Return to Bailey Island

Tempest on Bailey Island
Tempest on Bailey Island

One of the nicer hidden gems along the coast of Maine is Bailey Island in the town of Harpswell. I’d never heard of it until I moved here and a few of my new friends mentioned it to me. I first photographed here in 2017, and returned a couple of times last year. I don’t quite feel like I’ve exhausted the possibilities here just yet.

Yesterday, I decided to return here because I hadn’t been in a while. I was hoping to photograph Mackerel Cove or the cribstone bridge at sunrise, neither of which I’d done before. The sunrise forecast looked promising earlier in the week, but as I woke up yesterday morning the report had changed and it was expected to be a dud as far as color in the sky went. I decided to switch to plan B and head to Giants Stairs, a short distance away.  The tide would be coming in and the incoming storm would have the waters of Casco Bay churning up against the rocky shoreline.

Fury of Casco Bay
Fury of Casco Bay

The Giants Stairs trail follows a short stretch of rocky shoreline on the east side of Bailey Island. Named for the rock formation that evokes the look of a huge staircase, this trail overlooks Casco Bay. There are several areas of interest, including Pinnacle Rock, Giants Stairs, and Thunder Hole. There are several places to step off the trail and climb around the rocks, where waves crash against and wash over the rocks, creating all sorts of visual interest. Since the sky refused to cooperate and produced little in the way of interest, I focused on the patterns created by the water washing over the rocks, as well as the explosiveness of the waves.

I varied my shutter speed quite a bit to capture the violent motion of the water in different ways.  At times, this meant using Benro Master Filters neutral density filters to cut the amount of light coming into the camera and enable me to use slower shutter speeds. It also meant adjusting my camera’s ISO as well to enable various shutter speeds. Thinking about the constant adjustments shot after shot kept me thinking the entire time I was there!

Despite all the thinking, when I’m in a location such as this, I always take some time to take it in, and enjoy the spectacular show Mother Nature can put on. It’s these displays that continually get me out of bed before the sun is up, just so I can witness it.

As always, my work is available for purchase at my website at www.rickberk.com.

Bailey Island Awash
Bailey Island Awash
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2018 in Review, Part 2

Last week, I posted Part 1 of my year in pictures for 2018. This week, I pick up Part 2 in July.  It’s really been an incredible year, personally and professionally for me. I hope all of you have a great finish to 2018, and an amazing start to 2019.

As always, my work is available at my website in the form of prints, home goods, and more. Check it out!

And now…. part 2 of my Best of 2018!

