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 🙂

Contrasting colors…


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I don’t know about you, but silver birches always seem to catch my eye. There’s something about seeing the textured white bark that draws me in, and when I have a camera in hand, I’ll usually stop to try and make an interesting photograph. That’s never more true than in the fall when the silvery shapes almost jump out in a 3D way from the contrasting warmer colors of the fall foliage.

Fall foliage finally…


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I really haven’t had much time to get out with the camera to enjoy the traditional leaf-peeping season here in Maine. From what I could tell, it seemed as though the colors were pretty nice this year. Lots of bright yellows and deep reds to be found in all of the usual places, and when you get a nice scene backlit by some late morning sun, it can be quite the kaleidoscope. Above is another quiet side of the road scene that caught my eye… and then some random local scenes from these past few weeks. Like I said… finally, some fall foliage!

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Before and after…


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…from a pretty scene along the road. Above is a scene that I stopped and pulled over to photograph, and below is a version of that same scene where I dragged the camera vertically through the scene while keeping the shutter open. The resulting image is primarily impacted by the length of time the shutter is open, and the path through which you move the camera… in this case I believe that the shutter was left open for a total of half a second. As you can see, the shapes, colors and lines all blur together to create a rather impressionistic image, and in this case, I figured that some of you might be interested in the before and after.

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On the side of the road…


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Just a little something from the side of the road as I cruised through central Maine on my way to a work meeting. Certain scenes catch the corner of your eye as you are driving, and I learned a long time ago not to ignore them… nowadays when I catch a glimpse of something I like, I always listen to the little voice in my head and swing the car around to explore. I’m not talking about a grand vista, just brief impressions that instantly burn onto the retina, and I’m often curious if they might make an interesting photograph. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t… and as always, what one person finds interesting might not appeal to another. Obviously late fall, I found myself wondering what this scene might look like earlier in the summer with a blue sky background and corn ripe for the picking. Though this is nothing more than a weary cornfield that probably isn’t even standing any longer, in that particular moment as I was driving by, I was drawn to the symmetry, the shapes, and the soft, subdued light.

Fall in the forest…


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It had been a while since we last visited the Bangor Forest, so just recently we scratched an itch to return there, and boy are we glad we did. The fall foliage colors, though just slightly past their peak, were still pretty amazing, and the peace and tranquility we found along the trail made this an awesome family hike. Oliver was invited, and as usual, he was a champ as we eagerly explored our wooded surroundings. Staying on the outskirts of the forest – we hopped onto the West Loop Trail – meant that we saw very few people, so even though we were relatively close to the bustling mall area of town, the solitude experienced made it feel as if we were deep in the woods on an adventure. There were pockets of fall color still to be found, and although I brought the camera with me, I was quite content to keep it slung over my shoulder most of the time while I enjoyed the company of my peeps. Here are a couple more from our fall walk in the forest…

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First frost


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Though our morning walks have been quite chilly of late, today was the first day that we had an actual frost on the ground. It was still pretty dark at 5:40 am when we started our daily walk, but as the light crept up and over the distant horizon, a delicate and crisp carpet of frosting on the grass was slowly revealed. To date, the fall foliage colors around here have been progressing at a fairly leisurely pace, though my guess is that this morning’s frost will accelerate that process. As Oliver and I wandered up and down a few golf holes, I was drawn to some of the already downed leaves and how their warm, autumn colors contrasted with the cold, icy ground. Happy leaf-peeping to you all…

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In the absence of Acadia



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


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.


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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Practicing for fall foliage…


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Here in Maine we’re about three weeks away from what I hope will be a colorful fall foliage season this year. Since I haven’t had the camera out much lately, I figured I’d better get some practice in before the leaves really start to change. So, what better place to dust the cobwebs off than Acadia National Park? I say three weeks, but there were already pockets of color developing in the swampy areas around the Great Meadow, so maybe things will happen a little earlier this year?

