View Full Version : Acadia national park

7-Aug-2007, 16:50
I am planning a LF photo trip to Acadia national park and need help from someone has visited there.

Question One:

What is the best time to go there? Is it early October OK for the autumn-colored foliage? Or, it is too cold to go there? Any snow during that time?

Question two:

How many days do I need to stay there in order to visit all the spots? A week is OK?

Question three:

Where can I order Tmax 100 Readyload BW films?

I am very new to the LF and have learned a lot from here. Thanks you in advance.

Louie Powell
7-Aug-2007, 17:10
1. Early October would probably be OK, but you should understand that the color changes happens when nature says it should happen, and not according to any hard schedule. Seasonal rainfall, sunlight, and temperature are all factors, and case the timing to vary from one year to the next. The ideal arrangement would be to have the flexibility to adjust your schedule based on actual reports of what is happening this year, and then make contact with someone in the area who can send you a report every few days. That way, you can time your arrival for the best color. Also, you should understand that a patch of bad weather (rain and wind) can transform beautifully colored trees into bare twigs with lots of leaves on the ground in a matter of hours.

2. How much time do you think you will need? How may "spots" do you intend to cover, and what do you expect to do in each one? You could spend a month there, or you could pretty much cover everything you want in a few hours. If the weather conditions are perfect, I would think that you would want a minimum of 2-3 days Several years ago, my wife and I were there for a day and did pretty much everything that we wanted to do.

While Acadia National Park occupies a sizable number of acres of land, the actual number of "spots" is fairly limited, so unless you plan to rough it and spend a lot of time just hiking in search of things that appeal to you, you might not need as much time as you think. There is a road that circles the park, and all of the major "spots" can be touched from this road in a few hours. Seems to me that what you should do is spend some time on the Acadia NP web site cataloging the "spots" you want to visit, and work out a budget for the time you will require to cover them all.

3. B&H, Freestyle, Adorama, Calumet to name a few.

Ben Hopson
7-Aug-2007, 17:38
Good advice Louie gave. I would add Badger Graphic as another film source.

Eric Leppanen
7-Aug-2007, 17:45

This particular newsletter was originally written in 1991 and revised in 2005.

Frank R
7-Aug-2007, 17:50
I have a nice shot of a lighthouse in the fog from Acadia. I took it on 35mm. I would like to visit the park again and recapture that magic shot on large format and print it big.

I was there during late summer about 18 years ago. I remember being surprised by the fog being there every morning; it didn't burn off until almost noon. That might restrict your shooting opportunities.

Sanjay Sen
7-Aug-2007, 17:52
I was there in Acadia National Park just last week! I should tell you that this is not the best time to visit the park due to the summer crowds. However, I think October may be too late for the peak foliage colors, depending on when you go. I suggest following the reports posted in the Foliage Network's website (http://www.foliagenetwork.com) for an idea of the progression of the foliage colors and leaf drop. They start posting reports from the beginning of September, and post two reports every week. As Louie mentioned, the colors depend on a lot of factors and cannot be predicted. With proper research and a bit of luck, you should be able to capture some lovely colors.

As far as "spots" are concerned, Louie has said it very well. I would add that you should also visit the less-frequented section of the park that is on the Schoodic Peninsula. It is quite small but very beautiful. Also, if you are interested, you could visit and photograph some of the small fishing villages on this section of the Maine coast - Corea is one such place that immediately comes to mind.

Good luck with your planning, and your trip!

Best wishes,

Ted Harris
7-Aug-2007, 17:55
If you are flying into Portland, ME and driving from there you might be able to pick up at the Hunt's store in Portland. Portland is not the nearest airport but it is the one to which there is the most service from other major airports.

Louie is right about the weather but the first week in October is often a good bet for the best fall color. We are running our workshop in Northern New Hampshire that weekend this year. This year is going to be a tough call. Looking at the trees now in Central and Northern NH, VT and ME I would not be surprised by a somewhat early turning meaning that, as far North as Acadia the first week in October could be a decent bet if you need to plan this far in advance. Also remember that Fall Foliage is a major event throughout Northern New England and accommodations go early. Many of the B&B's in my neck of the woods are already full up for most fall weekends.

Sanjay Sen
7-Aug-2007, 17:57
<snip> I was there during late summer about 18 years ago. I remember being surprised by the fog being there every morning; it didn't burn off until almost noon. That might restrict your shooting opportunities.

Quite right! I was there on Friday afternoon at about two o'clock and the Bass Harbor lighthouse was shrouded in fog! I got a few shots of it with my wife's digi P&S. It looked really nice!

Best wishes,

Louie Powell
7-Aug-2007, 18:14
One other point - Coastal Maine is a great place for large format photography. One of the best kept secrets (until now, of course) is Fort Knox in Bucksport. Bucksport is less than an hour south of Acadia, and this fort is in absolutely perfect condition. And in the Fall (when the kids are back in school), there should be even fewer tourists than in the peak of summer when there aren't very many.

