I decided to head up to Maine for the fall colors I hear they have this time of year. It's really only a few hours from me so I thought it was a little weird I had never explored there (other than when I was about 2 years old I think). The people who say it's a really beautiful state aren't lying, although I did get there at least a week before "peak" color when the entire state apparently explodes with the colors of autumn. There were still plenty of patches of color and beautiful scenes everywhere, it actually added a kind of fun challenge to try to get the colors that were there into my compositions.
I had driven up to Bangor, Maine on Sunday (October 1st) from my parent's cabin in upstate NY. Up until that night I was still deciding between going to Baxter State Park in central Maine and Acadia National Park on the coast. In the end I couldn't decide so I went to both, starting with Baxter because I figured Acadia was kind of on my way back home. My first day I wasn't in much of a rush, my plan was to explore the park in the middle of the day and figure out a place for sunset. I did a little research beforehand and found that a lot of people like the view of Mount Katahdin, kind of the centerpiece of the park, from Golden Road. I also figured I'd want to check out the waterfall there because those are always fun to photograph.
It's just under a two hour drive from Bangor up to the park entrance, and Golden Road turns out to be a kind of rough dirt road that isn't even technically in the park (as far as I could tell). After going down the road for a while and crossing a little one-car-at-a-time bridge, actually on the bridge, I saw why this was considered one of the best views of the mountain. The photo at the top of this blog was taken on that bridge a few hours later. Of course that seemed too easy, so I drove down the road for a few more miles and occasionally pulled over to climb through the brush trying to find a better view. There were some good ones, but not quite as great as from the bridge. I did like the view from a campground I stopped at, and managed to take a selfie there.
The mountain didn't feel as close there though, so I just kept that spot in mind and went back towards the bridge. Still determined to find a shot that was more difficult to get than just walking 10 feet from my car I hiked into the woods along the river. There were some paths through it and you could climb down to a thin beach at some spots. The best view I found here would have been obstructed by a lot of branches unless I climbed down a dirt embankment with no clear easy way back up. I also wasn't convinced that it was any better than the bridge, so I went back again and figured I could at least say I tried to make it more difficult for myself.
It wasn't sunset yet though, and taking this shot in the middle of the day wasn't going to cut it for me. I went to the actual entrance of the park and drove about a half hour in to where the hike to the falls started. I think it was just over a mile mostly uphill and over huge granite boulders, really pretty enjoyable and maybe I'm getting into better shape because I wasn't completely winded at the end. It was a few hours before sunset when I got there, which I've found is usually a good time to shoot waterfalls. The forest darkens the area enough with the lower sun so you can easily get a long exposure but still have enough light.
After I got my long exposure waterfall I hiked down the trail to my car and headed back towards the bridge on Golden Road for golden hour. I got there a little after 5 and with sun setting just after 6 the light was getting really beautiful and bringing out the fall colors in the area. Now the view of Mount Katahdin was great, but I loved the scene looking a little farther over to the west at another mountain (which after a little searching turned out to be Doubletop Mountain). So I shot the below panorama of that mountain before turning back to Katahdin (for the image at the top of this post).
I take a lot of panoramas, especially when I have views like this, but I don't often share them because they're difficult to display well online. I love the way this looks though so I'm going to keep it here. After I got my golden hour shots of the mountains in Baxter I went back to Bangor for the night, my plan was Acadia the next day.