Boat and Lighthouse in Prospect
Landscapes,  National Parks,  Nature,  Travel

Photographing Acadia National Park – Part 2

The Area Surrounding Acadia National Park

The western side of Mount Desert Island is quieter and less busy. There are several bays and harbors with sailboats and working boats in a picturesque setting. The late afternoon sun provides nice lighting on the boats. Seal Cove is a small harbor that faces west which allows nice late afternoon light on the boats and water. The cove also has a rocky shoreline and evergreen forest that serves as a nice background for photographs of the boats.

Seal Cove, Maine

Bass Harbor Lighthouse

Bass Harbor lighthouse is also located on the southwest part of the island. The main trail leading down to the lighthouse does not provide good photo opportunities. Follow the path on the left side of the parking lot and climb down several flights of stairs to a rock trail for a better photo opportunity. I climbed out on the rocks for a better composition of the lighthouse. Be careful, the rocks may be wet and difficult to navigate. The lighthouse is perched on top of the classic Acadia rock cliffs. I photographed the lighthouse in the late afternoon which provided good light on the lighthouse.

Bass Harbor Lighthouse

Schoodic Peninsula

The Schoodic Peninsula is a part of Acadia National Park that is not located on Mount Desert Island. It is a little more than an hour drive and in my opinion worth the trip. Shortly after entering the one way loop road there is a pull off to photograph Winter Harbor Lighthouse across the water with Acadia on Mount Desert Island in the background. Schoodic Point is also worth a visit. The point offers opportunities to photograph waves crashing into the rocky shoreline. The point has a large area of rock ledges to explore and look for compositions with the rocks and shoreline. Also look for compositions standing on the rocks and looking back to the evergreens on the peninsula.

After exiting the park on Schoodic Peninsula, venture over to Prospect Harbor. Look for Compositions of the working boats in the harbor with the Prospect Harbor Lighthouse in the background. Make sure to experiment with both long and short focal lengths. After driving around the harbor, take Lighthouse Point Road for closer compositions of the lighthouse.

Prospect Harbor, Maine

Photo Equipment

I brought my Canon 7d with a 40d for backup. I took 3 lenses on the trip: Canon 17-55mm, Canon 10-22mm, and a Canon 70-200mm f2.8. I also brought along a polarizing filter and a 3-stop graduated neutral density filter. A sturdy tripod is a must with the strong wind along the coast.

I shot mostly with the 17-55mm, but I used all the lenses. The ultra wide angle lens was useful for sunrises and sunsets from the summit. I used the 70-200mm for close ups of boats in the harbor and lighthouses across the water. I didn’t have a need for a longer lens as there is not much wildlife on the island. I brought a long a 1.4x teleconverter but didn’t need to use it. A longer lens may be useful for a seal cruise or photographing waterfowl in the bays or ponds.

Also see Part 1 of this blog series that discusses the Locations inside Acadia National Park.

Written by Martin Belan

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  • Maureen Moore

    Thanks for posting all this information. I am heading to Bar Harbor Maine for holiday and I am looking forward to some good photography opportunities at Acadia National Park.

  • Alex Mateo

    Wow, beautiful pictures, and the information definitely will help me plan my strategy for shooting Acadia.  We are going next week looking forward to the sights and the chance to photograph them. Thanks!

    • Martin Belan


      Have a great trip! I think you’ll like Acadia. The fall colors should be about right. I’ll be in Vermont next week trying to time the fall color.

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