Another 2008 image from Acadia National Park. This was among the very first images I took in the park. We had arrived at Bar Harbor in the evening, and I took a little recon drive into the park. I recall driving around a curve and two things hit me….first I recognized this was beaver pond which I recognized from my trip research, second…wow! I HAD picked the right week to visit, fall color looked to be peaking inside the park. I wasn’t alone either, there were at least five cars parked along the road , and five to ten photographer with tripods shooting the trees and glassy water in the fading light. I pulled over, found a spot, and took a few photos myself of course, the best of which yous see here.
Wet rocks. I traveled almost two thousand miles from Kansas to Maine, to take photographs of wet rocks. Because that’s what we do. (Fortunately, I came back with a lot more than wet rock photos.) These are the particularly photogenic rocks of Boulder Beach in Acadia National Park, Maine. This location is along the shore just north of the Otter Cliffs in my last post. The waves have worn these rocks super smooth. Generally, they range in size from baseballs, up to watermelons. Of maybe softballs to footballs. Most of them are grapefruit sized. You get the idea. I must add that the entire “beach” is composed of these rocks at this spot. It was very difficult to walk around and use a tripod. Not an ankle friendly environment, especially in the rain. The plan was to be here for some super cool sunrise photos-but there were low clouds and rain, no sun – one has to improvise. I re-post processed this one recently and am quite fond of it.
I’m ready for fall. Anybody else? There’s only so many 100+ degree days a guy can take.
I don’t think I have posted this before…this was a quick shot of a tire swing in somebody’s yard. This was a small town in coastal Maine. I hopped out of the rental car and took a few quick shots here and there. Mid-day, harsh light, but what can you do? – waiting around was not an option. Besides, in such a situation I’m always afraid the camera police are going to show up and hassle me – they never do, but I still worry about it every time!
Another day has begun as the sun rises above the Atlantic as viewed from near the Portland Head Lighthouse in Maine. HDR strikes again! I suspect trying to achieve this “old school” with neutral density grad filters or darkroom voodoo would have been quite a bit more difficult. I am quite fond of this crop. It occurs to me that if I were the devious sort and had a lot of time on my hands, this could become a nice moon over the water type shot. Is replacing the sun with the moon against the photo rulebook? Will the photo purists come visit in their black helicopters? I’m probably already on their watch list. I doubt I have the skills necessary to pull of a celestial object swap convincingly anyhow. Let’s just forget I mentioned it.
Although I can’t truthfully say the Portland Head Light is as exciting to photograph as the Bass Harbor Light, pretty much any real lighthouse on the Maine coast is more exciting than most of the shooting around home territory. Perhaps this is due to the distinct lack of lighthouses here in Kansas. I’ve been revisiting a few old images from New England, now that I know (or at least have deluded myself into thinking I know) more about HDR processing etc. This is a good example of what HDR can accomplish, unless dramatically overexposed in the sky, the lighthouse is seen in silhouette by the camera. Blending in one of those frames exposed for the lighthouse and foreground, we get the result above.
As I recall, this was taken standing on a picnic table in order to get just that little extra bit of height needed. The sky in this particular sunrise was not spectacular, but that’s just bad luck. I would have kept going back for that special sky, if time had allowed. This is a three exposure HDR, again processed in Photomatix and finished off with a few Lightroom tweaks. I would love to go back to Maine, I really enjoyed it.
I know there is debate on the artistic merits of the HDR (High Dynamic Range) technique and how it is applied. I’m not one of the minimalists, but I do agree it can certainly be overdone. To tell you the truth my only barometer is whether or not I think it looks cool on whatever image I’m working on. I thought the more extreme HDR look worked for this one, but of course not everyone will agree. Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park, Maine is a photogenic location, but I was never able to catch it with a calm surface on my short time there. It is certainly a location I would like to revisit someday. This image was created from a bracketed set of three exposures, combined using Photomatix software with a final tweak in Photoshop Elements.
Look behind you, there might be something interesting happening. That’s one of the little lessons I’ve learned when out photographing. This is especially true if you are in a generally interesting location, in changing light and/or changing weather. Sure, that main subject you’re fussing over is important, but don’t forget to glance around every once in awhile. Even if you don’t come away with a stunning photograph of the whatever-it-is, you may still be glad you were able to see it. This happened to me while shooting the Bass Harbor Lighthouse written about in my last post. After the other observers left me alone on the rocky shore in the fading light, I looked behind me and there was the moon rising above the hill. When it is this high in the sky, the moon is notoriously difficult to shoot due to exposure issues, so the resulting photo is nothing spectacular for me. That doesn’t matter though, just the memory of that scene, at that spectacular location is all I need.
One of the favorite places I have had the pleasure photographing is the Bass Harbor Lighthouse in Maine. Admittedly, it is one of the most photographed lighthouses on the planet – but as they say, it isn’t a cliche if you haven’t shot it yet. Lighthouses hold a particular appeal to me, probably because they are in short supply here in Kansas. In 2008 I was lucky enough to visit Acadia National Park and surrounding areas, including this lighthouse. There are two main places to shoot from, one on the west side looking back east (good for sunrise), and one to the east looking west (good for sunset). We were there for sunset on this occasion, so east it was.