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national parks

The Photographer's Guide to Acadia

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The Photographer's Guide to Acadia

I first published the Photographer's Guide to Acadia in 2014. Over the years, I've been keeping notes about places in Acadia that photograph really well. Some locations are better photographed in the early morning, others in the afternoon, and some are best seen while the sun is going down. It took me years of visiting these locations again and again, at all times of the day, to realize this.

I found some places in books or on postcards. I asked locals and other photographers for suggestions. I pored over maps to discover where the light might be extra special at a certain vantage point. Some locations were great and I came away with beautiful photos. Other places sounded good, but photographically, I came away with nothing. But all the while, I kept making mental notes about where the best places were.

Sunrise at Hunters Head, Acadia National Park, Maine, USA

Eventually after eight years of exploring Acadia this way, I sat down one winter to write a book where I could share my extensive knowledge of Acadia with other photographers– so that they could spend their time in the park well, not searching fruitlessly with nothing to show for their labors. OK now... I'm all about wandering through the landscape with no agenda, observing purely for the sake of enjoying nature. But I also know most visitors have little time to wander aimlessly. They want to leave with iconic images, beautiful prints that they can hang on their walls or show friends.

Fog and boulders around Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park, Maine

The new, second edition of the Photographer's Guide to Acadia gives you my Top Ten suggestions of places to see and photograph in Acadia. But I also tell you when to visit them- the best time of day– and how to photograph them. I share with you the camera settings I used, what kind of lens is best in any given location, and any other extra gear I used, and what filters might be appropriate. I also talk about how to use your camera more effectively, and how to creatively use aperture and shutter speed to be more artistic in your photography.

Evening light on Bubble Pond, Acadia National Park, Maine, USA

Best of all, every photo in the book is tagged with a link to Google Maps, so that you only have to touch a photo on your screen and you'll be taken to the exact location where I made the photo, and be given directions how to get there. You can't do that with a printed book; only an ebook has this advantage!

Autumn Foliage, Northeast Creek, Mount Desert Island, Maine, USA

If Under October Skies is my ultimate book of fine art landscape photography in Acadia, the Photographer's Guide to Acadia is the book that gives away all my secrets. You'll read how I made many of the images, the gear I used and what I was thinking when I made the photo. If you're planning to visit Acadia National Park this year, download your copy of the book and start planning your trip now. It's only $12.99.

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2018 Autumn in Acadia Photography Workshop, October 10-14

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2018 Autumn in Acadia Photography Workshop, October 10-14

For years, I've been working on putting together my own photography workshop in Acadia. For one reason or another, I've never gotten it off the ground, though I've had interest from several people all over the country. Well, that's all about to change.

Autumn is the best time to visit Acadia. The colors are sublime, the air is clear and the scenery is second to none. I'll take you to see many of my favorite locations in the park. As a veteran of eighteen visits to Acadia, I know my way around and will show you the best places to be given the weather and lighting conditions. I wrote The Photographer's Guide to Acadia and can guarantee you'll have great scenery to photograph.

I'll be running my first Acadia photo tour/ workshop, from October 10-14th. This will be a small group, probably 4-8 people at the most. You'll be staying at my favorite hotel in Bar Harbor and spending each day out in the national park, visiting some of my favorite sites, shooting from dawn 'til dusk and receiving personal instruction from me. In the evenings we'll get together to look over the day's pictures, and I'll teach you some of my favorite techniques for processing your images in Lightroom and Photoshop. If you're interested in joining me, send me an email and let me know you're interested. I'm anticipating these few spots will fill quickly.

Small Pond on the Canon Brook Trail, Acadia National Park, Maine

Images of Acadia Photo Tour/ Workshop... $1895

Price includes accommodation as well as transportation around the Park each day. If you look at most other Acadia photo workshops, accommodation and transportation are an additional cost, so this is one of the most affordable photo workshops in Acadia. Hotels near Acadia are not cheap, so several days' lodging can easily add $1000 to your total cost. Breakfast is included at the hotel, but you'll need to cover your lunch and dinner expenses. I want this to be a trip where you don't have to worry about all the extras, but where you can concentrate on your photography and creating art with your camera.

I'll have a van or car to get us around to all the sites. You're free to bring your own, or rent one, but I'll be driving us around to take the burden of transportation from you if you choose. And by traveling together, I'm hoping we can build camaraderie and learn from each other as we compare notes, pictures and 'talk shop.' The idea is to learn not just from me, but from each other and our different backgrounds and experience in photography.

A typical day will start about 6am when we head out for our first sunrise location (the sun comes up at ~6:55am). We'll go back to the hotel for breakfast then return to the park until we break for lunch in a nearby town. After the sun goes down around 6pm, we'll head back to Bar Harbor and have dinner together at one of the town's great restaurants. Then you can wander around the town for a while– Bar Harbor is full of souvenir shops, bookshops and more– before we return to the hotel for the night. If you're still awake and there's interest, I can go through some of the techniques I use to process my images and answer any questions you have.