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These images are from a quiet little path that winds its way through the Great Meadow amongst some striking silver birches. I’m never sure if this is the Jesup Path or the Hemlock Trail, but either way, it’s a place that usually rewards the landscape photographer looking for fall foliage colors. Within a few weeks there’ll be a carpet of yellow covering the narrow path seen here, and I for one will be sure to return.

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I intentionally brought only one lens with me on this trip – the 50mm f1.8 – or thrifty fifty as it is sometimes known as. It’s a relatively cheap little plastic lens, but the quality of image it can produce under the right conditions belies the build, construction and price. I experimented with using a large aperture and a shallow depth of field, so most of what I shot throughout the day as I explored just a little part my favorite national park was dialed in on the camera at around f2.0-3.5.

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Oliver made the trip down to Acadia with us, and in the photograph below, he, Lori, Jack and Cathryn (visiting from Ireland), had walked on ahead while I moseyed along doing my photographer thing. I was about 50 yards or so behind the group when I asked everyone to jump off the trail and let Oliver run back to me. Needless to say, my boy needed no encouragement to come charging down the path to greet me… quite a sight!

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The trail to the bridge


From this past autumn… the trail that hugs the Jordan Pond Stream is one of my all-time favorite walks in Acadia… especially in the fall. Depending on how much rain we have had recently, the stream itself could be either a raging torrent or a quiet trickle. No matter the force of the water though, there’s always something interesting to enjoy along this hushed and tranquil trail leading from the Jordan Pond House to one of Acadia’s jewels… the Cobblestone Bridge.

Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park


I love to be on top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia during the fall. The summit is ablaze with color – the low growing bushes turn bright shades of yellow – and the distinctive red ground cover makes for a very striking scene. Thick clouds rolled over the mountain top on what was a cool and breezy morning, and I was totally mesmerized by the distant views of the Porcupine Islands in Frenchman Bay. The expansive view was perfectly showcased by the rugged and weathered granite slopes of Cadillac, and I had a grand time composing photographs. A fast moving storm front had just swept over the mountain, and although first light was seriously dampened by the leftover clouds, a saturated and lush autumn early morning landscape was left behind… absolutely perfect!

Fall foliage in Maine


It’s that time of year again. The mornings and evenings are noticeably crisper and cooler, and the colors of fall are becoming more evident every day. The vibrancy of fall foliage in Maine truly can be a sight to behold, and as always, I’m looking forward to visiting some of my favorite locations.

One of those favorite locations for fall color is the Jordan Pond Stream which runs from Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park to the Atlantic Ocean at Seal Harbor. A rich variety of trees scattered along the stream side trail usually makes for a blaze of color that just begs to be photographed. A wide gravel path follows the stream downhill from the Jordan Pond House for about a quarter of a mile, and as you cross a rustic looking bridge, you can then jump off that path onto a trail that hugs the right hand side of the stream. There are many, many opportunities to enjoy amazing – albeit intimate – landscapes along this trail, and if you stick with it for about a mile, you get rewarded with views of Cobblestone Bridge, probably the most picturesque of the many carriage road bridges in the park.

My guess is that up north around Mount Katahdin the colors are already nearing peak, but it usually takes a little longer for the swath of color to stretch down toward the coastline. The image above of Jordan Pond Stream was made last year on October 14th, and in my experience, that’s usually around the time fall foliage in Acadia peaks. I’ll be checking the weather forecast in the next few weeks looking for misty, rainy, dull and overcast days… days when the subdued light and wet leaves make the colors pop even more than normal. If you are out and about with your camera in search of fall foliage colors, here’s hoping you find what you’re looking for.



We all love the Bangor Forest, and Jack especially loves to use the “back” entrance via Kittredge Road where you park and then climb over a huge hill that was once a city landfill. Lush and green in the summer months, on this particular winter day the hill was brown and, for this time of year, atypically barren of snow.

