A Whirlwind Summer 2015 Trip Up The Coast Of Maine And Through Acadia National Park

As I mentioned in the previous post, I just got back from a few weeks in Maine. The main purpose of the trip was to work on a video for Camp Skylemar, one of the most beautiful, efficiently run sleep away summer camps in the country. I’ll post much more about this insanely incredible experience once we’re done with the video in a few weeks, but this post is a quick focus on the 5 days after we were done. Since I had never been to Maine before, I tacked on some extra time at the end of the job to explore the State for a few days.

I had reservations at an inn just outside Acadia National Park, about a 3 hour drive from Portland, Maine, and the idea was to immediately drive up the coast to fire a few shots of lighthouses and coastlines. While circumstances prevented me from driving up the first night, this offered me the opportunity to explore the “most photographed lighthouse in the world,” the Portland Head Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, just outside downtown Portland. I entered Fort Williams Park, the property upon which the lighthouse stands, just as the fog was rolling in and the sun began to make its descent. Unfortunately, they kicked everyone out of the park before the proper sunset, but I was still able to set up the tripod and capture a few shots of the lighthouse as the beam cut through the increasingly dense fog. The header to this post is that image, which is actually two exposures. I took one at 1/80s (samsung nx1 | 16mm | f2.2 | 1/80s | iso500), fast enough to freeze the light beam, and then another at 6 full seconds (samsung nx1 | 16mm | f22 | 6s | iso500} in order to capture a smooth milky water.

The next morning, I grabbed a cup of coffee and got on the road. Acadia National Park, here I come. While it added an extra couple of hours to the drive, I opted to take the Highway 1, which tended to stay close to shore, rather than the 95, which would have had me on a highway through the center of the state. Well worth it. I was able to roll through towns like Rockland and Camden, stopping along the way to appreciate the classic New England architecture, feel, ice cream (yeah, I said it), and vibes of these classic New England towns. Not to mention my second lighthouse of the trip, Owls Head, just outside of Rockport.

I ended up pulling into Trenton, the town just at the tip of Mount Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park, where my room was, around 6pm. I checked in and had just enough time to try to capture my first sunset in Maine. When I realized that I was within striking distance of Bass Harbor, just 20 minutes away, I knew that’s where it had to be. I picked up a delicious pesto chicken sandwich at the Cafe Drydock & Inn in Southwest Harbor, about 10 minutes from Bass Harbor, and continued on my way.

The Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse is one of the most popular lighthouses in Maine. It sits right outside Acadia National Park and is situated along a steep rocky outcropping right on the coast. It’s absolutely beautiful and, although it’s one of those token iconic images, I knew I had to capture it to get it out of my system. And for good reason. Just as I made my way down the trail to the shoreline, I saw about 8 or 9 photographers already set up. And there wasn’t much room to maneuver. So I had to settle for perching on the top of a rock overlooking the other photographers as well as sharing the space with a family vacationing in the area. In the end, this turned out perfectly OK, especially since, as the sun broke through the early evening clouds, we were treated to a perfectly stunning cotton candy sky. The colors ran the gamut from purple to pink to orange to magenta to red to yellow. And the streaks couldn’t have been more perfect, as they mimicked what would normally have been radiating beams of lighthouse light.

Now that I had my ‘lighthouses’ out of my system, I had the next 2 days to completely explore with absolutely no agenda, and Acadia National Park to do it in. Those 48 hours included driving around the park on Park Loop Road to get acquainted with the premises. Spent about 90 minutes hiking a part of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the North Atlantic seaboard and the first place in the U.S. to see the sunrise (sadly I did not get the chance to capture a sunrise there this time around) before heading into various parts of the park including a walk around a sizable portion of Jordan Pond, a trip down to the Wildwood Stables where I began a 3 hour hike on the old Rockefeller Carriage Roads - a 57 mile network of stone gravel roads designed especially for hikers, walkers, and horse drawn carriages by John D. Rockefeller in the early 1900s, a drive down the bayside Sergeant Road, snaking through the various harbors, from Northwest Harbor to Southwest Harbor to Fremont, and a final sunset in Maine which I enjoyed and captured at the end of the Wonderland Trail at the southernmost tip of the island.

My first foray into New England will absolutely not be my last. Maine was everything I imagined it to be and more. Beautiful. Charming. Quaint. Comfortable. Spacious. Green. Perfect. The uniquely vibrant aquatic architecture, the fenceless neighborhoods where you could rarely tell where one grassy property ended and the next began, the creamy home-churned ice cream on every corner, the stacks of lobster traps and buoys dotting the driveways, the random 5 minute outbursts of rain, the village-like atmosphere and old-school red-roofed Post Office on every Main Street up and down the coast, the smell of fresh seafood everywhere you stepped, and the wide smiles of those well out of the throughs of the winter months happily serving it all to you.

Maine, you had me at hello. I can’t wait to get back.

Below is a set of images from those 5 days, all of which were taken on Samsung NX1 and Samsung NX500 cameras. Click on any of them and it'll open up a lightbox slideshow.

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