Sunrise at Spring Point Ledge
Sunrise at Spring Point Ledge. Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse is often overlooked when thinking of local lighthouses to photograph. It doesn’t offer the drama of Portland Head Light, or the charm of the Nubble, an hour south. But there’s something about this lighthouse, perched at the end of the breakwater at the entrance to Portland Harbor. I often visit and photograph here and have found some of my favorite sunrises and sunsets here.
Wolfe's Neck Reflections
Wolfe’s Neck Reflection. When I first moved to Maine, and found a home in Freeport, I was often told I needed to visit Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park. I still don’t get there as much as I’d like, but each time I go, I’m surprised at the natural beauty and peace I find here. This morning was no different, as the waters of Casco Bay were so calm, they reflected the sky as the sun rose.
Dawn at Potts Point
Dawn at Potts Point. I love Orrs and Bailey Islands, just south of Brunswick, Maine. There are many great spots to catch a sunrise and a sunset, but I was unprepared for the vibrance of this sunrise when I walked into Potts Point Preserve back in August. It was one of the most colorful sunrises I’d ever seen.
Tall White Asters at West Quoddy Head
Tall White Asters at West Quoddy Head. I almost missed this one. I had been photographing at West Quoddy Head State Park in August, and was just about finished up for the morning and ready to go find breakfast. I was walking back to my car and saw this grouping of flowers decided to take one last shot using the flowers for my foreground. It’s easily one of my favorite shots of the year.
The Seoul Skyline
The Seoul Skyline. In September, I went to visit my brother at Camp Humphrey in South Korea. We spent a couple of days in Seoul and one of the highlights was having some great German beer in a beer garden in Namsan Park. Then, once the sun set and the lights came up, I photographed the Seoul skyline at twilight. Seoul is an amazing city, on the leading edge of technology, sprawling amongst the mountains of Korea.
Moss Glen Falls And Deer Hollow Brook In Black And White
Moss Glen Falls And Deer Hollow Brook In Black And White. It’s not often that I choose black and white for my images, but the images from this visit to Moss Glen Falls in Vermont seemed to make the decision for me.
Autumn Waterfall in Hallowell
Autumn Waterfall in Hallowell. Vaughan Woods has become a regular haunt for me, especially in the fall. This year, we had some heavy rains so the waterfalls were flowing especially strong on this visit.
Early Morning In The Old Port
Early Morning in the Old Port. Portland’s waterfront has long been a draw for me. I’d never photographed one of its centerpieces, the United States Custom House. In October, I decided to rectify that and managed to catch a sunrise there. The 19th century architecture in the area brings such a historic feel to the city.
Autumn Sky at Wells Beach
Autumn Sky at Wells Beach. I first stumbled upon Wells Beach 20 years ago on a visit to Maine. Now that I live here, I knew I would go back. At low tide, the beach is just full of interest, with rocks, reflection pools, and sand that sometimes ripples from the wind. My favorite time there is sunrise at low tide, when the pools reflect the morning color.
High Tide at Dusk
High Tide at Dusk. I love Portland Head light. I also especially love clamoring across the rocky shoreline to find a perch that gives me a foreground of waves crashing violently and the lighthouse stoically standing watch. On this night, I left work and raced to make sunset at the lighthouse. I had 10 minutes to spare, climbed out on the rocks and took a handful of images before the light faded.
Tidal Cascade At Cape Neddick
Tidal Cascade At Cape Neddick. I love high tide at the Nubble. The rushing water over the rocks always creates such interest, so even when the sky isn’t dramatic, the water on the rocks is.

 

Have a great year!

2018 in Review, Part 1

As 2018 inches closer to the finish line, I always find it interesting and enjoyable to go back over the year through my photos, and remember who I was with, where I was, what I was doing, and what else was going on in my life at that moment.  My images are very much a part of who I am, and while they may evoke different meanings for others, based on their own experiences at the places I photograph, for me, they are reminders of the accomplishments, challenges, and big moments of the past year.

2018 has been no different. Overall, 2018 was an incredibly good year for me. I did more exploring of Maine, found some new spots, revisited some old ones. Crossed Vermont off the list of states I hadn’t visited yet, and taught some workshops at some of my favorite locations.

This year, I found I had more photos than usual make the cut.  I also wanted to give each photo some love and give a brief explanation of the image, so this edition covers from January through June. Stay tuned for part 2, which will be posted next week.

As always, all of my images can be purchased as prints at my website.  Without further comment, here is 2018 in review, in chronological order:

