Acadia — Day 6

General Thoughts
The Tarn — Acadia NP, ME © jj raia

The Tarn — Acadia NP, ME © jj raia

Day 6 – Tuesday October 16, 2018

After all the storms of yesterday, this morning dawned clear but a bit breezy, and I went to the agreed to rendezvous of Monument Cove. I got there just before a couple from Indiana, and found that the tiny overlook in the woods, had only one great spot on top of a rock dead center of the opening among the trees to see the monument and the curved cobble beach, and I managed to start setting up immediately. The rock could possibly squeeze two people on it, but I wasn’t about to share it with anyone but Mike and Barbara. They showed up shortly afterward, and the sun finally lit up the monolith, casting a shadow on the nearby cliffs, but it was another bald sky, which made the images less than noteworthy. After finishing at Monument Cove, and even though it was pretty breezy, we headed to shoot the Tarn again and surprisingly, found the waters calm and mirror-like, but we didn’t have much time there as the sun began to creep onto the water and grasses pretty soon after we arrived. I did try some motion blurs with the reflections and hope at least one is properly balanced and interesting; in fact, it may have been the very last shot. And again, there were many other photographers there as well, possibly another workshop. I suppose we chose a popular and photogenic spot. We headed back to their hotel in time for the free breakfast and for them to check-out. and I was certainly sad to part company, as they made this trip so much more enjoyable than any of my other truly “solo” trips since the early nineties.

Acadia — Day 5

General Thoughts
Breaking Dawn — Acadia National Park, ME  © jj raia

Breaking Dawn — Acadia National Park, ME © jj raia

Day 5 Monday October 15, 2018

When I woke up at 430am, I felt as though I was finished with sleep for the night and decided to shoot stars at Sand Beach where I’ve been spending the nights. I set up on the sand and tried a few shots and realized that the cliffs all the way on the right had some exposed boulders and surf, so I scooted over there and worked there instead, believing that the rocks would provide more visual interest by lighting the gentle surf as the waves broke around them. I really only wanted the foam to be lit a bit and tried many times until I finally got it right. The whole time there though, there was a fishing boat at least a mile offshore with a pretty strong spotlight on it because when it shone directly at me, I could actually see my shadow! Afterward, I drove to the Gorham Mtn. parking lot to meet Mike and Barbara and we shot some “seascapes” with a bald sky. Afterward, we checked out Little Hunters Beach and found the tide way lower than when I had seen it the other day, so took some pictures on the opposite side since it was now in shadow instead of sunlight as it was the other day. Then it was onto Bar Harbor where we went to Choco-Latte, an immediate favorite, for a great breakfast sitting outside enjoying the morning sunshine.

Acadia — Day 4

General Thoughts
Autumn at the Tarn — Acadia NP, ME  © jj raia

Autumn at the Tarn — Acadia NP, ME © jj raia

Day 4 – Sunday October 14, 2018

It looked like it was going to be pretty clear at sunrise today, so I opted for the easier Boulder Beach rather than the 0.9-mile hike up Gorham Mtn. since the preference would be to have strong side lighting hitting the Otter Cliffs as the sun breaks the horizon rather than a cloudy sky blocking the sun. It proved a bit difficult to find the “trail” down to the boulders, but after I got down, it proved to be nothing compared to the difficulties of trying to maneuver across the cobbles in the dark with the added impediment of having to use bifocals!  But I managed to find a somewhat decent spot with only one soft, unbalanced fall (luckily unhurt) and saw only one other person on the beach until a workshop descended on us. It turned out to be same guy we met at Hadlock Falls and Jordan Pond, and was surprised that he would come back to this beach after the tremendous shot he showed us on that red sky morning. He’s supposedly in the middle of a project to create a book of Acadia with a photograph that was actually taken on every day of the year! He spends one week in Acadia for every season each year. That’s dedication. The strong side lighting I had hoped for never really materialized, and with the addition of a mostly bald sky, one of the classic images of Acadia never really worked out.
So I decided to zip over to the Tarn where it happened that Barbara and Mike got there just before I did, and we spent quite a bit of time there shooting reflections in the water sprinkled with sedges, as the sun chased away the shadows on the mountain above the opposite shore. During our time there, hundreds of runners ran by us as part of the Marathon and sounded like a herd of buffalos galloping past. We were also joined by a Green Mountain Photography Workshop group of about 10-12 people who were doing the same thing we were doing: zooming in on the patterns of the grasses backdropped by the autumn leaf reflections in the water.
Tide Pool at Little Hunters Beach — Acadia NP, ME  © jjj raia

