Friday, July 22, 2011

Summary Of My Maine Trip

The day before we left for home was spent just general sightseeing. The sky was thick with haze, which did not make for good photo ops. We made our final visit to what ended up being one of our favorite places to end the day, The Stress Free Moose Pub. The food and drink were very good and the people friendly. In fact, the people at all the places we were in Maine were polite and very friendly. We had used Delta to fly from Orlando to Bangor, with a stop in La Guardia. Even though our flights were somewhat late in both directions, the connections worked out well and the luggage arrived safe and sound both in Bangor and back in Orlando. Delta uses an Embrear 175 for the flight between La Guardia and Bangor. My Lowepro CompuTrekker Plus AW backpack, which is 14x9x20 fit just fine in the overheads. Our first hotel, to visit Acadia National Park, was the Isleview Motel and Cottages, in Trenton, just across the bridge from Mt Desert Island, which is where Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park is located. Although reasonable in price, the cottages were very small, but clean. As it turned out, because I guess of the economy, we could of arrived in the area with no reservations and had stayed in Bar Harbor at the same price. Most all the hotels on the island had vacancy signs. Our favorite place to eat in Bar Harbor was Getty's Pub. The seafood was terrific!! Our second stop was in Machias, which is not much of a town, so do not expect much. Machias is about 20 minutes away from Cutler, which is where the boat goes out of to see the puffins. Our hotel there was the Machias Motor Lodge. The rooms were clean, had two double beds, microwave and refrig. Helen's which is right next to the hotel is just about the only place to eat in town, but had great food, especially their fish and chips. There was a Dunkin Donuts just down the road on the way to Cutler, to get that cup of coffee and/or eats before your early morning puffin trip. I already mentioned in my Seventh Day blog where we stayed in Greenville. The trip certainly was a photographic success and we would look forward to visiting Maine again, possibly now though during the fall. Best to all!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Eighth Day- Moosehead Lake Area

Another morning with Chris Young on one of the lovely lakes that are in this area. Chris takes you out in a canoe. I had never done a shoot from a canoe and boy is it a different perspective. As we got into the canoe and slid so quietly along into the lake we were met by the first image. Absolutely breathtaking!! We saw 6 moose and 4 loons, and at one time we had moose on one side of us and loons on the other. Some images below from today.

All images copyrighted by Nancy Elwood and Naturesportal

Monday, July 18, 2011

Seventh Day- Moosehead Lake Area

I know you are saying what happened to day 6, well we will call that an open day. No shooting went on, just driving from Machias to Greenville, which is around 3 hours. Greenville is a VERY small town on the shores of Moosehead Lake which is the largest lake in Maine and the largest mountain lake in the Eastern United States, with an area of 120 square miles. Also, there are 80 islands in the lake. Internet access is VERY spotty, with Verizon being the company of choose in these parts for cell phone reception. Most of the hotels are 2-3 miles from town with a few lodges being further out. We are staying at the Kineo View Motor Lodge, which is around 3 miles from the town. It is clean, reasonably priced and the staff is very friendly. This morning we were up early to meet up with Chris Young, a local guide. His website is He picked us up at the hotel and off we went to one of the local lakes looking for mostly loons, but also anything else we could find. There were just two of us so Chris had us in a canoe that sat the three of us just comfortably. He knows the area extremely well and the behavior of all the wildlife. The light was not great, and the wind picked up pretty early, but we were able to get full on moose as shown below and some loons. Tomorrow we are headed to a different lake, plus the weather is suppose to improve.

All images copyrighted by Nancy Elwood and Naturesportal

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fifth Day- Machias Seal Island

We again returned to Machias Seal Island and again the weather and seas were perfect. The one thing we did change was which blind we were in. There are two sets of blinds in different locations on the island. We changed to one that was behind the lighthouse from the picnic tables. The picnic tables are where they take you in the beginning to explain how to behave on the island, etc. Both positions seem to be good. And for the two days I would say I used my Nikon 70-300VR lens 90% of the time and my Nikon 500 f/4 lens the rest, mostly for isolating. The first image below shows you what the blinds look like. The other images are just a few from today of the delightful puffin. Capt Andy with Bold Coast Charters was a wealth of information on the surrounds and the birds and went out of his way to make everyone happy. Tomorrow we are off to Greenville, ME and the Moosehead Lake area. Here we hope to capture the common loon with their chicks and possibly moose.

