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  • Writer's pictureDave Pidgeon

Mist in a Maine Harbor

Boats sitting still in the mist of a harbor.
Boats sit in Bass Harbor, Me., waiting to start checking nearby lobster traps.

LOCATION: Bernard Public Boat Launch, Bass Harbor, Me.

EQUIPMENT: Canon 5D Mark IV | EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

THE STORY: We daydream. We research. We plan.

Pre-trip, we are inevitably drawn in our imaginations to the ideal. We gaze at the masters of photography to see what they have done with the specific location we're scheduled to see ourselves.

Those images by the masters? They often come with gorgeous sun light, early morning or early evening, softly applied to the subjects by the skillful hands of nature and timing.

Then we get to those locations with high hopes, only to see them blurred by what we cannot control - the weather.

I once wrote in this space that a photographer's job is not to go searching for ideal conditions. Certainly not when we travel far from home. We may only be in a place once in our lives, and so we have to make the most of the weather and the conditions fate has provided.

I came to Mount Desert Island on the coast of Maine with idealized visions because that's what we're wired to do.

Warm sunrise or sunset light on the magical pink granite cliffs of Acadia National Park? Yes please!

Then the weather forecast says "nuh uh."

For five straight days, fog and rain washed the idyllic shoreline, keeping everything from my clothes to my equipment to my tent damp to my skin damp.

Weather, however, especially bad weather, makes for dramatic images. To be honest, all that rain and fog, it lifted my hopes for creating one great image everywhere I stopped.

So it was in this little village of Bernard.

It certainly doesn't rank on anyone's must-see list when you start planning a trip to Mount Desert Island.

Bar Harbor kinda outshines all other towns. Then there's the national park, but the allure of Mount Desert Island can truly be found by simply driving around, no specific destination, because eventually the road turns and unveils a picturesque harbor filled with boats at anchor waiting to go chasing lobster traps.

I was on that kind of meandering when I stumbled upon Bernard. It sits on the western side of Bass Harbor, which can be found off Tremont Road on the southwestern part of Mount Desert Island.

It has a public boat launch. When I arrived, the place was deserted. The water still. As the quiet fog tiptoed into the harbor, the only sound one could hear was the murmur of a nearby lobster pound.

The color, though, just as the fog came to wrap everything up in its cold embrace, was spectacular. The vision of the image slipped into my imagination.

So I went to work. Camera settings adjusted. Kneel onto to the pier. Frame the boats. Start clicking.

Dave Pidgeon is a seasoned photographer and writer from Lancaster, Pa. You can reach him at

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