Making it mine…

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It’s funny how some photographs make their way onto the personal favorite list and some don’t. The photograph above is a screenshot of the refresh I just did to my portfolio site, and as you can see, I didn’t choose one of the iconic and more recognizable views of Acadia for the front page, but rather a more intimate – albeit dramatic – view from Sand Beach during a big storm.

Easily accessible, anyone who has ever visited Sand Beach has stood right in this exact spot looking south along the coast toward Otter Cliffs. Although a very popular vista, chances are that few people have witnessed this scene in these conditions, and for that reason, I’m fairly proud of the degree of originality that this image contains. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of photographs from Acadia National Park that are instantly recognizable – Cadillac Mountain, Bass Harbor Light, Schoodic, Otter Cliffs, Boulder Beach – heck, maybe if you’ve visited Acadia you too photographed similar scenes?

One of the most important lessons I ever learned though when making a landscape photograph – and it happened very early on in the process – was to try to be different… to try and make my photographs truly mine, different from what someone else might make. That process might involve the choice of lens and focal length to be used, the choice of a different physical perspective, or maybe just getting lucky one time with the light and weather conditions. Sometimes I’m successful at pulling that all together, and sometimes I’m not… though when I am, it’s usually because I’ve not only made a decent photograph, but because I’ve also had a memorable experience… and that’s when an image usually makes it’s way toward the personal favorite pile.

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It’s that time of year again…

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Someone likes the snow!

…where we reflect on the year that was, and choose our favorite images from the past twelve months. Our family welcomed a new puppy this year, and although Oliver has consumed much of my recreational time, I still managed to spend some time in Acadia with the camera. I enjoy the process of reflection. I also enjoy taking a moment to reminisce about places I’ve been, and sights I’ve seen. I never tire of spending time in my favorite national park, and along the way throughout the year, I made a photograph or two to remind me of what were often personal and intimate experiences. Not as prolific as in past years, I didn’t make the quantity of images I usually do. Maybe there’s a New Year’s resolution to be made which might ensure a more productive 2014? Though there aren’t many iconic and instantly recognizable picture postcard views this year, hopefully my favorite 13 images from 2013 are still distinctively Acadia? Oh yeah, and other than the golden-colored Oliver, my favorites from this year are all in black and white. If interested in seeing some high-quality landscape photography, check out the annual Jim Goldstein curation of imagery – here’s a link to the 2012 edition where you’ll be able to browse some seriously awesome work. Happy holidays!

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Wonderland granite sculpted by the Atlantic

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Withstanding the elements at Ship Harbor

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Cairn on Cadillac

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View from Adams Bridge

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Incoming tide at Schoodic

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A glimpse of Old Soaker

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Mitchell Cove – the quiet side

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The Ledges along the Loop Road

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No way… fog on the coast of Maine?

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Last light on Otter Point

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Shelter from the wind

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Two of my boys enjoying Sand Beach

A Window to the World

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I’m celebrating the fact that I actually got off my you-know-what and made a new landscape photograph – one that I’m actually prepared to share! I hadn’t visited Acadia in several months, but all that changed this past weekend when local photographer Chad Tracy and I cruised down to MDI for a quick photo expedition. Despite the below freezing temperatures and the biting wind, standing on the rocky shoreline of my favorite national park never felt so good!

I’ll share a few more photographs from what was a beautiful sunrise over the next few days, so stay tuned. After exploring a part of the granite “ledges” along the Loop Road near Thunder Hole, our original plan was to meander back toward Sand Beach to maybe do some long exposures with the surf. We got sidetracked though when I realized how close we were to this unique location, and since the sun was already up, I was excited to visit at a time when I wouldn’t get the willies from it being too dark.

