One of my angels…

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4-13-14 Cadillac debbie3 Cancer is a bad thing. It has obviously struck our family out of the blue, and as it did so, make no mistake that it has rocked our foundation to the core. We’re asking questions and looking for answers… answers that we’re learning aren’t necessarily there for us just yet. Our friends and family are asking questions too, and we’ve been overwhelmed by the desire of others to provide us with help and support. It’s hard… what do you say to help someone who has just been diagnosed with cancer? It’s a frustrating situation for all involved… everyone wants to help, but there’s only so much one can do. Tremendously frustrating for all involved.

4-13-14 cadillac debbie2People want to help, and we want people to know that their encouraging words and support are indeed helping. How do we let our friends and community know how much their support is appreciated… that’s hard too. Hopefully by posting on the blog I’m able to – even in some small way – pass along our gratitude? I mean it when I say that we feed off of that positive energy every day, and we are truly and eternally grateful for the generous outpouring of love we are experiencing every day. In addition to the incredible support our entire local community is nurturing us with, as we navigate this sometimes unpredictable journey, we’ve been especially blessed with the additional and remarkable support of certain individuals.

4-13-14 cadilac debbie1 Here’s one such individual… Debbie. Debbie is one of my angels. Debbie and Jeff have the most beautiful family of three wonderful boys and a gorgeous, black standard poodle named Sidney. I have had the very good fortune to coach one of their boys on my high school soccer team, and in doing so, I have also had the even better fortune of getting to know this wonderful family just a little bit better.

Debbie is a nurse –  wow, that’s such a short word that in no way describes the role that Debbie has helped play in my dealing with this situation – she has meant so, so much more to our family. I’ve had a few hiccups (literally and figuratively) along the way, and as one of the angel nurses on the sixth floor of the Eastern Maine Medical Center who has been trusted with my care on more than one occasion since the diagnosis, I feel as though Debbie has indisputably influenced my very existence.

So… how to thank someone for giving so much? Impossible. But when I’m able to reproduce an image of mine that means a lot to me – this canvas of an early summer morning sunrise from the summit of Cadillac in Acadia National Park – and see Debbie so happy to receive it as a small token of thanks and hang it in her home… that makes me proud, honored and very humble. One of my angels… Debbie. Thank you.

Spending a little time…

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4-10-14 websitecover Lately I’ve been spending some time exploring my portfolio of landscape photographs. Though feeling physically and mentally much better between rounds of Chemo, I still haven’t quite mustered up the energy to spend much time outside, never mind having the oomph to be out early or late capturing any new good light on the landscape with the camera. That leaves me fondly reminiscing about some of the work I’ve already done, and as I do so, I get to spend a little time perusing my web site – and you know what that means… yes, tweaking.

As you can see from the screenshot above – http://www.acadiaandbeyond.com – I’ve abandoned (for now) my attachment to a single strong black and white coastal image in favor of a more eclectic, colorful, and assorted view of what is distinctly Acadia National Park – after all, there is so much to see in Acadia, why not show her off in all her glory?

We’ve had a lot of incredibly generous local support in response to our little medical emergency, and as a way to say thank you, Lori and I have been selecting prints that we think people might appreciate, and we’ve been ordering and delivering them as thank you gifts.

I’ve learned that it’s one thing to conceptualize, experience, and actually create any one of my photographs, but I have to admit, following the process through to where it physically gets printed and held in hand – whether it is printed on canvas, paper, or better yet, on metal – it is quite exhilarating to hold a piece, especially since many of these pieces to date have merely been images on the screen.

