At the beginning of October I went on a very different workshop called Out of Acadia (organized by the group originating in the Windy City, called Out of Chicago). This was a huge group of photographers (about 100) and several famous instructors including Thomas Heaton, Nick Page, Bryan Peterson and Erin Babnik to name a few.
I have been into photography for about two and half years now and a friend of mine said I should check out this guy on YouTube who gets up at crazy hours to take landscape shots as I was doing. So I started watching Thomas Heaton and identifying with his encounters, both good and bad. Because of this I booked the trip to Acadia, many months in advance. I had looked forward to it with both excitement and some trepidation.
I had arrived early so I do a little exploration by myself and I went to the famous Bass Harbor lighthouse. It was a zoo down there with sightseers and photographers all over the rocks. I ended up straddled with my tripod across 2 rocks with a gap between, with the ocean incoming many feet below me. That was a real test for legs and core, especially when you need to change lenses and filters. I felt like karate kid balancing up there! It’s amazing to watch as people jockey for position. As the sun was setting a woman came under my tripod and between my legs to take shots. One touch of me or my tripod and we’d get have definitely had an ocean side view. Anyway, like a Commando she was in and out of there and got some shots. The tide was in and the sky was full of cool clouds so we snapped away. It was on those rocks I met a guy, Chris, who was very friendly and a lot of fun. He was also going to be attending the workshop so we went for dinner after sunset and had a chat, some seafood and local beer. Not a bad evening.
This was one of the shots.
Anyway, the meeting was held in the beautiful town of Bar Harbor just by Acadia National Park. Usually at this time of year the trees are approaching full bloom where the reds, yellows and oranges merge to give this amazing color version of a sonic boom. Not so this year. The weather had been too warm so the leaves were mostly green with some patches of occasional color.
This was a workshop on a grand scale and must have been so difficult to organize and for the most part it went well but there were some glitches.
We stayed at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel which is a swanky upscale place with great views of the harbor and the mountains. From my room I could see the cruise ships the size of small islands, waiting to unload the next batch of tourists who’d swarm through the town like locusts. So, busy and no foliage.
The plan involved going out on multiple expeditions per day, depending on your energy level. The schedules had been set up over a period of a week or so where you chose the first 3 trips you really wanted then later the remaining trips. If you were logged in at the right time and moved swiftly enough you could secure most of what you wanted. If you missed the opening and logged in later or didn’t save quickly you could end up with several things you were less keen on. That’s OK though, you’d be with fellow photographers, make new friends and meet some of the photographers you have admired. This part was certainly the case.
On the first night there was a lobster dinner. Our table was a laugh, watching people who are not familiar with wrestling open a lobster (myself included) make such a mess. One wag (Nick!) said it was like trying to open a tightly wrapped Christmas present.
The first excursion the following morning was a bust for a few of us. We had assembled at our set location in the parking lot, waiting for the instructor. I was driving 3 other people so we decided to put the gear in the car, a few feet away, and then we’d swing the car round the lot in line with the others. Within the 3-4 minutes that took the rest of the group had departed. Not to fear, I had the GPS coordinates from the organizers. Except they took us to the wrong place. The rest of the group had been taken to a different spot. So, 5.15 in the morning we’re parked by Sand Beach and not Great Head where we had intended to be. The guide book said that it’s possible to hike up the mountain from Sand Beach to Great Head. We tried but ultimately gave up as we could see the sun about to rise and we made our way down to the beach where another of the groups had been scheduled to shoot so we joined them. Not a great start to the trip and I didn’t get much from this. This was probably my favorite of the morning.
Lesson learned. Maybe the next sessions would be smoother!