Postcard from Maine (6)

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What to do when the weather doesn’t cooperate? I’ve been to this very special location many, many times in search of epic light, but I can honestly say that on the majority of my visits, I usually get skunked with less than stellar conditions. I’ll check the weather forecast, and I’ll plan for favorable tides… but ultimately you’re at the mercy of the light. Sometimes you get lucky, but usually not.

Having said that… less than favorable light can bring “different” conditions, and with those come opportunities to capture images that are more original. Sometimes they’re more unusual simply because others don’t bother making photographs at those times, and sometimes they’re unique simply because instead of making a cover version of someone else’s work you’re making something creative of your own.

Embrace iffy weather. While I have experienced and photographed epic colors and memorable sunrises, some of my favorite images were made in stormy conditions. The color palette in both images in this post don’t necessarily reflect the traditional picture postcard ideal… but I am more proud of them than you might imagine.

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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 😉

As the sun rises…

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…it lights up the granite cliffs of Acadia National Park. From a rocky perch high above the Atlantic shoreline, I spent a wonderful, crisp morning witnessing the dawn of another day. Before sunrise, there was a subtle, almost blue hue which bathed the landscape, though I had a feeling, if patient, that some nice light would eventually climb above the clouds that were hugging the horizon, and that the scene would come alive.

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Soft pre-dawn light on the Acadia granite shoreline

A quick glance ninety degrees to the left where the sun was rising presented the scene below… captured in HDR mode with my iPhone, you can see how the clouds on the horizon subdued what might otherwise have been a pretty sunrise. I waited for the sun to get high enough in the sky to peer over those clouds, and the result was a familiar glow on the Acadia granite shown in the last photograph in this post. A high tide – or better still – a high tide that coincides with a big storm – would make this scene much more dramatic, but as with most mornings spent watching the sun come up in Acadia, I can’t think of a better place to be.

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A different angle

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In this location, I can usually be found hunkered down somewhere back near where the ocean meets the round rocks, since that spot gives you a view of the Atlantic Ocean and majestic Otter Cliffs. On this occasion however, I’m a little further along the Boulder Beach shoreline, looking back over my shoulder at a different angle. Looking in this direction doesn’t give a striking view of the cliffs, but the round rocks this location is renowned for are still there, and I love those steadfast trees standing guard over the scene.

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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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

“X” marks the spot

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Pre-dawn in Acadia National Park, as the light climbed over the horizon, the colors were to die for. The weathered granite, sculpted by the elements over thousands of years, offered boundless opportunities for exploring engaging foregrounds. On this particular morning, the almost cloudless sky was relatively uninteresting, so in search of a more compelling element, I tipped the camera down toward the awesome granite that Acadia is renowned for. Perched high above the Atlantic at low tide, I took a few deep breaths as I absorbed the scene pictured above. Have I mentioned lately… I love Acadia.

A fleeting moment…

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Morning light moves fast. Right before I made the image above, I was shooting in the opposite direction, focusing on trying to create a composition that showcased the rugged, granite ledges along the Acadia National Park Loop Road. As I was doing so, I remembered to pause and take a quick glance over my shoulder to see if the high clouds rushing in ahead of an approaching front had caught any color… and as you can see… they had.

I love how the granite in Acadia takes on the color of the pre-dawn light. On different occasions I’ve seen it glow anywhere from red to orange to pink… sometimes it’s subtle, and sometimes it’s much more than that. On this particular morning, the sunrise over the ocean was mostly a yellow event, but for one fleeting moment overhead, we were treated to a palette of soft, pink light – only for a moment mind you – and as you can see, once again the Acadia granite didn’t disappoint.

Revisiting a favorite photograph

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Not every favorite photograph has to be of a grand vista. I’m re-publishing one of my all-time favorite photographs in this post, an image that – at least for me – is quintessential Acadia. This is a more intimate view from the field of round rocks on Boulder Beach located just below Otter Cliffs. No ultra wide-angle, sunrise color-popping, wave-crashing excitement here… just a calm composition that accentuates the wonderfully shaped rocks that are strewn all over a place that is special to me. I can remember spending several hours on a foggy morning experimenting with a variety of compositions before discovering what you see in this frame. Like I said… one of my favorite photographs from one of my favorite places.

