My photo blog… visual thoughts around me.


"Hangin On The Coast"

Adventure photography at the Maine Media Workshops in Rockport,ME. How do you transition from the static life of a landscape photographer to the fast paced world of shooting outdoor sports? That question bounced around in my head, on the drive north, many times. Many of my questions were answered during orientation when I met Michael Clark, our instructor and exceptional extreme sports photographer. The sports would be running, mountain biking, sea kayaking and rock climbing.

For the first shoot we hiked half way up a ski slope. Carrying lighting equipment and myself proved to be a test. I was fascinated by how intricate strobe lighting can be to set up. To catch a rider in just the right position, and get the most dramatic light, took countless tries. In order to get our runner to line up, timing and camera position were key. I ended up with many shots taken but also experienced a feeling of weariness. One thing I learned that day, was getting a good shot, you had to be precise and your timing spot on.

Mountain biking was to be next, to my exasperation… same hill but, this time all the way to the top! Lighting was tricky, as the riders moved much faster than our runner. I was amazed at how many missed shots I was getting due to the speed of the biker’s rapid decent downhill. Crashes, jumps and walking back up proved tedious, but the pictures created with our instructor’s input, were much more effective. Creating an angle to accentuate the movements and show the drama of the jumps was challenging but, very rewarding when captured.

On the next outing we shot sea kayaking and were informed that it would be from a boat and not from land. I knew from experience this would be problematic, but if done right, a truly beautiful shot could be achieved. I was greeted with an epic sunrise as we sped out of the harbor to one of the many islands. Pictures were coming from everywhere, as the freedom to compose and create was almost overwhelming. Light was being reflected from both the kayak and the rocks beyond his boat. Reflections and reflected light danced all around us. All the confinement from shooting on the hill seemed to just disappear when out on the water. This was truly an enlightening experience.

The final extreme sport was rock climbing. We secured our guide from Atlantic Climbing School, out of Bar Harbor,ME, and made our way to the cliffs of Acadia NP. As I hiked the trail to our destination, a calmness took over when I saw the coast and cliffs above. I watched as Pete, our guide, made the repel down to the edge of the ocean to secure his line. What came next was jaw dropping. Pete was able to climb the massive wall with grace and sheer power. Capturing the image came easy as the backdrop to our climber was very picturesque. I was still in awe as I made my way to the top of the cliff and gazed all the way down, realizing the full scope of the climber’s ascent.

My adventure, albeit lived vicariously through others, was over. From the solitude of running to the extreme nature of rock climbing, this is one adventure I will not soon forget….in my dreams.


18 responses

  1. Pingback: Small Town Spotlight: Bar Harbor, Maine - Hopper Blog

  2. I got short of breath just admiring the photos. Exciting. Full of thrill and suspense. Indeed unforgettable. That’s living life to the fullest!!! Thanks for today’s inspiration . One’s passion can take us anywhere and do anything we thought are not possible. Have a wonderful day.


    January 16, 2012 at 3:22 am

    • My passion for photography and family are what keep me sane. Thanks so much for your comments.


      January 16, 2012 at 3:26 pm

  3. Great photos!


    October 1, 2011 at 11:44 am

    • Thanks for checking back in.


      November 6, 2011 at 10:50 pm

  4. toogreytogrind

    I love rock climbing and I love the black and white foto of the climber, gives more a sense of the commitment, no protection and a long way from the ground. I did think it was DWS at first but no.
    Nice one.


    September 13, 2011 at 8:13 am

    • Thank you Toogrey, your comments really made me stop and think. ‘Sense of commitment’…I like it. Just a little question… DWS what does it stand for?


      September 13, 2011 at 8:05 pm

  5. Wooowwww!! Mike, you are an amazing, talented photographer, these pictures are just so beautiful, i love how you capture sportsmanship, and the hard work adventure in their eyes… And it looks so natural..Beautiful..:-D


    September 12, 2011 at 7:11 am

    • Hey Abby good to see you back…. I really had a great time just being out on the cliffs and water. No danger though… the athletes took all the risks.


      September 12, 2011 at 9:33 pm

  6. Wow, that sounds like a bunch of fun! I really like the HDR bike shot (top right), the bright red canoe, and the climbing photos (I admit to being partial to climbing 😀 )


    September 9, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    • I feel ya Cap… climbing seemed the most risky and the drama of the setting didn’t hurt. I had a great time with very dedicated people.


      September 9, 2011 at 9:33 pm

  7. I like the most pictures of rock climbing… maybe because I have fer of hight 😉


    September 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    • fear*


      September 9, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    • Fer..fear… its all the same. I felt it when looking over the edge… so I just layed down and took the pics…. Thanks Sabina.


      September 9, 2011 at 9:31 pm

  8. denisebushphoto

    What a great workshop and opportunity to learn. Refreshingly different! Every photo is a winner.


    September 9, 2011 at 7:41 am

    • Thanks ‘D’… thats what intrigued me …not something I would normally shoot. I had a blast.


      September 9, 2011 at 9:28 pm

  9. Pat


    What fun! Sounds like a great trip and your shots are tremendous! I especially like the bikers from the low angle.


    September 8, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    • Thanks Pat…that low angle shot drove me nuts… timing was a bear!!!


      September 9, 2011 at 9:27 pm

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