worth documenting with a photo.


What exactly is meant by “where every now and then“? Does this mean only at spring tides or even during super low spring tides? Or is rarity of occasion implied at all; rather instead, albeit briefly, during any tide “on the ebb of the tide“? I’ve no idea if in fact the notable depression visible in the two photos above immediately west of the exposed ledge in the midst of the falls is to which Mrs. Eckstorm is referring as the great “Cellar Hole”. At first glance, it seems possible; however, this location fails to satisfy her last bit “gapes below the white sheet of the falls“.

The two photos above are views looking southwesterly from the low water mark on the eastern shore of the river at Falls Point on Saturday January 23, 2016. The uppermost photograph was taken at 4:19 PM, a few minutes before sunset and low water; the second photo, at 4:12 PM. The structure immediately behind the great “Cellar Hole” on the western bank of the river is the headquarters of Frenchman Bay Conservancy (FBC).

The photo below was taken on Friday January 22, 2016 from the upstairs deck of FBC at 4:21 PM looking northeasterly towards Falls Point. Note that the cell tower has been cloned out of view using Photoshop for aesthetic reasons alone.

Adowaukeag - without cell tower

Long time resident, town official and harbor master Helen Gordon, when asked about the so-called great cellar hole recalled that there were some specific spots in the river near the falls where her husband had set his traps, but never had he identified any areas as the great cellar hole. She (and other respondents to queries) recalled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had done work some forty years ago for the removal of ledge near the falls, and wondered if the dynamite may have altered what Mrs. Eckstorm wrote concerning the so-called great cellar hole.

SULmapChecking with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Navigation Projects for Maine, we can see the specific areas that were targeted for the dynamite (click SULmap for the full-sized PDF of this map dated 1976), and that they were actually addressing high spots (not holes) northwesterly of the main falls. While the Corps’ activity can’t be ignored, it seems unlikely it was near Echstorm’s last bit “gapes below the white sheet of the falls“.

The 2012 hydrographic survey conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of the river bottom in and around the falls produces perhaps the best candidate to be considered as the object of Eckstorm’s remark. Using their point data adjusted to NAVD and then combining it with the LiDAR data (thanks to the courtesy of the Maine Office of GIS and the USGS), we can see the two depressions below the falls.

 Posted by on January 25, 2016 at 5:43 pm
Jan 152016

Hello BitStars Mo, Krissy and all of the crew at HoloBuilder,

Congratulations on being awarded the Theta Developers Grand Prize and thank you very much for starting this ambitious project. It is a very nice start to what looks like could become an awesome service. I have prepared some feedback and emailed it directly to you in regards to my first round of tests. Top marks.


 Posted by on January 15, 2016 at 9:29 pm
Feb 112014

Thanks to Miguel Tremblay

Exposure Values in photography change significantly and fairly quickly during twilight’s transition. In timelapse photography, bulb ramping techniques are applied through the use of an intervalometer. The intervalometer directs the camera’s exposure up / down, and moreover, the planned rate of those changes rather that allowing the camera’s automatic exposure metering to flicker its way through. As it turns out, determining the planned rate is a bit of art and science.

Published times from an almanac for a given date, geographic position and elevation for Nautical Twilight Start, Sunrise, Sunset and Nautical Twilight End are helpful in providing a starting point for planning. Best app I’ve found for this information is The Photographer’s Ephemeris (free for the PC desktop, quite reasonably priced for your mobile device). The graph above shows the impacts of both latitude and season as determining factors in twilight’s length. Many thanks to Miguel Tremblay and for this graph and the marvelous bit of code that produced it.

Having a good idea of the beginning EV plateau is pretty straight forward – just meter the current light condition. Having a good idea of the ending EV plateau is also essential and a EV / lighting chart is good for starters. After several wild stabs at bRamping and watching the histogram show me the errors of my way, I did some experiments to better understand these EV values and their relation to the almanac times for use in programming the intervalometer and when necessary, the placement of an ND filter. Basically, I just did a bunch of time lapse sessions with the camera in Av mode (no bRamping) to simply document the EV curve during twilight’s transitional light.

EV Sessions 1-7 Click on the link / image for a printable version in PDF.