Tide Pool at Little Hunters Beach — Acadia NP, ME © jjj raia

We split up then, agreeing to meet again at Bass Harbor Light. I did a little exploring at Otter Cliffs, shooting straight down on the soft wave action, and then went over to Little Hunters Beach and took some tide pool shots in the sun and some abstract patterns of the rock in the shade. As it was beginning to get later, I headed toward Seawall, and on the way there, I happened to see Barbara and Mike pulled over at a lobster shack to grab a bite of eat before sunset. They said they had already gone to the famous Bass Harbor lighthouse, and decided the zoo there just wasn’t worth it along with the lack of clouds, and so opted for Seawall for sunset.

Acadia — Day 3

General Thoughts
Cadillac Summit Rock Garden — Acadia NP, ME  © jj raia

Cadillac Summit Rock Garden — Acadia NP, ME © jj raia

Day 3 – Saturday October 13, 2018

Didn’t really have the time or the energy for an entry last night, so I’m doing Day 3 tonight on Day 4, Sunday, without any energy as well. Just not able to handle all the bending, standing  and general lugging around all the camera gear as well as I used to. Slept at Blackwoods campground with a reservation and got up early for the ride to Cadillac Mountain, but when I looked up at the sky, I saw it completely blocked by clouds, so there was no sense in trying for any star shots before heading to Cadillac Mountain as I intended. When I did get there, I was amazed to see a few dozen cars already there, with sunrise still 90-min. away!! At about 525am the eastern horizon began to lighten, and I could see a sliver of hope in the clearing there. So I got the gear together and bundled up, and looked for a good spot among the throng. Well, the sky kept getting better and better as the mountain top filled with several hundred people, eventually morphing into a blazing red sky and shone red for a few brief (very brief) moments after the sun broke the horizon. The sun may have won the battle of the moment, but the clouds surely won the war, because they quickly overtook the majestic light and blotted out the tiny bit of red light on the rocks. Lynne, Barbara and Mike made it up there also, and without communicating, we all ended up together after the sunrise. Since today there was no wind, we wandered around the bright red blueberries making mostly intimate compositions of all the beautiful plant life in the multitude of pocket gardens we found. Not long after we finished shooting for the morning, the clouds began to spit some sprinkles, and increased until it was full-fledged rain. The afternoon appeared to be a washout. Click Here to see the same wonderful light from this morning that I experienced on my last day in Acadia.
Cadillac Summit Pocket Garden — Acadia NP, ME  © jj raia

Cadillac Summit Pocket Garden — Acadia NP, ME © jj raia

Long views from the summit of Cadillac Mountain are great looking north, east and south onto the waters of Frenchman’s Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. And because the clouds had some texture to them, although completely overcast, they provided some interest that a clear bald sky lacks. In some ways the softer lighting of an overcast makes it easier to produce a wider range of color in the photograph, but it does lack the contrast that sunlight provides. So we just made the best of what the conditions had to offer, which is what you should always try to do.

Pocket Garden - Cadillac Summit — Acadia NP, ME  © jj raia

Pocket Garden – Cadillac Summit — Acadia NP, ME © jj raia

Acadia — Day 2

General Thoughts
Singular Tree — Great Meadow - Acadia NP, ME  © jj raia

Singular Tree — Great Meadow – Acadia NP, ME © jj raia

Acadia – Day 2 – Friday October 12, 2018

We all got up bright and early and ended up a short distance away from where we stayed, trying to shoot Stonington harbor, but there were a lot of things working against us. First there was the solid overcast, no interesting formations; second, it seemed there was a lot of activity on the water with boats moving around and some shining super bright lights that ruined some of the long exposures; and third, the necessary long exposures because of the dim early morning light, created blurry boats, both from the long exposure itself, and movement of the water causing the boats to rock and spin around their anchor. Only time will tell if anything came out from three of us, but I never did get the camera out of the bag. Then we had breakfast and headed toward Acadia, with a short stop at Caterpillar Hill where there were some blueberry barrens with red color, stone outcroppings and some fine views.