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 🙂

It’s official…

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I’m officially “retired” from the landscape photography game… or at least it feels that way. It has been a long, long time since I raised my camera at a sunrise or sunset in earnest. Between work, family, Oliver and the recent soccer season… I’ve not even given my tripod a second look in months. In fact, the last “serious” photograph I made was way back in July when I visited the area just beyond the cliffs at Otter Point in Acadia National Park. The good news? I am determined to get back in the saddle and make a few runs down to Acadia before the end of the year in the name of landscape photography. In the meantime… you guessed it… here’s an impromptu photo shoot of Oliver relaxing after a long walk! Happy Thanksgiving.

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Waiting for the snow…

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It’s that in-between stage of the year when fall foliage colors are gone and the trees are left standing stark and bare. Though there are certainly landscape photographs to be made at this time of year, especially on the coast where the lack of leaves on the trees has minimal impact on potential compositions, I find these last few weeks of fall rather dull and uninspiring. As we make the transition into winter, it’s also becoming much colder, and when the wind picks up like it has been lately, the challenge to get out and about with the camera increases. The carpet of downed leaves loses its vibrancy, and the landscape in general looks (to me) quite drab and thin. That all changes though when the snow comes… and mark my words, here in Maine it will definitely come! A fresh blanket of the white stuff will transform the landscape, covering up the ordinary scenes currently littered with dead leaves, and with it will come renewed inspiration and a rekindled desire to photograph the surroundings. I’ve made a resolution to spend more time in Acadia this winter to try and capture the beauty of my favorite National Park in the snow. In the meantime, as we wait for the snow, from a few years back here’s a famous and iconic Acadia scene blanketed in winter…

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Even in the midday sun…

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…this place is beautiful. From a recent day-trip to my favorite national park, Acadia, this location is commonly known as Boulder Beach, and lies just below the striking and iconic Otter Cliffs. I’m usually photographing this scene at first light when as the sun crests the horizon it almost magically lights up the famous pink coastal Maine granite. In the right conditions, these rocks literally sparkle when low angled light hits them, but on this occasion, the overhead midday sun created a contrasty, but no-less-beautiful, scene. The round rocks, the deep blue Atlantic Ocean, and the chiseled outline of Otter Cliffs can hold their own at any time of the day, and I couldn’t help but photograph what is a favorite place. As I experimented with my iPhone camera while making these images, I turned the phone upside down so that the camera was closer to the ground than normal. This accentuated the foreground elements and helped make a more interesting composition… at least that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

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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!

Printing on metal

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I recently splurged and had the photograph above printed directly onto metal. These days you can have a photograph printed on just about any surface – I’ve experimented with different types of paper, and am a big fan of canvas – but this is the first time I’ve had anything printed on metal, and when I opened the package…  it blew my mind.

The color pops like nothing I’ve ever seen, and the detail rendered makes it feels as if you can walk right into the scene. Almost 3-D, the colors are incredibly faithful to the original file, and without a doubt, this is the most impressive medium I have ever seen a photograph printed on.

The price initially made me swallow hard, but when you consider the cost of printing, matting, mounting and framing a similarly sized paper print, it really isn’t that much more expensive… especially when you consider the serious upgrade in product quality, and the no-hassle ready to hang nature of this type of order. I might not be ready to print everything on metal just yet, but I sure am tempted.

Here’s the original photograph made at the base of Otter Cliffs in Acadia National Park last fall. Epic sunrise.

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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.