Michael Graves
8-Aug-2007, 03:46
There is actually a string of forts along the coast in that area. They are easily accessible and I found them interesting. Here is from a 5x7 negative.

Bruce Barlow
8-Aug-2007, 04:12
In my experience, Schoodic Point (the next "finger" east of Acadia) is a far better place for "nature" subjects, and more accessible than many scenic places in the park. Wonderful rocks and shoreline. I spent five days there and didn't wear the place out - 8x10 in the morning when I felt strong, 4x5 in the afternoon.

A nearby town (can't remember the name) has a great place for a clam roll lunch. Motels on the Acadia "finger" but before Bar Harbor will have lower rates - we were there just after Labor Day, and the rates had already dropped. We found the cafe in Bar Harbor that opens at 5:30 for breakfast - excellent and cheap. There was a place we went for a lobster every night overlooking the harbor in Bar Harbor that was excellent, and reasonably priced. Lobster, fries, salad, and Chardonnay. Drool.

Came back with over 80 8x10 negs and almost 200 4x5s...and a lot of wonderful memories. I also learned that 16 8x10 holders was at least one too few. Bought 8 more when I got back.

Heck, maybe I'll see you there!

eric black
8-Aug-2007, 06:38
I do most of my shooting at Acadia in the second week of October and have found that plenty of fall color still exists at that time. If you are planning on staying at a hotel/motel up there check for availability as many shut down for the winter season then. The last time I was there (3 years ago, I think?) temps were about 50 F in the morning with highs of about 60 during the day. I had to contend with fog the entire stay which made for some dramatic photography but kept sites like Cadillac Mtn off the iteneray dur to no visibility. Good luck and enjoy!

John Powers
8-Aug-2007, 07:17
My wife and I spent a week, mid July in a cottage hanging out over Bass Harbor, in the SW corner of the island, three years ago. She is a water colorist and I was working an 8x10. We left there and enjoyed Chip Forelli's Landscape Photo course at the Maine Photo Workshops. In answer to question # two, at my present age of 67, based on what we found, I would be very happy to shoot there another 20 years. Good shoots there are more a limit of the operator's imagination than the weather, topography, biology and geology. Enjoy what you can get.


Nathan Potter
23-Aug-2007, 17:23
I've spent a lot of time in this area from Boothbay Harbor north to Eastport. First week in Oct. or either the week before or after is very good. With luck you'll hit patches of color in the form of red maples and blueberry barrens. There are terrific bluberry barrens scattered along Rt. 1 north and south of Ellsworth. Crowds will be reduced. I've found the summit of Cadilac Mtn. outstanding late in the day for landscapes. I like the beach area out south of Bar Harbor. As Bruce mentioned above Schoodic subsection for cobble barrier beach is really an outstanding spot with an infinitude of land and seascape opportunities. My most visited site for shoreline rock studies is certainly Grindstone Neck out beyond Winter Harbor north of Acadia, (ask directions in town). IT'll be deserted so you can concentrate. Here you'll find a stunning composition of two granitic fault cracks filled with jet black basalt that come to a needle sharp point facing each other just along the shoreline. It is a great compositional challenge in form and texture. I'll be there for a month in Sept. Good luck.

Nate Potter

23-Aug-2007, 18:21
I went last year and was awed by Wonderland. It was my first and last excursion with digital (Error 99 plagued the whole trip). This year I am going back with my new Arca 4x5 and some kick ass Rodenstock glass. No more error 99, and what my wife refers to as "hissy fits" (who would be p$&#37;$%ed after dropping 8K on a camera only to have Error 99 appear everytime you egaged mirror lock-up). I am looking forward to truly bonding with Acadia this year without technology getting in the way.

Ted Harris
24-Aug-2007, 07:13
Look for the next issue of "View Camera" where the cover and a portfolio feature the work of Larry Vanier, all but one image shot along the upper Maine coast, Grand Manan Island and Nova Scotia. Larry has been shooting in that area every year for the past 15 and you will see some really great color that will make you want to pack up and make the trip right away. The cover picture should be up on the magazine website in the next day or two.

25-Aug-2007, 11:00
Check the weather before you go - I was there for thanksgiving a couple of years back (cousin lives in Bar Harbor) and was frozen stiff - damp wet freezing cold - very difficult to deal with..

27-Aug-2007, 12:43
My experience with Acadia is that it is a pretty small national park with LOTS of tourists. Your LF gear will get in the way of many photographers. The light houses in Acadia are hyped IMHO you have better nicer light houses in MA.

27-Aug-2007, 16:55
I was lucky enough to live for some time in Bar Harbor while managing an outlying clinic, and drove to and from the park twice a day. From April to November there is no such thing as a bad time to go. October should be excellent, although the fall color is nothing compared with that in Vermont and New hampshire.
A week would be wonderful, 10 days even better. After that you'll be repeating yourself (which isn't necessarily bad). The whole place isn't all that big.
Start every day before dawn at the cafe on the Main Street where all the locals eat. After a few days, leave your car at the foot of Cadillac Mountain and hitch a ride to the top, then walk back down to your car.