I’ve a couple of big pieces being printed on metal on the way as “thank you’s” to our friends, and I’ll be sure to grab a pic of what they look like “in-person” as it were when they arrive. In the meantime, if anyone is interested in purchasing from what I believe is a new and improved web site, please use the discount code “chemo” when in the shopping cart area – despite it’s not-so-nice meaning, it will get you 25% off any purchase 😉

Stopping off on my way home…

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It was a very cold day as I made my way home from down east Maine after a work meeting in Machias. The light was fading fast, but I decided to try and get myself to somewhere with a pretty view for sunset, and Schoodic was in just the right place. I literally raced here – obeying the rules of the road of course – and arrived in the nick of time about 15 minutes before the sun went down. When I hopped out of the car and started exploring what is considered the quieter part of my favorite National Park, it was extremely cold. At one point I nipped a finger while locking a tripod leg, but because my skin was so cold, I didn’t feel the pain that usually accompanies such an event. Anyone who has ever experienced a hungry tripod lock knows how much it hurts, so you can imagine how cold my fingers must have been! This particular Acadia location, known as Raven’s Nest, consists of a couple of semi-hidden rocky ledges hanging over the Atlantic Ocean. For reference, that’s Cadillac Mountain off in the distance across Frenchman Bay – nothing original here, but quite a view nonetheless, eh?

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.

It’s that time of year again…

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…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 🙂

In the absence of Acadia

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Normally at this time of year I’m spending time down in Acadia National Park in search of fall foliage colors. Not this year though… the powers that be in Washington have seen to that by shutting down the federal government (and the national park system). Not wishing to go off on a political rant, I’m just going to say that I find it incredibly hard to believe that those effing idiots would play political games with the livelihoods of so many working people. Just when you think partisan politics can’t get any worse, they do.

Want to find some good ideas on how to explore the park even though it is officially closed? Check out these resources:

Friends of Acadia
Nate Parker (my favorite Mount Desert-based landscape photographer)
Lynn Fantom

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Cadillac Mountain – and much of Acadia – takes on a completely different look in the fall. Not really a high color fall foliage destination like western Maine might be, Acadia’s fall colors are more subtle, and the variations in changing temperatures can make for some interesting atmospherics. I love how the ground-cover turns red this time of year, and I’m happiest when exploring one of the granite ridges of Acadia in search of an interesting scene. Each of the photographs in this post was made on Cadillac Mountain – maybe not the typical view of Bar Harbor and the Porcupine islands, but definitely one of my favorite places.

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Part of me is happy that the parks are closed – maybe they could use the rest. I know that the crowds in Acadia this summer seemed larger than normal, and I’m sure all of the critters on Mount Desert Island are enjoying the unexpected respite. However, I also know how much the local economy depends on the parks being open and available, so maybe if the clowns in Washington can get their act together, there’ll still be time to explore Acadia in all of her fall color glory.

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A cairn with a view…

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This little guy surely has one of the most impressive views on the east coast. He sits on the South Ridge Trail about half a mile from the summit of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, and he looks out on both Frenchman Bay to the east, and the Blue Hill Bay and the nearby islands to the south and west.

Just me playing with a large aperture and a shallow depth of field as I used my 50mm f1.8 lens on my Canon 5D II 🙂

Acadia cairns

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If you’ve ever hiked in Acadia, you’ll probably have noticed the many small rock cairns created to help guide you along the trail. A blaze of blue paint will also keep you moving in the right direction, but if that gets too difficult to follow and you get a little wayward, you’ll see one of these little structures designed to keep you on the path. Acadia trails are a masterful, and often subtle, example of how to blend human interaction with the natural environment. Despite the high number of yearly visitors, many of the trails in this little national park appear to be withstanding the wear and tear admirably, and they appear almost as if they are “meant” to be there. Kudos to the National Park Service and the Friends of Acadia for all of the trailwork they do to make this such an amazing place to hike.

The wind in your hair (fur?)

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Does Oliver have hair or fur? I’m never sure which it is. Either way, he’s a cutie, and when walking on the South Ridge of Cadillac over the weekend, he would often pause to enjoy the blustery conditions. The gently sloping granite ridge is a perfect trail for him, and the view isn’t too bad for us either. The heat from the summer is gone for another year, and as we transition into the cooler temperatures of the fall, our hairy/furry friend seems a lot more comfortable. Here he is getting a big hug from my Lori… Oliver doesn’t seem to mind getting hugs 🙂

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Prints and time to pay up!

