Morning paddle in Acadia


My time in Acadia National Park usually consists of an early morning drive down to the coast for what I always hope will be a glorious sunrise with amazing light. Rarely do I actually stay on the island, and in the summer when the sun rises before 5:00 a.m., that invariably means a very, very early start. So when granny and grandpa recently rented a cottage in Bass Harbor, I felt like I had been given a free pass to photographing some of the beautiful and classic local Acadian landscapes – without having to sacrifice much of highly my cherished sleep.

Other than a soggy 4th of July, the two weeks at the cottage were filled with nothing but blue skies and spectacularly warm temperatures. For vacationers the weather was perfect, but for someone looking for skies filled with dramatic clouds, it was a little bit disappointing. The first few days of the vacation I set my alarm for early o’clock, only to wake up each morning and see clear and cloudless skies. Not particularly conducive to interesting landscape photography, after a while I decided to give up on the photography part, and I reverted to vacation mode where I simply relaxed and enjoyed what was a very revitalizing time.

One of the benefits of spending family time near Bass Harbor Lighthouse is being able to take the kayak out onto the ocean to get a different take on a familiar scene. I have photographed this lighthouse many times, though most of my favorite images have been from the more traditional location on the jagged rocks below the cliffs. Both of these photographs were made at about 8:00 a.m. on an amazingly peaceful morning as the tide was going out. Lori paddled while I photographed… what a way to start the day!


15 thoughts on “Morning paddle in Acadia

  1. Bill

    I have seen a lot of photos of this lighthouse, but never from this vantage point. I really like this view. By the way, have you ever replaced a boring sky with a more interesting one? These skies would really be easy to replace.

    • David Patterson

      Thanks Bill. Regarding replacing the sky… though I know how easy it would be to insert a more dramatic one here, to be honest that’s not really my thing. If I want a more interesting sky, I’ll just have to come back another time. I’m not against anyone else doing that if they so chose to… to each their own, especially when it comes to art. For me though, the photograph that I come home with is more than just a photograph. It’s a representation of the personal experience I myself had in that place and at that moment. It is something that is mine and real (to me). I’m no absolute purist when it comes to post-processing – like most people I’ve pushed the saturation slider a bit too far sometimes myself, or I might have cloned out a piece of trash or a twig that interrupts the composition, but for the most part, I usually try to produce an image that is fairly close to what I was seeing and experiencing when I was there. Otherwise it isn’t real, and it isn’t true (to me). We all have our own line which, once crossed, places us into the discussion of whether or not we are producing a photograph or an illustration. That line is in a different place for different people, and though there is no right and no wrong in this discussion, adding another sky to an image would put me over mine 🙂

  2. I appreciate seeing this icon from a different vantage point, and how nice that you have your own “paddler”! I also appreciated your comments regarding alteration of photos. I feel the same way. When I look at my photographs, I like to remember the experience, not think about what I did to make them “look better”.

    • David Patterson

      Yeah… it does look different from the water, doesn’t it?

      We all make individual choices when it comes to processing/enhancing/presenting our photographs. Creative expression is a wonderful thing!

  3. wanderingseniors

    Beautiful photos. I don’t know about all of Maine (one of two states I’ve never stepped foot in), but where you live certainly is gorgeous.

    I’m with you on the photo fixing; when I look at my photos in future years I want to see what I originally saw. When I crop a photo to display in a frame (no fixing, just cropping), I always keep the original intact. Sometimes when I go back and look at the original I see things that I’ve cropped out that weren’t important to me at the time, but are now.

    • David Patterson

      Maine certainly is a beautiful state. It’s fun to go back to a photograph from a few years back… often the processing choices we made then might be different today as our tastes/skills evolve.

    • David Patterson

      Thanks. Hope you enjoyed your trip to Acadia. Bass Harbor is one of my favorite places to photograph, and I was especially excited to be able to get out onto the water this time for a different perspective.

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