A landscape worth exploring…

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This is Otter Point in Acadia National Park, Maine. Despite having spent considerable time photographing in Acadia, this is a location that, until recently, I had not fully explored. The trail from the parking lot leads you to the point in the distance where the trees look like they’re coming down to the ocean, though if you make a left turn, and follow the Ocean Path for maybe 50 yards or so, you’ll be introduced to a wonderfully rocky and jagged shoreline with all sorts of textures and shapes to explore. I was perched here waiting for the clouds overhead to light up as the sun set behind Otter Point, and I did my best to include some of the striking leading lines in a relatively rare (for me) landscape oriented composition. Once again, here it is in black and white… I’m torn between the two this time… on the one hand I like the subtle colors, especially the earthy tones, but the black and white once again accentuates the shapes and lines. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this one…

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Here’s my routine…

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My camera is all set up for the shot I wanted to make when camped out for what was a stunning sunset at Otter Point in Acadia National Park. Believe it or not, this was my first serious attempt at making a photograph at this location (thanks Michael and Carol for the suggestion), though I have no doubt it won’t be my last. The jagged rock formations, the coastal pine trees, and the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean make this a really cool place to photograph. Here’s a recap of my evening spent there, and a brief insight into my routine…

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As with all new places, it takes a little while to get to know it, so I arrived here well before the sun was scheduled to set, and I wandered all around exploring the landscape looking for potential compositions. Different angles, different light, different rock formations, different weather conditions… truthfully, I could spend days here and never fully discover all of the possibilities, but on this occasion, I had to make do with an hour or so. Some people move quickly in this type of situation, especially as the sun starts to go down and the good light arrives, and they can end up making lots of good photographs. Me… I tend to “focus” on one composition, and I kinda stick to it (some might say that I get stuck) to make sure I come away with something I like. I learned a long time ago that if you can come home with just one photograph that you are pleased with – one that you might want to print – then it has been a good day. Here’s one that I like…

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Now… after I have settled on the composition that I like, as I wait for the light to peak, I do try to keep my eyes open and stay alert for other possibilities. I almost always have a wide angle lens (Canon 17-40mm f4) on the camera in these situations, and the unique perspective that can be achieved with this type of lens constantly intrigues me. I love how an object placed close to a wide angle lens is distorted to make it appear even larger, and I like to experiment with including near/far components to add depth. More often than not, I end up liking a portrait oriented composition more than a landscape one… I think that’s a result of the wide angle effect that can be attained with an interesting foreground element. I’ll check the focus throughout the scene using live view, I’ll bracket three exposures, each about a stop apart, so that if necessary I can blend for dynamic range back at the computer, and I’ll wait for the best light possible. Rarely will I deviate from the plan, and once I have honed in on a composition I like, rarely will I move my tripod and camera.

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Having said that, another lesson I learned a long time ago was to always look behind you, even if the scene in front of you is awesome… you never know what you might find. Here’s the view 180 degrees from the main composition I settled on. So, I’m slow and rather methodical in my approach to photographing a scene, and I kinda put all my eggs into one basket as it were with choosing a primary composition to work with. That’s my way of doing things and a glimpse of my routine… I’d be curious about yours.

430 seconds of misery

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BH Otter Point2 BW

One of my favorite types of photograph to make is a long exposure of a pretty scene at the edge of the day. As the evening transitions to twilight, the change in the light can be both soothing and quite breathtaking. A long exposure of such a scene can capture colors and movement that our eyes could never see, and in many cases lead to a more interesting landscape photograph. In this photograph, I set my aperture to f14, my iso to 50, and using my remote trigger, I held the shutter open for at total of 430 seconds. A sturdy tripod is obviously a must to create an image like this, as is the ability to withstand the misery generated by the barrage of biting bugs that come out for a sunset dinner along the shoreline at low tide. Oh yeah… and a strong headlamp to help you navigate back to the car so as not to get the willies in the pitch dark. I mentioned the misery caused by the vicious bugs, but despite how much they must have enjoyed feasting on my blood, it was still exhilarating to experience an amazing sunset in a such a beautiful place. These are actually a blend of two exposures… one for the foreground rocks (6 seconds), and one for the darkening sky (430 seconds with a 6-stop neutral density filter on). Here’s the color version too… remember, this was made when it was pretty dark. I have a couple of other versions made earlier at the height of what was a very colorful sunset… I’ll share those in the next few days.

BH Otter Point2

I need your advice…

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3-4-12 Acadia(15)

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!