Fall Landscape in Acadia National Park Instructional Photography Tour

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Acadia National Park is considered the "Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast." Consuming about half of Mount Desert Island on the coast of Maine, Acadia National Park has significant photographic appeal in all seasons, but it is especially appealing in my favorite season, fall.

No one can predict long in advance when the ideal fall foliage color will occur, but this tour's dates have been within the reported peak foliage color time period for the last many years. Regardless of the foliage, the New England coast does not get better than Mount Desert Island's rocky coast that can provide a different experience even daily, with varying tide schedules and especially with surf conditions that can range from quite calm to very rough.

One of my primary goals is to help you get great images and I'd love for you to join me to photograph the landscape in this great location. Beginners can start with the basics and all, including the most-advanced photographers, will be positioned in ideal locations to build out their portfolios. Unleash your creativity in this field-intensive tour in a world-class outdoor classroom environment — Acadia National Park.

Plan on hanging out in a beautifully scenic location with a small group that shares your passion for photography. Bring your friends, make new friends. Just putting this tour together has made me excited!

Rays of Sunlight on the Ocean, Acadia National Park

When and Where: Tue, Oct 15 through Sun, Oct 20, 2019 in Acadia National Park

The plan is to meet at the inn on Tuesday evening for a short orientation/meet & greet, preparing for an early AM shoot. We will wrap up after an early morning shoot on Sunday.


Join me and up to four other participants (2 participant minimum). Large groups are far more profitable from a workshop business perspective, but serious photography in the field becomes challenging in large groups. At least some of the time, someone in a large group is not getting an ideal position to photograph from and/or they are not getting the attention they need/deserve. Keeping the group small means better photo opportunities and more personal attention. It also means that we can travel together throughout the park in a single large SUV.

Upon having two participants signed up, I will secure the necessary Acadia National Park authorization.


The cost for this IPT is $1,790 with a 50% deposit locking in your spot (balance is due 90 days prior to the IPT). Email me at Bryan@Carnathan.com to sign up or ask questions!

Boulder Beach, Acadia National Park

What are We Photographing?

Primarily, we will be photographing the landscape with taking your skills to a new level being one goal and taking home some portfolio-grade images being another. As we will be in picturesque harbor towns, including Bar Harbor, we will flex our street photography (harborography? harborscapes?) muscles a bit as well.

Some of the headlining locations we intend to photograph include:

  • Cadillac Mountain
  • Bass Harbor Head Light
  • Jordan Pond and The Bubbles
  • Otter Point and Otter Cliffs
  • Boulder Beach
  • Sand Beach
  • Carriage Roads and Bridges, Trails, Paths, and Other Roads
  • Bar Harbor and Other Maritime Villages
  • Mountains, Lakes, Forests, Rocks, Flora and Many Other Subjects

As I often say, my time in the field is limited and I look for locations with a high probability of good photo opportunities when making the time investment. Acadia National Park is nearly a sure-thing in that regard. There is something here to photograph in nearly any weather condition and in any season.

Note that we should expect to see wildlife on this trip and we can be opportunistic in pursuit of wildlife photos, but I have not been too successful photographing wildlife here, so do not hold high expectations in this regard.

What are We Learning?

A full range of landscape topics will be encountered with a short list including:

  • Location Scouting and lighting evaluation
  • Composition including perspective, focal length, and camera position choices
  • Finding order within chaos
  • Capturing fall color
  • Exposure including exposure bracketing and HDR
  • Making mid-day images special including Circular Polarizer and Neutral Density (including 10-stop) filter use
  • Motion blurs including moving water
  • Reflections, details, colors, sunstars
  • Sunrise, sunset, blue hour strategies
  • Simplifying concepts
  • Photo critiques

Basically, we will work hard to improve your photography skills and capture some great images. We'll have fun along the way, hanging out with a group that shares the passion.

Lobster Trap Buoys, Acadia National Park

Typical Schedule

We will rise early and be at key locations to photograph at first light, returning mid-morning for breakfast and a rest.

Late in the morning or early in the afternoon, we will head back out to explore, focusing on locations that can provide interesting mid-day photo opportunities.

Early to mid-afternoon (remember that we ate a big mid-morning breakfast), we will stop for lunch and begin preparations for the afternoon shoot. Late afternoon will find us in a location ideal for capturing the last light of the day.

While most other photographers we encounter will leave when the sun sets, the best is often still to come and we will often stay until the blue in the sky is gone. We may stay late enough to capture the stars in some locations.

Stopping for dinner will round out the day.

Taking time to review images will be fit into the schedule as makes sense.

I will have a tentative schedule, but plans will remain highly flexible to accommodate weather conditions and targeting any specific interests the group has. As adequate sleep is a key to good decisions in the field, we will try to work that into the schedule.

Physical Requirements

This will be a modestly strenuous trip, with much of the strain dependent on the size and weight of the gear you are carrying. There will be many easily accessible photography opportunities, but there will be some hiking with our gear including up and down hills and over rocks on the coast.

Tour / Workshop / Adventure / Expedition

While the implied definitions of these terms vary, I see "workshops" typically laid out with a planned schedule and "tours" typically designed to put you in front of subjects at the right time. I'm calling this trip a "tour" because the primary goal is for you to get great images and we will be opportunistic in that regard, making a firm schedule difficult to implement. That said, we will spend a lot of time together and I will teach (especially when we are actively photographing), answer questions (please bring many), critique images, assist in editing, etc. throughout our time together. Thus, the educational element will also be a primary part of our time together – an "Instructional Photo Tour".

