There is a “social” path that leads off of the Quarry Trail in Acadia. I noticed it a few weeks ago but never ventured down that elusive trail. I suspect it has its origin in the village of Otter Creek, intersects the Quarry Trail and leads down to the Park Loop Road near where there is access to an old fishing shack on Otter Cove. This morning I decided to walk down this path to explore – figuring that I would be alone since it is not a marked trail. I was right. My goal this morning was to find an interesting shot of the incredible diversity of moss and lichen in the forest. I do not have a clue as to what species of moss and/or lichen are attached to this tree trunk but if you look closely there are several different plants/fungi growing here. I understand that mosses are indeed considered plants but lichen is a type of fungus. I just love the textures and colors. I need to look for a guide that will help me identify the species in the photo. For now, though – just enjoy!
One thing I will note. When I got my tripod out to set it up for this shot, I realized two things. One – I had forgotten my reading glasses! That meant I was limited to using the autofocus and viewfinder. Good Grief! Two – I had never used my tripod to take a shot with the camera turned vertical. It took me awhile to figure out how to manipulate my tripod to angle it appropriately! Good learning experience!
When I visited the library in Bar Harbor yesterday, I noticed a book on one of the display tables called “Living on the Edge.” It’s not what you might think given that title! The book is a guide to life along the seacoast environment here in Maine. It focuses on the natural environment – both plant and animal life – that survives where at the intersection of land and sea. Written by a local naturalist with photographs by a former Acadia park ranger, it is an easy, informative guide. Scanning the book when I got home, I became inspired to more closely walk the shoreline and examine the plant and animal life. I’m certainly more familiar with the plant life here but regarding the marine animal life I am a novice.
When I think of the word periwinkle, images of the “plants” that use this common name come to mind. In a word association game, if someone said periwinkle to me – I would respond – Vinca minor. Or perhaps, think of the annual periwinkle “Catharanthus.” In Maine along the coast, periwinkle takes on a completely different meaning! Periwinkles are gastropods (think marine snail) and are abundant in the tidal pools and shores along the Maine coast. I’m thoroughly enjoying this book with its excellent photographs and narrative.
A couple of other photos I took along the way that I thought were interesting and fun are added here.
Torrential rain fell upon Mount Desert Island today. I hunkered down inside my trailer for much of the day and thought about how I would manage to get a photo opportunity. I cleaned, read and eventually took the shuttle into Bar Harbor to the library for MORE reading material. By the time I got back to my campsite, the rain had ended but the fog was rolling in thick. I could hear the thunderous roar of the pounding surf from the campground and decided to walk down to the cliffs with my camera and tripod to see if I could somehow conjure up a Day 11 photo.
I stopped at numerous places along the loop road – setting up my tripod and shooting photographs of the tumultuous surf. It sure was impressive but I was having a hard time capturing it on “film.” Eventually, I even picked my way down the slippery rocks to “my cove.” Since it was low tide, the surf was not close enough to be impressive from this angle. It was getting late so I headed back home and that’s when I saw a little used path down to a cliff that I had never discovered before now. I gingerly picked my way down there and, lo and behold, had my picture! A single Seaside Goldenrod was poking up from a crevice in the rock and lent a bit of color to an otherwise drab landscape. You can still see the raindrops clinging to the leaves.
A couple of other photographs taken right before this one are worth posting – one of the water and one of the rocks in “my cove.”
I needed to plan an extended hike today. After five days of working, and no extended hike last week, I was long overdue. I decided to hike to the top of one of my favorite peaks in the park – Pemetic Mountain via a route that I have not taken. I started at the Jordan Pond boat launch parking area, and hiked over to the carriage road that passes by Bubble Pond. From there, I hiked up the steep North Ridge Pemetic Trail. It was a little over a mile to the summit from Bubble Pond along a ankle-turning, rocky, root-infested trail – lots of fun despite my description!
Hauling my large tripod on a 6 mile hike was out of the question, so I brought along my itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny Canon tripod. It really barely supports my heavy Nikon and I confess that I’m not happy with the pictures I took with it. But, since I diverted from my tripod rule for the last two photos, I’m sticking to my guns today and posting a tripod photo! The Bates cairns are iconic here in Acadia so it is only fitting that I highlight one of these trail markers! I was struck by the position of this cairn and the view of the islands in the background as I descended Pemetic.
