I formed a bond with the magic of Acadia National Park before I turned 11 years old. Now, I make the drive each year, almost 600 miles from my home, to enjoy and try to capture its grandeur with my photographs. I share this gallery of Acadia photos with you in the hopes that you can experience the magic as well. Enjoy the show!
The photo of the ocean waves crashing onto the rocks above is a common scene throughout Acadia. This is likely the most iconic image representing the area, but there are so many more amazing photo ops in this geologically unique area.
I came across the breathtaking sunrise above on my way to one of the dozens of great hiking tails on Mount Desert Island and felt compelled to stop and photograph it. I had visited and taken photographs at this location in Southwest Harbor several times over the years, but never with such amazing lighting.
Here's a chance for you to immerse yourself in a relaxing 6 minute video revealing Acadia images taken over the last ten years. It's your opportunity to escape to this magical place without leaving your chair.
The most popular times to photograph Acadia are when the weather is pleasant, but that's not always the best time in terms of getting the best photos.The rocks and the ocean are very constant in their stunning appearance, but the vegetation and lighting conditions vary with the season.
WINTER. Acadia averages about 60 inches of snow each year. Being right on the coast, the snow does not last a long time on Acadia. A big advantage of shooting your Acadia travel photos in the winter is the you'll have no traffic jams or parking challenges to deal with. Here's a complete post on winter travel to Acadia.
SPRING. Spring is the time of rebirth and photographing the new growth of vegetation and the increased activity of wildlife make Spring an appealing time to photograph Acadia. You'll have more opportunity to photograph the pastel colors of Spring.
SUMMER. The weather is very pleasant in the summer and it's the most popular time for the average tourist to take photos in the park and surrounding areas. I recommend you include exploring the western half of Mount Desert Island for photos. You'll avoid the crowds and parking nightmares of traveling the Park Loop Road in the summer.
FALL. For me, shooting Acadia in the Fall provides the most appealing situations for photography. The pallet of both saturated and subtle colors that Mount Desert Island presents for you to capture with your cameras is extensive. You will deal with the visiting population of leaf peepers, but you can still avoid the crowds if you start your day of photography early and end it late as well.
In the case of Acadia, the scenery is so good that you can get great photos at anytime of day. With that said, the "golden hour" around sunrise and sunset have long been favored by nature and landscape photographers.
Sunrise and sunset lighting often have amazing saturated colors, often create fascinating shadows and textures in your subject. Many photographers will shoot sunrises on the east side of Mount Desert Island and shoot sunsets on the west side of the island.
Usually a mix of clear sky and clouds will give you the best photos of Acadia. Photographing the oceans and lakes during the day, when the sun is up high and behind you, will give you the bluest colors in the water.
Night time photography in Acadia has some great potential too. Along the coastline the amount of light pollution is minimal.
Whether you photograph the "Big Dipper" the "Milk Way" or a wide view of the stars along the coast, you can get some great shots a few hours after sunset when the sky gets its darkest. You'll need to use a sturdy tripod for the long exposures
For more information of stargazing and nighttime photography at Acadia, see this post.
What is the best lens for Acadia National Park? You need the flexibility of having different focal length lenses available in order to capture all of the beauty of Maine. You can carry 3 different lenses or get a single lens that gives you all three of the following abilities
If you visit Acadia and specifically Mount Desert Island a few times, you're bound to witness one of the surreal scenes of Acadia. (See the photo below.) Occasionally, a thick early morning fog will roll in off the Atlantic Ocean. Only the small mounds of the Schoodic Peninsula poke through the blanket of clouds on the distant horizon .
You'll get to see this fascinating view above the fog by hiking up one of the smaller mountains on the east side of MDI (Gorham or Champlain), or by getting to the top of the largest mountain, Cadillac Mountain.
If you want to up your game when it comes to photographing Acadia National Park, you should consider traveling to the lesser known locations for good photos. Beech Mountain is less than 1,000 feet in elevation so it's not too tough of a climb to get some awesome views, including this one of Long Pond.
Although the lighting wasn't perfect for this image, it's still a great photo for me to remember this enjoyable hike up Beech Mountain and the view of Long Pond from up high above it.
Another overlooked photo op in Acadia is the marshes. I enjoy the seemingly random ways that the grasses and waterways form and shape themselves. Although they pale in comparison to the highly saturated fall colors, you can still marvel at the way the subtle colors of the marsh that give you a visually interesting subject to photograph.
The photo above, of a marsh area on the west side of MDI, was taken as the last remnants of the morning fog lifted. I tired to capture the peacefulness of the scene before me.
No photo excursion to Acadia is complete without at least one photo of one of the many arch bridges on the carriage roads. The easiest one to access-and it's great to photograph-is Duck Brook Bridge. Just turn onto Duck Brook Rd. off of R. 233 (Eagle Lake Rd.) and drive to the end.
There are several interesting vantage points you can take to photograph Duck Brook Bridge. You can shoot the waterfall from the top, shoot through the middle arch from either side, or shoot from an angle like I did. I wanted to include the impressive stone steps leading into the composition as well as frame in the bridge itself with the beautiful fall foliage.
I hope you enjoy this guide and small photo gallery of Acadia National Park photography. Please help me share the magic of Acadia. Share this page using one of the share buttons at the end of this article, pin a photo to Pinterest, or post the URL address.