Coastal Maine—Monhegan Island and Acadia

Adventure Series Night Photography Workshop

Our night photography expedition of the Maine coast continues for a second week. A small island community, a village surrounded by the Atlantic, a lighthouse standing tall upon a hill, an 80-year-old shipwreck. Then we drive up the coast to an amazing national park, small but diverse, with rocky coastline, crushed-stone carriage roads, the Milky Way hovering above. Monhegan Island and Acadia National Park await, in the dark, ready to be photographed.

Workshop Gallery

photos © Chris Nicholson, Gabriel Biderman & Jeff McCrum

Workshop Details

July 19-24, 2020

This is a 4-night, 5-day workshop. Your adventure begins on the morning of Sunday, July 19, and ends after a final slideshow by 4 p.m. on Thursday, July 23.

$1,895 + applicable taxes. Bring your non-participating significant other for $300. The price includes welcome dinner on the first night, a farewell dinner at the end of the workshop, and three lunches. Register below.

Skill level

Open to all who have an understanding of the basic principles of photography and of their cameras.

Class size

14, with 2 instructors — 7:1 ratio

NPS website

Acadia National Park

Workshop Leaders

Register Now

  • Deposit of $500 is required to reserve your spot at the workshop.

  • Balance of $1,395 due on April 20, 2020. Pay balance here.

  • You may choose the “Pay in Full” ticket if you desire to pay all at once.

  • Last day for a cancellation request is April 19, 2020 (see cancellation and refund policy).

  • The workshop fee does not include transportation to and from Maine, lodging, or food other than the meals mentioned above.

 


The Maine Islands Experience

These five days and four nights will pick up where our previous workshop left off, as we spend more time on the Maine coast, this time on Monhegan Island and Mount Desert Island. (The latter being home to the photographer-famous Acadia National Park.)

Monhegan Island is a nearly car-free oasis ten miles into the Atlantic Ocean. It’s quaint, quiet and dark. We will explore and photograph by foot, covering subjects such as the local lighthouse, the village, the waterfront cliffs, a nearly century-old shipwreck and more.

On the third day we’ll re-board the ferry for the mainland, and drive up the coast to Mount Desert Island. We’ll stay in Bar Harbor, giving us access to fine restaurants, beautiful views, and of course Acadia. At night we’ll venture into the park to photograph iconic New England rocky coastline, carriage roads and bridges, placid lakes and more.

Both locations will feature a group dinner, and we will also provide group lunches on our classroom days. Come join us for some amazing lobster, some amazing camaraderie, and some inspiring dark skies.

Prior-Week Experience: Mid-Coast Maine

We have planned this experience to run consecutively with our Maine Mid-Coast workshop, which ends two days before this one begins. If you want the full Maine coastal night photography experience, we hope that you will consider signing up for both workshops.

What You Should Know

Participants must have at least basic photo skills, know their cameras well, and be comfortable shooting RAW in manual mode with a DSLR or high-end mirrorless camera.

Night photography experience is not necessary, but even folks with extensive experience shooting at night will find this class challenging, stimulating and inspiring. For more advanced night photographers, we can offer a portfolio review and specific challenges and goals, and will offer guidance in the field if you mainly want to concentrate on creating portfolio images or learning more advanced techniques.

If you would like to attend this workshop but are unsure whether you have adequate night photography skills, we can offer pre-workshop tutoring to get you ready for your adventure with us. Alternatively or additionally, a few of us have written books that may be productive pre-workshop reads.

What You Will Learn

We hope to push you to step outside your comfort zone—to test the limits of what you and your camera can do. You’ll go home after the workshop with a solid grasp of night photography in dark and moonlit environments, and a good foundation in light painting techniques.

TOPICS COVERED WILL INCLUDE:

  • astro-landscape and Milky Way photography

  • star trails

  • light painting

  • PhotoPills

  • night panoramas

  • and more …

This workshop will have both field and classroom instruction. We will be in the classroom each day and out in the field at different locations each night. Participants can stay out shooting as long as they, or their camera’s batteries, hold out. While in the field, the instructors will demonstrate their own techniques, and work with participants one-on-one to make sure everyone gets the most out of the workshop. During classroom sessions, there will be presentations by the instructors, but we will focus on developing your images and sharing everyone's work and ideas with each other. Each day will have a review of the previous night’s work.

Our locations have generous room to explore, so everyone will be able to spread out and not get in one another’s way. Each participant will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with Lance and Chris in the field.

We do not tell our attendees what to photograph, and won’t line you up in a row to all shoot the same thing (unless it’s helpful to get some people on track). Instead, we encourage you to use what you have learned to create your own unique images, and to let us guide you through the process should you desire. We do not teach you to do what we do, but rather how to develop your own night vision.

