Acadia National Park in Maine offers plenty of hiking trails of various levels, beautiful vistas, and of course, lobster. We visited the park in early June staying at a centrally located Airbnb in the town of Bar Harbor. National Parks are treasures, yet planning your visit in late May or early June is perfect for avoiding the crowds.
For the hikes, moderate for me and more challenging for the younger people in our group, I carried my iPhone 14 and a small/lightweight Lumix DC-GX9. I used the iPhone more often, which says a lot about the current mobile phone cameras.
We highly recommend a drive to the quieter south harbor and visits to the Flying Mountain and Ship Harbor hiking trails and the Thurston Lobster Pound, offering beautiful views of one of the lobster fishing inlets and delicious lobster rolls and blueberry cake.
Further, rent e-Bikes and ride the carriage roads, a 40 miles crushed stone trail that threads itself through Arcadia. This was a great way to see the park and the hills are easy to ride on with the e-bike’s turbo mode!
Unfortunately, our visit to the highest peak in the park, Cadillac Mountain was on a rainy cold day, yet the 360-degree views were amazing. Arcadia National Park was amazing as was the town of Bar Harbor, a recommended destination.
In August 2022, we visited Glacier National Park in Montana, one of the most scenic places in the United States. The park is open to the general public from late July to early September, other times it is covered in snow. The Going-to-the-Sun Road through the park is snow-covered until late July.
We venture to the Canadian section of the park (Waterton) was cold and snow fell shortly after we left, in early September.
In the park, you can hike (all levels), bike, kayak and take boat rides. We saw grizzlies and black bears, and mountain goats, and one moose from far away.
The hiking was phenomenal, yet I wish I visited the park when I was much younger and in better shape. We saw Glaciers from a distance, there are not many left. Of the 120+ glaciers in the early part of the 1900s, there are only 23 left, and they are expected to be gone by 2034.
The sunsets were amazing, as were the various park lodges. The Milky Way was easily visible. While taking photos of the Milky Way at 2am, I could hear the growls of hungry grizzly bears, reminding us we are the visitors to their land. Note the Bear Spray on my backpack below.
If you plan to visit the park, planning and reservations need to be made a year in advance. For photography,
Hiking with heavy equipment is difficult, so I recommend carrying lighter camera equipment. I bought a lightweight Lumix DC-GX9 for the trip and used my iPhone 11, since our intent was mostly hiking.
And now we are planning our next National Park trip for 2024.
Do you love decay? Old buildings, rust & dust? Toss in some history and you have the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. Home briefly to Al Capone and Willie Sutton, ESP was closed down in 1971 and left to decay. It is this decay that is a powerful lure for creative photographers.
Walk down the long cell block hallways and explore the various cells. Some still contain old desks, chairs, a barber chair and prisoner belongings. Examine the bricks and locks close up for their textures. Try taking a long exposure with a friend walking through the image - ghostly!
And then explore the exterior in the setting sun, to capture the golden light on the tall imposing rock walls. Imposing, yet not escape proof!
For this location, I strongly recommend a 10-12mm wide angle lens. A telephoto is a nice addition for dramatic affects along the long cell block hall ways. Most of the interior is dark, lite by skylights and breaks in the roof. A tripod is a must (small extra fee). And be sure to recharge your camera battery (and carry a spare) and an extra SD card.
View my images of the Eastern State Penitentiary on Flickr and add the Eastern State Penn. to your photography destination list.
What could be better than wine and waterfalls? Add in rural scenes and automobile racing and you have Watkins Glen NY, at the tip of Lake Seneca. One of the Finger Lakes. Recently, we made an off season visit to this region exploring nearly a dozen waterfalls and wineries.
We stayed at the wonderful Glenora Inn, which is 8 miles north of Watkins Glen, on the west short of Lake Seneca. The rooms overlook the vineyard and lake and offer a nice winery experience. Drive behind the Inn towards the lake and you encounter Glenora Falls. Amazingly it is located in the backyard of a private residence. What a view each morning, and the sounds of the falls at night must be amazing.
Enjoy a visit to nearby Miles Wine Cellars, tasting their wines (quite good) while learning of the tragic tale of a newlywed couple that died shortly after buying the home. And how they have not left this world, haunting the home and winery. Apparently they are friendly. Buy a bottle of their Ghost wine (see our YouTube video of this special - Miles Wine Cellar - Ghostly wine bottle).
Back to the waterfalls; visit the Watkins Glen Gorge for a beautiful hike along the river (which was closed when we arrived due to the dangerous ice). Drive down Main Street in Montour Falls, where you cannot miss the magnificent falls right in town.
Drive up to the top and cross the falls above for a fantastic view of the area.
We highly recommend a side trip the inspiring Taughannock Falls, near Lake Cuyoga. Visit the Thirsty Owl Winery and drive past the very small Black Diamond Diner, made from the cab of a train. Lunch at the Little Venice Ristorante in Trumansburg was a nice surprise.
Lastly, explore the rural side roads to Keaku Lake and (highly recommended) visit to Bully Hill Winery and the Pleasant Valley Winery. Stay for lunch at the Bully Hill restaurant, excellent!
During racing seasons, a visit to the storied Watkins Glen racetrack is a must. We have spent many a summer day and night at this track, camping in the infield. If you love racing, this track offers many unique photographic experiences.
Consider adding the New York Finger Lakes region as one of your photography (and wine) destinations.
New York City has many wonderful parks, yet this one is quite innovative - The High Line. Running from Chelsea to West 34th street, this park built along the old NYC Central Railroad spur never disappoints. Thirty feet above the street, this destination offers excellent people, art, flowers and architectural photography. The High Line is approximately 1.5 miles, providing glimpses of different neighborhoods and views of the city.
The High Line opened in 2009, with the latest segment (the third) to West 34th street, opening in 2014. The latest edition is Hudson Yards, featuring the Vessel.
Originally in an industrial area it is now among the most desirable locations to live and work in the city. Spend a few hours and then descent into the city, from one of the a many access points, to explore and dine. One of our favorite destinations is the vast and diverse Chelsea Market.
We offer a photography workshop at the High Line a few times a year. Come along with us or explore this ever changing park on your own.