Today I had the good fortune to be working with a group of teachers in a school district right next door to Acadia National Park. Planning ahead, I packed my camera gear just in case the conditions in the late afternoon evolved to where a side trip for photography might be in order. It was cloudy and cold when I left the house in the morning, and by the time my workshop wound down it was sunny and VERY cold.
Despite the chilly 12 degree temperature and gusty winds that were driving the wind chill down to almost unbearable levels, I decided to make my way down to Bass Harbor in the hope that I would be able to shoot the famous landmark with some snow in the scene. The cold and wind were somewhat challenging, so perhaps it comes as no surprise that I had the place all to myself.
I arrived at low tide and was able to carefully scramble down over some snowy rocks to reach where a thick layer of ice had formed. The sun was quite low in the sky off to the left of the scene, and I was excited to see the warm winter light hitting the lighthouse. The granite in Acadia is pretty special in that it welcomes low-angled sunlight and almost glows in the right conditions, and I was especially drawn to the how the icy foreground sparkled.
I maneuvered my tripod to where it was about a foot off the ground, using the low angle to help accentuate the lines in the rock and ice leading into the scene and up to the lighthouse perched on the cliff. I bracketed three exposures and blended them together to create a representation of how the scene looked to my eyes.
Despite wearing many layers of clothing and my fingerless mitten-gloves, the cold was absolutely brutal. When actually shooting, I had to weigh down my tripod so the camera could withstand the wind gusts and help ensure a sharp image. After about an hour out on the rocks, my camera batteries decided it was too cold for them and stopped working. By that time I had enjoyed some really nice light, but was starting to struggle with the cold and wind myself. The tips of my fingers were tingling, aching and useless, so I decided not to even bother trying to replace my batteries. Even though there was still some exquisite light available, I made the decision to call it a day.
The heated seats in my Jetta brought warmth and relief that you cannot imagine. On the drive home the radio weatherman informed me that the wind chill made it feel like -10 degrees, and I couldn’t help letting my mind wander to the warmer temperatures ahead when Sam and I visit California in the next couple of weeks. Anyway, here’s Bass Harbor Lighthouse in winter… would love to hear any thoughts.