Category: Acadia National Park

What makes this sunrise so special ?

By , May 14, 2014 9:54 pm

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If you google “Cadillac Mountain sunrise” you will see hundreds of images. But there is something different about this one. Compare and you will notice not many of the images have the Porcupine Islands in the foreground. Why? Well because that can only be photographed for a short period of time each year. Most of the year the sun rises closer to the Schoodic Penninsula and that is what you see in the foreground. But on the first day of summer (and a few more days before and after), the sun rises in it’s northern most position which puts it further to the left and closer to the islands. This allowed me to get a tightly framed image of the islands that also included the sunrise.

A few years ago I set myself a goal to get this picture. I dedicated a week to getting up there every morning until I got the shot, Sunrise on the first day of summer is the earliest sunrise in the year. It’s around 4:45 am. And you want to be on top of the mountain by at least 4:30 .  By the end of the first week…no luck. Fog, clouds, rain, you name it…no great sunrise. One year later I tried again. I was up there every morning for another week, same results, They say third time is the charm, and it was. My third year started off much the same but then one morning the skies cleared! About 20 other people were there that morning but no one was more thankful than I was for that glorious sunrise! Who would have thought it would take 3 years to get the shot! But if you’re serious, sometimes that’s what it takes.

Stars Over Sand Beach

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By , March 14, 2014 3:34 pm

I love taking pictures at twilight and sometimes stay late enough to get some stars but I never set out with a goal to photograph them until this past summer when my husband and I decided to go to “Stars Over Sand Beach” one of the popular weekly ranger talks. I decided this could be interesting to photograph.

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In 2009 when I first saw the work of Tyler Nordgren I was stunned that he was able to capture stars and land, clearly sharp without star trails. I immediately read up on what he was doing. The new camera technology had finally made this possible. And slowly but surely the Internet filled with everyone’s version of Milky Way photos. You can find plenty of web sites with information about camera setting etc. and of course you need a tripod, but what I’d like to share are some tips most about what not to do and what else to keep in mind!

Test out your infinity focus on your lens ahead of time. If you crank your focusing ring all the way down it will go past infinity and with some lenses that won’t be sharp. Bring a tiny flashlight so you can set your focus and leave it in manual so it doesn’t change.

Turn off the auto preview!!! Having the back of your camera light up after every shot will annoy others around you and be blinding to you while you are trying to view the stars. I did not think to do this and held my hand over the back of the camera as I didn’t want to take time to find the setting. Next time I will know to check that setting ahead of time and turn it off.

Know your camera well enough that you can change settings in the dark! Practice at home so when you get to a great spot you are ready.

Things to be aware of…its dark, VERY dark. Photographs make it look like you can see the foreground but your eyes cannot. You will need a flashlight or headlamp, and you will annoy everyone every time you turn it on, so get there early and settle in one place if you go to a public event.

headlights on Park Loop Road and flashlights on Sand Beach illuminate the night

Headlights on Park Loop Road and flashlights on Sand Beach illuminate the night

Acadia is one of the best places for night sky photography. In 2008 Acadia National Park was listed by National Geographic as one of the places having dark skies and good for star gazing. In 2009 the first Acadia Night Sky Festival was held. Also In 2009, the ‘Bar Harbor Dark Sky Ordinance’ was voted in by a landslide popular vote. It is a local ordinance that requires, ‘night sky friendly’ outdoor lighting on all new construction in the Town of Bar Harbor, in an effort to prevent any further light pollution to our local skies.

You can enjoy those dark skies anytime and once or twice a week the rangers lead the “Star Over Sand Beach” program with lots of great information.

Read the Down East article here http://www.downeast.com/starstruck

Learn more about the Night Sky Festival here http://www.acadianightskyfestival.com

Somes Sound from the Water

By , June 22, 2012 5:38 pm

I have photographed along the shores of Somes Sound many times over the years but last summer when Down East magazine asked me to shoot Somes Sound from the water I set off to explore a whole new view. Though I had seen some parts of the area by boat in the past, I can now say  that I have photographed the Sound from, a tour boat, sail boat, a lobster boat, and in Somes Harbor by kayak.

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The author focused the story on sailing but if you don’t sail or own a boat, you can still enjoy getting out on the water. There are  many tour and rental options available all over the island. Below are a few shots not in the story and some info to go along with them.

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The Sea Princess’s scenic nature cruises are narrated and include great information about the area and the wildlife. The cruise leaves from Northeast Harbor, passes by Bear Island Light,  tours over to Southwest Harbor and then up into Somes Sound. The Sound is quite long so they only go a little more than half way and then turn around, but that covers most of the Acadia shore and  the most impressive views. You can learn more about them at http://www.barharborcruises.com

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Looking toward the Northeast Harbor side of the Sound (below) you can see the swim club and houses that dot the shore. Closer up you can see details of homes, boats, and see the cars along Sargeant Drive where most people take in the fabulous views by land.

