I had the opportunity to go back east this summer with the kids. The kids were having a vacation with their cousins & grandparents at a lake house in New York (parents weren't invited - not in a rude way - they just wanted to hang with the younger crew of grandkids - 7! They are brave souls - before they all went off to college and ended up all across the country like their older grandkids. Or across the Pond which is where my oldest niece is). So I took the opportunity to visit Acadia National Park. Our family was back east a few years ago, and I completely had forgotten to add that stop to our itinerary, so I felt that this was my chance to see it.
Acadia was the first designated national park on the east coast. The island had first been inhabited by the Wabanaki Native Americans about 5,000 years ago. French and English explorers started to arrive, well before the Pilgrims arrived, battles ensued and in the early 1800's French and English were starting numerous fishing, farming and lumbering settlements. During the mid-1800's, artwork of the island was getting around which started drawing people to the island. It didn't take long for the prominent people to build luxurious cottages around the island. A few of the prominent owners were Rockefellers, Fords, Vanderbilts, and Astors. We owe a huge thank you to Rockefeller, though, who, concerned for the possible overdevelopment of the area, encouraged the other large land owners to donate their land which was then designated Acadia National Park in 1916. Many of the prominent families still have a presence on Mount Desert Island today and continue to help preserve the lands in and surrounding the park.
Bass Harbor lighthouse. The most photographed location on the island and in the park.
The Bass Harbor lighthouse is the most iconic landmark of Acadia National Park, and a very busy place to photograph. The sun was going down just behind the cliffside, which was great because I would not have the bright sun shining directly at me, but I would still get the setting sun's glow. Slow shutter speed and small aperture will catch the decreasing light and give the water the blur of motion. (ISO 100 f/22 1/8sec) I love the blur! Note on the lighthouse light: This one has a pattern of 3 seconds of light and 1 second off, so I was able to time it to catch the light in the image. We visited another lighthouse in Oregon this summer, and I learned that each lighthouse has its own light signal. So if you're photographing lighthouses, watch for each specific light pattern.
Like I said, it's a really busy place to photograph. I was as close to the water as I could get without the waves splashing me with another photographer next to me, and several behind us. Tip - arrive early, especially here (there). There is a very small parking lot (12-18 parking slots) given the number of visitors. I lucked out on my timing for my visit. It being a week day probably helped, too, because I tried to go again at the same time on the weekend and it was overflowing. Well, this guy didn't seem to care about anyone else being there. We heard him climbing down the rocks (huffing and puffing) and then watched him jump in front of everyone and out to this rock, snap a few shots and then he was gone as quickly as he came. I'm convinced he had a "things-I-must-see' list and was just running to each site so he could check it off his list of 'to-do's'. Planning a photography trip to a populated location takes some extra planning, maneuvering and patience. I found that arriving earlier or later than the general visitor population is most helpful to get the image you're after.
Mostly clear skies for sunrise at Seawall. ISO 100 f/20 5 sec
My favourite sunrise is the one below. I was moving around doing some different angles around the seawall, and these 4 guys were wandering around as well, and making sure they stayed out of my way. I had backed up on the seawall and saw the sun starting to peek over the horizon. Right as they were jogging out of my frame, I hollered, "Excuse me!" to them, and asked if they wouldn't mind going back where they had just came from and walk across the rocks again. They happily agreed and I got this great shot of them (the person sitting wasn't with them). It's very Abbey Road-like, don't you think? It's nice not being the only person up so early, and even nicer when others around you help you out.
Another fun colourful site I found were these picnic tables in Bar Harbor. Down the ramp from the restaurant and onto a floating pier, up they go with the incoming tide, down they go with the outflowing tide. Must feel like you're dining on a boat. I never saw anyone eating out there the few times I went by. It might have been because of the heat as it is super hot and humid in July.
Colorful picnic flotilla
Just outside of Bar Harbor is the Nature Center, and where you'll find the white birch trees. White birch is native to the northeast and has been used for numerous purposes, such as thread spools, clothespins, wood pulp, and wood fuel. The lumber is also used in cabinet making. The foliage remains green all summer, and in the fall turns to bright red, orange, and yellow. I want to plan a return trip in the fall. The tall canopy of the white birch tree forest provides a protective cover, making it a very peaceful place.
Boardwalk wandering through the Jessup Path in the White Birch Tree forest