I think I saw a few pigs fly by the summit of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park as Rich and I stood watching the sunrise.
Yes, you read that correctly. Rich joined me for sunrise during our recent trip to Maine! It was especially nice of him because sunrise that morning was at 4:55am. We got up at 3:30 to arrive at the summit with some time to spare. Rich thinks this may be the earliest he’s ever gotten up!
Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the North Atlantic seaboard. It is popularly believed to be the first point in the US to see the sunrise (which is only true in the winter). Lots of people at Acadia National Park go to see the sunrise. I’m not used to seeing that many people so early in the morning! It was hilarious to watch all the antics of people posing for cameras.
Rich decided that being up for sunrise wasn’t so bad. For one thing, it was gorgeous, and the cool breezes on the top of the mountain were a welcome break from the record heat that marked the second part of our week in Maine. After we left the mountain summit, we drove along Park Loop Road, which is generally overrun with people in the mid-afternoon. Well, at 5:30 in the morning it was pretty empty! Rich joked that we had found “Mount Deserted Island!” We had a great time climbing on the rocks, and I got some beautiful images of the rocky coast in beautiful light. I was amazed to see how slowly the sun climbs in the sky in Maine. I made this next image an hour after sunrise!
One of the park’s iconic locations is Jordan Pond and the two mountains behind it, called “the Bubbles.” There’s a famous restaurant there that was so busy that we didn’t even bother to go in. But we did spend an afternoon hiking the trail around Jordan Pond. It was really pretty. On the west side of the trail, they installed a boardwalk so that visitors will not damage the terrain. There were so many people on the little one-way trail that we spent about half our time stepping off the trail to let people by! It was a little crazy. I was glad that I had my polarizer with me. It made the skies more blue and cut the reflections off the water. Although I learned a lesson about my new full-frame Canon 5D Mark III camera – my Cokin P filter holder isn’t wide enough, so it produced a vignette in all my images! Thank goodness for cropping in Photoshop. :)
The weather wasn’t always so pretty. It was foggy and rainy for at least half the time we were there. Before we went, I had read the book The Photographer’s Guide to Acadia National Park by Jerry and Marcy Monkman. It warned me that the weather would often be challenging, and it provided suggestions of places to photograph on foggy days. I probably wouldn’t have found one of my favorite places if I hadn’t read the book. This waterfall runs near one of the bridges in Acadia National Park’s Carriage Road system, and you can climb down and photograph the falls silhouetted by the pretty bridge.
I experimented with show shutter speeds with the water falling over the rocks. I wish we had more waterfalls in Florida! They are such fun.
Another popular location in the park is the lighthouse at Bass Harbor. It’s a popular sunset location, although the sunset isn’t visible from the lighthouse during the summer. Still, the gorgeous colors of the sky would have been a pretty backdrop for the light. Although I kinda like my picture with all the fog. It really shows the need to have a light to warn ships of the rocky coast. It was strange for this Florida gal to hear the foghorns and the bells that are positioned in the ocean near rocks. And there’s a lighthouse just about every time you turn around up in Maine!
I was amazed by all the flowers growing in the granite rocks. There were even wild rosebushes that were blooming beautifully right next to the rocks. I saw more wildflowers in Maine than I’ve ever seen in Florida, which is funny because Maine’s summer season is so much shorter than Florida’s. This next image shows the wild roses blooming on the Schoodic Peninsula, a part of Acadia National Park that’s separate from the majority of the attractions on Mount Desert Island. We stopped at the Schoodic Peninsula on the way back from seeing puffins. It turned out to be one of my favorite places, partly because it had fewer people.
I had read about the famous bridge in Somesville, a small town that gives good view of Somes Sound, the only glacier-shaped fjord on the East Coast. What I wasn’t expecting was to find the bridge right next to the main road! There are flower boxes along the sidewalk, making it easy to take shots of the bridge with flowers in the foreground. For the Fourth of July, they draped an American Flag over the side of the bridge.
Rich and I enjoyed hiking along the Carriage Roads, which are a system of wide trails that go throughout the park. They are closed to cars. Lots of people ride bicycles on them, but they are just as good for hiking. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the trees and the lichens growing on the rocks. It was also fun to observe the birds that call Maine their summer home. Many of these birds, like American Goldfinches, Gray Catbirds, and lots of species of warblers, spend their winters in Florida. It was great to see them in mid-summer, some still in their breeding colors, and singing their hearts out!
From one of the carriage road trails we found this pleasing view of Witch Hole Pond. I love my full-frame angle and wide-angle lens let me frame the pond with the trees. I still have a lot to learn about landscape photography, but I’m enjoying the process! There were beaver lodges on the water, but we didn’t see any beavers. I know there are several active beaver colonies on Mount Desert Island. Maybe for our next trip… :)
We stayed at Seaside Cottages during most of our trip. Seaside Cottages is located on the “Quiet Side” of MDI. The owners, Kathy and Jay Shields, were really friendly. Our cottage was clean, well-kept, and was just a five-minute walk from a small rocky beach. The sunsets there were incredible. So was the star-gazing, as you’ll get to read about in my next post! I would definitely recommend Seaside Cottages if you are planning a trip to MDI. The only downside was that it was about half an hour away from some of the main attractions in Acadia, and we felt like we spent a lot of time driving up and down the island. But then we moved to Bar Harbor for the last couple of days, and found ourselves surrounded by tourists, and decided that our quiet little cottage was worth the extra driving!!
We went to the summit of Cadillac Mountain for sunset twice during our trip. The second time was a total dud – there was too much rain around, and you couldn’t even see the sun. The first time seemed like it might also be a rainy dud, but I stuck around, because there were breaks in the clouds at the horizon and I hoped the sun would peek through and bathe the clouds in gorgeous light. It did! I was having a blast, playing with panoramas on my 5D Mark III and its built-in HDR feature. When I got home and assembled the panoramas, though, I learned a valuable lesson about leveling your tripod…and so it turns out that my favorite panorama from this sunset was shot with my iPhone!
I never did get a shot of the flying pigs!
Want to learn more about nature photography at Maine Trip - July 2013?
Check out my Maine Trip - July 2013 page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!
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Beautiful images, Jess!! I didn’t realize that sunrise on the mountain would be so popular, but I guess now that I think of it, of course it would be!
Love the comments about the pigs. Hmmm….my devious mind is hard at work now. :-)
Great photos and journalism! The kids and I loved Acadia.
Thanks! It was nice meeting you guys. I’ve been enjoying looking at your stuff on 500px, too. Let me know if you’re ever in Florida!
Jess, great pictures and glad you & Rich enjoyed it all. Sounds like he may have learned the best part of a day is early morning.