Nature’s Dazzling Display

Fall is my favorite time of the year,and even though this years spectacle of color seems a bit lackluster,one can still find pockets of beauty if you look a bit. Despite the fact that I traveled thirteen hundred miles this month to see foliage,this scene was among my favorites and it was less than ten miles from home. If anyone wants suggestions on shooting foliage,I would say mix it up and try some tight shots like this using a telephoto to compress the scene and keep sky out of the shot. It wont be long till old man winter starts to blow and just between you and me,I hope its one of the snowiest and coldest winters.I just got four new snow tires on the truck and I am itching to get out and explore.

Persistence pays off

Several people who know me have commented that they enjoy my light painting photos, but want to see more of my nature and scenic photography, so I will appease them with a shot I did in Acadia National Park one fall morning. I really love traveling to the New England states in autumn, because the landscapes and quaint villages make for some terrific possibilities. Many times in the past I have made the trek to Vermont and New Hampshire, only to find a nasty batch of bad weather has destroyed most of the fall color, or I am slightly early or late. After suffering through that situation several times, I started to have a back up plan each trip, and that turned out to be the great state of Maine. The beauty of Maine is the fact that even if the color is a flop, you can hit places like Acadia National Park, which is really quite spectacular. It features a rugged rock lined coast, lovely pines, crashing surf and more. The title of my post refers to the fact that I headed to this mountaintop overlook Four days in a row, and on the very last day I was rewarded with this sunrise. This view is from Cadillac mountain in Acadia, which is the highest point along the atlantic seaboard and the first place you can see the sunrise in the United States. Each day before this one was full of nasty winds, rain, thick fog,etc, but this day awoke to the ocean being covered in a spectacular wave of rolling fog. The Sun made an appearance and provided the finishing touch to the scene. All the mornings of getting up an hour and a half before dawn for nothing great, were soon forgotten as I took in the awesome scene before me.

A few tidbits of info for anyone contemplating visiting Acadia or anywhere along the coast of maine. First take plenty of high-capacity memory cards, wake early and see things that 99 percent of tourists miss by sleeping in. Next, if you are one that likes to get unique perspectives, be aware that if you fall in the surf or get washed out in Maine, chances are fairly good that you are finished. Maine pretty much figures if you are brave or stupid enough to be pulled in, that’s your problem. I basically like that view and will tell two simple stories of my escapades in Maine.

The first is from a trip I took to Acadia years ago, and as I was working the rocky coast, I made my way along a ledge that lead to a small cove of rocks that was almost ten feet high by about twenty feet wide. I was dazzled by the crashing surf on the rocks below,which were at least 8 feet below me,and even though I knew the tide was coming in, I was oblivious to that fact. After about thirty minutes of shooting, I noticed the ledge I came in on, was now under two feet of water. If you ever had a scare where you feel your heart racing, then you know what I felt at that moment. My only possible way out was to climb the sheer walls in this cove, and I did that by using my Gitzo tripod,which is very strong,and I literally stood on it to reach the top. All this while The surf was spraying me occasionally and getting closer. It was a real eye opener, because had The surf got me, that would have been all she wrote.

My next memory of Maine involves a trip to the Portland Headlight, which in my view is a very gorgeous lighthouse. Anyway, as usual,they have a fence to kind of keep you off the rocks, but again, if you are after that special image, you most certainly feel the call to jump that fence. I have ventured into this usually very safe landscape of granite many times, and gotten great images over the years. On this particular trip I was somewhat close to the ocean, but I was standing on a mountain of a rock that no kidding was at least 25 feet high and 20 feet square.This rock was far enough and high enough from the crashing surf that the incoming waves were only just nipping at the rock next to mine. To get a clear picture, imagine you are on a 25 foot high rock and there is a two foot gap to the next rock and you can look down and see surf at the bottom. wave after wave mildly washed around the bottom few feet of these house sized monsters. As I was looking through the viewfinder, I hear a thunderous crash and look up to see the entire rock next to mine covered, the 25 ft deep crevasse filled with water and water washing up to my ankles. If you have never heard the term, rogue wave, familiarize yourself with it, before hitting Maine. Those memories are forever etched in my mind because of the intensity of the experience.

Okay, one more funny one,to me anyway. I was photographing at the pemaquid lighthouse one fall morning. There was only one other guy there shooting. I said hi and noticed a small sticker on his tripod that said John Shaw. I asked why he had a John Shaw sticker and he said well, it’s because I am John Shaw. For anyone who does not know him, he is a fairly well-known nature photographer who has published numerous books. I had all his books, but in person, he looked different than I remembered. He was very cordial, left me load a roll of 220 velvia slide film in his fuji panoramic camera and shoot a series with it. I was dazzled by the meeting and even had my wife snap our picture together.