At least some of the time in the field, we will photograph side-by-side. You taking home great images is always the primary goal, but you learning to capture those images yourself is important and often I can best describe what you should do if I am doing it myself at the same time. This also provides participants the opportunity to watch how it is done, a leading by example approach. Your constant feedback and questions during the IPT are important and will enable me to provide you with the best experience possible.

An "expedition" is another type of immersive photography experience and this event involves multiple daily mini-expeditions. Certain is that we will have an adventure.

Afterglow, Acadia National Park

What is Included

Transportation during the experience along with everything described in the Tour/Workshop/Adventure/Expedition section above is included. By not including the items listed below in the fee, individuals are able to choose their level of spending.

What is Not Included

Lodging. We will be staying at the conveniently-located Acadia Inn, Bar Harbor, where a block of rooms is planned to be held for us with a very solid discount provided (100% of the discount is being passed on to participants, discount available until August 13th). The Acadia Inn will provide us with breakfast each mid-morning (after our sunrise session).

"Guests at the Acadia Inn enjoy many excellent hotel amenities, including our complimentary continental breakfast, with added hot items served daily between 6:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. We rise early each morning to cook up hearty and delicious meals, such as omelets and sausage gravy and biscuits. You can always enjoy cold cereals, oatmeal, fresh fruit, bagels, English muffins, yogurt, French toast, blueberry and orange-cranberry muffins, a selection of fruit juices, coffee, tea and hot chocolate."

I am happy to connect you with other participants if a shared room is desired. Also, consider bringing your spouse or family. Nonparticipating guests are not included in the tour, but the town of Bar Harbor and the entire Mount Desert Island area are full of things to do. You are welcome to stay at another location but will be expected to be timely in meeting at the Acadia Inn (and will have to source your own breakfast).

Transportation to/from Acadia Inn in Bar Harbor, Maine. For those flying into Bangor Airport, shuttle service to Bar Harbor is available.

Food. As mentioned, Acadia Inn provides a complimentary breakfast and we will be sourcing our other meals from various local restaurants. We will be starting very early in the morning and not returning for breakfast until mid-morning, so breakfast bars or similar should be along with you. Plan to have water or other drink available to take with you. Granola bars and similar may be appreciated when the time between meals gets a bit long (such as when we get into a great photo situation).

The Acadia National Park-required entrance fee. The national parks require each participant in a workshop to have an entrance pass.

Cancellation Policy

Travel insurance is strongly recommended. I have successfully used Travel Guard for this protection.

If a cancellation notice is received greater than 180 days before the workshop start date, a full refund of any payments made minus a $195 administrative fee will be provided. If a cancellation notice is received between 90 and 179 days before the workshop start date, a 50% refund of any payments made minus a $195 administrative fee will be provided. If a cancellation notice is received within less than 90 days of the workshop, no refund of payments made will be provided. Regardless of the cancellation notice received date, any workshop openings that are re-filled will result in payment refunded in full minus a $195 administrative fee.

Let's Do This! Sign Up Now!

Email me at Bryan@Carnathan.com to sign up or ask questions!

Camera Gear Needed

Aside from a great attitude and a strong interest in learning landscape photography, you are going to need some gear for this trip and most cameras with a standard zoom lens will work fine.

A fast frame rate is not needed. A high-performing AF system is not needed. Most DSLR cameras and MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera) will work fine. Ideal would be to have a high-resolution current or recent model DSLR or MILC with an assortment of lenses available.

Covering full-frame-equivalent focal length ranges from 16mm through 200mm is comfortable/ideal and from 11mm up to 400mm could be appreciated at times. An image stabilized general purpose zoom may be appreciated for walk-around use. A wide aperture wide angle lens would be ideal for any night photography opportunities we decide to take advantage of. There will be opportunities to make use of a macro lens.

This is a great opportunity to try some new gear via renting.

I suggest having a camera backpack or similar available for gear transport in the field. A tripod is going to be a key accessory as will circular polarizers and neutral density filters, ideally covering up to at least 10-stops. A remote release will be useful. Rain covers for camera gear and backpacks are recommended and microfiber cloths should be kept handy.

At least one flashlight is mandatory and a headlight is highly recommended. We will likely find ourselves hiking out of locations in the dark and a headlight will free up hands.

Bringing a laptop is highly recommended, enabling review of your images throughout our time together. An external hard drive will provide an additional level of backup. Bring adequate memory card capacity, enough camera batteries to last at least a day and enough chargers to restore that capability overnight.

Consider what failure of any piece of gear means for your experience and consider bringing a backup for items identified as critical.

As always, feel free to ask us for gear advice.

Fall Hoar Frost on Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park

Weather / Clothing

The mid-October weather in Acadia National Park is typically comfortable. Expect the mornings and evenings to be crisp and cold (I've encountered frost at this time of the year) with comfortably-cool temperatures by mid-day. A layered clothing strategy is ideal. Rain gear may be very appreciated at times.

Bring your favorite insect repellent as the flying pests could be a nuisance, especially at sunset along the water.

Rainbow Over Atlantic Ocean, Acadia National Park

Sign Up or Ask Questions!

Contact me at Bryan@Carnathan.com.

Champlain Mountain, Acadia National Park

Posted: 1/1/2019 10:30:00 AM ET   Posted By: Bryan
Posted to: Canon News, Sony News    Category: Photography Workshops
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