As far back as I can remember I’ve had a love for nature, whether its animals, plants, mountains, or just the open air. I have always found it tranquil and a much needed escape for me. I suffer from a laundry list of mental illness and sometimes just being able to walk away from whats in my head for a moment can help me see through the cloud that forms in my mind. Most of the time I achieve this by my little photo walks, some are just as simple as grabbing my headphones and camera and walking through my back yard focusing on the little things around me like bugs and little leafs ect. All the way to driving to a local park and doing the same thing. However this year I got to experience something life changing, and I owe that to my beautiful wife.
I’ve been having a particularly hard time this year with my mental issues and my depression has reached some very low lows this year and over coming them has not been easy however one of the most amazing things happened in June my wonderful other half surprised me with an early birthday gift, now my Bday isn’t till the end of July but I think deep down she knew I could use something to look forward to. As my Bday gift this year she had rented a cabin in Acadia national park! Her love for parks is greater than mine so it was a wonderful gift for the both of us.
At the very beginning of July I was hired by a company called Massive Noise to go to Austin TX for 5 days to shoot promotional photos for a chain of Haunted attractions across the US. not wanting to turn the job down I knew it was gonna make for a busy month. On July 10th I drove from Cleveland to Austin and proceeded to work for the next 4 days pretty much non stop then drove home I arrived home with just under 5 days to complete all of the edits, and prep and pack for the trip to Acadia seems like plenty of time but I had over 165 GIGs of photos to Cull, pre and post edit and then deliver, along with charging cleaning packing all the gear for Acadia. Not to mention I still was holding a part time job at a restaurant. and pulled 25 hours there in those 5 days but I managed to pull it off Sunday morning I woke up and had a cup of iced coffee a cigarette, got dressed and loaded the car.
Iced coffee is my weakness!
We set out on the 13 hour drive at 2pm on the 23rd of July (the day before my birthday) Being that I knew about the trip so far in advance I had time to plan a little along the way and on the way home I wanted to photograph some lighthouses, Now we live along Lake Eerie so Ive seen a few lighthouses before but never one on the ocean. So our first stop was in Portland Maine we arrived about 30 min before sunrise just enough time for me to find the spot I wanted to shoot the lighthouse from. As I stood there clicking the trigger on my camera I closed my eyes and took a breath, Maybe it was the soft ocean breeze, or the coolness in the air, the smell or the calmness of the atmosphere I felt like I was 400lbs lighter, Like the weight of myself was lifted. the feeling only lasted a few min as the sun began to creep up over the horizon I could feel the heat begin to evaporate the tiny drops of ocean mist from my cheeks. As the sun rose more and more people showed up to the location and by the time the sun was visible there were at least 40 people taking photos. It was time to pack up and move on.
We stopped at this little Gem, Now I used Google maps to find as many lighthouses as I could and chose the ones that looked like they would be somewhat easy to access and photograph, I was wrong on this one. Not for the walk that was pretty easy but for the drive this one took us so off the beaten path, Through a dirt road for miles through the woods till we arrived at a little house at the end of the winding dirt road this sat in the abandoned homes back yard. this light house could not be more than 20 feet tall it was so cute and on a lake not the ocean, and it was raining pretty hard by the time we arrived so I only was able to photograph it for a little bit.
Over the next few hours we stopped at a few more locations most were a bust until we stopped at this one It was on a old naval base, way to many people for me (believe it or not I really dont like large crowds) The storm had just passed well at least for the moment allowing me to snap these.
Once we arrived around 3 pm to the camp grounds we checked in and then went to our cute little cabin, I loved it, small but just what i was hoping for no TV, No internet, just us a bed and a plug to recharge batteries. We decided to take a much deserved nap as we both had been up for over 24 hours.
After a quick 2 hour nap were had reservations to enjoy a sunset cruse of the bay however the storm had rolled in and with the rain and lighting they called us to reschedule for the next day. So we decided to use the rain to our advantage and drive around the park while it was a little quieter. We drove around for about 2 hours looking through rain soaked glass and while the water obstructed our views they were still beyond breathtaking I had never seen such amazing looking landscapes the rocky cliffs, the ocean smashing against the rocks and the wind swaying the HUGE trees. Then we decided to head into town (Bar Harbor) to grab some food. Every restaurant was packed with lines out the doors so we decided on some Pizza we stopped by a little place off the main strip and took it back to the cabin to eat. After that we enjoyed a nice evening sitting on the porch of the cabin sipping Blood orange soda and chatting.
The next morning we awoke to the sounds of campers packing up and heading on there way, I wiped the sleepy sands from my eyes as I approached the cabin door I could feel something different in the Air, I opened to the door and as the spark of my lighter created the flame in which I lit the tip of my first smoke of the day I could feel the difference in the air, it felt cool but warm, fresh and invigorating. I fell in love.
Now neither me or my wife enjoy large crowds and neither of us deal well with children screaming. Boy we picked the wrong time of year to go to a national park as we drove from one spot to another trying to even find a parking spot within a mile walk of each location we found nothing but cars parked everywhere, people just over running this beautiful place so much so that we spent the entire first 8 hours of the day just driving around while i popped out in the middle of the road to snap a photo or two before moving on the next location. now for most people this would sound like a pretty shitty way to spend your vacation, but not for me I loved it (minus the people) I got to see so much over the first day from mountains to the ocean and I got to spend it with Juliet soaking in all the beauty around me it was amazing.
it’s about the journey not the destination!