Icy Morning at Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse
Icy Morning at Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse. New Year’s Day, 2018. Easily, this was the coldest day I’ve ever been out photographing. The temperature was -14°F with a wind chill of -24°F. Somehow I came away with several good shots of this day, but this one, where the sun broke through briefly and gave the sea smoke a pink and purple tone, is my favorite.
Winter Freeze At Marshall Point
Winter Freeze At Marshall Point. This image was taken one week after New Year’s Day. The temperature was a slightly warmer -4°F. There wasn’t any sea smoke this far into the harbor, but the ice that glazed the rocks made for an especially interesting foreground.
Newfallen Snow At Pemaquid Point
Newfallen Snow At Pemaquid Point. It had been snowing the night before but was expected to clear by morning. I got up early for sunrise and drove an hour to Pemaquid Point, hoping that one, I could make it there without getting stuck, and two, the snow would be as good as I hoped. I was very careful not to walk anyplace I felt might be in the photo, making a big circle around the area I expected to photograph. For two hours, I was the only person there, enjoying the sound of waves crashing on the rocks, the peacefulness of the snow-covered landscape as the sun rose, and natural beauty before me.
Barns At Jenne Farm In Winter
Barns At Jenne Farm In Winter. Jenne Farm is one of those iconic locations everyone needs to photograph. I haven’t had what I would call “ideal” conditions there yet, but I’ve gotten some good shots each time I’ve vistted. This shot was my first time there, as I scouted locations for a workshop I was teaching.
Winter at the Maple Sugar Shack
Winter at the Maple Sugar Shack. Visiting this quintessential Vermont location was an experience I won’t forget. As one of the instructors on a workshop, it was amazing to see the students come up with different images from a single, simple location. I just love the bright red maple sugar shack against the stark white of a freshly fallen snow.
High Tide at Cape Neddick
High Tide at Cape Neddick. This was an early March day, and I was hoping to see some color in the skies for sunrise. It wasn’t to be, but a storm at sea provided some dramatic wave action.
Afternoon Reflection at Portland Head Lighthouse
Afternoon Reflection at Portland Head Lighthouse. There is simply so much to see at Portland Head, that the compositional opportunities are endless. Yes, it’s a heavily photographed lighthouse, but if you’re willing to explore and find a different point of view, it’s very easy to capture interesting images. This pool is a case in point. At low tide, it’s easily accessible, and creates a beautiful reflection of the lighthouse.
Gathering Clouds at Pemaquid Point
Gathering Clouds at Pemaquid Point. The sky put on a show on this evening at Pemaquid Point. While it wasn’t a colorful sunset, the dramatic clouds made it a beautiful evening.
Windows Of The Lobstermen's Shop
Windows Of The Lobstermen’s Shop. I saw this scene in Friendship Harbor, and must admit another photographer showed it to me first (Thanks Janie!). I love the textures of the weathered old building, the repetition of the three windows, and the brightly colored buoys that indicate exactly what the building is.
Spring Morning at Marshall Point
Spring Morning at Marshall Point. I was teaching a workshop along midcoast Maine the morning I made this image. The tide was low, giving us a unique angle on the sunrise behind the lighthouse. It was gratifying to have my students out on the rocks with me, as everyone was able to capture stunning images of the scene- even those who a day or two before would not have ventured out on those rocks!
Doubling Point Lighthouse
Doubling Point Lighthouse. Visited this lighthouse for the first time in the late spring. It’s a quiet little spot on the Kennebec River, just south of Bath. While it lacks the drama of some other lighthouses, it was a fun shoot with lots interest on the banks of the river.
Dory in Bernard Harbor
Dory in Bernard Harbor. I was assisting on a workshop in Acadia and we were photographing what appeared to be a somewhat bland sunset in Bernard Harbor. Suddenly the light turned magical. The lead instructor called to me and pointed out this white dory with bright yellow paddles moored to the dock. He used a tripod to push it out a bit away from the dock, and some of the students took a few shots. When they were done he asked if I wanted to grab a shot. I took a few shots and then we called it a day. The warm afterglow of sunset with the darker water and the dory in front of the fishing shacks and stacks of traps make this a magical image for me.
Young Barred Owl in Acadia
Young Barred Owl in Acadia. While walking the paths at Sieur de Monts in Acadia National Park, I came across three barred owls in the trees near the path. Two were juveniles, while the mother watched them from a distance. I’m not usually one to go searching for wildlife to photograph, but I had added the Tamron 100-400mm lens to my bag for occasions just like this one. That lens earned its place in my bag that day.
Fern Layers
Fern Layers. I’m not one for photographing plants much. But once in a while it can be fun to turn my lens towards flowers and plants. This fern was in Asticou Azalea Gardens, near Acadia. I liked the different layers created by the leaves, and, I liked the play of light and shadow coupled with the shallow depth of field.
Dusk at Schoodic Point
Dusk at Schoodic Point. On the last night of the Acadia workshop I assisted on, we headed to Schoodic Point and were treated to a spectacular sunset. I used a Benro graduated neutral density filter to help balanxe the exposure in the sky with the foreground exposure. This puddle on the rocks reflecting the sky provided the perfect foreground interest. The perfect ending to the workshop.