Another reason I like to go to the forest is to practice my photography. And when I say practice, I literally mean practice. I like to press the shutter tons of times as we explore the landscape, and whether or not we have great light, I enjoy trying to arrange the elements found in some sort of meaningful way. Most times it doesn’t work out that well, but every now and then I come home with a photograph that I like. My main goal isn’t necessarily to come away with a knockout composition, but rather to… well… practice, in the hope that when I do find myself in a more aesthetically pleasing scene I am better prepared to take advantage. On this particular morning I had decided to bring only my 50mm f1.8 lens, so rather than having the luxury of a zoom to manipulate compositions, I had to do it the old-fashioned way by moving my feet!

Anyhoo… as I wandered along the path I stumbled on the image below, and although hardly portfolio level, I kinda liked how the remnants of fall color contrasted with the more seasonal elements on the forest floor. And as I said… good practice.

My favorite photographs from 2011


As each year draws to a close, I enjoy taking a moment to go back through photographs made during the past twelve months and highlighting those that mean the most to me. I usually choose my favorites based on the physical and emotional experience I have, and it really does feel good to reflect on time well spent in places I enjoy. I have to admit, I also get a kick out of using the camera to technically create something I like to look at… making memories that will forever feed my soul. I hope that as each year passes my photographs get better – whatever that means – or at least that they invoke stronger feelings within me, both while breathing in and out perched on the rocky Atlantic shoreline, or now, as I sit here typing and reminiscing about early morning wake up calls and fingers crossed in anticipation of dramatic clouds and good light. Anyhoo… most of my 2011 favorites are – surprise, surprise – from Acadia National Park and the coast of Maine, although this year I also have a couple from a memorable March trip back home to Ireland with my oldest son Sam. Drum roll…

I had been itching to get out with the camera again, 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 this morning got me here 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 13F actually felt quite comfortable.

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I spent a very enjoyable late afternoon exploring the area around the Marshall Point Lighthouse in the mid-coast community of Port Clyde. Originally established in 1832, the present lighthouse was built in 1857, and this is the same lighthouse Forrest Gump visited when he was traversing the country. This lighthouse is pretty unique in it’s design, with a 31 ft tall white granite and brick tower perched on the rocks at the end of a narrow walkway. A distinctive and striking black cast iron lantern houses a fresnel light that does not flash any more. The Marshall Point Lighthouse Museum on the first floor of the light keeper’s house was opened in 1990, and the whole area is meticulously cared for and maintained.

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Standing near the ocean as the night rolls in can be a somewhat unnerving experience, especially with the wind trying to knock you over and huge waves crashing in the not too far off distance. At the end of the day, the warm light from the beacon was quite comforting as I made my way back toward the car. I stopped one more time to soak in the scene… that’s when I saw this view of Pemaquid Point Lighthouse.

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I can remember visiting the Gap of Dunloe some 20+ years ago with Lori and some friends, and on that occasion we traveled in style with Dolly… the farting horse. Locals provide horse-drawn traps for the ride up to the gap, and the day we went we had a wet and windy journey up the hill, pulled by our horse who tooted all the way. This photograph is from when Sam and I visited Ireland last spring, and even though the classic greens associated with the Emerald Isle weren’t yet in full force, this was still a striking scene.

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Every single time I pass over the bridge that spans Marshall Brook I find myself staring at what I consider to be a breathtaking scene. There is something about the view laid out before you that catches my eye every time… no matter what the time of day or the prevailing weather conditions, I find myself always having to pull over. Looking north across the Bass Harbor Marsh toward Bernard (left) and Mansell Mountains (right), the eyes are treated to a snaking river that gently winds its way off into the distance.

