Shooting wide in Acadia


Up until recently, the widest I had shot was using my 17-40mm lens on a 1.6x crop sensor camera. Even at this equivalent focal length of about 28mm, I was usually drawn to the impact that can be created by placing elements within the frame that accentuate the wide angle perspective. My new camera has a full frame sensor, so now when I shoot at 17mm, it seems REALLY wide!

Sam doesn’t go back to college until later in the month, but most of his friends have already headed back for the spring semester. Needless to say, he seems to be at a loss for things to do, so I persuaded him to jump in the car with me so we could jet down to Acadia for an impromptu photo expedition. I wanted to try out my new camera, and where better to break it in but my favorite place… Acadia National Park.

I was determined to experiment with this newly acquired wide angle ability, and even though the light wasn’t great, we had a good time exploring the chilly but virtually empty park. Sand Beach is gorgeous at any time of the year, but I especially like it in the winter. More so than any other season, there are signs of how the beach absorbs the power of the ocean, and when visiting in January you might even have it all to yourself. Other than a couple of hardy walkers along the Loop Road, we didn’t see another soul all afternoon as we made our way toward the top of Otter Cliffs. Ice and snow made for treacherous footing that limited our explorations up there, and as the sun set unspectacularly behind a bank of thick clouds we were content to just soak up the solitary scene and enjoy the moment.

I have a feeling it is going to take me a while to get used to the whole wide angle thing without overdoing it and making weird looking photographs. Stray tripod legs sneaked into the corner of a few photographs today, vertical and horizontal lines that were supposed to be straight ended up unusually distorted, and I guess if I am going to go wide then I will need to read up on handling hyperfocal distances so I can maximize my ability to achieve sharper images.

On the plus side… I could actually see the composition in the viewfinder… it was big and bright, as were the menu options on the LCD. Also, I absolutely LOVED being able to experiment with using live view to zoom in on a composition and check for accurate focus, and it sure is nice not to have to spend 20 minutes on the computer when I get back home zapping those darned dust bunnies in every frame! This camera just feels good in my hands, and I am really digging the heavier “thump-click” sound when I press the shutter 🙂

6 thoughts on “Shooting wide in Acadia

  1. I always wondered how these types of effects were done. They are breathtaking, as you truly capture the feel of experiencing that place first hand. We just love Acadia in the Winter and often don our ice gripping snowshoes because of the amount of ice that builds up from the run offs on the mountains. ~Lili

    • David Patterson

      Different focal lengths will allow you to present a scene in different ways. I think it is fun making those type of decisions, and am excited to be able to go wide like this.

      Acadia in the winter is spectacular, and I love the solitude you can find there at this time of year. I want to hike the South Ridge of Cadillac in winter next… can’t wait!

    • David Patterson

      Philip… thanks for the kind words. I am excited to be able to “see” landscapes with what is for me, a new approach. It is always good to learn something new 🙂

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