December 2018, The Nubble

High Tide At Cape Neddick December 2018
High Tide At Cape Neddick December 2018

The Nubble Lighthouse, in Cape Neddick, Maine, is a favorite for photographers, tourists, and locals alike. I first visited the Nubble 20 years ago on my first trip to Maine. It was a cold night in December and the full moon was up. There was snow on the ground and the Nubble was lit up for Christmas. It was magical, quintessential New England coast.

I took a few photos that night, on film, as I was three years from getting my first digital SLR, and unfortunately, I have no idea where those negatives are.  But now that I live in Maine, I try to visit the Nubble every so often to try and capture something new.

Tidal Cascade At Cape Neddick
Tidal Cascade At Cape Neddick

It’s almost impossible to make a bad photo here. My preference is to photograph at sunrise, with the sky aglow and some color in the clouds, and when the tide is high to get dramatic waves crashing on the rocks. On this particular morning, the sky didn’t cooperate as I’d have liked, but the tide did. One of my favorite things is capturing water rushing over the rocks, so I tried a few compositions with varying shutter speeds to change the movement, and these were my favorites.

As always my work can be purchased at my website.

December Morning at the Nubble
December Morning at the Nubble

The Custom House

Early Morning in the Old Port
Early Morning In The Old Port

Before I moved to Maine, one of my favorite places to visit was always the Old Port in Portland. The mix of old architecture, restaurants and boutiques made it a must whenever I traveled to Maine for business or pleasure. The centerpiece of the old port for over 100 years the United States Custom House, straddling the area between Fore Street and Commercial Street, right on the waterfront.

The Custom House was built between 1867 and 1872, designed by Alfred B. Mullet, who was the Supervising Architect of the Treasury from 1865 to 1874. There was a need for a new Custom House after the Great Fire of July 4, 1867.  The fire had destroyed 1800 buildings in the center of Portland, including the Exchange Building, which had housed the customs office, post office, and several other federal offices.

While I had often admired the building from the street, I had never photographed it. I could never find the right angle, or find a time when the street wasn’t filled with cars parked at the curb.  Just by chance, I was in the Old Port one day and happened to park in a parking garage and noticed that I had a clear line to the building with no wires overhead. The next step was picking the right time of day.

United States Custom House
United States Custom House

From the angle I had on the roof of the parking garage, the waters of Portland Harbor and the islands in Casco Bay were plainly visible. I also knew that the sunrise would be visible behind the building on a clear day, and I assumed the streets would be relatively clear early in the morning. I arrived just as the parking garage opened and made my way to the roof and set up. All I had to do was compose, and wait.

I decided a graduated neutral density filter would help balance the exposure between the sunrise in the sky and the darker foreground of the Custom House, so I used a a Benro 4-stop Hard Edge Graduated Neutral Density filter, and placed the transition exactly on the horizon in the background.  This allowed me to open up the shadows on the face of the Custom House and still maintain the orange glow that was present in the sky, that the camera would have lost on its own without some help.

I had planned to also take some images from street level, but by the time I completed my work on the roof of the parking garage, a truck had parked itself in front of the building, making it impossible to get a clean shot, so I called it a successful morning and headed to find some breakfast!

Another Autumn in Vaughan Woods

Autumn Waterfall in Hallowell
Autumn Waterfall in Hallowell

Once I had determined I was relocating to Maine in September of 2016, I was told by several people that I simply had to visit Vaughan Woods and Homestead in Hallowell. They kept calling it “Hobbitland” and said that I would love photographing there.

They weren’t wrong. The path through the woods is calm and peaceful, and all along Vaughan Brook are so many picturesque corners that it’s easy for me to spend hours there, my eye to the viewfinder, or looking at the scene and determining how I can find one more unique composition to capture.

