High tide at Schoodic


On my recent visit to Schoodic, high tide and sunrise were supposed to almost coincide, and that got me excited for the famous surf that this rocky headland is known for. Take one look at the landscape all along the Schoodic peninsula and you can tell that the ocean has bruised and battered this coastline for years. There are huge slabs of granite scattered along the shore, some smoothed by the ocean and some violently broken apart. Although the high surf that Schoodic is renowned for wasn’t on display on this particular morning, with a little imagination you can easily envision how the dynamic forces of nature have sculpted this landscape.

Standing on a slippery ledge overlooking a 20ft drop into the Atlantic ocean as waves race in and out can be quite exhilarating, especially if you are bent over a strategically placed tripod and peering through a tiny camera viewfinder. As I inched my tripod further and further toward a more dramatic photograph, I fought my insecurities and told myself that I was safe, but the restless, incoming tide and the fear of being swept off my perch kept my senses quite taught. If you haven’t ever experienced what it’s like to stand on the edge of the ocean before dawn with deep swells rising and falling, the sounds of gulls crying overhead, and a strong sea breeze swirling all around you… well, you should (well back from the edge).

***Let me stress that no-one should ever take any chances around the edge of the ocean. The ocean is a fickle thing, and I have heard plenty of stories where smart, practical people have been caught unawares by a rogue wave. I was in no danger whatsoever when I made these photographs, and wanted to make it clear that I wasn’t suggesting you should put yourself in any danger.***


21 thoughts on “High tide at Schoodic

    • David Patterson

      Every year around here people make mistakes in judgement and pay the price. Though innately skittish myself, I was never in any danger as I made these images. The last thing I meant to suggest was that people should take any chances around the edge of the ocean.

  1. Hello David,
    I am considering buying a wide angle lens.
    Which of the two lenses would you consider buying.
    The 16-35mm f/2.8 or the 17-40mm f/4.0 which is the one I believe you have.
    I would be very happy to hear about your opinion.

    By the way, again most beautiful photographs, with a nice foggy output on the moving waves.

    grz. Mark

    • David Patterson

      Mark… thanks. Here’s my reasoning as to why I purchased the 17-40mm lens instead of the 16-35mm. The 17-40mm is about half the price of the 16-35mm, and although the 16-35mm is an f2.8 lens, as someone who primarily shoots the landscape, I don’t often have any need for that extra stop. Everyone of course swears by the gear they have invested a ton of cash in, so online reviews tend to be somewhat biased… but after doing a little research, I came to the conclusion that if there are any differences between these two lenses that would warrant the extra cost, they are insignificant. Both of these lenses are not inexpensive, but I think it is safe to say that whichever you choose you will not be disappointed in.

    • David Patterson

      Thanks Karen. The lack of light at that time of day forces you to use a longer shutter speed, and depending on the length, the water is impacted accordingly. I like to try to keep it between half a second and one full second… that way you still maintain a little bit of energy in the movement of the water.

    • David Patterson

      Yeah… I’ve got this thing about portrait oriented images. Something to do with being able to include a more dominant foreground I think.

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