Acadia — Day 1

General Thoughts
Airplane WIndow Sunrise  © jj raia

Airplane WIndow Sunrise © jj raia

Acadia 2018 – Day 1 Thursday October 11

As is usual at this time of year if I venture out for a photo trip, this blog morphs into more of a journal to record the happenings and thoughts of the day as I’ve always done since the first of my trips many years ago. In fact, I dug out the handwritten notes from my previous trip here to help with the information gathering and planning for a last minute decision to make a short, one week trip to Maine’s Acadia National Park for autumn colors. I realized it’s been a quarter century since my previous photo trip here in 1993, and that it would be a quite different experience from the grand landscapes that have been a major part of all the trips I took out west since 1999. While some of the mountains there pushed near 14,000-feet, here they could barely muster 2,000. But sometimes, as awe-inspiring as those majestic western scenes may be, I am also captivated by those more intimate scenes found within the eastern forests. Here, you are not slapped in the face with something epic, immediately knowing the iconic spot before you needs to be photographed just as countless photographers before you have done, but you have to search out the majesty in the many varied smaller scale corners this type of landscape offers.
My early flight this morning turned out to be fortunate since it managed to escape the wrath of Hurricane Michael before its remanence descended on the Triangle with heavy rain and wind from what was left of a near Category V hurricane packing 155-mph winds. But when the plane rose above the clouds, there was a beautiful sunrise. Arrived in Portland to some minor drizzle, but driving north, the rain became heavier and never let up. Stopped in Ellsworth at Walmart to get supplies and change into some pants more appropriate for rain, and next door to Home Depot for some 2-foot 2X8’s to level out the sleeping area (bedroom) of the SUV rental. Continued on to Hulls Cove Visitor Center where I finally got in touch with some friends after trying all day while on the road. They were staying in Stonington and graciously invited me to stay in a spare room, so I drove the 90-minutes there and had a wonderful time that first evening talking about photography and places to shoot during our time in Acadia. Soooo much better than being alone in the car that rainy first night. On the drive there, I passed an area of blueberries with granite outcroppings that looked very familiar to me that I plan to shoot on the way back to Acadia tomorrow if conditions (rain) permit, and I believe nearby Sand Beach may have been another spot I shot in 1993.
So no photos on this first day except the iphone shot from an aisle seat out the window of the plane, which is usual for most trips; no scouting either but at least I stayed dry and enjoyed the company of friends. Tomorrow night I’ll be in Blackwoods campground having reserved the final available spot, with the rest of the trip open to the conditions and choices I can’t predict; just going with the flow.

200 — Enlightenment

General Thoughts
Cadillac Sunrise Pano - Acadia National Park, ME  © jj raia

Cadillac Sunrise Pano – Acadia National Park, ME © jj raia

I’ve been trying for quite some time to think of a way to mark this milestone in the blog I’ve kept since 2014, but have until recently, come up empty. And with this recent trip to Acadia National Park in Maine, I would have normally added entries each day as I have in the past when the blog morphs into a journal that I have always kept for these “photo” trips going way back to the days when they were handwritten on paper. But that would be rather inauspicious; and the 200th post seems to be one that cries out for commemoration.

It was during this one week trip that it finally dawned on me, that there can be life outside photography on these trips. That being in the company of others can make a world of difference in the rewards and enjoyment that I experienced; and if they are folks you already know, those shared experiences can strengthen a bond and possibly foster a friendship. So, from the far reaches of my heart, I would like to thank those who sparked this enlightenment in me. You know who you are.