October Photo of the Day 10.6.21

Sunrise on the Acadia Coast

Since sunrise is coming at a much more reasonable hour these days, I have committed to dragging myself out of bed early as many days as possible until my tenure at Acadia is over for the season. This morning I got all set up on the rocky shoreline and realized I had forgotten my cable release for the camera. Good Grief! I was forced to set up the self-timer to use with the tripod. Not ideal – but it is what it is.

I like to use the “live view” window when I have the camera on a tripod, so I felt for the button in the dark and activated the live view screen. As I was adjusting the shutter speed and aperture, I noticed that I could not slow down the shutter speed below 1/30 and was puzzled as to why. Turning off the live view enabled me to decrease the shutter speed but every time I went back to the live view screen I was once again limited to 1/30. I started checking all my settings and, while the sunrise was unfolding before my eyes, I could not find anything amiss. Frustration was setting in! After some time went by, I finally noticed on the “info” screen that there was a “video” icon showing when in live view. The proverbial light bulb went off in my head and I remembered having this problem before. When in live view there is a switch incorporated into the button that activates live view and it enables the photographer to choose either “photo” or “video”. It is way too easy to inadvertently hit this switch when pushing the button for live view. I have done this before and hopefully will be more careful in the future!!

So, I missed some of the sunrise due to trouble-shooting my camera settings. But, all was not lost. πŸ™‚ I still managed to capture a couple decent shots.

October Photo of the Day 10.5.21

American Lady butterfly

I watched this little beauty moving around from plant to plant while hiking along the Ocean Path near Otter Point. At first, I thought it was a Painted Lady butterfly. But, doing some research, I realized that the little white spot in the orange section on the larger wings indicates this is an American Lady. Learned something today!!

October Photo a Day 10.4.21

Watering Hole

There’s an old, abandoned, shallow well along the Quarry Trail in Acadia National Park. Someone with a sense of humor decided to suspend an old tin cup on the top of the well. I noticed it the other day – just a little whimsical fun on this start to what appears to be a glorious, sunny week ahead! πŸ™‚

October Photo of the Day 10.3.21

Taken from the Ocean Path near Otter Point

I was trying to capture the subtle pastel colors of the sky along with the shimmering sea and, by accident, also captured a lone seagull cruising along the coast. The whole scene evokes a sense of peace and calm – something we can all relate to in these tumultuous times.

October Photo a Day 10.2.21

Virginia Rose

How appropriate that I would share a photograph of this beautiful rose on the anniversary of the birthday of my grandmother, Virginia! The small rose hips and the brilliant burgundy fall color of Rosa virginiana are very showy right now along Otter Cove in Acadia National Park.

October Photo a Day 10.1.21

Long Lake at Beech Mountain

Fall colors are starting to pop out all over Mount Desert Island. Yesterday’s dramatic cloud-filled sky complimented the emerging colors. πŸ™‚

High Surf Along the Acadia Coast

Waves crashing on the rocks near Otter Point

A couple of weeks ago, Hurricane Larry was way off the coast of Maine causing high surf advisories for us. I decided to head over to the Ocean Path along Thunder Hole and Otter Point to check out the seas. The bottom observation deck at Thunder Hole was closed but I made my way down to the next level above that to capture some shots of the incoming surf.

Thunder Hole

In the above photograph, you can see why the park closes the bottom section of the observation deck! πŸ™‚

I was stationed on the next level up from there snapping pictures.

Bottom deck covered with water!

It was when I was snapping the next photograph that I realized I might get exceedingly wet! After getting the photo, I immediately turned my back to the spray and avoided getting my camera completely drenched with salt water.

Oops! Too close!!

After hanging out at Thunder Hole, I drove down past Otter Point and got some more great photos of the wave action.

I noticed this guy up on the rock and snapped a couple of pictures. This is what the park means when it issues warnings to tourists about getting too close to the edge of the rocks during high surf advisories!

Notice the guy up on the rocks …..
And, then the next wave came a tad close!!! He was okay!

No better time to get out and photograph the park than during inclement weather! Makes for some superb photographs!

Carriage Road Tour

Eagle Lake

On Wednesday, the weather forecast was ideal for a long bike ride. I planned a route that would take me several hours to complete and capture a circuitous journey through the heart of the park. It was an ambitious 14-plus mile tour.