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For those who have their own boat one of the unique outings is to go to Abel’s Lobster Pound by boat.  Abel’s is nestled in the trees along the shore where  you can dock your boat and enjoy a meal inside or out, right on Somes Sound. More info at http://www.abelslobsterpound.com

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But my favorite part of the Sound is Somes Harbor by kayak. However if you are not a resident there is really no access to put a boat in directly into the harbor area. And kayaking all the way down the Sound is only for the very experienced kayaker in my opinion. So a private charter of a touring boat is probably a better option for seeing the area. One place you can do that is in Southwest Harbor is at Quietside Cruises and Sail Acadia. http://www.downeastfriendshipsloop.com/quietside_cruises.html

That said, here are some images taken while kayaking in Somes Harbor. I love kayaking around all the little islands and coves!

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For anyone planning to camp on MDI one of the spots you might check out is the Mount Desert Campground located on Somes Harbor. They have beautiful sites AND canoe or kayak rentals are available (for their campers only), right at the campground!!!  The photo below shows a small bit of the camp and kayakers.See more at http://www.mountdesertcampground.com

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At the end of the day late light warms the shore and the boats in Somes Harbor create a peaceful scene.

You can read the article by Will Bleakley in Downeast Magazine here   http://www.downeast.com/magazine/2012/may/sailing-the-sound

20 year anniversary

By , March 13, 2012 6:39 pm

The 2012 Bar Harbor Guidebook just came out and I realized that it has been 20 years since I began working with the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce. I am so happy that they chose one of my images to grace the cover on this special year!

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In 1991 I was already a professional photographer working in an advertising studio but my personal work was primarily focused on Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park. Realizing that I had begun to produce a large body of work,  I contacted the design firm, M & M Graphics, who produced the Chamber of Commerce book. M Louise Shaw, owner and designer, told me they usually took their own pictures but she’d be happy to show some of mine to the chamber too. She did and the chamber members chose one of mine for the 1992 cover. That began my relationship with M&M Graphics and the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce. A few years later when Louise went on to open her own gallery http://www.malouegallery.com I began working directly with the chamber.

I have worked with many wonderful people there, starting with Risteen Masters and now with Chris Fogg, Executive Director.  I also work closely with the design firms too, to provide photos that meet their needs.

I am constantly shooting new images on MDI, and no matter how much I have shot I always dedicate one week every year to shooting specifically with the Chamber of Commerce in mind. I am aware of new store fronts, and new park improvements, that need to be photographed. On that week I am up and shooting in Bar Harbor  before sunrise every morning and keep shooting into the evening every night. This allows me to provide new and up to date images every year.

Now I am realizing images that, started as personal work, and then found a commercial purpose, are actually beginning to be a documentary account of Bar Harbor at the turn of the century. Here is one series

2 lobster signs frame the businesses on Main St. 1995

2 lobster signs frame the businesses on Main St. 1995

Duffy's lobster sign is replaced by a fisherman approx... 2000

Duffy's lobster sign is replaced by a fisherman. approx... 2000

and suddenly a moose appeared,  2009

...and then a moose appeared.... 2009

And of course, if you’ve been in Bar Harbor recently you know the Quarterdeck is gone and  it’s time for a new photo as soon as the construction at the corner is complete.

You can download a copy of the 2012 Harbor Chamber of Commerce Guide Book here http://www.virtualonlinepubs.com/publication/?i=98482

Christmas at the Gate Lodge

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By , December 20, 2011 1:01 pm

Acadia National Park held a holiday open house at the Jordan Pond Gate Lodge this past Saturday. It is the first time this building has been open to the public and the Holiday decor made it extra festive. As did the unexpected snow!

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More images will be uploaded to my web site soon. But right now it’s time for me to get in the holiday spirit and finish up some shopping! Happy Holidays!!!

The CARRIAGE ROADS of Acadia National Park

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By , April 10, 2011 10:19 pm

New edition just released….

Carriage-Roads of Acadia

The carriage roads are near and dear to my heart. The village area of  Seal Harbor  is my second home , and the carriage roads are just steps from my door. For getting around on them, Diane Abrell’s guide to the Carriage Roads is one of the best reference books you’ll find !

I still have my well worn first edition, and a much used second edition of this great reference book.  So I was honored when Down East asked to use my photos in this third edition of the book.

One of the things I reference  most in the book is the mileage between the sign markers. Though the maps show cumulative totals as the loop progresses, I  use that info to calculate distances in making my own loops. Do I want a short walk or an all day adventure? When other books give me time estimates, I always have to at least double the time. Not because I am a slow walker (well maybe a little)  but mostly because …I stop to take pictures! That takes time!  So with some experience, knowing the actual miles helps me plan better. And the descriptions of each loop will give you a good idea of the terrain, which is equally important as a hilly terrain will be much more time consuming and strenuous. All of this helps plan a great walk!

From the village of Seal Harbor one of my favorite custom loops, not in the book, is from the Jordan Pond Road Bridge head toward Redfield Hill Loop, at # 30 turn left, at 27 left, at 28 straight, to Cobblestone Bridge at #24. From here you can make a short loop back via Redfield Hill loop or a longer route back via the Jordan Stream Loop. This is the walk I took when I made the image featured on the cover. You can also get to the bridge from the Jordan Pond House by following the Jordan Stream Loop. The many maps in this book include the bridges and the intersection markers for easy reference.

