Andre Cantelmo Photography
Acadia National Park
On February 26, 1919, a parcel of land, an island in fact, just off the coast of Maine was set aside and preserved. Its name was Lafayette National Park. The name is derived from the Marquis de Lafayette, a supporter of the American Revolution. Today we refer to this Northeast treasure as Acadia National Park. The land area is almost 48,000 acres.
I have spent a lot of time hiking, observing, and photographing this marvelous place. So much time in fact that whenever I am there it feels like home to me. Acadia’s eastern edge faces the northern Atlantic Ocean. Winters here are cold and unforgiving. Quick observation reveals a weathered rocky coastline that twists and turns into cliffs as well as more level terrain. The trees that hug the coast have evolved into survivors, twisted in places and dotted with multi-colored lichen. A treat for the eyes is just underfoot in the form of tidal pools. A mini environment filled with barnacles, small shellfish, green algae, and even an occasional crab. Always there is the aroma of the refreshing sea air and the constant song of gulls as they ride the air currents hunting for the next meal.
The range of light is quite variable and subject to change from hour to hour. I can be in the process of making a photograph in dark blue skies and puffy white clouds, and the very next hour in a thick fog. The abundance of subjects to work with makes it necessary to slow down. Here is where you practice seeing, and not just looking. Giving in to the urge to know what is around the next corner can cause you to miss the shot that is right in front of your lens. An overlooked part of the park is the Schoodic Peninsula. This wonderful section of the park is just north and east across Frenchman’s Bay. Fog is frequent there and so are photographic opportunities. In the off season, the crowds are gone and the photographer finds solitude and quiet. With the distractions gone Acadia is at its best. Walking the trails and climbing over weathered rocks is meditative and transformative. The life you’ve left behind is distant, all that matters is right where you are. Gulls call to one another, the aroma of the sea and the ever changing light transport you to a peaceful state of mind.
Just outside the park on Mt. Desert Island you can find small little fishing villages. Lobstermen tend their boats and work on their traps. You get the feeling that life has not changed much in a long time. A brief conversation is both enjoyable and enlightening. The challenge here is to work with this subject matter. While beautiful, it’s also very well photographed. If you can put your own unique vision on a composition, make it your own, and with a different twist, then the reward is there.
Acadia Park always leaves me refreshed and renewed. There is a timelessness present that quickly washes away the busy life you’ve left behind. Especially when it’s just you the land and the wind, your mind and imagination are free. The more you look, the more is revealed to you. It is almost as if you have been transported back to an earlier time. Just stand on top of Mt. Cadillac and let the first rays of the Sun to fall on the United States warm your face, just once.