The 45-mile carriage road system in Acadia National Park has its origins back in the early 1990’s when John D. Rockefeller Jr. envisioned creating a motor-free byway through the young, developing national park. His inspiration for these paths came from the carriage road system his father had constructed on this estate – Forest Hill – in Ohio. Between the years 1913 and 1940, with the help of landscape architect Beatrix Farrand and countless other engineers and laborers, the existing gravel-packed roadway came to fruition. Today, the byway is maintained through a partnership between Acadia National Park and the non-profit Friends of Acadia organization. Funding through the federal Recreation Fee Demonstration Program allows a portion of the park entrance fees to be funneled directly into carriage road maintenance projects. In 1995, the Friends of Acadia established an endowment fund that contributes money towards the upkeep of the roads. In addition, volunteers with the Friends of Acadia alongside park employees spend countless hours on maintenance and restoration projects.

This year, the entire 6-mile section of the carriage roads around Eagle Lake was closed to undergo a major restoration effort. To date, the east side of this route is still closed for construction but the western and southern sections opened a couple of weeks ago. I decided to start my bike ride at Eagle Lake and see firsthand the newly constructed roadway.

Parking anywhere in the park has been a challenge this year due to the record-breaking visitors who have descended us. When I arrived at the Eagle Lake carriage road access parking lot, it was full. Instead of parking along the side of the road leading up to the parking lot (as many people do), I opted for turning around and headed for the Eagle Lake boat launch area. Few people realize there are a limited amount of parking spaces here and I lucked out! There was only one other vehicle parked here! It meant I had to travel the short distance back to the other parking area – c’est la vie!

I started my ride at Sign Post # 6 on the northwest side of Eagle Lake and started the 1.9 mile climb to Sign Post # 8. It is a moderate uphill that gets your heart pumping right away!

A view of Eagle Lake from this stretch of the carriage road (taken last week when I biked this section – notice the cloudy sky!)
Sign Post # 8

At Sign Post #8, I took a right hand turn and traversed the .1 mile section to Sign Post # 10S. A left turn at this juncture leads towards Jordan Pond. This 2-mile stretch of road has some short, gradual uphill climbs followed by a long downhill ride to Jordan Pond. One of the fun aspects of biking the carriage roads is challenging yourself to “bag” as many of the Rockefeller bridges as possible along the way. The first bridge I came to is the beautiful Deer Brook Bridge. Aptly named for the small creek it spans, this bridge was built in 1925.

Deer Brook Bridge
On top of the Deer Brook Bridge
The sun was sparkling on Jordan Pond – a view along this stretch of the road

Past the Deer Brook Bridge, an opening in the tree-lined carriage road reveals a great view of Jordan Pond. My next goal was Sign Post # 14. However, I took a short detour on down the hill to the Jordan Pond House so I could fill up my water supply for the remainder of the ride.

Named for the family who used to farm this land back in the mid-1800’s, the Jordan Pond House started life as a restaurant and tourist destination in the late 1800’s. The original building was lost to a fire in 1979, and it was rebuilt and re-opened in 1982. Famous for its “tea and popovers”, it is a full-service restaurant and a very popular destination. Adjacent to the restaurant is a large gift shop, and it is also a great jumping off point for access to the carriage road system.

The Jordan Pond House outdoor seating on the lawn
Looking towards Jordan Pond and “The Bubbles” from the restaurant lawn

After filling up with water, I made the short uphill climb back up to Sign Post #14 and took a left hand turn to ride the 1.0 mile section to Sign Post # 21. There are two bridges along this part of the byway – the West Branch Jordan Stream Bridge and the Cliffside Bridge. Of course, I stopped at both to grab a photo!

Sign Post # 14
West Branch Jordan Stream Bridge

According to an historical document I came across (from the Historic American Engineering Record published by the National Park Service), this bridge was built in 1931 and designed by architect William Welles Bosworth. Engineered by Paul Simpson who worked closely with Rockefeller, it was copied from a similar bridge in New York’s Central Park.

Heading towards the Cliffside Bridge, the view opened up to expose the distant Little Long Pond and its historic boathouse – a former Rockefeller property that is now part of the non-profit Land and Garden Preserve.

View of Little Long Pond in the distance
Cliffside Bridge

The Cliffside Bridge was constructed in 1932. The single arch spans 50 feet and the granite stone bridge is almost 250′ long from end to end! Leaving the Cliffside Bridge, I quickly approached Sign Post # 21 where I hang a right-hand turn towards Sign Post # 20. This stretch of the road is a moderate ride with a nice mix of gradual uphill climbs followed by some restful downhills. Also along this part of the byway is the impressive Amphitheater Bridge built in 1931. Considered the largest of the Rockefeller bridges, this one sits high up on a hillside and spans the Little Harbor Brook. The arch was designed to showcase the Little Harbor Brook waterfall that cascades down towards the bridge on the uphill side.

Sign Post # 21
The turret incorporated into the design – a unique feature of the Amphitheater Bridge
Another view of the Amphitheater Bridge
Waterfall on Little Harbor Brook at Amphitheater Bridge

Continuing on this 1.2 mile distance, I reach the Sign Post # 20 where another right-hand turn will take me the .9 miles to Sign Post # 19. Again, this part of the route consists of moderate grades with an equal amount of uphill climbs and downhill glides!