All images are copyrighted by Nancy Elwood and Naturesportal

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fourth Day- Machias Seal Island

So today was our first visit to Machias Seal Island, a 10 acre island 9.5 nautical miles off the coast of Cutler, Maine. The weather and seas could not have been better. It has one of the largest colonies of Atlantic puffins, plus numerous other birds, as in common murres and razorbills. They are Auks in the family Alcidae, as are most of the birds on the island. These type birds only come ashore to breed and nest. The rest of the time they are out at sea, in the north Atlantic. Also, as the name suggests many seals. Cutler is about 18 miles north of Machias, which is where we were staying. The island is disputed territory between the Canadians and the US. We went to the island via Bold Coast Charters,, where Capt. Andrew Patterson has a 40 foot boat which takes up to about 15 or 16 people over and around Machias Seal Island. It takes about 50 minutes to get there and if the weather and seas cooperate, you can go ashore. You are tendered from the main boat to the island, because there is no dock or such. Then, Canadian officials take you to an area where they explain about the island, how to act while you are there and how the blinds work. The blinds are wooden structures about 3 feet by 6 feet with windows to look out of and/or shoot from. We had about 90 minutes in the blinds. Once you are in them you cannot come out then go back, and the time can vary depending on how many people are there to take their turn in the blinds and/or if the weather starts turning bad the Captn will call you back to the boat. The puffins are everywhere, as in in your face. You can even hear them landing on top of the blind. The first image below shows you the lighthouse and landing area on the island. The second and third images are of Atlantic puffins, and the fourth is of a razorbill. 80% of the time I used my 70-300VR lens and the rest of the time my 500mm. The blinds are quite small and if you have 3 other people with you it can be VERY tight. Tripods would definitely take up too much space! I just leaned my 500 on the bottom of the window. We have another trip planned there tomorrow morning.

All images are copyrighted by Nancy Elwood and Naturesportal

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Third Day- Moving to Machias

I relaxed this morning, knowing that I would be up early Friday and Saturday mornings for the puffins. We checked out of the hotel around 10:30 and headed for Machias. The boat for the puffin trip goes out of Cutler, which is only about 20 minutes from Machias. We leisurely drove north, opting to divert slightly to view Schoodic Point, which is the only mainland part of Acadia National Park. It was definitely worth the extra time, with lovely vistas. Just one example is posted below. The sun was behind a very thin overcast, and the blue sky had nice puffy clouds, which all was great for shooting throughout the day. Tomorrow the puffins!!

All images are copyrighted by Nancy Elwood and Naturesportal

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Second Day- Acadia National Park

OK, the weather gods cooperated in the morning, but again we were rained out for sunset. We were up a 3:00 AM to leave by 4:00 AM and arrive at Otter Cliffs by 5:00 AM, which here in Maine, in July, is sunrise. The first image is the sunrise seen while standing on the cliffs. The temperature was great, around 63 degrees with a light breeze, but do be prepared for the mosquitoes. We finished there and continued driving along the Park Loop Road. Next stop was Bubbles Pond, which we had stopped at yesterday, but the sky and weather had not made for any kind of nice landscape image. Today was different, as the second image shows. On we went, driving up Cadillac Mountain, then on to Bar Harbor. The third image was taken in Bar Harbor. Great restaurants and shops, with prices that are very reasonable! Then, back to the hotel for a rest. The last image was taken in Somesville, on our way back to Bass Harbor Lighthouse to try for the sunset. A full rainbow, which I was thrilled to get!! The sunset was a wash out, as I said, but I really enjoyed my visit to Acadia National Park, which in a couple days, only covered the highlights. We are off tomorrow to Machias, ME to prepare for our visits to the puffins on the Machias Island.

All images are copyrighted by Nancy Elwood and Naturesportal

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

First Full Day in Maine- Acadia National Park

The weather gods were not with us today. We woke to heavy overcast and rain, which lasted most of the morning, and just before sunset the dark clouds rolled in and the rains reappeared. But, to start things off with Acadia National Park. It includes a bit over 47,000 acres, located mostly on Mount Desert Island, but includes much of the Isle au Haut, parts of Baker Island, and a portion of the Schoodic Peninsula on the mainland. The roads are very good and the points of interest are fairly well sign posted. Each parking area which is usually the points of interest have very clean restrooms. In fact, the Park is kept to a high standard! A good interactive website for Acadia National Park is . We are up at 3:00AM tomorrow to try to get the sunset at the Otter Cliffs, which eluded us today. The image below is the lighthouse at Bass Harbor, just before the rain. If anyone is interested in where we stayed and details as that, do not hesitate to be in touch. But, I will go over those details when I get home in a separated blog. To be continued.....

Bass Harbor Lighthouse
All images are copyrighted by Nancy Elwood and Naturesportal

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wonderful Reference for US Birds

My friend just told me of a terrific website for US birds. The Birds of North American- Online, put on by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, . It is just $42.00 a year. Part of learning to photograph birds is learning their behavior, habitat, sounds, etc. Every little bit that you can learn about your subject will help you anticipate their actions which in turn gives you that much better chance to get that sharp, well exposed image you dreamed of getting. Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend!!