The ecosystem within this sea cave is extraordinarily delicate, so Chad and I were extremely cautious about making sure to walk only on the solid rock. Although not a huge secret, and relatively easy to find, to further protect this little gem I made Chad swear not to divulge the location to anyone else. The approach to the cave – and the floor inside – was quite slippery and tricky to navigate, and to add to the mystique, this location is only accessible at low tide. It was quite an experience to spend some time in here, and as we looked through the window out onto Frenchman Bay, we appreciated the shelter from the chilly winter air. I like this photograph, and I’m going to add it to my portfolio.

If you haven’t seen my full portfolio yet – if interested – you can click on over and check out a selection of my favorite images on Acadia and Beyond (in addition to Acadia, I’ve shared images of Maine, Ireland, Death Valley, Yosemite). If you do visit the site, drop me a line… I’d love to hear your thoughts. If interested in purchasing from the site between now and the New Year, to save some cash be sure to type in the discount code “Acadia” when checking out. A bargain… Happy holidays!

And yes… I’m trying out a new blog theme. Feedback appreciated on that too 🙂

One of those places…

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… that I just have to stop at every time I pass it. Regardless of the time of day, I always stop at the Adams Bridge which crosses the Bass Harbor Marsh. No matter which direction you are traveling – to, or from, Bass Harbor – after winding around a tight corner, your eyes are hit with this view of the marsh and Western/Manset Mountains in the distance. I always look to see if there’s an interesting reflection, and on this particular morning, the high, wispy clouds in what was a deep blue sky really made the scene pop, so I made them a big part of the composition.

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A ship in Ship Harbor…

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…sort of. Maybe “ship” isn’t the right terminology to use… maybe it should be boat? Either way, this was a classic Maine summer morning spent on the Ship Harbor Trail in Acadia National Park. After a short walk through an oceanside forest, this trail opens up to the Atlantic, offering incredible views of the Ship Harbor coastline and islands laying offshore in the Blue Hill Bay. Just as we arrived, the lobstermen began pulling their pots, so we chilled for a while watching them work. Sitting on the rocks and enjoying the view, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a better way to start the day.

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A Land of Wonder

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I’ve blogged about this little trail on the quiet side of Acadia National Park before, and for good reason. It’s a short trail – one that is very family friendly – and it’s a place we got in the habit of visiting with Oliver during our recent summer vacation in Bass Harbor. Oliver rises early… usually he’s stirring and gently letting us know he’s awake by about 5:30am. Every morning we would load him up in the car and drive the mile or so to the Wonderland trailhead, and more often than not, the parking lot would be empty and we’d have this little gem of a trail all to ourselves. We were so confident about the solitude, we had no worries letting him off the leash – this is actually where Oliver first learned to swim. Although we encountered foggy conditions on most of our visits, this one particular morning gave us the bluest of blue skies and the warm summer sun felt good on our faces. After what seemed like weeks of cloudy weather, I was happy to finally see the sun and excitedly spent a few minutes scampering over the rocks in search of an interesting foreground… it’s amazing how a wide-angle lens will exaggerate the perspective, and as you can see, I was even photo-bombed by Oliver!

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Mitchell Cove

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We spent last Saturday morning checking out what might be a new house for next summer’s vacation in Acadia National Park. We love the Bass Harbor area of Mount Desert Island, and although the house we’ve been renting for the past three years has served us well, we felt it might be time to explore some other options. The location was perfect, with a million dollar view of the lobster boats entering and leaving Bass Harbor, but access to the beach wasn’t ideal, and the shoreline itself was pretty much unusable due to the slippery and often sharp rocks that were unveiled at low tide.

One of the houses we’re considering as an alternative for next summer is located almost directly across the waters of Bass Harbor on Lopaus Point, and as we looked at the property and explored the area, we stumbled upon this little scene. These photographs were made right from the Lopaus Point Road while looking west across a marshy stretch of land toward Mitchell Cove and beyond to the Blue Hill Bay. A part of MDI that is new to us, if we do decide to rent there next summer, it will be exciting to explore and discover fresh and unfamiliar landscapes just like this one.

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