Perkins Cove: 72 Hours

Perkins Cove: 72 Hours by Ara Hagopian is a 33-piece photography exhibit covering the popular seaport resort village in Ogunquit, Maine. The work was captured with the Sony A7R full-frame camera and 55 mm Carl Zeiss lens.


The 72 HOURS exhibits cover popular United States destinations such as New York City, Manhattan Beach CA, and Charleston SC. The pictures are not designed to be a highlight of the best, or most famous, of the attractions’ sights. As such, this Perkins Cove exhibit is not a collection of what a visitor must see if they’re staying in Maine’s York-Ogunquit-Wells area.

Instead, what viewers get is this artist’s impression of what was beautiful or interesting during three days on site. To be free to wander the area with a camera—and without a checklist—is the heart of 72 HOURS.

Perkins Cove is a small peninsula surrounded by the Atlantic ocean, and it may come as a surprise that the general public doesn’t have access to the water. There are no public beaches at the Cove. Property owners have water access, but you won’t see people with towels or coolers here.

American, Canadian and international visitors typically come for the numerous restaurants, gift shops, and most of all, the sights overlooking the Cove and the tiny port. The Cove is the start of historic Marginal Way, a two-mile open trail along the rocky Atlantic waterline that snakes from Perkins Cove to Ogunquit Beach.

Enjoy Perkins Cove: 72 Hours. Please bookmark and share the exhibit!

1. OLD ANCHOR. This old anchor held, and buoys signaled, long before I was born. And now their functions have shifted. For much of her life she was kept underwater, and then the opposite was true. She was built to hold boats, and now she holds air–and attention. From the owner: This is at Chowder’s Cafe in the Cove. We’ve had that anchor for many years and my son recently decided to display it on the building. Love that your keen eye saw it and turned it into an art form.”


Old Anchor at Chowder’s Café.

2. COVE TABLEAU. This is the palette of Perkins Cove. Shingles of browns and grays hold an agreement to share real estate on the salty edges of the color wheel.


Cove Tableau.

3. DOCK. Dinghys settle like pilot fish, one but slightly aware she was of a different appearance. She’d be interested to know that like shapes were present, if she’d only venture a bit down the line. The sky reflects on water like large flakes of bar soap.



4. SEA’S RAVAGE. Unlike humans, stones don’t become rounded from lack of activity. Their shape is the result of what we see here, the violent sea having its way with the shore. The rocks make a throaty rattling sound as the waves pull them back and push forward. There’s a constant back-and-forth as the stones roll home and the ocean says, “oh, no you don’t!” in a million year’s game. 


Sea Ravage.

5. ROCKFACE. This Mars-like view is actually one of the rare places visitors can touch the water. If one gets implicit permission from the property owner, Maine’s rocky shore may be seen up close. Low tide has exposed all the rocks seen here. The high tide waterline is halfway up the mound. Read the description for Photograph #7 for more on this location.



6. RIVERSIDE VIEW. This is a splendid view of the Cove, from the grounds of the charming Riverside Motel. Footbridge leads to the Cove. The tiny inlet is man-made, and protects boats from the open ocean. Lobster fishermen, tourist boats, and private craft berth here. Presidents of the United States dock here for lunch. This artist has spent many summers in these chairs, drawing, reading and enjoying the Cove. One of the most perfect places in the world.


Riverside View.

BELOW: The following two photographs were processed with Irfanview’s silver-metallic effect.

7. LOW TIDE. What is low tide but a dreaming sea? Everything that’s typically hidden is revealed as the ocean drifts away in a deep sleep. Every boulder is an idea, hundreds of thousands of them, piles upon piles, waiting to be realized as the Perkins Cove tide yawns its indifference.

We can visit the dreaming sea. We can walk on the rocks and decide how far to go. Take care not to fall, there’s no easy rescue out here. Most of these boulders will shake with your weight, and are slippery. You will learn to walk low in your crouch, and you’ll choose the lower, flatter stones on which to step.

Listen! Can you hear it? That mucking sound is seaweed clumps popping and crackling with life. They are talking to you. Stop. Perceive. Respond.

Watch the periwinkles crowd the live puddles–thousands upon thousands of periwinkles!Look at them–they trust you. They trust that you will be gentle, trust that you will exercise the self-control all great beings learn to harness. Periwinkles, like many small animals, have no defense. No fleeing. No spines, no hiding. How you treat them is a lesson on how big a person you are.

You once were, or one day shall be, as vulnerable as the periwinkle.

Touch a boulder drying in the sun. Let lie your hand and see how the surface feels soft, although it is not. You are standing where most people on earth will never stand. Shade your eyes with your free hand and you’ll see that the rock looks more beautiful than mans’ art, the dull wetness bringing out the reds and grays of petrified wood. Look at your wet fingertips; they are changed.

