A Wedding Photographer’s Travels • Maine

Maine…and a tiny little bit of New Hampshire

I had one weekend off in October, so I joined my friend Amy, for an adventure in Maine. I was set on a trip to San Francisco but she tempted me with the idea of Maine in Autumn. My friend, Jill, showed me a drone video of the fall leaves in New England, and I was onboard immediately. Unfortunately, because of my schedule, we were a week or two late, for peak color. We also happened to arrive to a windy, cold, rainy, snowy, all around gross week of weather, but we made the best of it.

We landed in Portland on Monday morning. and headed up the coast on Route 1. stopping occasionally along the way. Our first stop, was in Rockland, at Archers on the Pier. After a lobster roll, and honestly, the most AMAZING french fries, we continued north. We arrived at our hotel, the Bar Harbor Grand, after sunset. We were both still full from lunch, but we decided to grab some desert, at Jordan Pond Ice Cream and Fudge. Since it was the end of the season, we got a huge amount of ice cream for only 99 cents! I also picked up some amaretto and blueberry chocolate fudge. The amaretto was better 🙂

Most of the trip, it rained. We had one beautiful day, although it was still cold. We managed to go sight seeing everyday, regardless of the weather conditions. We got lost somewhere in Acadia, on the way to Hadlock Falls, but luckily, Amy’s excellent sense of direction, pulled us through. I had the chance to play around with photography while I was there. The rain made it almost impossible to launch the drone, but I managed to get it in the air a couple of times in Portland. The full moon, created a bit of a problem, with my new found love, night photography, but I just kept trying and learned a bit along the way. I always say, I’ve never met a church that I didn’t like. Although that’s not 100% true, I love stepping into as many as I can. It’s not as easy in the U.S., unfortunately. Where in other parts of the world, churches are left open most of the day for tourism, most churches in the U.S. are locked up if there isn’t a service taking place. Luckily, when I got to Bar Harbor, I saw that they keep the Saint Saviors, Episcopal Church, open for part of the day, for visitors.

After we ate the most delicious lobster melt and lobster stew, at Side Street Cafe, we ducked into the church, to take a look around. Built in 1878, it’s a pretty impressive piece of land and I’m a sucker for stained glass. We had the opportunity to walk over to Bar Island, during low tide. It was so windy and cold on the way over, but we just kind let the wind blow us towards the island. We saw quite a few deer while we were there, and then we were totally surprised when they followed us back to the mainland. It was raining pretty hard on the way back so I didn’t have my camera out but we caught the footage with my iPhone. We woke up every morning, in time to go watch the sunrise. Most people go up to Cadillac Mountain, but I prefer for us to be alone, so we went to less popular spots. We did a lot of exploring,  and ultimately, found a lot of beautiful mother nature out there. I was a little afraid that Hadlock Falls would be dry by this time of year, based on what I had read on the internet. Luckily, it rained and snowed enough that they were flowing nicely. It’s not exactly Norway, but it was still very pleasant to sit and enjoy the sound of running water, for a little while. This is around the time that I really started falling in love with Maine. Acadia-maine-photographerWe titled this area, Star Wars Land, because we felt like we were on another planet. It’s so interesting, to see how different the earth looks, in various places around the world. I certainly need to come back to Maine in the spring. I started shooting at Jordan Pond around 9PM. It was really cold and after about an hour, my battery died, and my time lapse was ruined. I decided to head back to Bar Harbor, but stopped a few times, on the way home. Jordan-Pond-Night-Photography-MaineI shot this photo on the side of the road, where I noticed that my break lights were bleeding into my photo a bit. I liked the warmth it was adding to the trees, so I backed in to help color them a little more. I shot it with and without the lights on and I preferred it with. I think it helped add to the feeling of autumn. The next day, we drove by the spot, and I decided to take a quick shot of the same spot. It’s with a different lens but I wanted to compare day and night. Maine Acadia Night PhotographyI really enjoy trying new experiences when I travel. I came across a cooking school in Lincolnville, while researching where to visit on our trip. I felt a bit like an imposter when I arrived at Salt Water Farm, quickly realizing, that Amy and myself, might have gotten a little over our heads, this time.  A cooking class seemed simple until we got there and realized that all of the other attendees, cooked and we didn’t. It was a pretty awesome group of locals, from around the midish coast of Maine. When Annemarie, made it clear, that we all would be responsible for a dish, I felt the panic in Amy, almost as intensely as I was feeling it myself.  It’s been a long time, since I walked into a room, and felt so worthless. I was actually terrified. I have no idea how to cut a vegetable or measure anything.  I certainly have no idea how to cook anything. Luckily, Annemarie understood my trepidation, and gave me a fantastic partner to work with. I did some stuff with some kale, I diced (terribly) some onions and burnt some hazelnuts.

After an hour of learning and an hour of preparing food, we all completed everything, and it felt like we were pros. Working from recipes from the book, Salt Fat Acid Heat, by Samin Nosrat, we all sat down to a marvelous dinner. I ate foods that I would never have eaten in any other circumstance. I ate a carrot and ginger salad, that I loved. Never, would I have tried anything like that, anywhere else. The fried chicken with a Greek yogurt sauce was amazing. Amy said it was the best fried chicken of her life. When she got back to Tampa, she bought both Annemarie and Samin’s cookbooks, so something stuck!

Most of all, I loved the idea of the Salt Water Farm school and classes. If I lived in Maine, I think that I would make this a regular thing. More importantly, I learned a lot, in a little amount of time, and I have a feeling that I will truly put the knowledge to good use.

Salt-Water-Farm-Lincolnville-Maine.jpgWe drove by Fort Knox, around sunset, on the way to Bar Harbor. The following day, we stopped by the fort and bridge. I expected them to be closed because it was so late in the season, but they were still open for a few more days. We headed up the elevator to the top of the bridge. It was pretty cool being up higher than where I had flown my drown the previous day. We had no idea, going into the fort, but they were setting up for a Halloween event, of some sort. It was pretty funny walking around a historical site, with corny holiday props everywhere. Fort-Knox-MaineFort-Knox-Maine-Sunset.jpgI had visited Castine, once before. An old friend, Allison,  had lived there, while attending college, and I visited once. I remembered it being a nice little town, so we made a quick stop there. We didn’t stay long but walked along the water and poked our head inside the Main Street Church. I contacted Allison, before the trip, and she also suggested that we check out Stonington, a small lobstering village. It was late in the season, so it was pretty dead, but we kind of like being in places when no one else is around. 

When we finally, made it to Portland, on our way home, we did a few lighthouses. You’re supposed to see lighthouses in Maine, so that’s what we did. The weather was pretty crappy, but I was able to throw the drone in the air a couple of times and I shot some timelapses. At some point, I’ll put those up on my personal Instagram account. www.instagram.com/michaelmeeks if you are interested. 

Maine-Photographer-Lighthouse.jpgWe ended up doing a lot of sightseeing around Portland. It was great to check out the Harriet Beecher Stowe house, which is where she wrote, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. We also headed west to New Hampshire for a bit, and stopped along the way at Camp Waziyatah, which was featured in one of my favorite childhood shows, Bug Juice. O.k. So I was like twenty, when I watched it but don’t judge me. It was really cool to get out and take some pictures at the camp. Unfortunately, it started snowing really badly, once we got to Mount Washington, so we checked out a covered bridge, and then made our way back to Maine. Waziyatah-sign-mainePortland-Maine-Photographer.jpg

This guy. That’s all I have to say. 

After a week in Maine, I was in love, and would certainly go back in the Spring, maybe not the summer 🙂 and certainly again in the fall. Or I might just move there. Time will tell.