Sand Beach, Acadia National Park


After the wonderful time I had last weekend, I have made a renewed commitment to spending more time in Acadia National Park, and in doing so, my plan is to use my camera more often to try to capture some of the beauty that it holds. This post is about an amazing morning I spent there in 2006. The peacefulness and calm that can be had for the price of a cheap alarm clock is way under-rated. There is nothing that compares to being in Acadia National Park as the sun rises over the Atlantic Ocean… being there to personally experience this amazing daily event can be pretty special… and making a photograph of it is merely a bonus.

Located right off the Loop Road in Acadia National Park, Sand Beach has always been one of my favorite places to visit. Just over an hour’s drive from home, it isn’t too difficult to get there early in the morning before the crowds arrive. On this particular morning I was quite fortunate with both the height of the tide, and the quality of early light. I had originally set out with the intention of capturing some of the fall foliage color, but soon realized that on this late September morning I was actually too early.


Instead I wandered down onto the beach, and spent some time enjoying being there all by myself before the sun came up. The far end of Sand Beach is a pretty unique place, so I headed down that way hoping to find a composition that I liked. The image above was what I came up with. The beach itself was in shadow creating a blue cast to the foreground part of the image, but there was a beautiful pink glow behind the Beehive and a warm golden light on the face of the hillside that I felt complimented each other nicely. I intentionally chose a longer shutter speed to try to blur the motion of the waves as they gently washed up over the rocks that had been embedded in the sand. I can distinctly remember peeking at some of my first attempts on the camera’s display, and I knew that I was going to be able to get something special. I think I must have taken at least 16-20 images trying to time just right the path of the waves as they came ashore. I think this is still one of my favorite images.


Feeling pretty good at that point, I started to pack up my tripod and camera gear preparing to move on. That’s when I happened to glance over my shoulder and out to sea… this second image reflects the view that I saw. I used a cheap Cokin graduated ND filter to hold back the light in the upper part of the image. At first I didn’t appreciate the effect, but it has grown on me over time. I was especially drawn to the silhouetted tree line, and the array of rocks that lay before me. In the distance is a pretty substantial outcrop of rock called “Old Soaker” – home to many seals and other wildlife. I have both of the images shown here printed and framed as a pair… and this is again a lesson in why you should always slow down, look over your shoulder, and take in the entire scene. Quite often we become engrossed within a scene and neglect to be aware of how the light is changing and how it is impacting our surroundings. From a photographic perspective I consider this to have been a very productive morning… but more importantly, it is a morning that I will always remember for the unique and personal experience I had there.


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