Today’s adventure began with waking up at 2:30am…
After going to bed very early last night, I awoke at 2:30am in time to meet up with the two other artists going with me to leave at 3:00am to watch the sunrise on the summit of Cadillac Mountain. While we drove the 90 minutes there in the dark, we each kept chatting in order to keep us (and especially me, the driver!) awake on the way to witness this highly anticipated event.
We entered the part of Acadia National Park that doesn’t require paying admission, and continued to drive up the 3 miles of narrow winding access road up to the top of the mountain. We noticed that there were already several other cars in the parking lot at the top, so apparently we weren’t the only ones with this idea. We had heard it was a popular thing to do, but we were hoping that by going on a Monday morning (instead of a weekend morning) that it would be less crowded.
We parked and found a spot at the top of the paved walking path where we could sit and have an excellent view over the heads of others below waiting for the sunset. In the dark just before dawn, there was a quietness, a sleepiness, maybe even a reverence, for the anticipation of the visual event that was to come. Many photographers were there ready with their cameras and tripods. Several people appeared as though they may have slept on the mountain overnight, waiting for this moment, huddled in sleeping bags.
I brought my Canon Rebel T3i and my smartphone to capture and document the progression of the sunset. I played around with some of the settings to capture just the right exposure to get the growing colors in the clouds without blowing out or having it be way to dark, until I got it just right. The sky gradually lightened with soft peach/coral colors highlighted with dark sapphire, then moved towards a light orange, then finally some pink and purple wisps, and some brighter red/pink silver linings to the clouds, until finally the sun itself began to peak its orange-pink orb over the horizon, bit by bit. I’ll leave the description of the sunrise itself to the photos attached here, as words can’t even begin to describe it.
Everything was fine and I was enjoying the breaking of dawn with my fellow artists and human compadres, when suddenly Oblivious Man Down in Front stood up in the way of everyone near me to and stood RIGHT IN FRONT of the peak of the sunset! <rant> This was the best moment when the pink sun would shine its best self, and the long pink reflection in the water was at its most saturated — when a dude got up and stood directly in my line of vision! I was so annoyed. It took some time until he finally moseyed out of my eyesight, hopefully to wander over to ruin someone else’s view. Everyone else was relatively sensitive and aware of their surroundings to be respectful of preserving everyone else’s line of vision to the sunset as they moved from spot to spot. </end rant>
We were able to help a nearby couple take a photo of them with the sunset in the background, and then they reciprocated by taking a few photos of Kaitlin, Sally and I with the sun in the shot, followed my own silly attempts at a sunset selfie. By the time the sunset went down, we were each getting hungry and were excited to go into town to a diner called Jeannie’s Great Maine Breakfast for pancakes and eggs. With a name like that for a restaurant, I was prepared to have them make breakfast great again. They did not disappoint!
After breakfast, we headed towards the official entrance to Acadia National Park, to the section where admission is paid to then drive through the Park Loop, a one-way road of 27 scenic miles that meanders through the park, connecting the public to lakes, shorefront, beaches, rockface, breathtaking views, and of course, gift shops and food concessions. Since I was driving, it was nice to be able to be in control of when we could stop for photography opportunities, since I was the one most often jumping out of the car to snap a photo. I plan to use these images as inspiration for some paintings I hope to work on during my residency, or to continue working on shortly after returning home. I also planned to use this exploration to scout for a good location to come back another day this week to do some plein air painting. Here are some of the many, many photos that I snapped and eventually processed to share here with you…
On our way out of the park, we stopped at a coffee shop to get a little caffeinated pick-me-up, along with trying a crepe for a mid-morning snack — it was hard to believe that we had done all this exploring before 10am! We got on the road and headed back to the campus in time for when lunch is served, stopping just a handful times along the way to photograph some inspiring locations roadside.
After having lunch out on the patio, I went into my studio to check in on and work on my painting #5 that had started dripping the night before. I worked on the blending and editing of drips for about an hour or two before a wave of fatigue crashed over me. I packed up my stuff and went down to my cottage for a few hours to rest (and maybe nap) until it was time to meet up with the others at the main house for dinner at 6:30pm. At dinner it was great to learn a little more about Kaitlin’s artwork as she shared her process and inspiration with us. After dinner, I turned in early and was asleep by 8:30pm.