Getting the data extracted and into a form that allowed it to be mapped was possible using an absolutely wonderful tool called ExifTool by Phil Harvey while the actual mapping was done in AutoCAD from DXF’s produced by Ray Hintz’s Cadastral Measurement Management program! Admittedly this is a pretty strange use of this survey program, but it worked great and even created the line work 🙂 Of course you don’t need to use a survey program to graph the results out. Any spreadsheet program should be able to produce some type of a graph once you’ve gotten the x and y values nailed down.


These initial results help to illustrate the impact of clouds, both during the day and night and how they retard an EV range at both ends; blocking light in day, reflecting light at night. They also help to illustrate that the bRamp will never be a straight linear change and that further study is necessary in order to better understand the mathematically defined baseline EV curve, clouds notwithstanding.


If you try doing this for yourself, you may find this little hack to the [.ExifTool_config] helpful – insert it about half way down in the script under the section on composite tags.

    # Composite tags are added to the Composite table:
    'Image::ExifTool::Composite' => {
        # Composite tags are unique:  The Require/Desire elements specify
        # tags that must/may exist, and the keys of these hashes are used as
        # indices in the @val array of the ValueConv expression to access
        # the numerical (-n) values of these tags.  All Require'd tags must
        # exist for the Composite tag to be evaluated.  If no Require'd tags
        # are specified, then at least one of the Desire'd tags must exist.
        # See the Composite table in Image::ExifTool::Exif for more examples,
        # and lib/Image/ExifTool/README for all of the details.
        BaseName => {
            Require => {
                0 => 'FileName',
            # remove the extension from FileName
            ValueConv => '$val[0] =~ /(.*)\./ ? $1 : $val[0]',
        # With many thanks to Phil Harvey
	# Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 7:36 PM, VKB
	# breakup date and time
	# see thread:,5560.0.html
	# return the date from a date/time string
	Date => {
		    Require => {
	                0 => 'DateTimeOriginal',
		    ValueConv => '$val =~ s/ .*//; $val',
	        # return the time from a date/time string
		Time => {
		    Require => {
	                0 => 'DateTimeOriginal',
		    ValueConv => '$val =~ s/.* //; $val',
	# Finding our value for x
	# Getting the time of day into a value for x
		Time_into_x => {
		   Require => {
		   	0 => 'Time',
		  # determine Time's fractional part of day and multiply by 10000
		      ValueConv => 'my ($h,$m,$s) = split ":", $val; ((((($s/60)+$m)/60)+$h))/24*10000',
        # Finding our value for y
        # Now we can heighten or flatten the mapped LightValue (EV) curve for any given set of images as much as
	# you like with a multiplier of 10x, shown here by a factor of 100 for the y coordinate which will make EV values
	# easy to read, but graphically may end up looking too tall until the y aspect gets rescaled in your graphics program
		LightValue_into_y => {
		   Require => {
		   	0 => 'LightValue',
		  ValueConv => '$val*100',
        # It's all Phil's code from here and below 🙂

These threads may also be helpful:,5583.msg27175.html,5567.msg27084.html

 Posted by on February 11, 2014 at 7:23 pm
Dec 252013
Union River - Dam at Graham Lake - Ellsworth, ME - Right click for higher resolution

Click image for higher resolution

location-mapLeft – Click on thumbnail image for a slightly larger location map.

Horizontal Field of View about 53 degrees – looking easterly across the Union River Dam at Graham Lake, Ellsworth, ME.

All photographs were taken Tuesday (12.24.2013), first day of no ice / rain since last Friday.

Click on image for higher resolution

 Posted by on December 25, 2013 at 7:46 pm
Oct 172013

// Tuesday, October 15, 2013, 6:41 PM, VKB - Filtered Export Scripting - Is It Possible?
// Answer: Yes, but not wholly from Global Mapper; will require successive steps and other software
// Where should we go to get our data?
// First crack at nesting loops



// First load the unclassified lidar data into their own group
    	 LOAD_FLAGS="1048576,6.000,0,2~0~0~0~0~0~0~0,,4294967295,0.00,5.00,1" \

// Next load the data classified as ground into their own group
    	 LOAD_FLAGS="1048576,6.000,0,4~0~0~0~0~0~0~0,,4294967295,0.00,5.00,1" \

// Now we prepare the text file for final winnowing in TextPad - WildEdit before bringing into OpenOffice Calc

// Clean it out and start over in next subdirectory

 Posted by on October 17, 2013 at 7:58 am