In the summer, I usually look forward to visiting Maine. I primarily go to take classes at the Maine Media College in Rockport. On my most recent trip, I included a couple of extra days so I could shoot part of Acadia NP with Stephen Johnson. He was also going to be my instructor at the college. Needless to say, weather plays a very important part in outdoor photography, sometimes fog, rain or extreme sun can throw a wrench into getting a good shot. My motto is “ you can’t shoot it if you are not there “, so I just kept my fingers crossed and prayed to the photo gods. I know nothing is ever perfect but I always try to make the best of what is presented to me at the moment.
The above composition was taken on my drive up to Acadia. I had stopped for my yearly “lobster roll” in the town of Wiscasset. The most publicized place there is “Reds Eats” but, it is normally packed and I really hate lines. Just across the street is “Sprague’s Lobsters”, which has a beautiful deck overlooking the inlet, and shorter lines so it was a no brainer. While eating and dodging gulls, the sky became overcast and shadows started opening up around the pilings. I observed the clouds, along with the movement of the gulls, and was able to dial in a shot that had all these qualities and yet spoke volumes about the intimate serenity enjoyed in nature.
About 2 hours further up the road, this amazing cable bridge came into view. I immediately turned around and found an outlook point and started framing pictures, from very wide to more isolated. The last comp here is a cropped version of my larger photo. I loved how the dark shadows formed a ‘V’ down each side while the clouds were a bonus and added a much-needed background. FYI… the Penobscot Narrows Bridge was finished in 2006 and is located in Fort Knox NP.
A day later I finally made it into Acadia NP and came across one of 16 cobblestone bridges which criss-cross the park. I was fascinated by its structure and how it seemed to frame what was on the other side. After shooting many variations I turned my lens to some of the many plants in this area and found this fern which drew my eye and camera down its spiraling fronds.
Now was the time near sunset to drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain. Clouds and an overcast sky made it very difficult to get a decent sunset shot. After circumnavigating the top of this mountain, I came across many lichen covered rock formations. They took my camera in many directions until this almost perfectly carved cross came popping out. I am still amazed at how many colors nature presents to me in the outdoors.
The next day I decided not to fight the crowds of summer and take a trip to the opposite side of Bar Harbor. Schoodic Point Road toward Winter Harbor turned out to be the perfect choice. No crowds and many pull-offs to hike out and take in the view. The first shot was made after a short hike through the woods where I found the fog just starting to lift. I noticed a sailboat tacking back and forth so I waited until it was parallel to the dock. While waiting for the boat to come back, I looked down at what was crunching beneath my feet. Shells… thousands of them, all cracked open. I learned that gulls drop them on the rocks to break them and then eat the mussels. To me they formed this wonderfully colorful ode to why I was there. Sometimes it is not to make the iconic most oft taken picture but instead, be witness to what is around and embrace it. The last photo was at Winter Harbor, on the point, and the sun was now at its apex … noon… kinda like the bewitching hour for photographers. I strolled out to the slippery point and concentrated on the shadows and how the tide and waves were moving in. I learn a lot about the area and myself while shooting. Just like the rhythm of the ocean around me… take it in, flow with it and do not fight the moment. Just being there is what life’s all about…. I do not dismiss those iconic places, as I will be back when the crowds dissipate and the skies open up, hopefully with a fresh eye and a new “ point of view “.
I’m always looking for new places, experiences and meeting people who enrich my daily routine. But sometimes I simply yearn for the comfort of an old sweatshirt, broken in sneakers and familiar surroundings. Sort of a home away from home. Maine holds that comfort zone for me.
I have attended Maine Media College workshops for many years and still manage to find new ways to view its “nooks and crannies”. The town of Rockport is usually my base of operations and is the perfect respite for just kicking back and contemplating what to shoot next. I have taken classes in everything from, how to shoot with a digital camera to, advanced techniques in adventure photography. In between classes and especially early mornings and evenings, I can experiment with what this place has to offer. Exploring the harbors, people and hidden abstracts keeps me coming back each summer.
The photographs shown here were not taken specifically for class assignments but are the results from the influence of the area and its people. My favorite people to talk to, outside of the workshops, are the vendors. I always tell them where I am from and ask how they found this fantastic place. They almost immediately tell me a little bit about themselves, but more importantly, a story about a town in Maine they grew up in or settled in. This exchange of backgrounds and history resonates inside me and every time I make plans to visit, it expands my horizon while searching for new venues.
From the first mouth-watering bite of a lobster roll, creative imaginings of the children, serene beauty of the seaside communities, to the graceful silhouettes of the boats, and shared moments between friends…. Maine is so much more than that.