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A while back I asked for some help in finding “new” places to find inspiration and photograph within Acadia National Park. You guys came up with some great ideas, and despite the not-so-good weather during our vacation, I had a fun time following up on many of your suggestions. I promised if I was able to photograph the location you mentioned, that I’d make you a print. I sincerely do appreciate the advice you all gave me, and I enjoyed the challenge of photographing new – or at least less familiar – Acadia landscapes. Now it’s time for me to pay up. If you were one of the people who helped me with a location suggestion, and if you would like a print from that location, drop me a line via email with your address and mention the location you suggested – I’ll have something nice printed up and mailed to you. If you like anything specific from my “real” site, holler and I can print from there too. I can be reached at pattersond at roadrunner.com

Thanks again!

The Loop Road in Acadia NP

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The Loop Road in Acadia National Park offers so much to see, especially the stretch that runs from the fee station near Schooner Head to the jagged granite promontory of Otter Cliffs. This section of the Loop Road is probably no more than a couple of miles long, but it sure does pack a punch when it comes to views of the Acadia shoreline and the Atlantic Ocean. Whether driving in your car or taking a leisurely stroll along the Ocean Path which runs alongside the Loop Road, you’re sure to be impressed by the weathered landscape/seascape. From Sand Beach to Thunder Hole to Monument Cove to Boulder Beach and Otter Cliffs… this spectacular road with amazing views also provides ample opportunity to hop off the beaten path, scamper over the rocks, and explore up close the ruggedness of the Maine coastline. And for those who didn’t already know… it stays open all year round, so if you haven’t yet seen Acadia in the snow… you should! And that’s enough hyperlinks for now!

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A walk to remember…

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Jack has been steadily gaining confidence in Oliver’s presence, and as he does so, he has become more and more attached to him. They’re forming a tight bond, and it’s been nice to see them develop a strong relationship as fast friends. Oliver is an absolute dream to walk with, and as we recently strolled along our favorite south ridge of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, it did my heart good to see two of my boys enjoying each other’s company so much.

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In addition to offering spectacularly beautiful and stunning 360 degree views of Acadia, the terrain on this trail just happens to be perfect for walking the dog. Oliver is able to negotiate the rocky granite slope with ease, and the cooler air up high can provide a welcome respite from the summer heat. Soaking in views of the Cranberry Islands while chowing down on a pb&j sandwich and then a banana for dessert… not a bad way to round out a memorable morning walk.

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Top 10 places to shoot in Acadia redux

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*Based on the analytics produced by the WordPress blog stats, it would appear that lots of people are looking for help in finding good spots for landscape photography in Acadia at this time of year. With this in mind, here’s a re-post from a while ago about just that… some of my favorite places to spend time making photographs in Acadia.

I am sometimes asked by visiting photographers who only have a short period of time to spend in Acadia where the best places to shoot are. While I can certainly offer some specific location suggestions, it should be noted that there is beauty to be found all across Acadia, and this post merely outlines some of my own personal favorite places to shoot. Everyone knows about the familiar and iconic locations you see on picture postcards – and for good reason since they are strikingly beautiful – but there is so much more to Acadia than Otter Cliffs, Cadillac Mountain, and the Bass Harbor lighthouse. Acadia is an absolute jewel of a national park, and for those with time to explore, it is a landscape photographer’s paradise. Anyhoo… for the photographer with limited time to spend in the area, here are some ideas to get you started on the Mount Desert Island part of Acadia… icons and all.

1. Cadillac Mountain – Back home in Ireland we have the beautiful Mourne Mountains in County Down that sweep down to the sea, and at 1,532 feet, Cadillac Mountain too rises up from the ocean making it appear larger than it actually is. On this particular morning there were some hazy clouds on the eastern horizon which on the one hand obscured the sunrise, but on the other hand helped diffuse the light creating some wonderful pink and purple hues. I plopped myself down on the slope of Cadillac and enjoyed the show. I especially liked how the early colors from the sky were absorbed by the foreground rocks, though after a few minutes the more familiar golden light began to bathe the summit. Not a bad way to start the day.