At the beginning of my hike, as I was walking along the Jordan Pond and Bubble Pond Path, I caught a glimpse of the light playing off the Moosewood Maple (Acer pensylvanicum) leaves in the otherwise coniferous forest. I have fallen in love with this small tree since my arrival here. The leaves catch the light sifting through the canopy of the forest and brighten an otherwise shady spot. I don’t know why – but it always lifts my spirits to see how it reflects the sunlight.
The other highlight of my hike today was walking along Bubble Pond. The masses of Winterberry Holly ( Ilex verticillata) growing along the banks of the pond are showing their fall display of red berries now. It has always been one of my all-time favorite native plants and one I’ve used extensively in garden design. It is at its best in its native environment!
Sunday’s are my Friday’s, if you get my meaning. I usually have a much reduced energy level after five days of work. I also needed to make a trip to the grocery store to replenish supplies. So, in thinking about where I would go for my photo of the day, I chose to stop at the Wild Gardens of Acadia on my way back home from Bar Harbor. My thought was to get some close-up shots of some fall wildflowers. Again, I was without my tripod – these shots needed to be fast and efficient since I had cold food in the car needing to get refrigerated.
It is getting dark earlier and the light was low. I knew I would be shooting without a tripod, so I set my ISO at 400 and still had “slower than I wanted” shutter speeds, but doable. In the end, the photo I liked best was not a wildflower! The white, papery bark of this birch tree trunk enhanced by the bright green ground cover of the New York Fern beneath it caught my eye. I just love the contrast and the light it emits in this shady spot.
I heard about the Bar Harbor Inn Arts Festival happening in town today, and decided to jump on the shuttle after work to go and check it out. I slung my camera over my shoulder to see if I could get some inspiration for my Day 8 photo in “town.” Walking through the art festival booths, I was intrigued by the photography art – especially some that were displayed on canvas. I’ve never printed any of my photographs on canvas. I’m now motivated to choose a photograph that I think would lend itself to canvas and experiment with this medium! After viewing the art – all of which was out of my price range – I headed down towards the harbor hoping to see a scene that would catch my eye for a photograph.
It was the dahlias that did it. There was an island flower bed (and I’m a sucker for perennials) that was strategically placed overlooking the harbor and the dahlias were stunning. I decided to use a short depth of field and focus on the dahlias – with the harbor a blur in the background. I took several shots before heading up to catch the shuttle back to the campground. I have found in my travels to various gardens on the island that dahlias are a favorite perennial here. I’ve never in my life seen so many different cultivars and varieties of dahlias! I will confess that I broke one of my rules on this photo – I did not use a tripod. This was a quick trip to town with minimal baggage. Well – I’ve always said that rules are meant to be broken. 🙂
After I got home and had prepared and eaten dinner, I got the urge to try a night sky photograph. I’ve never experimented with this. A quick scan of the sky showed very little cloud cover, and brilliant stars with no moon. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to give this a try. I set my camera up before leaving, grabbed the tripod and my headlamp, and thought I would try to secure a spot where I had taken my latest sunrise photo. There were too many people there to suit me, so I trekked off down the park loop road to a quieter spot and ended up with a good place to get plenty of sky with evergreens framing the photo. It took some editing to bring out the foreground trees and I altered the exposure during editing to lighten up the sky a bit, but not bad for my first try. I decided it was about time I splurged and purchased a cable release so I can get some longer exposure times. It was pure joy capturing this night sky! I’m guessing the planet that is shining so brightly is Mars with it’s reddish tinge. I know that I am now hooked on sharpening my nighttime photo skills!
After work today, I headed to one of my favorite spots on the island. Strolling along the paths and carriage roads around Little Long Pond during the early evening is both meditative and rejuvenating. It is an activity I engage in at least once every week. I decided to try and capture one of Rockefeller’s infamous carriage road bridges for my Day 7 photograph. I have walked to this bridge numerous times this summer. Usually, late in the day, I am rewarded with solitude while enjoying the ambiance of the Cobblestone Bridge and the gentle sound of the Jordan Stream as it flows over the rocks and under the bridge. Today was no exception. The Cobblestone Bridge was the first of the bridges to be constructed on the carriage road system. Constructed in 1917, it is the only bridge built using the rounded cobblestones.