Fall Morning at Vaughan Brook
Fall Morning at Vaughan Brook

I find Vaughan Woods absolutely sings in Autumn, when the leaves are changing, the air is cool and crisp, and the brook is murmuring softly as it bubbles along under the charming stone arch bridges that span it. There’s a warm, inviting feeling as you meander down the trail and come up one of the bridges, a waterfall cascading down the rocks that line the brook.

When I photograph in these woods, maybe it’s the reference to Tokien’s shire from the Hobbit series, or maybe it’s just the peacefulness that I feel there, but I like to give the scenes a dreamy quality, using longer exposures to blur the water.  I use Benro Master Filters to manage my exposure.  It’s difficult to know what the light will be like once I get to the location I’m shooting, and if I have more light than I need to achieve the shutter speed I want, I won’t get the image I see in my head. Using a Benro 4-, 5-, 6- or 10-stop neutral density filter, I know I can always achieve the effect I’m looking for when it comes to longer exposures.

Autumn Cascade in Vaughan Woods
Autumn Cascade in Vaughan Woods

Normally when I walk through Vaughan Woods, I follow the trail down to the dam first, where a small stone arch bridge and cascade lies. For the photographs in this post, I had decided I wanted to capture the falls at the High Arch Bridge because it had been raining a few days earlier and they would be running full. Last year when I visited, the weather had been much dryer and the falls were just a trickle.

There is also a small cascade upstream that I wanted to spend some time photographing as well. After capturing the falls near High Arch Bridge, the sun began to shine directly on the falls- never a good thing for photographing waterfalls, so I headed upstream, where I knew this small cascade wouldn’t be getting any sun for some time.  I ended up spending about three hours at this spot.

I’ve now visited each autumn since I moved to Maine. I guess Vaughan Woods in the fall is becoming a tradition.

As always, prints are available at www.rickberk.com

Fallen Oak Leaf in Vaughan Woods
Fallen Oak Leaf in Vaughan Woods

The Quiet Side of Acadia

Most tourists who visit Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park, tend to stick to Bar Harbor and the Park Loop Road and visit the most heavily trafficked sites in the area.  Unfortunately, this means they miss out on some of the most beautiful scenery on the east coast of the United States. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to explore that most people never get to. On a recent Hunt’s Photo Adventure to Acadia National Park that I was an instructor on, we visited some of the lesser known areas of the park, in addition to the tried and true destinations.

Watching Through The Trees
“Watching Through The Trees” I photographed this juvenile barred owl in the Sieur de Monts area of Acadia National Park. Sieur de Monts lacks the drama of the Maine coastline, but its peaceful walk through the forest allows for the viewing of wildlife, flowers, and various trees.
“Dory in Bernard Harbor”
Bernard Harbor is a picturesque fishing village on Mount Desert Island. Across the water from Bernard Harbor, looking east, is Bass Harbor. I spent an evening photographing the harbor at sunset, during which the most exquisite light of the golden hour bathed the harbor.
Fern Layers
“Fern Layers”
I photographed these ferns in Asticou Azalea Gardensm in Northeast Harbor, Maine. These gardens feature a variety of plants, including rhododendrons and azaleas, but on the morning I visited, these ferns, and the way the light was playing on them, captured my attention.
“Cascading Tide at Schoodic Point”
Located an hour from Bar Harbor, most people never visit the section of Acadia National Park located on the Schoodic Peninsula. It is every bit as dramatic and beautiful as the better known areas along the Park Loop Road, and the perfect spot for some late afternoon and evening photography.
Dusk at Schoodic Point
“Dusk at Schoodic Point”
As I mentioned, Schoodic Point is outstanding for late afternoon and evening photography. At sunset during the summer, you watch the sun go down behind Cadillac Mountain. On this particular evening, Mother Nature put on a show with a spectacular sunset and afterglow.

This fall, I will be teaching on the Hunt’s Photo Adventure to Solon, Maine. Located in Central Maine, Solon is the perfect location to capture the beauty of autumn in Maine. There are still some seats left, so register now!