The changing light in Acadia


So, there I was…  perched on this little ledge in the Schoodic part of Acadia National Park enjoying the view and my wonderful Dysart’s turkey and cheese sandwich. I’m studying the light, trying to anticipate if sunset is going to be epic or a bust, and all the while I can’t help but smile and appreciate the opportunity I have to just sit back and relax. The location I chose for the evening is quite limited with compositional possibilities, and when you combine that with my fear of heights, I wasn’t going to be moving around too much on that small and precarious ledge. So, rather than frantically running around looking for more than one shot, I placed my camera on the tripod, figured out a composition that I liked, and I sat back and chilled.

Looking back over my shoulder to the west toward Cadillac Mountain and the rest of Acadia, a rather large cloud slowly positioned itself directly between me and the setting sun. Realizing that the epic sunset I hoped for probably wasn’t going to materialize, I kept my fingers crossed that some of the high wispy clouds overhead might still be painted by the fading light before the sun dipped too low behind the clouds. In pretty much the same composition each time, the series of images below shows how, over the period of about an hour, the light bathing the scene changed and evolved. Needless to say, I was quite content to enjoy the front row seat to what was an incredible show.

6:30:24 p.m.

6:57:20 p.m.

7:30:48 p.m.

20 thoughts on “The changing light in Acadia

    • David Patterson

      Thanks Ed. When the sun was hitting the cliffs directly the light was pretty intense, and although I like that effect, I think I prefer the more subtle, diffused light that settled in after the cloud obscured the sun.

  1. snowbirdpress

    It’s very wise of you not to go running around looking for different shots but in finding the thing in the spot you are in that makes it unique. My late husband found a tide pool at Schoodic from which he painted two wonderful paintings… one of which won a prize in NYC and also was featured in Yankee magazine. So with the kind of environment you find yourself in, you surely have much to choose from. Following these photos actually feels like spending the day on Schoodic point and watching the evening come on … I could almost feel the night breezes off the ocean.

    • David Patterson

      Merrill… thanks. By slowing down and spending time in one place like I did on this occasion, I got two pretty cool things… a) a photograph that I like, but more importantly, b) the very personal experience of actually being there. Every time I look at these photographs it takes me right back to hanging out on that little ledge where the cool ocean breeze made me pull on my fleece, and the peaceful sound of the gentle waves breaking on shore was interrupted only by the hungry seagulls who wanted my sandwich.

  2. Isn’t it amazing that the same spot can give us so different experiences (and photos) even on the same day?!!! Your 3 last stunning photos are wonderful and beautiful proofs of this.

    • David Patterson

      Thanks Michael… it’s a place I am getting to know very well. Can’t wait to see this scene with some high surf.

I'd love to hear from you...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s