2. Bubble Pond – Nestled between Pemetic Mountain (1,248 feet), and Cadillac Mountain (1,532 feet), Bubble Pond is a glaciated valley that is now home to a beautiful and pristine pond. Using a circular polarizer, I was able to eliminate reflections from the crystal clear pond water allowing views of the rocky bottom. The polarizer also removed the glare of the mid-morning light from the trees hugging the rugged shoreline, and it enhanced the definition in the clouds. The intermittent sunshine breaking through the clouds made the scene sparkle, and in the fall the foliage colors here come alive.

3. Jordan Pond Stream – I had looked at the weather forecast for the day, and it had predicted overcast skies and some light showers… perfect weather for shooting fall foliage and running water. Clouds provide softer, more diffused light which makes getting a good exposure easier, and any rainfall that came my way would certainly help saturate the already vibrant fall colors. Intermittent raindrops and relatively cool fall temperatures did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm as I stumbled upon scene after scene with rich and striking foliage colors complimenting the dynamic water rushing downhill toward Little Long Pond and the Atlantic Ocean. Fallen leaves were scattered everywhere, and the pockets of color and mini-landscapes that I encountered around just about every turn were amazing.

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4. Bass Harbor Light – Bass Harbor Light is quintessential Maine. Part of Acadia National Park, it is a classic New England-style lighthouse perched on jagged rocks overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It is a place that I genuinely enjoy being at… whether I am fighting off the summer mosquitoes, listening to the fog-dampened sound of the buoy bell, or fumbling with cold fingers in the dead of winter. Regular readers of this blog will notice that I have been to this spot quite a few times, but seeing the ocean and the impressive beacon watching over it never gets old. This is a great place to shoot at either sunrise or sunset… both can provide spectacular views.

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5. Monument Cove – 
Monument Cove is a little piece of heaven tucked quietly away between Thunder Hole and Otter Cliffs in Acadia National Park. If you have ever walked the ocean path along the loop road you have probably stopped to enjoy the view from the small rock wall atop the 100 ft high cliff looking down into Monument Cove and further to Otter Cliffs. Most people settle for the view from above, justifiably marveling at the beauty below, but I like to get a little closer to the action. Not easy to get down into, this small cove is protected on three sides by steep rocky cliffs, and the Atlantic Ocean does it’s job protecting the fourth side. I love this place… even in summer there rarely is anyone there, and you are pretty much guaranteed to have it all to yourself if you visit first thing in the morning any time of year. Combined with some nice light, the knocking sounds from the round rocks being jostled by the waves makes this a pretty neat experience. As always, first light does a number on the Acadia granite shoreline, lighting it up to create a sight that only the earliest of risers will experience.

6. Boulder Beach – There are a myriad of classic compositions to be had in the area in the shadow of Otter Cliffs, and I have returned often in different seasons and at different times of day in search of light and conditions that help convey the beauty of this location. I feel as if I now “know” many of the elements better… individual rocks among the round boulders, the impressive granite cliffs rising up out of the Atlantic, and the usually hidden algae-covered rocks that become uncovered at low tide. Definitely a sunrise location, both high and low-tides offer many creative possibilities.

7. Otter Cliffs – As winter started to really grab hold of the season, I had been itching to get out with the camera so I decided to visit one of my favorite places and see if I could capture some snow blanketing the famous round rocks below Otter Cliffs. An early start that morning got me there about 45 minutes before the sun was scheduled to crest at 6:36am, and as always, I had the place completely to myself. Though the temperature was certainly chilly, there was little to no wind blowing, and since I was dressed in several layers, the 13 degrees Farenheit actually felt quite comfortable. An iconic view for sure, like much of the scenery along the Loop Road, Otter Cliffs are especially spectacular at first light. This view can be obtained by turning your tripod legs about 45 degrees clockwise from the scene above.

8. Thunder Hole and Loop Road – Anyone who visits Acadia National Park probably takes in the grand vista offered all along the stretch of blacktop known as The Loop Road. Surely one of America’s most picturesque roadways, visitors who choose this path weave their way from the park entrance through lush New England forest under the shadow of imposing granite mountains to the ragged and distinctive Maine shoreline that adorns many a picture postcard. Even in midday light, there are photographs to be made along this stretch of road, and on this day strong swell after swell would come crashing onshore, and though it was certainly an impressive sight, the sound and power of the ocean were the real stars of this show.

