Fallen birch leaves, near the Great Meadow.
Sunrise above Monument Cove
I like this image, but I need to go back and try it again. You can't control the tides, but you can come prepared to photograph a location when tidal conditions are optimal. Unfortunately on this morning, the tide was almost all the way out (it was my last morning of my October 2017 trip), so the green, moss-stained rocks along the shoreline were left exposed. I would've liked to shoot this at high tide with a long exposure to add some more interest along the shoreline. But I'll back, and hopefully the weather and tides will yield a masterpiece on the next occasion :)
Cobblestone Bridge, June 2017
Built by hand with locally sourced cobbles and financed by John D Rockefeller Jr in the early part of the twentieth century, Cobblestone Bridge is an easy 30-40 minute hike from Jordan Pond, along Jordan Stream.
Pentax 645Z, 28-45mm lens at 28mm (22mm equivalent), 3-shot HDR (.8s/ 1.6s/ 3.0s), f/16, tripod
My main reason for going to Acadia is to photograph the landscape first and foremost, but the past couple summers I've also been doing photography for some of the hotels in Bar Harbor. In Chicago, where I live, I'm a commercial photographer. Although my heart is in landscape and fine art photography, I've been doing commercial photography for over twenty-five years, photographing for healthcare (marketing photography for hospitals, physicians, etc), magazines, colleges and universities, businesses and hotels. So when a friend in Bar Harbor asked me a couple years ago if I'd be interested in shooting for the hotel group he worked for, I jumped at the chance.
The three or four days I spent shooting for two hotels that summer (2016) were probably the most enjoyable shoots I did that year. We did interiors, exteriors, poolside shoots, restaurant shoots, photographed from a couple different boats, took pictures of Bar Harbor and more. The following year I did a couple more days of shooting for the same group.
I don't know if it'll lead to doing hotel photography in Maine every year, but it's been a nice mixture of my commercial and fine art photography all in one trip.
This was a tricky shot to compose. It was about an hour before sunrise when I arrived at Eagle Lake to scout the photo possibilities; it was so dark I needed a flashlight to find my way around, and I was the only person there that morning. Eventually I settled on this location which had a good foreground, nice middle ground, and the distant mountains in the background.
But the water was choppy and messy, so I knew I would need a very long exposure to smooth it out into a large, creamy expanse. And to get this angle, I needed to balance myself and my tripod on one single rock the size of a basketball, about five feet from the shore. In the end, the exposure needed over six minutes, so it was difficult balancing for so long, hoping you don't fall in the water, while trying hard not to knock $13,000 worth of camera gear into Eagle Lake. It's at times like this that you realize that although you're cold, hungry (I still hadn't eaten anything and I probably skipped dinner the night before), you're all alone and your body aches from contorting itself to fit onto your camera position, the end result is worth it- at least you hope, because often it's not. But such are the sacrifices we make for a potentially great photo...
This image was made about ten minutes before the sun rose. But at Eagle Lake, the surrounding hills block the sun so you don't actually see the sun until several minutes after it comes up in the east. I had hoped for more interesting clouds in the sky but that morning we got plain blue. Better than plain grey, but not by much. The glow off the sun behind the mountains does add a nice touch of color to an otherwise dull sky.
“I’m looking at colors and the way the light plays on the landscape and using my camera to paint an image. I’m always trying to move beyond a snapshot, beyond the big, grand vistas, beyond recording just what I see in front of me.”
Back in June 2017, I had just driven 1300 miles to Bar Harbor, where I was going to show my work at the annual Art in the Park art fair, then doing some hotel photography afterwards. Literally, within a couple minutes of walking in the door of my hotel room, I received an email from the publisher of Opal Magazine, who wanted to do a feature on my photography for an upcoming issue. A couple weeks later, a writer called to interview me and the story was underway.
Opal is a high end publication for luxury hotels along the East coast, from Maine down to Florida. The coffee table magazine will be placed in every room at two of Bar Harbor's premier luxury hotels, the West Street Hotel and the Harborside Hotel, when they open this Spring.
It was a long wait, but I've just received my copies of the magazine and it looks great. They've published a nine page spread of my Abstract Acadia images, where, among other things, I use camera movement, fast and slow shutter speeds and multiple exposures to create more artistic interpretations of the landscape. The images chosen are pretty different from the usual pictures you see of Acadia, but I'm proud of the the fact that they wanted to feature these more creative images. You can see some of the images they chose below, or visit the full gallery on my website here.
The cat's out of the bag; I can now reveal that one of my favorite photos has been chosen to be on the 2018 annual pass to Acadia. To be honest, I entered a couple images last November and forgot about them until a few days ago, when someone from the national park contacted me. It's a real honor, and I take pride in knowing that one of my pictures will be seen on thousands of visitor passes throughout the year.
The photo was taken at Hunters Head in October 2014. That was the first year I started using a medium format camera for all my Acadia photography, but I also brought along a Canon 5D Mark 2 in case I had any issues with the new camera. On this occasion, I needed a very wide angle lens, and with the widest lens I had for the new camera only being equivalent to a 28mm lens, I was forced to switch to the Canon, with a 16-35mm lens attached,
Exposure details... 1/5 second at f/16, 16-35mm lens at 16mm, ISO 100, 3-stop graduated neutral density filter, tripod.
This is also the shot I chose for the cover of my coffee table book of Acadia photography, Under October Skies (find out more here).
Crashing Wave, Hunters Head
Pentax 645Z medium format camera, 1/13 second at F11, ISO 100
Autumn Abstract, Birch Trees and Fallen Leaves, October 2017
Time's running out for gift buying! Every year, my family always asks what to get me for Christmas and I never know what to say. But in the last few years, I've asked for coffee table books by photographers whose work I admire. One day I'd like to buy an original print from some of those photographers, but for now, I have the next best thing- a curated collection of their best work in a high quality beautiful photography book.
And that was my aim when I published my Acadia National Park book– I put all my best photos of Acadia into a professionally designed beautiful book. If you're looking for a unique gift to give someone special (or yourself), you can get a signed copy of my book, Under October Skies (Autumn in Acadia), directly from me at this link.
FREE SHIPPING for all orders shipped to a US address. I'll sign your book, package it up myself and send it out via FedEx today. For a limited time, use the promo code "Christmas2017" before December 24th and get $10 off your order.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!