Night & Light Conditions

Travel

If you also attend our Mid-Coast Maine workshop the week before, you’ll just need to drive an hour to Port Clyde to catch the ferry to Monhegan Island. You’ll have about 1.5 days to do so, which means you can spend an extra day in either place, or meander to get to Point B.

If you’re coming to Maine for only the second workshop, you’ll need to get to Port Clyde by either Saturday, July 18 (if you want to spend the night on the island), or early on Sunday, July 19. On Saturday the last ferry leaves at 3 p.m.; on Sunday you’d need to be on the 7 a.m. ferry to arrive in time for the workshop. So naturally we’d recommend coming the day before.

Note: You will want to buy your ferry ticket a month or two ahead of time to ensure there’s room for you on the boat.

Nearby Airports:

  • Portland, Maine (PWM) — 2 hours from Port Clyde

  • Manchester, New Hampshire (MHT) — 3.5 hours from the workshop base

  • Boston (BOS) — 4 hours from the workshop base

You will need a rental car for the second portion of the trip, but will not be able to bring it to Monhegan Island. It’s mostly a no-car zone—even most of the residents don’t have one. But you will need to have or share a car to get to the ferry dock, and then to get to and around Mount Desert Island. If you would like to share a rental car, you may let us know and we’ll connect you with someone like-minded in the group.

 

Food & Lodging

The majority of Acadia National Park is on Mount Desert Island, itself a fine photography destination with its old New England architecture, public gardens, secluded bays and coves, and working lobster-boat harbors and fishing villages. The island also offers a selection of services and amenities, including excellent food options at all price points.

You are not required to stay at the official workshop lodging, though doing so does make it easier to meet with the group each morning. Lodging info and group code will be sent after registering. If you are interested in sharing a cabin (each has two queen beds), let us know and we will try to connect you with someone like-minded in the group.

We encourage eating two meals per day—a good late breakfast and a great late lunch. When on the night shoots, you may wish to bring snack food or a sandwich and plenty of water.

You are responsible for arranging and paying for your own meals and accommodations.

Weather

The weather on the Maine coast in summer is beautiful. Warm during the day, pleasantly cool at night; highs in the low-80s to lows in the mid-50s. There’s also a decent chance of evening fog. What does that mean for night photography? It means we’re likely to have either clear, dark skies with amazing Milky Way, or moody fog that’s perfect for shooting rocky shores and quaint fishing villages. Either way, we win.

Recommended Attire

Shorts and short-sleeve shirts for daytime, pants and long-sleeve shirts for night. A sweatshirt and medium-weight jacket will likely be useful. Bring a rain jacket and rain pants, just in case. Layers are good. Comfortable and protective shoes are recommended for getting around. Quality trails shoes would be optimal, and because we’ll be on the coast, waterproof isn’t a bad idea.

Considerations

On Monhegan Island we will be walking to every shoot location. It’s not a huge place, so it’s not like we’ll be running backcountry expeditions—but you should be comfortable carrying your gear from place to place all night. In Acadia we’ll be driving to our shoot locations, and there will be no “hiking” per say—just short walks to shoot locations from the parking lots. So top-level fitness is not a prerequisite for this workshop, but you should be comfortable walking a bit, as well as carrying your own equipment over uneven ground in the dark.

Please read our FAQs section for more information about skill and gear requirements, and other information that pertains to all our workshops.

If you have questions, please contact us—we're happy to talk it over with you.

 

Time in New England ...

The awe, the wonder … the smell and taste of salt on the air … the sound of gulls calling as they sail in the same air that’s rustling your hair.
— Chris

The very first National Parks at Night workshop was in Acadia National Park. On the first night, we brought the group to the shore and walked them to the tops of the rocky cliffs along the coastal section of the loop road, near Monument Cove and Boulder Beach. I immediately started talking about what we’d be doing that evening, but quickly realized no one was listening to me. Everyone was staring at the scene.

I’d been to Acadia about 10 times before that, and I’d forgotten the feeling of gazing over that seascape for the very first time. The awe, the wonder … the smell and taste of salt on the air … the sound of gulls calling as they sail in the same breeze that’s rustling your hair.

So I stopped my yapping and let the group enjoy.

I remember my first time on the Maine coast too, exploring in my early 20s with my photographer friend Jean Paul. Falling in love with the seaports and fishing villages, with the sound of mild waves lapping at the hulls of lobster boats in quiet harbors, with the sun rising from the distant Atlantic horizon, with the lighthouses standing tall and bright over craggy coastline.

I never tire of returning.

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