9. Little Long Pond – It was 23 25 years ago this July that Lori and I visited Acadia on our honeymoon. It was the first time we had been to Maine, and we both immediately fell in love with the park. We rented bicycles for part of our week there, cycling from inn to inn as we traversed across Mount Desert Island. I can recall how exciting and exhilarating cycling around the roads of Acadia was, with the anticipation and expectation of what we would see over the next hill or around the next bend always fueling our efforts. On one particularly stunning morning, we were freewheeling down Peabody Drive toward Bracy Cove when we were stopped in our tracks by an amazing view looking away from the ocean and toward Long Pond and Penobscot Mountain. Back in those days I was only carrying a disposable film camera with me, but I can remember getting a really nice photograph from this location, and the 4 x 6 print was one of the few images from the trip that I was quite proud of. Over the years that one image has unfortunately become displaced, but I can still vividly see that same scene in my mind’s eye. I have been back to this location many times since – in fact, any time I am driving along the shore road I can’t help but stop to see the view again. Each time I take my camera with me, and depending on the conditions, I guess have been trying to emulate that shot from 22 years ago. In this more recent photograph, the late afternoon sun dropped some nice light and shadow on the pond, and a circular polarizer helped reduce the glare on the water lillies, producing those same wonderful Acadia greens and blues… just like I remember.

10. Manset and Seawall – I have always looked forward to mid-June when the Lupine in Maine come to life. Serious gardeners often disparage this hardy perennial for its ability to overwhelm a planned garden space. Me… I love the swaths of deep color that appear along the roadside at this time of year, and I have long searched for a nice composition that includes these beautiful flowers. During one of our many family camping trips to Acadia we spent a really nice evening, free from the already increasing crowds in Bar Harbor, along the quiet shore at Seawall. As we made our way past Southwest Harbor and through Manset, this pretty little scene presented itself. Needless to say I started drooling, stopped the car, and enjoyed the view with my camera. The road along the shore between Southwest Harbor and Bass Harbor is home to some quiet, less-frequented places with family-friendly trails like Wonderland and Ship Harbor to enjoy… well worth a visit.

Southwest Harbor, Seawall, Somesville, Northeast Harbor, Sand Beach, Eagle Lake, Pick-a-mountain trail, Asticou Gardens, Bar Harbor, Jordan Pond, Wild Gardens of Acadia, Seal Harbor, carriage roads and bridges, Schoodic, and Isle-au-Haut… you get the idea… there is SO MUCH MORE to see in what is a small but surprisingly stunning national park, and for those interested in spending some time photographing the landscape, you really can’t go wrong!

Do you have a favorite place to photograph in Acadia? I’d love to hear about it…

* I’m updating this post to include a quieter part of Acadia, Schoodic. Just recently I have had the pleasure of exploring this part of the world, and I have to admit, I have totally fallen in love.

Looking for it to work…

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Every time I drive along the Loop Road in Acadia National Park, my eyes are drawn to this stand of birch trees, and I just know a photograph is buried in there somewhere. I stop and try to compose a photograph maybe one in every three times I pass this spot, but to date I’ve not been able to come away with a composition I’m entirely satisfied with. Looking at these photographs, I’m thinking that maybe I need to get a little tighter? I find the distinctive white bark on the skinny but strong trees quite remarkable, and for me, the dark shadows in the forest add a much-needed element of depth to the scene. Although I’ve tried again and again to make it work, I’m still not thrilled about what I’ve been able to create from here. Certain scenes are more challenging than others to photograph in a personally meaningful way, and in instances like this, I wonder if I’m just trying too hard to make it work, when perhaps there isn’t something there after all. Oh well… I bet the next time I’m driving along the Loop Road I’ll stop once again… and who knows, maybe one day I’ll figure this place out after all!

