Bass Harbor Lighthouse

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I recently had the pleasure of meeting and spending the day with Dan Swiger, a Californian photographer coming to Maine in search of New England fall foliage color. Dan and I had “met” online at the FredMiranda.com photographic community web site after he had asked for advice on where best to spend the brief amount of time he had on his planned trip east.

Dan was on a family trip with the usual obligations that preclude early morning starts and late evenings to chase the nice light, but he had managed to negotiate one day away to focus on photography. He wasn’t familiar with Maine, so with only one day to explore, I suggested Acadia National Park.

Acadia is a jewel of a place, and it is relatively small and compact… perfect for someone who has a limited time to spend exploring. Not knowing what the weather (or foliage) would be like, I also thought that by choosing Acadia Dan would have more opportunities to make photographs in general.

I figured if the foliage color wasn’t peaking we could still enjoy the beauty of the ocean, and if the weather didn’t cooperate we could rely on the charm of America’s smallest national park scenery. We were about a week or so early for the peak of the fall foliage colors, but throughout the park there were already some pockets of nice color. The weather was a mixed bag, with a nice sunrise at Bass Harbor Lighthouse followed by intermittent clouds and sun all through the day.

We set out dark and early for Acadia. Dan was determined to catch the early light at Bass Harbor Lighthouse, and to get there in time for sunrise we had to leave by 4:30pm. We did have an unexpected interruption when I hit a huge pothole resulting in a flat tire. However, Dan was like a man possessed as he did his best NASCAR pit-crew impression while changing the flat… he was not going to be denied the first light on his only day to photograph.

We arrived at Bass Harbor with plenty of time to spare, and as the early morning light arrived we both enjoyed being in a special place. A cold front was clearing out right while were there, with some fast-moving clouds in the sky and excellent light from the east. In the pre-dawn image above, the tide was as low as I have ever seen it, exposing a shelf of rock that afforded a lower angle view of the classic lighthouse. Also revealed by the low tide was a reflection of the light itself in a foreground rock pool that I think added a nice variation on the standard postcard scene.

In the image posted below, the first light was amazing as it crested the horizon and bathed the scene in a warm autumn glow. I had a great time acting as tour guide for Dan, and we had a wonderful day exploring Acadia together… a place I never get tired of.

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6 thoughts on “Bass Harbor Lighthouse

  1. meartsed

    What an amazingly clear, crisp photo of the bottom lighthouse! WOW! Is that like the mail carrier… not even a flat tire slowed you down.

  2. David Patterson

    Thanks Argy… it had been a long time since I was on this side of MDI for the sunrise. Usually I spend the early part of the morning along the Loop Road… am glad we made it here in time for what was a really nice sunrise on this morning.

  3. Both images are superb, Dave. The reflection in the rock pool is a super touch. And my first reaction to the second was that the effect was a result of post-processing. I still can be amazed by what the light can do.

    Looking forward to shooting with come next October.

  4. David Patterson

    Ed… thanks. The light in the second was quite nice indeed. Feeling greedy at the time, I was actually hoping that the clouds would reflect more color as the sun lit up the scene, but the more I look at the image the more I like how subtle the colors in the clouds are. I blended two exposures to hold the detail in both the sky and the foreground rocks… other than that nothing unusual in the post-processing.

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