Getting too comfortable?

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6:17 a.m. on 3-18-12. 5D MK II and 17-40mm lens at 17mm - f20, iso 100, 14 seconds

Here’s a familiar sight, eh? As many of you know, I spend way too much time here. On the one hand I feel guilty about not “stretching” and going to other places, but on the other hand I feel a very strong connection here. Besides, I firmly believe that I still have unfinished business at this location, and what’s wrong with spending time in a place you love? I could probably fill an entire house with my photographs made just from Otter Cliffs, but as I have said many times… I can’t seem to get enough of this spot. I have started wondering though… am I getting too comfortable?

Last weekend I made plans to meet and go shoot with another local photographer, Chad Tracey. Chad is a great guy, he’s incredibly enthusiastic about landscape photography, and he has some awesome work on display. We piled in the car at about 4:30am and set off toward Acadia. Neither of us had any definite locations in mind, so when I suggested that we check out Boulder Beach, Chad was all for it. I had this vision of silhouetted Otter Cliffs and a long exposure showing clouds streaking across the sky in my head.

It was still quite dark as we rounded the bend on the Loop Road just past Sand Beach, and as we caught our first glimpse of the ocean, we realized that the early morning pre-dawn glow was probably going to be muted by the offshore clouds. Most landscape photographers tend to be optimists though, so we were of course holding out hope that the narrow breaks in the cloud near the horizon might allow first light to escape the gloom and offer a spectacular sunrise. As dawn got closer, and some beautiful pink hues started to appear, we both worked our gear and compositions in anticipation of what might turn out to be a glorious sight. If only those pink hues could find their way through the sliver of a gap in the clouds, then the whole sky would light up like neither of us had ever seen. If only…

So, while I enjoy getting to really know a particular location, methinks it’s time to expand the portfolio. Rather than get too comfortable with familiar – albeit beautiful – locations, I am putting together a list of ideas I am eager to explore this spring. If anyone has any suggestions – and I’m primarily talking about staying in Maine – I’d be all ears…

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29 thoughts on “Getting too comfortable?

  1. claude

    I like the photograph. Perhaps what we should do is trade places for a month of so. You would enjoy photograph the Mississippi bluff and rural WI scenes. I, on the other hand, am sure I could spend a month at some of your favorite spots.

    Back to reality!

    • David Patterson

      Chad… some great ideas. I’m putting together my own personal Google map with all of the places in Maine I want to see and experience. Monhegan Island is definitely near the top of that list.

  2. I love to return to some of my favorite spots – in different seasons, weather, light and…… – so I like your photos when you do the same.
    And I like this morning capture 🙂

    • David Patterson

      truels… thank you. I too like to return to favorite spots in different seasons and with different light. I think it helps to really get to know a location when trying to photograph the landscape in a way that is more than just a photograph… if that makes any sense?

  3. Katahdin, Gulf Hagas, Old Speck, Mt. Blue, Some of the dams on the rivers, old railroad tracks, the Penobscot, Try for each of the Lighthouses in Maine, Take a canoe or kayack and just knock about 🙂

    • David Patterson

      Harold… thanks for the great ideas. I have been to Gulf Hagus once, and have always wanted to get back there. Plans are already in the works to get up to Katahdin… might even try to climb it! I love the idea of getting out on the water for a different view of the lighthouses… thanks for the suggestions.

      • I know you mentioned that you were going to possibly hike Katahdin with a guide buddy of yours. If that falls through and you want the company I would hike it with you. I am sure we can get some great shots up there.

        • David Patterson

          These next 3 or 4 weeks are kind of tricky in that it isn’t winter anymore and it isn’t quite spring yet. Many of the places on my list (which is growing thanks to those who have commented here on the blog) kinda depend on either the leaves growing in, or maybe even the fall foliage colors – so I think I will be hanging near the coast for the next couple of weeks until everything greens up.

          • I am really watching the weather for Sunday, I know it will be cloudy, but I would like to take a few pictures of the pier in Old Orchard Beach. Possibly swinging there after going to Portland Lighthouse.

            I really want to capture a long exposure of the waves between the huge pylons of the pier, with the weather being semi rainy overcast, it could provide an eerie mood.

            • David Patterson

              Sounds like a great idea. I’ll look forward to seeing what you come away with. I’m going to have to stay closer to home this weekend. We have one kid going back to college after spring break, and another getting ready for farm league baseball.

    • David Patterson

      It’s funny… I kinda feel as though I am “paying my dues” by spending winters in Maine, with the payoff being the incredible summers we have here. Swap… not a chance 😉

  4. Bob

    You keep going back for a reason. A beautiful place, and conditions are always a little different from the previous time. I have never seen that “crack of dawn” photo before.

    • David Patterson

      Thanks Bob. Made this one last weekend, that’s why you probably haven’t seen it before, and yes… it is a beautiful place.

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