Around 5 we headed into town, and got super lucky and found a parking spot about a mile from the ship we were to board for the sunset tour. After a bit of a frantic walk (I don’t walk very fast) we arrived at the dock, We boarded the “Margret Todd” and began to set sail, This was a first for me I’ve been out on a boat in the Lake but to be on a 151 foot Schooner out in the Ocean with the wind and the sails it was awesome!
As sunset approached the sway of the ship the sea air it was intoxicating, I chose not to bring any camera gear on the cruse for 2 reasons 1 I just wanted to soak it all in and relax and 2 with all the other people we were sharing the cruse with My gear would have just become a liability. So I opted to snap some photos with my phone (Samsung Galaxy Note 5)
After enjoying a beautiful sunset out on the ocean we stopped off at a local grocery store and picked up some hotdogs to take back and grill in the little fire pit outside our cabin. after that it was time to sleep.
When we woke up the next morning we spent most of the day on the other side of the island hoping that it would be less busy as most of the tourist attraction stuff is on the the same side as Bar Harbor, We found some beautiful land on the west side of the island and it was a little less crowded however most things still had to many people to be 100% enjoyed so we spent another day driving around with pop out shoots.
At one point we stopped here in our travels, I popped out of the car and set up and began to shoot and then 2 people came walking out of the woods the told us there was a Moose behind them about to cross the road, I’ve never seen a moose in person before so I got all excited however that was short lived as it was only a female white tailed deer, the two people didn’t know there was a difference LOL but with their thick accents I’m not sure were they were from or if they have deer there either.
That evening we took a drive up to Cadillac mountain, Its the first place the sun touches in the USA each morning. and the view is said to be breath taking, However there were so many cars and people the line to just get into the parking lot was like rush hour traffic on I480, so we turned around and headed back down the mountain. On the way we found a secondary pull off with a parking spot so we got out, I’m so glad we did we spent a hour+ just enjoying the breath taking views and the crisp fresh air, it truly was magical.
On this trip I wanted to capture a sunset so we planned to shoot on the west side of the Island however upon arrival we had a little trouble finding a good shot we tried going down by the docks
I was not happy with the shots I was getting so Juliet suggested she knew the perfect spot as she has been to Bar Harbor in the past. So we headed to this spot. I could not have been happier I actually got to walk out into the ocean (with out getting wet) the sand bar was absolutely amazing, from the plant life to the little crabby parts from the seagulls slaughtering them at low tide.
The one thing Juliet and I always try to do every time we travel anywhere is treat ourselves to a nice dinner at least once on the trip. However with the fact that there were so many people it made it impossible to do so, So we ended up with Pizza back at the cabin again which I was A OK with as the pizza was pretty damn good.
The next morning we woke up at 3:30 am grabbed the gear and drove to the top of Cadillac mountain to shoot the sunrise. When we arrived it was us and about 10 other people We sat and waited for the sun to rise, It was so windy and even though it was in the 70s at the campground when we left it was in the 50s on top of the mountain and the wind was whipping I love the cold but even I got a little chilly. After awhile the sun began to rise and you could see a thick blanket of fog slowly roll back out to sea, so thick it looked like a a white cotton blanket.
As the sun rose you could now see about 300 people had joined us atop the mountain, but I had my place so I kept shooting for a bit. Once i had my fill Juliet and I started to head back to the car and on the way back well this happend
Juliet tripped on some uneven ground and took a tumble and even as I went to grab her I hit the same spot and stumbled I didnt fall but that spot sucks. A cute little puppy checked on her and made sure she was ok. I helped her back to the car where she checked her leg it was a bit scratched up but nothing life threatening so we headed back to the cabin to take a nap.
After our nap we woke to pack the cabin and get ready to move on the next leg of the adventure. After checking out we took one more lap around the Island before moving on.
After we lapped the Island one more time we began the 3 hour drive to the eastern most point of the USA to the last light house on the list, on the way there we drove through a pine forest so thick you could barley see 20 feet into the woods the trees seamed to stretch on for 100 miles in each direction unfortunately it was down poring rain or I was gonna stop and fly the drone over sadly I could not capture any of it due to the weather but its something Ill remember for the rest of my life.
Just before we got to the light house we had to take this little road that makes it seam like you are driving out into the ocean the waves crashing on both sides with a thick fog covering everything it was beautiful to witness.
Upon arrival we were the only ones there it was a stunning view of the ocean and a awesome light house it felt a little like standing on the edge of the world looking out at the emptiness of the ocean.
After awhile we hopped back into the car and began to head home. this time we headed through Bangor Maine by the time we got there we were both hungry and were in need of a leg stretch, Juliet being the best copilot in the world found us a restaurant to sit down and eat at. The food was amazing and the first real meal we had eaten in days.
After dinner we began the long drive back (about 14 hours)
When we arrived home we slept for what felt like a full 24 hours even though it wasn’t. I have spent the last few months working on these images and Blog in my free time which has been pretty few and far between. There have only been a few times from my adult life that I will always remember and by far this trip will be at the top of the list, beyond the best birthday present ever!
Even though most people who don’t like crowds would have found the fact that we had to stay in the car for most of the trip to be unbearable but I loved it! and I could not be happier with the experience I put together a quick little video to showcase some of the fun we had Hope you all enjoy!