You can make relationships but no one will really remember like you will. With all that’s seen and touched, that is my experience. Did you feel close with a rock, some shellfish or seaweed clump? They won’t remember you after you hobble away. Because that’s what happens when Perkins Cove dreams. The sea will forget you.

But you will not forget.


This is Perkins Cove.

8. LITTLE VOLUME. Waters bring a gentle lift. The tide raises and lowers the dock, despite the weight.


Dock has little volume but plenty of weight. White rectangle is actually discarded brick on the channel’s bottom.

9. MAKING A NEST. Male house sparrow gathers twigs for his footbridge nest.


Male House Sparrow.

10. THE CONCEPT OF RESPECTIVE LONGEVITY. This metal casting is very old, perhaps older than seventy years. Today her job is lightweight duty; she keeps tourists out of a private alley. This old hook has retired. What was her job of yesteryear? Was she fitted to a proud ship, worked by a crew who perhaps never gave thought to the concept of respective longevity?

I will be utilized so long as I’m useful. I can work if my construction exceeds my strain. I can outlast my creator if men take care of me. I can outlast man if men need me.

A hundred years ago a metalsmith forged a hook and loop out of steel. He used the skills of his eyes, arms and hands to form her just so. He pulled the finished hook from the cooling water bucket, took off his gloves and held it in his hand. “You will outlast me,” he said to the beautifully-fashioned, warm-wet steel. “You’ll raise great nets of fish or carefully lower a ton of timber, and men will trust you with their lives. If they do their job, they know you will do yours.

“You’re two solid pounds and are vulnerable to being cut, thrown away, melted or otherwise destroyed,” he told his creation. “But you will succumb to none of those things. You will exist longer than me, and my children, and my children’s children. Because you are useful. And only fools squander usefulness.”


Respective Longevity.

BELOW: Flower trio: Intent, origin, and function.

11. INTENT. These gentle daisies are planted outside the Lobster Shack, and they excel at their task of pleasing the hundreds of people who pass by daily. Their heads are smaller than a dime, with brilliant yellows that burn green dots on the cornea if we stare and then close our eyes.


Daisies are intended to entertain.

12. ORIGIN: FOUR MILLION BELLS. A busy street corner is hardly the place to look down. On one Cove corner, these four beautiful flowers decided to make their home. They are orphans; they are survivors.


They made their home on an unfriendly, dangerous street–and they smiled at me.

13. FUNCTION: WILDFLOWER. A ladybug makes her living one a plant akin to Queen Anne’s Lace.


Lady bug.

14. HARLEY IN LOT. The parking lot at the Cove has some of the finest visiting machines in the country. This is one of them.


Harley in Lot.

15. THE COVE AT NIGHT.  This is what the Cove looks like at night. The vantage point is the Riverside Motel. On the left is the end of the parking lot, on the right is the Footbridge, and a look at the start of the private section of the peninsula.

What sounds do we hear after dark? We hear ducks quack as they settle in for the night. Barnacle Billy’s waitstaff call out numbers for dinner seating. There’s spontaneous applause for this-n-that.

But mostly, it’s quiet. The parked cars are gone. By 10 PM the shops are closed. The Cove is empty for the night.


The Cove at night, from the deck of the Riverside Motel.

16. KISS OF THE DAY. This is what Perkins Cove looks like at about 5:45 in the morning. There is no purer honey color than what we see here. Ernie Pyle wrote in 1943: “Get outside at sunrise–if you have the courage.” Courage is stepping around a sleeping spouse. Courage is declining the comforting drug of deep sleep. Mostly, courage is doing the opposite of what everyone around you is doing.

I couldn’t cross the footbridge fast enough. Within a minute I was at the edge of the lot. Will there be a good sunrise? Will the sky be interesting? With spectacular colors?

There were a few other photographers waiting. Most had tripods. One gal was in tears. She did not know how to adjust her camera for ISO, aperture, white balance and shutter speed. She was paralyzed. She showed me her shots; the camera was compensating for low light. Everything was bland and washed-out. I couldn’t take the time to teach her. I had four balls in the air myself. Because every second, the scene was changing. On top of the technicalities, the photograph had to be composed. And that had nothing to do with settings, and everything to do with setting.

The scene was beautiful, emotional. I was at this spot in 1983, eighteen years old and on a mid-day date. Thirty-two years ago everything was new, and today, this morning, the sun gave me another fresh look.


Honey Sunrise.

17. 1920’s SCENE. Here we have a view from the Marginal Way. I’ve distressed the image, drained it, distorted it, beat it up, knocked it down and helped it up again. I restored some vintage color and worked it until it felt right. I am very much a Twentieth-Century fan, and here we are, ready to take a picnic in yesteryear.


Vintage scene takes us back.

18. MARGINAL WAY VIEW. This is where Ogunquit’s famous pathway brings us. Care to sit down? Want to keep exploring?


Marginal Way view.