I took several shots from different perspectives on both sides of the bridge. I also captured some close-ups of the small “waterfall” cascading over some large rocks just before the stream passes under the bridge. I was not happy with my wide-angle photographs of the bridge. They were quite frankly very boring! Finally, I decided to set the tripod up close to one wall of the bridge and take a shot along the side. It was the best of the photos I took of the bridge. I focused primarily on the stones in the curved section of the bridge.
I have made it a goal to visit all of the Rockefeller Bridges this summer. So far, I have physically visited all but one and taken photographs of all but three.
We have not had much rain here on Mount Desert Island this summer and as a result the Jordon Stream is low. I took the time to capture the small waterfall under the bridge. It’s subtle beauty never escapes me whenever I visit here.
After getting up early yesterday for those amazing sunrise photos, and then working the late shift, I was not able to lift myself out of bed early this morning! Since I had to work at noon, I only had a short window of time to capture my photograph for Day 6. With that in mind, I walked down to my favorite little cove. I was not happy with the time of day – being late morning. The light is not at it’s best. But, when I reached the cove, the tide as out a bit allowing for the recently wet cobblestones to exhibit their true colors. I focused on attempting to pick up the array of colors in the rock. The waves added another dimension and, eventually, I tried setting my release mode dial – first to continuous low-speed and then to continuous high-speed. I thought that would allow me to capture the best wave splash!
With limited time to shoot this morning, I took fewer pictures and therefore had less options when selecting one for editing and submitting. The one I chose was a shot taken with Continuous high-speed in force. And was actually my last shot of the morning. I increased the ISO so I could gain a faster shutter speed to capture the motion of the waves more clearly.
I’ll include just one more photo that I took this morning from the same spot, just because there was a flock of birds playing around in the water and I managed to capture them in one picture!
Since sunrise is coming at a more reasonable hour now, I decided to set my alarm and trek down to the cliffs for an early morning photo opportunity. Sunrise today was technically 6:01 am with first light coming at 5:31 am. I wanted to get down to the cliffs by first light so I could shoot pictures over the course of 1/2 hour. My alarm went off at 5:00 am and I hit the snooze button like I always do. As I rolled over for a few more minutes of sleep, I gave myself a pep talk. It’s now or never, I thought – crying out loud – “Get’r done!” (A phrase that my niece Grace coined at some point in time that always comes to mind during moments like this) I cancelled the snooze, vaulted out of bed before I’d change my mind and hastily pulled on my clothes. My motivation was basic – if I relinquished the extra “snooze” minutes, I’d have time to make some coffee!
I brewed a quick thermos of coffee to bring with me, grabbed my camera and tripod (which I had set out the night before) and headed down to the coast. Walking the small social path along the cliffs, I came to a secluded spot devoid of other sunrise worshippers. Positioning the tripod, I set up the camera and took my first picture just a few minutes after “official” first light. Close enough, I reasoned! I continued taking photographs for the next 1/2 hour until the sun rose above Otter Point. Looking back at the photographic progression, it was amazing to see how the light and the sky changed in less than an hour’s time.
The photo I chose for Day 5 was actually taken after sunrise by about 19 minutes – but it was at the point where the sun finally rose above Otter Point.
I thought I would just add a few of the other photos taken this morning – starting with the first light. It’s an interesting study in how the sky changes in such a short period of time.
The Jesup Path near the Sieur de Monts area of Acadia has an interesting history. I have found references to this trail as early as 1895, and George Dorr once proposed that this path was originally a Native American carry route from Cromwell Harbor to Otter Creek area. The Jesup Path is named for philanthropists Morris K. and Maria DeWitt Jesup. It is one of several memorial paths in the Sieur de Monts area. Funding was provided to develop these memorial paths and George Dorr envisioned the Jesup Path as one of several designed to serve as “pedestrian gateways into Acadia” from Bar Harbor. The trail traverses a botanically rich area of moist meadow and wetland forest. A raised boardwalk serves to provide a dry avenue to walk through the area and protect the sensitive native flora.
I have walked here a number of times this summer – looking in vain for the Barred Owls who inhabit this forest. I have yet to see them but I will be back to walk in this shady, peaceful place. Who knows, I may get lucky and spot the owls on a future trip! I’m looking forward to capturing some terrific fall color here later on in September and October. For today, I was trying to capture the various light patterns flowing through the wooded area. My goal as well was to highlight the birch trees.
Just for fun – below is the original photo