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I spent an immensely peaceful early morning perched on a ledge overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and I couldn’t help marvel at how this is a very cool way to start the day. The sun rises before 5:00 a.m. in the summer in Maine, and as you can see from the photograph above, the pre-dawn light on this particular morning was pretty special. When the sun eventually crested over Great Head behind me, it bathed the scene in amazing warm light, with the granite absolutely lighting up with color. This view is looking south along the rugged Acadia coast toward Otter Cliffs, and other than a couple of seagulls who kept me company on the ledge, I was here all by myself.

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So… I wasn’t expecting the conditions to be particularly special on this morning, but as the light slowly climbed from the east up and over my shoulder toward the lighthouse, I started to wonder if I might actually be in for a show? There were some soft, wispy clouds behind the lighthouse, and as the day began to brighten, my jaw literally dropped as I marveled at how the high clouds were being illuminated with a phenomenal pinkish hue. Knowing that the light probably wouldn’t last long, and with a big grin on my face, I worked quickly to try to combine all of the elements within the frame into something I liked. I couldn’t have ordered better weather conditions, and the impressive lighthouse that welcomes returning mariners to Bass Harbor certainly did its part.

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Taking the Slea Head Road further west out of Dingle, we spotted a little harbor tucked into the rocks with a pretty beach. From a distance it was beautiful, and up close… even nicer. Looking over our shoulder though, we saw what looked like a path winding its way up the hillside toward the ocean. Eager for an adventure and the possibility of a nice view, we started hiking. I thought I was going to have a heart attack… too many Irish breakfasts and too much Guinness lately had me struggling to keep up with Sam. When I finally did get to a flat spot, I dropped my backpack and told him to go on ahead… I needed a rest. The headland we were on was called Dunmore Head (I think), and from here you can see Great Blasket Island straightaway, Inishnabro and Inishvickillane off to the left, and to the right is Beiginis and then Inishtooskert.

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There’s something about the fleeting appearance that Lupine make here in Maine which I really like. They explode onto the scene as the weather warms up at the start of June, but by the time July rolls around they are already starting to fade away. They are scattered all over the side of I-95 as I make my way down and back to work, and maybe it’s because they brighten my commute at this time of year, but I love the splash of color they add to the landscape. We went camping one weekend in mid-June… and despite the rainy weather, a good time was had by all. Late on the Friday afternoon we wandered up to the Beech Hill Road to hike the Canada Cliff Trail, and along the roadside we encountered a field absolutely brimming over with my favorite Maine flower… Lupine.

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If you want to discover examples of fall foliage colors in a pretty Acadia location, look no further than the path that runs alongside the Jordan Pond Stream. Starting out behind the Jordan Pond House restaurant, find the stepped trail entering the woods leading down to where the carriage road meets up with the stream, cross the bridge and make a left turn to follow the stream downhill and you will be treated to not only the soothing sound of running water, but also the wide array of foliage colors typically associated with a classic New England fall season.

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I had looked at the weather, and with a forecast of light rain and cloudy skies, it seemed like the perfect time to make a quick run down to Acadia before the fall foliage was all gone. I knew that the overcast weather and foggy conditions would offer nice even light in which to photograph the changing autumn colors at the top of Cadillac and the rejuvenated, rain-fed Jordan Pond Stream. First stop Cadillac… there is something special about being on top of a mountain when it is socked in with clouds and you have it all to yourself, and when that mountain is Cadillac, I’m in heaven.

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Fall foliage season comes and goes pretty fast around these parts, and when you factor in the potential for poor weather and the usual work commitments, chances are I might only have a couple of opportunities to try to make some photographs displaying the changing colors. This was the first photograph I made on a cool, rainy morning spent exploring the banks of the Jordan Pond Stream in Acadia National Park.

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Panoramic views of Acadia


A few years back when I first started really digging photography, it didn’t take me long to feel somewhat constrained by the little box you looked through when composing a photograph. Especially in a place as beautiful as Acadia National Park, I couldn’t help but try to show what was beyond the confines of that rectangular viewfinder, and these are a couple of photographs which represent my attempts to create wider, panoramic images of what I was seeing. In each of these composites, I turned the camera vertically and made anywhere between 5 – 10 photographs, making sure to overlap each part of the scene slightly so as to allow for an easier task in stitching them together. Panoramic images like these are meant to be viewed large to show off the detail within, so these little blog-sized images probably don’t do them justice.

