Pre-dawn light at Boulder Beach

Pre-dawn light at Boulder Beach

The view from Boulder Beach in Acadia National Park just before sunrise

The morning this image was taken was my favorite morning of the entire trip. I had read extensively about places to photograph in Acadia. One spot that came up over and over again was the boulder beach below Otter Cliff. This was the morning that I would be able to experience a sunrise at this magical spot.

We rose early because we had only read about the actual location we wanted to shoot from. We had scouted out a parking spot and thought we knew how to reach our desired destination. But, the weather had been so lousy when we were scouting that we didn’t want to get soaking wet looking for the exact location we would need. That could have been a big mistake. Fortunately, it didn’t turn out that way. We arrived on location about an hour before sunrise. We made the short walk up the road to the entrance to the boulder beach. Unfortunately, it was too easy to find. Once again, we were preceded by a large group of photographers. I’ll talk more about that in the next post. Let’s just say that *most* photographers are good people. As always, though, it only takes one bad apple to ruin the whole barrel…

We weaved our way down the beach and once again took up inferior positions because the best ones had already been taken by earlier rising photographers. I wedged my way between some rocks at my feet, a large boulder as a backrest, and a friendly photographer from Connecticut and her boyfriend to my right. I was sitting on rounded boulders about the size of bowling balls. They were a bit damp and very hard, but I had a good spot. Then, the waiting began. Eventually, if the clouds and sun cooperated, the cliff in front of me would light up as the golden rays of sunrise warmed its face. In the meantime, there was little to do but wait and watch to see if the sunrise would be visible. Fortunately, the clouds were hanging just off the horizon leaving a small window for the sun to be visible as it rose over the horizon.

As I waited, I noticed that the pre-dawn light show was becoming more and more attractive. Finally, I couldn’t resist shooting the opening act of the morning. The sun had illuminated the morning clouds and the glow was even reflecting on the ocean’s surface. I pushed myself out of my contorted pose and set up my tripod on the boulder that had been acting as my backrest. I snapped off a few quick frames attempting to capture the beauty of the moment. Hopefully this image does the scene justice.

This shot is a single image shot at f22 for one second at ISO 200. The long exposure caused a bit of blur in the ocean’s surface and in the clouds as they were moving along at a healthy clip. I used the shadows tool in Aperture to bring out a bit of the detail in the rocks in the foreground. I love the resulting image. But, my favorite image of the morning was shot in the next few minutes. Stay tuned…

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