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My all-time favorite Acadia hike

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The south ridge of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park is my all-time favorite hike. It’s about five miles one-way from the ocean at Blackwoods campground to the summit of Cadillac, and as you cover that ground laterally, you’ll also deal with about 1,528 feet of elevation – it truly does seem to rise right out of the ocean making it seem even taller. One of our favorite things to do is park at the Blue Hill Overlook just before the top of the mountain, and then walk back down the gently sloping granite ridge for a mile or so before turning around and hiking back up.

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On this particular visit, Lori and I had Oliver in tow – Jack was resting back at the house with Granny and Grandpa. We figured the openness of the granite ledge near the top would suit Oliver really well, and we knew that there wouldn’t be anything too tricky for him to handle. He was extremely nimble as he scampered along the rocky trail, though we still had to make sure he was aware of the sometimes deep and wide cracks in the ice-shaped granite slabs. As we stepped onto the trail, we could see an off-shore storm blowing our direction, and although we didn’t have any desire to get soaked, we decided to forge ahead anyway… we had been itching to get out onto this trail, and we figured what the hey… if it started raining too hard, we could easily be back at the car within a few minutes.

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As the storm blew through, it kinda brushed us off to the left, and in behind it came some wild and dramatic light. As the sun dipped lower toward the horizon, it streaked across the overhead sky, painting the breaking clouds on the edge of the storm with some amazing light… and I loved how it made the mountain landscape come alive. We experienced some turbulent atmospherics on this hike, with clouds, wind and sunshine all seemingly wrestling to prevail. Their battle played out to our advantage, providing an evening of pretty special weather, and I was especially pleased to share my all-time favorite hike in these conditions with Oliver (and Lori).

I need your advice…

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OK. I’ll be spending some quality time down in Acadia over the next 10 days or so, and I’m very much looking forward to getting out and about with the camera. Problem is, I can’t seem to decide on locations to shoot. I’m determined to try and come up with some original places that I haven’t photographed yet, but I’ll also be looking to hit up some of the famous icons like Otter Cliffs in the shot above – though I’m hoping I get better weather than I did that day!

So… I’m looking for inspiration… are there any Acadia scenes in particular that you – my loyal readers – would like to see photographed? If there are, drop me a line in the comments section below, and I’ll do my best to oblige. Tell you what… any suggestions that I can honor will be rewarded with a free 8×12 print delivered right to your door.

Happy 4th of July to y’all!

Making a new impression

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Regular followers of my blog will know that I have this strange affinity for impressionistic images created when the camera is moved while the shutter is open. I haven’t actually done any of these for a while, but this morning while out on the golf course walking with Oliver I came across this little stand of trees that just cried out to me. The sun had just crested the horizon, and the warm, golden light that bathed the scene was quite remarkable. Normal… and then blurred… so you can see the before and after. And then I’m including a few more examples of this type of photograph. I love how the colors and shapes bleed together yet still present a hint of reality, and when printed large on canvas the textures really add another dimension.

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Some more…

4-12-13 acadia birches

4-12-13 bangor forest 1

4-12-13 bangor forest fire

4-12-13 cadillac sunrise

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A picture postcard

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Here are a couple more images from my morning on Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. There is so much to see on this magnificent summit, and for the photographer looking for interesting foreground elements to include in a composition… couldn’t ask for a better place. The ground cover that turns red in the fall is spectacular, and the weathered and shaped slabs of granite are truly impressive. Throw in the picturesque view of Frenchman Bay and the Porcupine Islands and you have, well… a picture postcard.

A brief glimpse of the sun

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On a recent visit to Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, the sun briefly peeked out from behind a rather dense cloud bank that was hugging the horizon. The warm light raked across the mountain summit for only a few minutes, before hurriedly diving back behind some more persistent clouds. Before the grey returned to envelope the scene, the rich colors of this majestic fall landscape were momentarily illuminated and highlighted. It might be tough to fully see the detail in these web-sized images, but there are two rather large cruise ships anchored in the vicinity of Bar Harbor. Perhaps you can see why I adore this mountain top and this jewel of a national park so much, and I’m not surprised that Bar Harbor and Acadia have become such chic fall cruise ship destinations, are you?