Sign Post # 20
Sign Post # 19

The section of the carriage road between Sign Post # 19 and Sign Post # 12 begins with a long, gradual ascent that leads me towards two more Rockefeller bridges. Built in 1925, the Waterfall Bridge extends across the Upper Hadlock Brook and showcases one of the largest waterfalls in the park. It is especially dramatic to visit this bridge after a significant rain! The bridge is faced with stone and reinforced with concrete and steel. Since there was limited stone in the immediate vicinity of the construction, granite was hauled to the site from the Brown’s quarry 3 miles away at a considerable cost. From the Historic American Engineering Record description: “The bridge walls are constructed of cut granite and feature semicircular plan turrets to either side of the arch. The stone parapet walls are capped by projecting stone coping and
terminate in scrolled stone end posts or curtails.”

Looking at the Waterfall Bridge from the trail below gives a good view of the turret and arch
Lovely view of the waterfall framed by some moosewood maple!
Detail of the scrolled stone end posts

Located in close proximity to the Waterfall Bridge, the Hemlock Bridge spans the Maple Spring Brook and is an understated yet elegantly styled structure. Completed in 1924 just prior to the Waterfall Bridge work, the Hemlock Bridge is named for the towering hemlock trees that create a backdrop for the stone bridge. The description in the Historic American Engineering Record is telling: “One of only two Gothic-arched bridges on the Rockefeller carriage road system, Hemlock Bridge is one of eight major stone bridges on the “Around-the-Mountain” carriage road loop. The pointed arch design was chosen for its harmony with the pointed hemlock trees which surround the site.”Β 

The simple, yet elegant Hemlock Bridge!
From the top of the Hemlock Bridge

After leaving the Hemlock Bridge behind me, I reach Sign Post # 12 and the steep descent to Sign Post # 13. Between Sign Posts 10 and 12 is part of the “Around the Mountain” route that suffered severe storm damage and erosion in the torrential rain we had in June. The repairs have yet to be completed and this area has been closed most of the summer.

Looking towards the Around the Mountain section of the road system that has been closed since June due to storm damage

At Sign Post # 13, I take a right and head towards Aunt Betty Pond, passing by the Parkman Mountain parking area on my left. This 3.3 mile section of the carriage road is primarily wooded and has very moderate grades – although at this point in the journey my legs are feeling workout and any slight uphill climb is a challenge! πŸ™‚

Sign Post # 13 near the Parkman Mountain access area

Before embarking on the last big 1.1 mile uphill climb, I stopped for a break and some snacks at this beautifully peaceful spot along the road.

What a beautiful spot that sits above Aunt Betty’s Pond!

After my lunch break, I have a decision to make. I could take a left at Sign Post # 11 and take the road past Aunt Betty’s Pond which would take me back to Eagle Lake near my starting point. Or, I could go right at # 11 and bike the route through the Seven Bridges area. Since I’ve biked to Aunt Betty’s Pond already this year, I opted for going through the Seven Bridges and ending up at Sign Post # 10N.

Sign Post # 11

The Seven Bridges connector road zigzags over the small brook that eventually dumps into Aunt Betty’s Pond watershed. The small wooden bridges span the creek as the 1.1-mile ascent climbs towards Sign Post # 10N. It’s a shady, steep climb and since this is the 12th mile of my 14-mile journey you can imagine how my legs were feeling! πŸ™‚ It was a good excuse to take a break for photographs!!

One of the seven wooden bridges
The brook running under the bridges

At Sign Post # 10N, we come once again to the Around the Mountain byway that is closed due to storm damage. Along that section of the trail is another Rockefeller bridge called the Chasm Bridge. In previous years, I’ve walked to that bridge via this section of the carriage roads. It will not be a bridge I visit this year.

At this point, I retrace my route back to Sign Post # 8 and take the refreshing downhill glide to the Eagle Lake parking area – my trip complete!! A perfect day in every way!! πŸ™‚

Back to my starting point at the Eagle Lake Boat Launch parking area!

Winter Harbor Ferry

Waiting for the ferry – harbor view

A couple of weeks ago on one of my day’s off, the forecast was predicting record high temperatures and a heat index over 90 degrees. I decided the best place to be in that kind of heat was on the water! During my 3 seasons here in Acadia, I had never embarked on the Bar Harbor-Winter Harbor Ferry that crosses Frenchman’s Bay and takes travelers to Winter Harbor and the Schoodic Peninsula, where the mainland part of the park is located.

These hydrangeas blooming along the harbor were stunning!!

