Posts tagged ‘photography workshops’

October 22, 2011

Acadia Photo Workshop – Seeing Maine’s Rugged Coastline Through An Expert’s Eyes

Bob Thayer PhotographySteal a shower cap from your motel to cover your camera in the rain.

This was one of the first photography tips we got as eight of us clustered around Ranger Bob Thayer, who would lead the three-hour program “Focus on Acadia,” an offering of the National Park Service at Acadia National Park in Maine. 

From mid-May to mid-October visitors to Mount Desert Island join park rangers on walks, campfire programs, hikes, and boat cruises to learn more about Acadia and build knowledge as naturalists.  Ranger-led programs range from tidepool school to birding for beginners.

This rainy October morning was the last time this season Ranger Thayer would be teaching his photography workshop, but neither that fact nor the drizzle that would turn to steady rain before we left the Sieur de Monts Nature Center impaired his enthusiasm.

Our group included a retired couple with tripods in tow, a point-and-shoot mom accompanying her daughters who were definitely “off auto,” and another park ranger who admired Thayer’s skills.  Fred and I were the novices.

The photography lesson began.  Think about light and composition.  You must know your equipment.  Anticipating the format in which you will present your photographs is an important first step.

Starting our field work, the park ranger helped us think through our first shot, as he set up his own camera on a tripod.  We were on Jesup Trail where a “cathedral” of golden foliage covered a new boardwalk. 

Jesup Path Sieur de Monts Nature Center

Then we looked through his viewfinder and realized this wasn’t any ordinary park ranger walking us through some canned curriculum.  We were in the company of someone genuinely talented. 

Bob Thayer, it turns out, is a naturalist, photographer, and author of three books, including Acadia’s Carriage Roads, which I had bought years ago. And here we were, taking it all in, courtesy of our National Park Service.

The instruction continued.  Walking alongside the Wild Gardens of Acadia,  Bob Thayer pointed out potentially interesting shots and convinced us that, despite the many “must see” spots to photograph in Acadia National Park, some of the best are the simplest.

Then we jumped into our respective autos and the caravan moved to our next destination.  The rain thwarted the customary stop at Sand Beach, which was an acceptable trade-off because this bad weather was giving us terrific light that made the foliage pop.  Our next stop was Monument Cove, where Fred took these shots.

Monument Cove Acadia National Park MaineAfter another stop along the coastline, we concluded at Jordan Pond, where we learned a “painterly” technique created by moving the camera on a slow shutter speed. 

Jordan Pond Foliage

In three hours each of us had received individual instruction and encouragement.  The “lecture” was informative for participants at every level.  I had even discovered parts of the park I’d never seen, despite my explorations during the last eight years.  

We said our thanks and goodbyes.  As some headed to the Jordan Pond House for popovers, Fred and I walked back to the parking lot with Bob Thayer.  I told him about my Web site to help people plan trips to Acadia, a hobby; I do marketing for a living.

That reminded me that the most powerful word in the marketing dictionary also applied to this workshop, which had been substantive, customized, and inspiring.

It was also  free.


March 13, 2011

Insiders’ Tips: Photographers’ Favorite Spots in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island

Ed Vatza offers one of several photography workshops in Acadia National Park.

Fly rod?  Skis?  Bikini?  Snorkel mask?  What’s the essential vacation gear you won’t leave home without?

If it’s a camera, Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island in Maine should be someplace you consider visiting this year.

The 46,000 acres of this storied national park offer rugged Atlantic coastline, glacial lakes, and mountains whose wonders are laid open to photographers by miles of carriage roads and hiking trails.  Iconic New England villages, dating back to 1761, add postcard-perfect images of working fishing harbors and white church steeples to the portfolio.

Plus, it’s the first place to view sunrise in the U.S.

As a quick visit to the forums on TripAdvisor will show, Acadia has spawned a particularly collegial group of amateur and professional photographers who openly share techniques and favorite spots.  Just ask and you’ll get plenty of tips on filters, shutter speed, and remote release techniques for Acadia’s different venues.  Among the locations they name as “don’t miss” are:

Bass Harbor Headlight

Sunrise from Thunderhole

Jordan Pond and The Bubbles

The Bridge in Somesville

View Atop Cadillac Mountain

Lobster Boats in Bass Harbor

Views from Ocean Path

Margaret Todd Schooner

Among those offering photography workshops in Acadia National Park is Canon.  Led by award-winning photographer Tyler Stableford, Canon bills its session as “A Seaside Photography Adventure.”   The two-day weekend workshop, held August 6-7, 2011, is based in Bar Harbor and priced at $750 (excluding hotel).  It starts with classroom instruction and gear handouts, then heads out to explore coastal landscapes and the Bass Harbor Headlight through sunset.  Sunday morning is spent photographing working lobstermen in Bass Harbor, with instruction emphasis on lighting, composition and getting the most from your models.  Lightroom processing and printmaking instruction follow back in the classroom.  Limit: 16 students.

Robert Rodriguez, Jr., a Hudson Valley based photographer, offers his Downeast “Beyond the Lens” workshop at autumn’s height.  For six days (Sunday, October 9 through Friday, October 14, 2011), eight serious photographers, whether beginner or advanced, get to work side-by-side with Rodriguez.  Based near Seawall in the island’s southwest section, this workshop is about 25 minutes closer to the Bass Harbor lighthouse and harbor than Canon’s base in Bar Harbor and utilizes accommodations at the Seawall Motel that are thriftier at $80/night than Canon’s $239 rate at the Bar Harbor Regency, which has a swimming pool.  With an $849 price tag, the curriculum is in-depth, providing both classroom and field sessions daily.  The video about the photo workshop beautifully showcases Acadia’s scenery.

Another option is to explore Mount Desert Island with Ed Vatza.  An advertising executive based in the Lehigh Valley, Ed has been visiting MDI since 1999 and is now a Destination Expert on Acadia for TripAdvisor.  Ed says, “It seems every workshop tries to get to the same places. The key is to know other places, less well known, where you can get the shots that you want. That’s what I strive to do.”  His five-day workshop to Acadia is also offered at the height of foliage season, October 11 through 15 in 2011, costs $750 and is limited to ten participants.  It promises to take photographers off the beaten path.

All of these workshops, depending upon their length, offer free time for you to explore Mount Desert Island.  To learn more, especially about the island’s wide range of restaurants, visit OUR ACADIA.


Acadia Photo Workshop – Seeing Maine’s Rugged Coastline Through An Expert’s Eyes

5 Tips If You Want to Enjoy A Glorious Sunrise from Cadillac Mountain in Maine