Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Three Days in Acadia

It's not the biggest national park in the country, but it is quite unique. Acadia National Park was the first national park east of the Mississippi River and is made up completely of donated lands. Sitting midway up the Maine coastline, the park rests entirely on Mt. Desert Island, in a patchwork of land surrounding Bar Harbor.

The bright, clear skies really weren't conducive to a lot of daytime shooting, so I was really restricted to The Golden Hour at the beginning and end of each day. It would have been great to spend a month exploring and shooting, and getting a variety of more favorable lighting conditions, but three days was my limit this trip, so my photo opportunities were limited to the places I could get to at these times.

Before I go any further, let me say that I have never encountered a more bloodthirsty and aggressive bunch of mosquitoes than I did on this trip. I've never been to Alaska, but these bugs were vicious, even landing on my camera and attempting to pierce it with the needle that slides out of their proboscis. I can only surmise that the cameras proximity to my face, left it covered with the scent of carbon dioxide, that the mosquitoes key in on when searching for a victim. On more than one occasion, I was required to spit out a mosquito that had been inadvertently sucked into my mouth while hiking up a mountain, across some cliffs, or down a boulder strewn beach to a tidal pool.

Arriving at the cottage just after noon time, we got settled in and just went and explored a little bit. We drove by Otter Cliffs and Thunder Hole and headed for the Bass Harbor at the south end of the island. Finding places for good food is easy on the Maine coast (as long as you like seafood) and the first of several lobsters would fall victim to my dinner plate that evening. After dinner, as the sun was getting ready to set from its day long perch, we drove over to Bass Harbor Lighthouse to break out the tripod and get something onto my memory card.

After the sun went down, we drove the 20 miles back to our cottage and just relaxed. It was early to bed for me since I had a 4:30 AM alarm to beat the sun up to Otter Cliffs. It was incredibly peaceful and still as I arrived just after 5:00 AM. The faintest hint of light was just showing over the horizon. I climbed along the cliffs, looking for a vantage point that would give me the best vistas, as this was going to be my only morning here. Once the sun breached the horizon, time was very limited before is was simply too strong and harsh here at the coast. The closer to sunrise it got, the more beautiful the scene became.

Once the scenic vista was obliterated by the blinding rays of the sun, I turned my attention to the cliffs and the surrounding landscape that was being illuminated with the golden-red rays of the early morning light. It's still only 6:00 AM.

Not soon after I shot this snag, I wrapped it up and drove back to the cottage to enjoy the day with my family. More family fun and good food, and we headed for Seal Harbor for sunset. There was a couple sitting in the twilight, fishing from one of the docks, but it was an otherwise quiet evening. A few clouds had started to roll in, specifically for my benefit I believe, adding some much needed character to the blank slate of the sky.

I woke up to the 4:30 alarm on the final morning of our stay and once on the road realized that there would be no sunrise this morning due to the this blanket of clouds that had settled in overnight. A quick change of plans and I drove to Seawall Beach to hopefully salvage a little shooting and with the tide on it's way in, I didn't have much time if I wanted to check out the boulders, rocks, and tidal pools. It wasn't 5:30 yet, but I knew I wasn't the first one at the beach when I found a half dozen of these stone pyres around the beach. I knew they hadn't been there long, because they could not have withstood the waves and surge of the high tide.

The only rush to get out of town was to avoid the swarms of tourists that would shortly be showing up to spend the Labor Day weekend in town, but that still left us plenty time for some hiking and exploring before hitting the road for the trip home. I'm hoping to make another trip prior to the winter settling in to do some more shooting in the interior of the park when the sun is lower in the sky and I can shoot for longer stretches of time.


Anonymous said...

Scott, I envy your ability and your chance to travel. All the photos in this blog are gorgeous!

Much love,
Kelley (Condesa)

woolies said...

One of my most favorite places on earth.
Beautiful shots.

SudsMuffin said...

Scott, your pics are simply beautiful. I've been trying my own hand at photos lately, even if it's only with a p&s. :) Do you have a Flickr album?

alamodestuff said...

Gorgeous photos! What a wonderful trip you must have had!

Alison Du Bois said...

Glad you enjoyed your weekend, and sorry that the mosquitos enjoyed you! Love the lighthouse through the trees.

Anonymous said...

I was there last year and saw those same places, you did a great job- we got stuck with mostly gray skies. That lighthouse was the smallest lighthouse I had ever seen, but you made it look great- I'll have to go back and see if I can find your vantage point. Seal Harbor is tough too because it always seems to be low tide- but again you captured it's beauty. There's so many great things to see on that island- you captured some of the finest ones.

Robin@creations-anew.com said...

It sounds like a beautiful trip...and your photos are breathtaking!!!!
I would love to visit there one day

KIM said...

I was truly accosted by those same blood thirsty BIRDS called mosquitoes while I was in Maine!
I lost all my pics in my computer crash! Yours are lovely!
Glad you made it to Maine when I WASN'T there! LOL!

Judi FitzPatrick said...

Thanks for sharing your adventure and all these great photos with us. Bass Harbor Light is one of my favorite lighthouses, great job capturing it!
Peace, Judi

Caroline said...

The Acadia/Bar Harbor/Gouldsboro area is one of our favorite "let's get outta town and relax" places. Esp. the Schoodic point side of the park... my husband grew up in that area. Great shots!

Dawn Lewis Photography said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful trip. The images are beautiful Scott. I need a vacation :)

earth and sun folk said...

beautiful. thank you for sharing!

La Alicia said...

what lovely shots with gorgeous colors!

Peter said...

even with the time restrictions due to the light, these are amazing shots!

Will Michael Photography said...

Beautiful work, amigo!

Irtiza said...

sounds like a wonderful trip...

not only you are a goog photographer but also u have a nice writing style. all the shots in this post (and on the side bar) look gorgeous.

keep up the good work.

all the best


gigi said...

Mosquitoes in your mouth? Sounds more like Survivor than Maine!

Your shots are gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous shots!! Sounds like a great trip - Peace and quiet, family and good photography - what more could a person ask for:)

alamodestuff said...

Hi Scott,

I enjoy reading your blog and just nominated you for a "blog award". I hope it brings you some new readers.

Anonymous said...

Very nice work...

High Desert Diva said...

I haven't visited your blog for awhile. I like the changes.

Your photography, as always, is gorgeous.

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