19. ROCK PATTERN AT MARGINAL WAY. If we go off-path, endure a little dangerous footing and take a look at the rocks, we may find some interesting colors and patterns cut into the stone.


Magic triangles cut into the rocks.

20. OLD TREE. Spend three days at Perkins Cove and maybe you’ll find a neighborhood that doesn’t necessarily lead to a store or eatery. The leaves and sky provide a pretty green and blue image.


Vine-covered tree.

21. HAWK. Hawk has her eyes on the prey. Chicken wire has caused her to ponder the next move.


Red-tailed hawk.

22. HE LOOKED AT ME. The gull circled the Cove, checked the water, adjusted for wind, and flapped his wings. Then he turned his head and looked at me. Eye contact with the flying star of the show.


Looked at me.

23. FLAG AT FOOTBRIDGE. This photo was converted to metal and then color was rubbed back into the image from the original color photograph. Sky and lighting bring drama.


Flag at Footbridge.

24. COPPER RUBBING OF THE FOOTBRIDGE. This is a copper rubbing of the footbridge and village in the Cove. Various metal tones were used for variety and depth.

Copper rubbing of the footbridge.

Copper rubbing of the footbridge.

25. SKY AND SEA. Combining natural elements helps enhance beauty to a routine set.


Sky and sea.

26. LOBSTERMEN. One of the features of the Sony A7R camera is shooting in Watercolor mode. Here we have a classic take on the Cove.



27. SWEEP. Once again, we shoot in Watercolor mode, and the smoothness of the finishing plus the angle of the lawn and bridge makes this photograph a winner.


Sweet angles.

28. MAINE LOBSTER. Here are the animals that bring the world to Perkins Cove. A study in color and beauty. A shop owner was in a contemplative mood as she selected the lobsters for early-day demand. “Their role in life now is to provide nourishment,” she reasoned. “There’s no other way I can do this job without having that attitude.”


Lobster are taken off the fishing boat and carried fifteen feet to the restaurant, where the animals will be cooked and served within four hours.

29. PRIZED CRAB APPLE TREE. White flowers greet the footbridge walker.


White flowers and picket fence are famous in their own right.

30. SUNSET AT RIVERSIDE. The setting sun plus a short focal plane creates drama to a shrub.


Sunset at Riverside.

31. GREAT TREE. This tree was almost lost to disease last decade. She has fully recovered.


Great tree.

32. SENTINEL. The Sentinel provides gentle light to the traveler.


The Sentinel. Composition makes a scene work.

33. SECOND DAY SUNRISE. A new day, a different look. A flock of cormorants grace the sky.


New sunrise.

Thank you for visiting PERKINS COVE: 72 HOURS. Feel free to leave a comment below!


Ara Hagopian’s latest book is out now:

About Ara Hagopian's The LITERATE Show

For over thirty years, I have enjoyed drawing beautiful shapes and writing complementary stories. The imagery tends to focus on our place in the world—whomever or whatever we may be. I am influenced by Twentieth Century history—I read vintage magazines, books and letters. Inspiration comes from visualizing human achievement and personal interaction—derived from people, places and things which may be obscure, but never insignificant. My pen-and-ink THE MAGNIFICENT RECOVERY was selected by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for their 2008 summer art auction.
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10 Responses to Perkins Cove: 72 Hours

  1. Sue B says:

    Beautiful perspective on one of my favorite New England towns. The artist captures the beauty and essence of the area with ease . The pictures and the captions were spot on.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for bringing back treasured memories of a wonderful holiday I took in that part of the great nation of America.

    Ara, you certainly have an eye for picking out the best that man and nature can provide with your stunning photos .

    Every shot is an artistic gem, every caption a quirky and often profound comment.

    In a word, outstanding.

  3. Scott says:

    Excellent presentation Ara. I love the imaginative narrative and subject matter. Be careful, or you may get commissioned to do some travel brochures. I definitely want to visit Perkins Cove now.

    The Sunset at Riverside is a brilliant example of taking a commonplace object and showing its inherent beauty. Copperplate image of the footbridge is among my favorites from this collection as well.

    • Thank you Scott. Funny how you mention SSaR pic, that is an obscure picture that is a personal favorite. And the copper plate picture used some fun techniques in post-production. You would love PC, I think you would find new things with your point of view and willingness to go out on your own. You would make your own discoveries that I would love to hear about. If you ever come up, let me know and we can share a table at Lobster Shack. One of their secrets is they make a great, and inexpensive, burger! I get one every time I stay.

  4. Liza says:

    Ara, you have such a keen eye for detail. You capture aspects of a scene that most of us just take in as a whole.

    • Thank you Liza. Isn’t the Cove a simple place? The prices have changed a little bit, that’s about all. The parking lot that used to be $3 is now $8. Thank you for introducing me to PC those years ago. What a great thing for a friend to do.

  5. Caroline M. says:

    Nice pics. My favorites are the Dock, Copper Rubbing of the Footbridge and the “watercolors”.

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