You’ve likely seen a variation of this scene even if you can’t readily associate it with Acadia National Park. It’s as iconic as the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, and I really did set out to try and do something different with the location. Best laid plans as they say. I had found this really nice foreground material in the form of some rust colored ferns and a piece of rather large driftwood that would nicely frame the bottom third and more importantly, nobody else had done it. Sad news was that I had to quickly abandon it because the light was not going to hit that sheltered spot for a really long time. So, carefully picking my way down among the rocks I opted for a vertical composition heavily weighted on the beach.
On this particular morning, I didn’t even have to jostle with a workshop group. On other days in the fall you could find at least ten or twelve people trying really hard not to topple themselves or their tripods walking among these rather slippery rocks. Believe me, greased owl snot and if you aren’t from the South that means really lubricious. A good rule of thumb is that if it is green, it will trip a ninja so try to avoid walking on that. Watch the tide too. I’ve seen more than one photographer here loose track of the time while the tide slowly crept in soon finding themselves in the unenviable position of trying to navigate out of the rocks when they are wet and even more treacherous. All that is to say, be careful.
If you are opting to dare the hazards of Boulder Beach, I would suggest using something in the wide angle range for your lens choice to get the details on the rocks and the rest of the scene. A split neutral density filter is also handy, I’m partial to Singh Ray’s Daryl Benson Reverse Graduated Filters. If you have at this point found yourself fairly warned and want to shoot Otter Point from one of the higher and more stable rock outcroppings, you could find yourself happy with anything from a wide angle to a telephoto.
Also be aware that poison ivy is around and turns a really pretty red color in the fall in Maine so make sure you know what it looks like before you go standing in it trying to add some gorgeous color to your foreground. Seriously, I had to tell a guy one time that he was standing in a ten by six foot patch of the stuff. Not fun.
Typically in the fall, Boulder Beach and the Otter Point area are more sunrise than sunset locations. This more broadly applies to any section of the Park Loop Road facing South. Since most folks only have a few days, there are much better places to hedge your bet for a good sunset. The Bass Harbor Marsh is quite beautiful and unlike the more popular spots, elbow room isn’t a problem. If you are luck enough to get a clear evening, Otter Point is great for doing some after dark shooting as well as Eagle Lake.
Useful gear: sturdy tripod, cable release, split neutral density filter, a spare set of shoes, rain jacket
Below is a map of the location:
Until next time,