I decided to take the 11:00 am ferry over to Winter Harbor and return on the 2:30 pm ferry boat. This would allow me enough time to take a short hike on the Schoodic Peninsula and return home in time for an early dinner.

The colorful umbrellas at the Bar Harbor Inn’s outdoor restaurant
Along the coast by the Bar Harbor Inn

The ferry “Miss Lizzie” started boarding about 15 minutes ahead of departure time and it was full! I decided I wanted to have a strategic spot on the upper deck and made my way up the ladder as soon as I stepped onto the deck.

As we left the harbor, we immediately saw some porpoises swimming along in the wake of the boat. It was so much fun to watch them! They were too quick for a photo! Up ahead of us, the Margaret Todd schooner was sailing back into the harbor. My last season here in Acadia I took a ride on the Margaret Todd. It was well worth it – although the cruise I enjoyed was lacking enough wind and we only had the sails up for a short while. Looks like there was plenty of wind on this trip today!

The Margaret Todd – love the reflection of the sails in the water!

As we were skirting the Porcupine Islands, there was a flock of juvenile Common Eiders floating near the shoreline of the island. My original post listed these as American Coot. I was going by the white bill mostly and a Vermont friend who is a bird expert pointed out that he thought perhaps they were actually Common Eiders – in the juvenile stage. I am very inexperienced with bird identification and will most confidently go with his assessment! πŸ™‚

A flock of juvenile Common Eider ducks swimming along one of the Porcupine Islands

Scenes in Frenchman’s Bay on the way to Winter Harbor:

How would like to have your own private island home!? Wow – just wow!

Once we docked at Winter Harbor, I hopped on the Island Explorer shuttle bus that would take me to the Visitor Center at the Schoodic Woods Campground. From there, I intended to take a short hike along the Lower Harbor Trail – making a 2.8-mile or so loop back to the starting point in time to take the shuttle back to the ferry. The trail took me through some nice, moss-covered, shady forest and along the coast of a protected harbor. A great choice for such a hot, humid day! πŸ™‚

First part of the trail was shady and restful!
View along the Lower Harbor coast
I ate my lunch on the rocks along the water’s edge. I never saw another human being on the whole hike!

On the ride back to Bar Harbor on “Miss Lizzie” I got a few more shots of some of the sights along the way. It was a perfect day for a outing on the water!!

Now this island “home” is more in my price range! Maybe!
Cormorants and Gulls hanging out on a rock ledge
Dramatic coastline of one of the Porcupine Islands – I saw several bald eagles perched high in the coniferous trees along the way!

Camera Maintenance

Setting sun reflection along the Acadian coast

My camera is now 5 years old and I’ve been very happy with the purchase of this amazing full-frame digital wonder. While not a true professional-grade camera, it has served me well. I had one issue with the mode dial a couple of years ago and had to send it off to the Nikon center for repairs. It came back to me in great shape and I’ve had no problems since then with the functioning of the camera.

I clean the exterior body and lenses regularly, and use the “mirror lock-up” function to gently blow out any dust particles that make their way onto the sensor in the interior of the camera. However, after 5 years, it was obvious that I needed to do more to clean the sensor of dust. My attempts to remove dust using the blower did not get rid of some stubborn, nasty, clinging particles.

Over the past several months, I have been spending an inordinate amount of time in Lightroom removing “dust spots” with the spot removal tool. During this last month, my patience with this process finally reached its boiling point! All indications in my Nikon manual warned against attempting a self-cleaning of the sensor. In my manual, it states “dirt that cannot be removed with a blower can only be removed by Nikon-authorized service personnel.” The last time I sent my camera off for repair weeks went by before it was returned to me. I just did not want to go this route.

Researching online, I found several really good videos by professional photographers that detailed the process of removing these difficult dust particles. While I was nervous about trying this, it seemed simple enough and I ordered one of the recommended full-frame sensor cleaning kits complete with a number of pre-packaged cleaning swabs and a sensor cleaning solution. The kit came with detailed instructions. I resigned myself to the fact that I might damage the sensor and would accept the consequences. But, all indications pointed towards this being a very easy process.

After the first pass with the moistened swab, I took a test photo and loaded it into Lightroom to see if I had been successful in removing all the dust particles. The image was so much better than before but I still noticed several dust spots remaining along the edges of the photo. According to the instructions, a second cleaning was often necessary and I performed an additional pass over the sensor with a new swab.

It was close to sunset by the time I completed the second cleaning so I walked down along the coastline and took a shot of the sunset – with an emphasis on getting as much sky as possible. I loaded the photograph into Lightroom and scanned for dust. For the first time in many months, I had ZERO dust spots that needed manipulation!! πŸ™‚

I am a happy, happy photographer!!