I meant to write this a few weeks ago, but I didn't. This is my trip to Acadia National Park last month. I had just spent the previous day in Baxter State Park (Maine) and was now on my way to Acadia. I've wanted to go here for a while and it's really not too far from my home in New York. It was about an hour drive from Bangor where I spent the previous night, I left in the mid morning and got there with plenty of time to do some exploring. I wanted to find a good place to come back for sunset, and I figured I'd want that spot to be on the water, so my first real stop was around Otter Point (I think that's what it's called, possibly Boulder Beach). I loved the look of the granite rocks going into the ocean with the hills and forests climbing out on top of them. I spent an hour or so climbing around until I found a view that I really liked. Of course it was on top of a slightly more difficult to get to rock, but I made it up without falling the 20 or so feet down into the ocean. I wandered around the park for the rest of the day walking through forests of birch trees and the gardens and stuff, it was all really beautiful but I was set on Otter Point for sunset. I went back leaving enough time to find another spot if I had to (I figured it would be a busy spot at that time). Surprisingly when I got there I was almost alone. I think I saw a total of 3 other people around those rocks for the next hour that I was there. I don't mind people being around me but one of my favorite things about taking landscape photos is being alone in nature. It's really peaceful and clears my head, which is the main reason I do it. Still, I didn't expect to be alone here I just really wanted the shot. I climbed up to the rock I had scouted earlier, having a little more anxiety getting back up but kind of throwing myself up the rock face did the trick. Below is my selfie from the rock and above is the image I took (from the other direction).
When I left I was completely alone in the dark. I drove out of the park towards Bar Harbor and stopped at an overlook where you could see the lights in the town. I wasn't really trying to get any pictures here, not to say I didn't take a couple, but it was nice just sitting up there for a while looking down at the town and lights on the boats skimming over the water.
I was really surprised at how often I was able to find myself alone in this park. It's beautiful and not too far from civilization, definitely worth the trip. I got a hotel on the Island and the next day I went to explore the other side of the park - it's kind of divided into two because of a sound splitting up the island the park is on.
One of the most well known icons in the park is the Bass Harbor Head light, which is where I planned on going first that day. It's roughly an hour drive from the other side of the park where I had been all day yesterday. I knew I wanted to be here around sunset, but had also heard that it can get pretty crowded. There's a small parking lot that apparently fills up quickly and causes a line down the road. If you don't park there I think it would be something like a 2 mile walk to the next reasonable spot to park your car. I thought I should go early to at least make sure I saw it and to get an idea of the place. Luckily at that time I was able to drive right in and park, then walk down to the rocks below. You can walk up close to the light but it's run by the coast guard so I don't think you can actually go inside without special permission or something. My only interest was in seeing it sitting up on that granite shoreline in person, so I was happy to climbing around below seeing it from a few different angles. There's always something so calming about these old lighthouses sitting there, timelessly guarding the shores. I'm a big fan anyway and this one did not disappoint.
I left there to scout around for a bit, but still planned on coming back for sunset. I had a few ideas of some good rocks to stand on later but I also knew it would be closer to low tide then so I was going to have more options. In the meantime I went up to Southwest Harbor and took this panorama.
Definitely not my favorite job on a photo, but I always like to try new things and see if I can make them work. I actually took 2 of the same panorama, one with the harbor in focus and one with the trees right in front of me in focus (this is the one with the harbor in focus). The plan was to try to combine them, that hasn't worked too well because there were some mismatches I think caused by the wind or maybe some focus breathing. You can also tell where some of the images were stitched because the lines in the water don't match up, and I'm not sold on my composition. No harm in trying it out but I think I'll call this one a learning experience. Anyway that's Southwest Harbor, and it was a pretty view.
After that I found this giant slab of granite jutting out into the water from the beach. I walked out onto it and saw that it was covered in little tide pools (it was just about low tide now). I took out my macro lens and spent the next couple of hours walking around that giant slab of granite taking pictures of the little creatures there. That was honestly a lot of fun, I'm not too experienced with macro so it's another learning thing for me. In fact I didn't get my macro lens for taking macro shots, I just found myself using that particular focal length (60mm) a lot on a zoom lens and wanted it in a fast prime. The macro ability of it was just a bonus but I'm starting to use it more and more.
They're nothing too special but it's a nice memory of a pretty great day. After playing around in the tidal pools it was getting within a few hours of sunset and I wanted to make it back to the lighthouse in time to deal with the potential crowds. I thought about parking farther away and walking, but I thought i'd at least check to see if there was a line first. There was a line, the internet didn't lie it does in fact get pretty crowded there. I ended up waiting though because I had allowed so much extra time and the line didn't seem terrible. After about 40 minutes I made it into the parking lot, I'll let you decide if that actually is a terrible wait time, at this point I was just focused on getting down to the rocks and securing a spot before sunset. At low tide there really is a lot more room, I think it was around 3-5 feet lower than when I was there earlier, and it was full of people. All of the spots I had scouted before had people and tripods set up on them by this point. I could have squeezed in but I was starting to like the idea of a low wide angle shot now that I could get onto some previously submerged rocks. I wandered out in front of everyone else (but behind a rock so I wasn't in anyone else's shot) and got my composition together. I had a comfy rock to sit on which was nice, because I spent the next hour and a half right there. About half that time was waiting for sunset and the other half waiting for the light to fade so I didn't miss anything. I was not about to lost my spot to the swarms of people that filled in behind me. It was kind of funny turning around to see roughly 50 people and 20-30 tripods, especially because in front of me all I could see was this.
Like I said I did wait until well after sunset, but I preferred the image of the sun hitting the horizon here. Often the better light is after the sun is below the horizon but it's always good to have options. Getting the lighthouse light in the photo (which is something I always try to do in my lighthouse pictures) was really easy for this one. It's 3 seconds of light with a 1 second gap. So you have 3 seconds to get your shot in with the light on. By contrast the Fire Island Lighthouse near where I live is something more like a half second every 5-6 seconds (I think) so you have to time that one pretty perfectly.
I got what I wanted, I enjoyed the scene for a while longer, and made my way back the car. That was my last day in Acadia, a kind of short trip but at least it's not too far from me so I should be back again. I spent the night in Augusta and headed back home the next day.