Dawn at the Boulder Beach, Otter Cliff, Acadia National Park, Ma

What sort of camera do I need to have?? I would say any D-SLR (interchangeable lens) camera is sufficient. You don't have to have the latest, greatest camera or lenses. But a camera that can be set manually is a big plus. I'll teach you how to use manual exposure for most of your pictures, and how to use aperture and shutter speed to create art with your camera. A tripod is a must too. Recently, I've begin using my iPhone for simple grab shots and have been enjoying that- I can share some of my insights with you. I'll be sending you a list of what gear I bring and some suggestions for any extras you may want to purchase before the trip, like filters and even appropriate clothing to bring.

What's the weather like at that time of the year? I generally find it to be pretty comfortable in mid-October. I've seen it get into the 70's but I've also been bitterly cold waiting for the sun to rise on top of Cadillac Mountain, with wind chills probably in the low 20's. But typically, the temperatures are in the 50's or 60's during the day. I generally see rain only once or twice a week during October, though if it rains more often, we'll just have to deal with it!

Is there a lot of hiking? Generally speaking, no. Most locations are pretty close to the road or parking areas, though we'll probably walk into the woods a little or maybe take a carriage trail into the heart of Acadia. But we will definitely be climbing over rocks along the coast. Nothing strenuous, but bring sturdy hiking boots- street shoes won't cut it here.

If you have any other questions, let me know, and I'll also be adding to this page as I think of additional things to include.

I hope to see some of you in October!

Mike Hudson

PS  If you think you're interested in joining us, fill out the form below with your name and email address and I'll send you a registration form.

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Early morning mist hanging over Upper Hadlock Pond, Acadia Natio

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Photo Impressionism

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Photo Impressionism

Autumn foliage, Duck Brook, Acadia National Park, Maine, USA

I've never been a painter. But I wish I could paint. I envy those who can convey the sense of a scene in oils or watercolor, or artists who can conjure up scenes in their minds and commit them to paper or canvas. But instead, I use a camera to create my art. But unlike many photographers, my goal is to create a sense of a place (its essence), not just a snapshot of what it looked like. I want my viewers to see what it felt like.

I could've photographed this pool of water along Duck Brook the way it looked when I came upon it– deep water, littered with fallen leaves and surrounded by the rocky edges of the brook. But to me, I saw it differently. I noticed how the colors of the bright autumn foliage lit by the sun reflected in the water, if viewed from the right angle. And, even though it was almost imperceptible, the pool was slowly revolving, so I brought out that movement by using a slow shutter speed.

I think my interpretation of the scene is an image of the colors, movement and beauty of the scene. This is what the Impressionists in the late 1800's were trying to accomplish. Not a literal transcription of what they really saw, but more an artistic image of the feelings they had when they painted a scene.

I haven't picked up a paintbrush in many years, but instead I use my camera to paint scenes. Not all the time– occasionally a scene just photographs well with little artistic interpretation on my part; natural light paints its own beautiful images without any help from me. But I love the opportunity to use my camera to paint the landscape, and be an artist, not just a photographer.

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Park Loop Road

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Park Loop Road

One of the most beautiful drives you can do in Acadia is along Park Loop Road in the Autumn. Colorful foliage lines your way, sometimes arching over as an autumn canopy of yellows, reds and oranges. Along the way, you'll see hundreds and hundreds of "Rockefeller teeth," the rectangular slabs of granite that act as guard rails.

I used a small point and shoot camera, held out the window of my car, as I drove down Park Loop Road from the start of the one-way road near Cadillac Mountain, almost to the Great Meadow. Enjoy.

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Images of Acadia is now on Instagram!

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Images of Acadia is now on Instagram!

Hunters Head

Hunters Head

It's hard to keep up with all the social media channels- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. I make my living in photography and have a hard time keeping up with everyone- amateurs and professionals alike- who posts to social media regularly. After all, I plow through 500-5,000 photos a week and it's hard to find the time to update my blog, post to social media, as well as spend time with my wife and kids. There has to be balance in life. It's not all about photography...

But while I've resisted Twitter (do I really need to tell you what I'm doing in 140 words or less?) and Snapchat (why?), I bowed to the pressure and jumped into Instagram a few months ago. While my posts have been sporadic until recently, I've got a wealth of images to share and plan on posting on a regular basis now. I'll also occasionally be posting discount offers for my books and large prints.

Having just returned from two recent trips to Acadia, I have plenty of new images to show you. Stay tuned, and follow me on my new Instagram page:

Images of Acadia Instagram

Sieur de Monts

Sieur de Monts

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