Our Red Planet


This is a follow-up to a mention, two posts ago, about how things don’t always work out as planned.  Vicki and I do pretty extensive research before we take a trip and one of  the  MAIN things…(maybe I should have said, the MAINE things) that I wanted to attempt, over and above, or subsequent to soaking in and experiencing the beauty, was to do some long exposure night-time shots in and  around Acadia National Park.  I had read that it was a ‘light protected area’, meaning that in certain places there are no artificial lights to obstruct, or overpower the stars.




You have probably seen photos of EVERY lighthouse in Maine and it’s quite likely that you have seen Milky Way photos from the Bass Harbor Light…breathtaking…

Viewing the Milky Way inspires my soul as much as the sound of ocean waves…both timeless.

I wanted that experience even if I had forgotten my camera…oops

…but I didn’t.


_DSC3183I was hoping to drive there during the day to scout the scene but with other ‘happenings’ I didn’t get the chance to actually find the ‘primo’ spot.  I saw the lay of the land from a boat and decided, yeah, I can get ‘right there’ and have the rocks and the lighthouse and the stars….






Close to midnight… half-moon…(new moon would have been better, but it’s what you do with what you’ve got, right?)… clouds drifting in… Vicki and our fellow travelers, Jon and Laura, had already called it a day so I drove the 30-some minutes to the Bass Harbor Light.



Ya know…?  A ‘light protected area’ gets very dark at night…







I strapped on the camera backpack and tripod, and had it not been for the flashlight on my phone, would probably not have even ventured out of the deserted parking lot…

No…let me restate that…

I wouldn’t have found my way out of the parking lot…

much less to the wooded path that led to the wooden stairs that led to…





Well, I wanted to think that they led to the water but the ‘throw’ of a phone flashlight does not go very far.

When I DID get to the bottom of the stairs, wooden and then stone, I realized that the stones were longer, deeper, and farther apart….not really ‘steps’ at all… AND they didn’t go far enough.  They led in the right direction but stopped about 40 feet from where I thought that I needed to be, and the next 30 feet involved some rather large boulders and no path… I wavered…waffled…okay, chickened out….probably because it was not wise to actually go there in the pitch dark, by myself, with nothing other than a cell phone for illumination.

After a bit of self-deliberation tempered by the ‘wisdom’ of age, (including the thought of how long it would take before anyone would find me)…I opted for stopping where I was and trying to make do with what I had.

First kink in the chain….

Second kink…

I got the camera  all set up and stable, looked around for  things that I might stupidly trip over in the dark and wind up where I had intended to be in the first place, (but maybe upside down with a broken bone or two…), and got my first exposure.




I don’t mind telling you that the hair on the back of my neck stood up… and ran…

I did NOT expect what I saw, and every devilish horror movie remembrance attacked my brain with those sharp little claws that awaken us in a cold sweat after eating the wrong foods too close to bedtime.

I did figure it out, thankfully, after surreptitiously looking over my shoulder a few times.  (There’s no telling what I would have done had I seen some red eyes in the woods, or if the hoot of an owl had echoed across the water!)







I had not found in my research that the traditional white light in the lighthouse had been replaced by a pulsing red light…energy efficiency, etc., so in a 30 second exposure, quite a bit of red light was building up on the treetops.  I sat for a while to observe and only faintly could see with the naked eye that the light was lightly (no pun intended) brushing the tops of the trees, but leave the aperture open long enough and…





At one point, I turned the camera towards the water and got this.



By now I was not exactly sure where in the universe I was….and the hair from the back of my neck was still running to the car, lost in the woods, whimpering…





So that’s how it turned out without adequate research and planning, but THEN…oh, there’s more…

Two days later, on Old Orchard Beach, I wandered down to get closer to the roar of eternity and I felt as if I had walked into an Egyptian plague from the time of Moses.







The seas were red, too.  Now I felt totally disoriented before realizing that it was a ‘red tide’…red algae that occasionally washes to shore.





Who needs Mars?

~ by rkpowers on October 1, 2018.

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