All three of the photographs in this series were made on the same date (9/24/02). The first is of Sand Beach and the Beehive as seen from high up on the Great Head Trail which climbs above what I think is one of the prettiest beaches in the world. Perched on this ledge, I can remember how peaceful it was as the sun came up behind me and over Great Head to light up the Beehive and Gorham Mountain beyond. The second photograph below is a more intimate and later-in-the-morning view of Sand Beach as seen from the far end of the cove. At low tide there are some pretty interesting rocks and boulders exposed, and in this scene I was attracted by the still relatively early morning light hitting the pink granite on the opposite shore of Newport Cove, and I especially liked the effect that having the shutter open for a longer time had on the advancing tide. I was also drawn to the vibrant reflections in the wet sand, and as you can see… I had the entire beach to myself.

Probably one of my favorite photographs ever, the panoramic composite below is of the round rocks in Monument Cove. This wasn’t made in especially favorable light, but rather it was made in the early afternoon – but with some awesome clouds. Setting just about all of my camera controls to manual, I can remember sweeping across the scene making probably 10 – 12 photographs, and when I got home and lined everything up in the computer I was quite pleased. Not necessarily one of my best photographs, but certainly one of my favorites. Originally captured on Fuji Velvia film, each of these approximately 30MB scanned and composited panoramic images were at one time thought of as being quite large in file size – makes me smile when I think about how large a single 5D Mark II tiff file rounds out at! Still drawn to these type of images, I have often wondered what it would take to get into using a dedicated panoramic camera… but then I would be back into the world of film… not necessarily a bad thing, but in many ways I do enjoy the conveniences of using a digital camera. Hmmm…

Sunday morning stroll


After our early season nor’easter last weekend which dropped a load of heavy wet snow, we were treated this weekend to clear blue skies and bright sunshine. With moderately mild temperatures enticing us outside, we decided to visit a place we haven’t been to in a while, the Bangor City Forest. Even at midday the sun was pretty low in the sky, and despite the evidence of ponds and puddles unsuccessfully trying to ice over, it definitely felt more like fall than winter. Although it is the first week in November already, there were still plenty of pockets where the leaves were brown but still on the trees, and the sunlight streaming through the forest was beautiful. Since we were on the quieter side of the forest away from the more popular Bogwalk, it was incredibly peaceful and it felt as though we could easily have been deep in the wilderness rather than just a few miles from the city.

We meandered along our own little loop which followed the Bobcat, Moose and Grouse Trails, and as we did so, we noticed the noises and smells of a forest which was still vibrant and alive, though definitely getting ready for slumber. Squirrels were busy harvesting for the winter, and many of the birds we would have expected to hear were now quiet. On a couple of occasions we heard voices from people who had obviously decided to stay on the gravel roads, but as we got lost deeper and deeper in our own little less-traveled world, Lori and I both remarked on how invigorating and refreshing it was to be in a place so beautiful… and right in our own backyard too!

The Gorge Path, Acadia National Park


A further installment in my quest to find some fall foliage colors in Acadia National Park led me to the Gorge Path, a pretty unique trail that winds it’s way up a narrow river bed between Cadillac and Dorr mountains. I had visited this trail a couple of weeks back when the foliage was just starting to change color and there were some amazingly rich greens to be found, but this time the transition to fall colors was in full swing. There were large pockets of reds and yellows blazing all along the trail, and since it had rained fairly hard the previous day, I was quite excited to see how strongly the little waterfall about 20 minutes into the hike might be running.

