Boulder Beach sunrise

A stunning location.

Acadia is well-known for sunrise and sunset views. Indeed, many people vie for reservations to drive up Cadillac Mountain for sunrise, purportedly one of the earliest sunrise views in the U.S. because of its elevation and far-eastern position in the timezone. But for the same reason, sunrise here is remarkably early: every day this week it has been between 4:50am and 4:57am, and that is later than it was on the summer solstice a few weeks ago. I am not interested in sunrise from the peak – indeed, I find it far more interesting to photograph scenery illuminated by the golden rays of the sun than to photograph the sun itself. After some reading, I learned that Boulder Beach, on the eastern shore, is a great location. It’s also only 10 minutes drive from my hotel in Bar Harbor.

I’m an early riser. Still, when the alarm went off at 4:00am this morning, it was tough to drag myself out of bed and prepare for the day. Out in the parking lot I fired up my JetBoil camp stove to boil water for tea – no place is open this early! – and headed south in the growing twilight toward Otter Cliffs. I parked at a nearby picnic area and walked over to the beach, with 15 minutes to spare before sunrise, only to find three other tripod-rigged photographers already on scene. It was none other than John Putnam, of JK Photography, whom I’d met a couple of days ago in his gallery over in Southwest Harbor. He was out here with two clients, sharing his wisdom and tips for sunrise photography. I’d seen his photograph of sunrise at this spot, back in the gallery, and it is awe-inspiring.

I explored a few different shot locations and exposures. The sun rose through some clouds, so the cliffs illuminated a bit late, and the clouds behind them never quite lit up. But it was a fine morning and I’m pleased with the result. Wish I could try again and again. See the photo gallery for more.

Otter Cliffs from Boulder Beach at sunrise; Acadia National Park.

After the sunrise had faded, I walked closer to the cliffs to find a seal swimming toward me, curious; it bobbed for a moment, then dove away to find its breakfast.

Ok, now it’s 6:00am. It’s starting to rain. What else will the day bring?

Thunder Hole

Crowds and crashing waves.

By now I had come to understand that I was not the only one reading the blogs and guidebooks, and thus not the only one who knew that Thunder Hole is best visited in the one or two hours before high tide. And, of course, there is usually only one high tide during daylight/waking hours… so it’s gonna be crowded. Indeed, every parking area up and down the coastal trail was nearly full – but I snagged a lucky spot and walked a kilometer along the trail to join the throngs at the famous Thunder Hole.

Thunder Hole; Acadia National Park.
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Spruce Head, Maine

Today is Independence Day, a holiday here in the U.S., and I decided to take the week off to do a little camping, a little hiking, a little travel, and a lot of photography. One of Brenda Petrella’s podcasts from her Outdoor Photography School inspired me to return to Acadia National Park – which I had last visited nearly thirty years ago. So I booked a hotel there in Bar Harbor, Maine, but wanted to break up the drive by camping along the way. Needless to say, finding an available campsite on Sunday of a three-day summer holiday weekend was nigh impossible, at the last minute, but a Google search led me to a few options along the coastal portion of my drive from home to Acadia. I found a spot – and a whole lot more. Read on.

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South Carolina

From the mountains to the sea.

From the mountains of Switzerland to the beaches of South Carolina… we are here at Kiawah Island for two weeks. On the first morning I enjoyed sunrise on the beach… and in the afternoon, some bird watching near the wetlands of Cinder Creek.

A red-shouldered hawk near Cinder Creek, Kiawah.