During my first night sleeping in my Bass Harbor rental cottage, I awoke at about 2AM and looked up through the skylight windows above the bed. I was not wearing my glasses and could see these bright little blobs against the black background of the night. After clearing my vision with the application of glasses, I saw those “blobs” were brilliant twinkling stars.
I had never seen the stars so bright – definitely not in my part of southeast Texas.
So I made a note to set the alarm clock for 1AM each morning. If I woke up and saw the stars through the skylight windows, then I would dress, grab camera and gear and drive over to the seawall (about 2 or 3 miles away) to set up tripod and work on my night photography.
The road to the stars. Looking back from whence I came. I was pointing the camera toward the seawall side of the road.
A sea of stars. That bright red light is a blinking buoy.
Early morning stars. The first night I took photos, they turned out horribly because I didn’t have the manual focus set correctly (and you need to focus manually). So the one image with the Northern Lights in it failed to turn out. On this night, I managed much better, but I think that yellow glow in the distance may be from one of the little towns and not the Northern Lights. I think I missed my chance at that for the remainder of the week.
And for those of you interested in knowing how I achieved these photos:
- I switched from auto focus to Manual Focus and made sure the focus was set to infinity – well, on my Canon lenses, that means I needed to set the focus line on the lens to a teeny bit before infinity. When I rotated the focus ring allll the way over to (and beyond) infinity, the photo was horribly blurred, which is why I messed up the one shot I took with the Northern Lights in it (sigh).
- I played around with ISO settings, which ranged anywhere from 3000 to 6400
- I also played around with the shutter speed setting, which ranged from between 20 seconds to 30 seconds
- The f-stop, I played around with too and it ranged from 2.8 to 3.2
And of course, this was all on a tripod.
My previous post showed you an aerial photo of Bass Harbor, which is at the bottom of Mount Desert Island. This image is of Bar Harbor, where all the action is. I was told by a Friends of Acadia staff member that as many as 4 cruise ships may pass through the area, depositing at least 5000 cruisers on the shores of this neat little town filled with cafes, restaurants, galleries and shops.
Because Acadia National Park was closed during the time I visited Mount Desert Island, Maine (thank you, $%##@! government shutdown), I worked on finding alternate avenues for exploring that park.
One of my avenues was to take an open cockpit biplane tour (read my National Parks Traveler article about that trip) with Acadia Air.
During that fun plane ride, I saw more than just Acadia NP. I also saw – for instance – Bass Harbor from above. I was staying for a week in Bass Harbor, in a little rental cottage near the waterfront.
The National Parks Traveler has followed up my previous kayaking article with my article I wrote regarding photography of Acadia National Park from a biplane. Click on this link to get to the article where I not only tell my story and have aerial photos of one of the shut down parks, but I also impart advice on aerial photography should any of you out there ever take a flightseeing tour of an area.
This morning, I am in Bar Harbor, Maine.
As you know, I contribute to a monthly Photography In The Parks column on the National Parks Traveler website. Because of this, most (if not all) of my vacations from my day job are centered around trips to national parks.
About three months ago, I purchased a plane ticket to Maine, paid for a rental cottage in Bar Harbor, pre-paid for a rental car (a Toyota Avalon, which is pretty darned nice, as they bumped me up to mid-size rather than economy at no extra charge), and made preparations to spend my days visiting Acadia National Park.
As you know, the shutdown has caused havoc with the national parks.
I was perusing the items on my Facebook Page – one of the pages I like is CNN. One of their posts announced they were looking for people to email them with changes they had made to their vacation / wedding / other plans regarding a visit to a national park. I was at the airport in Houston and I typed an email out on my phone and sent it off to CNN.
Lo and behold, as I was sitting on the plane waiting for it to finish loading and get ready for take-off, I received an answer back from CNN wanting to hold an email interview and asking me to answer some questions for them. So, I did – all before the plane left the ground. And CNN printed part of my interview, along with others they interviewed.
Here’s the link. I’m the photographer mentioned regarding Acadia National Park.
My 15 minutes of fame.
P.S. Stay tuned for photos from Maine