There are so many variations! With this book as a guide you can introduce yourself to the most well known loops or  make your own. How about  including the Island Explorer bus to complete your route back to your car! That’s not in the book but easy to do.  Do you have a favorite custom loop? Add a comment here. Let’s share!

The inside of the book is printed with maps and graphics in mind so the black and white images don’t reveal the beauty of the seasons. To see the color versions these images go to

http://www.sueannehodges.com/roads

This gallery includes images of every carriage road bridge and more !

And don’t forget to share your favorite loop with us!

The book is available for purchase at

https://secure.downeast.com/books/maine/carriage-roads-acadia-national-park-3rd-edition.html

Brown Mountain Gate Lodge

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By , March 28, 2011 1:46 pm

Ever wonder what’s behind those leaded windows ? What it would be like to be inside ?

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On Saturday we got to find out when Acadia National Park hosted the first ever open house .

inside the Brown Mountain Gate Lodge

Designed by Grosvenor Atterbury, a prominent New York architect, The Brown Mountain Gate Lodge was completed in 1933. The intention was to mark the entrance to the carriage roads and prevent automobiles from entering. Of course a gatehouse is also designed to house a gate keeper so it is designed to be a home. However I don’t believe there ever was a gatekeeper.  Today it houses seasonal park staff.

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There was a great turnout for the event. From the comments I think everyone had many various ideas of what the interior  might look like. My husband expected it to look like the inside of a castle, I had heard it was more simple and  I expected it to be cold and dark. We were both surprised. First by the warmth when we entered…there was heat! ( I thought it might have been shut off for the winter) And next by the warmth of the welcoming rangers  who had filled the kitchen with muffins, coffee, juice, and fruit. What a nice unexpected surprise!

Though the light was dim the rooms did not seem dark.  Light cascaded through the windows and down the stairs and the smaller bedroom windows created little nooks with a soft glow. Of course making photographs, handheld, was still a challenge…thank goodness for image stabilization, and the low noise/ high ISO of today’s cameras.

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The entire house was open for us to roam through. The first floor has as spacious kitchen, living room, and dining room, the second floor has 4 bedrooms, one bath, and many closets. Even the cellar was open for the public.

In addition to the touring the house there was a stone cutting demonstration by Steve Haynes, of the Maine Granite Museum and additional educational displays in the house.

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I have posted a gallery with many more photos of the events and  the gate lodge.

Click here to see it at     http://www.sueannehodges.com/gatehouse

THANK YOU to the park staff who made the day possible!

Four Seasons

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By , January 8, 2011 10:48 pm

Recently Downeast Magazine asked if I had a series showing a location in 4 seasons. I love going back to the same place and showing it in different conditions or how it changes over time. So I knew I would have some. As I looked through my work I discovered that it was often hard to tell the difference between spring and summer. Or that often I had only 3 of the 4 seasons. And of course evergreens on a rocky coast only really show 2 seasons…snow and no snow! But one series of a pond in Acadia stood out and I had more than enough to choose from. After submitting a few different  locations the pond was the series they chose to run. And I am so happy they picked some of the images that show the weather. So often clients want only blue sky days but what says spring better than a soft spring rain on the pond. I can almost hear the whisper of the rain on the water when I look back at that image. Thanks Downeast for showing the real feel of the seasons! The following are the 4 images they choose.

Winter in Acadia

Spring in Acadia

Summer in Acadia

Fall in Acadia

Glacial Erratics

By , November 1, 2010 12:11 am

While looking through my work recently  I realized that photos of Glacial Erratics were scattered through my work just as they are scattered through out the landscape of Maine. And this year I had shot 2 of them!  First is the iconic “Balance Rock” symbol for the Bar Harbor Shore Path and the Balance Rock Inn.

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Of course the most famous Rock is Bubble Rock which sits on top of South Bubble and looks poised to topple down the mountain at Any time.

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And lastly, one of the big rocks on Cadillac Mountain,

Hodges-1008-0576-D2I don’t think this one has a name. If anyone knows that it does please let me know! Glacial erratics are boulders carried 20 miles or more by the glaciers and left in valleys and on mountain tops. To learn more about the geology of Acadia go to http://www.discover-acadia.com/support-files/written-in-the-rocks.pdf

It’s interesting to see these images together. After putting these images together it occurred to me that this month’s “Where in Maine” in  Downeast Magazine is also one of my rock photos. But it’s not in Acadia. Check it out. Do you know where it is and what is it’s name?


The Heart of Acadia

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By , September 13, 2010 9:12 pm

Hodges-DownEast0810The Carriage Roads are one of my favorite parts of Acadia. One day after it had been raining I walked to Cobblestone Bridge, one of my favorite places, and made a series of images. The timing was just right…soft light and flowing water made for successful conditions for  capturing the essence of the area. I am so happy Down East magazine choose to feature one of those images and a few of my other images for their recent article. I have been documenting the Carriage Roads for many years and have photographed every bridge. You can see more of those bridges on my site at this link http://www.sueannehodges.com/roads

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