No more than a mile from where the Loop Road becomes a one-way system going toward Sand Beach, there’s room for maybe 3 or 4 cars in a small pull-off providing access to the Gorge Path. A short steady climb quickly gets you deep into the forest, and before long you are criss crossing the rocky stream bed which splits the gorge between Dorr and Cadillac. I found lots of leaves already downed by the recent winds and rain, although when seeking out waterfalls to photograph, this isn’t such a bad thing since many of the leaves were either washed down into the water, or stranded along the rocky banks of the stream creating opportunities for including the striking colors.

My impression of the Beech Cliff Trail


Regular visitors to my blog already know how much I like this type of photograph, though it has been quite a while since I last posted one. Moving the camera in a vertical direction while the shutter is open for about half a second creates a blend of the shapes, colors, and light within the frame that I kinda dig. I saw this little scene near the Beech Cliffs Trail parking lot, and couldn’t resist applying this technique to see what I could come up with. The fall foliage colors were in full swing, and I liked the way the side light was hitting the tree trunks. Not everyone’s cup of tea… but I like it, and that’s what counts around here!

Beech Cliffs in Acadia


Ever since visiting this scene in the summer when everything was lush and green, I have been thinking about returning to see how the fall foliage might look. On this particular occasion I wasn’t able to get here until mid-morning, and by that time the sun was already fairly high in the sky, with any chance of soft, warm light long gone. I still think that being here just as the sun rises might be pretty spectacular, with the rocks and foliage bathed in early light and the killer ocean views offering a nice backdrop.

The Beech Cliffs are over on the quieter side of Acadia, and you can climb up to this point from a trail that starts down below at Echo Lake. However… I’m not one for heights, and since my time was somewhat limited today, I decided to take the easy route and drive there. Passing through the picturesque village of Somesville while driving toward Southwest Harbor on Rt. 102, you will see a sign to make a right onto Pretty Marsh Road, and about a quarter of a mile further you will then make a quick left onto Beech Hill Road.

In early summer there is a gorgeous field of Lupine right on the side of the road before you reach a parking lot that holds maybe a dozen cars… well worth a stop. The Beech Cliff trail from the parking lot to the view in these photographs is only about a third of a mile, winding through beautiful, deep forest terrain before suddenly bursting out onto the high cliffs. On this day the views were remarkable, though I can’t help wondering what first light might bring… maybe worth another trip.

My quest for fall color continues…


Canon 5D MK II and 70-200 mm @ f4 and 163 mm, iso 100, 1/160th sec

Despite what it might look like by viewing my previous two posts, this year’s autumn colors around these parts have been somewhat muted. Instead of finding blazing reds, oranges and yellows, I have noticed that most of the leaves have either fallen already or they are a tired looking shade of brown. We had a gloriously warm – but not especially hot – summer this year, and though our fall temperatures have been quite mild so far, we have definitely had our fair share of wet weather. How this all plays into determining the extent of the leaf-peeping color show… well, to be honest I just don’t know.

The photograph above was made at Duck Brook in Acadia using a longer focal length than normal – that is at least for me. Usually I am cranking the 17-40 mm wide angle lens trying to get as much into the scene as possible, but on this day I reached out a little further, trying to isolate the colorful leaves against the running water in the background. When I arrived at Duck Brook it was later in the afternoon, and the sun had already swung around overhead so that shooting up at the impressive falls was almost impossible due to the incredibly bright highlights reflecting off the water.

This was my last stop of the day – I had visited Beech Mountain and the Gorge Path earlier – and rather than packing the camera away and heading home, I decided to pull out my longer 70-200 mm f4 lens and try for something different. I searched within the viewfinder for an interesting branch and composition, and then patiently waited for the breeze to die down so that the leaves would remain still and sharp. Shooting with an aperture of f4 meant that only that part of the scene on which I was directly focusing would be in focus, and I like how the energy of the brook in the background has been blurred, helping draw attention toward the rich colors of the fall leaves.