“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life….climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine into trees” John Muir

I had been to Acadia National Park a number of times over the years, but never in autumn when New England color is ablaze. And I also knew that the visibility of the Milky Way’s galactic core would begin to wane in late October. So off we went on our five hour drive up the Maine coast to Bar Harbor, Maine.

Confused in Maine

This is why they invented GPS. I thought I was on Rt. 1 South, but apparently I was in a multi-directional vortex.

Cadillac Mountain Sunrise

Cadillac Mountain is one of the iconic places in the park and very crowded at sunrise and sunset as everyone wants to experience the beauty and mystery of night turning into day or day transforming into night. Cadillac Mountain is the highest point (1,530 ft.) on Atlantic coast from Maine to Brazil and is largely composed of stunning pink hued granite. The area is famous for its’ high quality granite and it was used in many of the country’s institutional buildings, the U.S. Treasury building in Washington D.C. being a prime example.

Surveying the Scene

Even the Gulls enjoy the view from the top of the park.

Boulder’s Beach

This is Boulder Beach which, as you can see, is an apropos name. This is early in the morning just as first light is coming over the horizon. This light is very blue and it added an eerie feeling to the image. Moving across these rocks is hazardous as they can be slippery and they often move as you gingerly step on them.

Otter Point

This section of the park is popular with photographers because the sunrise is due east of here and the morning sun lights up the red granite that lines this coast. This color only lasts a few minutes and if you miss it, it’ll be back in 24 hours.

Milky Way

Photographing the Milky Way was one of my objectives in traveling to the park. The eastern coast of Northern Maine has the darkest skies in New England and is the best place in New England to do astrophotography. You might notice that the most dense and colorful section of the MW is right at the horizon. In another month, this section of the MW would no longer be visible in the night sky until Spring.

White Birches in the Meadow

The park has a section of low meadow land which is populated by these white birches. It’s challenging to find a good composition because of the haphazard tree placements.

Carriage Road

The Carriage Roads and stone bridges in Acadia National Park were financed and directed by philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr., between 1913 and 1940, for hikers, bikers, horseback riders and carriages. The network includes 57 miles of woodland roads free of motor vehicles, of which 45 miles are within Acadia National Park.

These are some of the most spectacular hiking trails you will ever encounter, particularly in autumn.

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

The Bass Harbor Lighthouse is among the most photographed and visited in the U.S. It’s particularly popular at sunset when the sun lights up this section of the park’s coastline. On any given summer or fall day, there will be hundreds of folks climbing all over these rocks as sunset approches. I shot this image on a previous trip to the park. On the day we visited the lighthouse there was a torrential rain and windstorm, but amazingly, there were still many people walking down the short trail to this area.

Hunter’s Head

I got up each morning in the dark and went to Hunter’s Head to try and get a great sunrise view. The good sunset composition is in the opposite direction and I set my camera and tripod up to capture a golden sunrise over the little cove in that direction. But alas, each morning the hoped for sunrise glory never materialized. On the last day I turned around to go back to my car and noticed that the risen sun was lighting up the area on the other side of Hunter’s Head. This golden rust color only lasted 2 minutes and I was forunate to get this wonderful image.

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Frank Binder

To quote Ken Burns…..National Parks are the country’s best idea. The breadth of the country’s national park experience varies from the flat swampy bird filled Everglades NP to the ice fields of Glacier NP to the spectacular cliffs and spires of Grand Canyon NP and everything in between.

If you’re into canyons and rock formations, southern Utah contains five national parks with some of the best hiking and photography anywhere on the planet.

Mesa Arch
Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands NP contains one of the most famous arches in the country; Mesa Arch which has been photographed millions of times. The shot above is not particularly original but it’s on most landscape photographers bucket list since the light from the sunrise reflects off of the bottom surface of the arch and brilliantly lights up the underside of the arch. The brilliant red/orange glow on the underside of the arch lasts 15 minutes before it melts away for the rest of the day.

Obviously one needs to get here before sunrise to get in position to take the shot and capture the sun star in the image. I got there an hour before sunrise ( I needed a headlamp to walk the trail) and was greeted by 20 other tripod equipped photographers when I arrived. The arch is less than 20 ft. across and getting positioned in such a crowd takes some patience and a sharing attitude as you will undoubtedly be crossing tripod legs and bumping each other frequently.

Delicate Arch

As the most popular arch in Arches NP, Delicate Arch draws tens of thousands of visitors each year….and rightly so! There were probably 50 people viewing and taking photos of the arch the afternoon I was there. As you can see in the image, the setting sun casts beautiful light on the arch in the last hour of the day and gives the arch the rich red glow that makes the image. Of course having the snow-capped La Sal Mountain range in the background helps.

Thor's Hammer
Thor’s Hammer

Among a host of natural formations, Thor’s hammer is likely the most iconic image of Bryce Canyon NP. Belying the name, Bryce Canyon is not really a canyon. It has no river running through it carving the formations over millions of years (like the Grand Canyon or Zion Canyon). The hoodoos in the park stand on cliff sides and have been formed over millions of years by water seeping into the rock with the resulting ice expansions causing disruptions in the rock.

Bryce at night

The Milky Way was in the wrong place this night ( I guess it’s never really in the wrong place….it just wasn’t where I wanted it to be to place it in this image!). This tree shape is perfect for this shot…..it leans into the frame and has the right balance of branches.

Dead Horse Point State Park
Dead Horse Point State Park

The legend is that early cowboys would run wild mustangs into a natural narrow ledge on a cliff overlooking a 2,000 ft. drop and close a fence on the ledge when they gathered the horses. At one point, apparently, the horses were not released and subsequently died of thirst….hence the name.

Zion National Park
Zion National Park

Unlike Bryce Canyon or the Grand Canyon, visitors to Zion enter the park at the bottom of the famous canyon carved over the millennia by the Virgin River.  Many of the most famous hikes in the park rise dramatically as you wind your way up to the top of the 2,500 ft. cliffs. The Angels Landing trail leads an intrepid hiker to the small mesa (Angels Landing) which is only accessible by climbing across steep ledges with rock cliffs on one side and a 2,000 ft. fall off on the immediate other side. Helpfully, park rangers have installed chains on the cliff side to hang on to.

Afternoon Light
Afternoon Light

Sometimes serendipity happens and you have to be ready to see it and capture it. By itself this tree isn’t particularly scenic or dramatic, but the afternoon the sun lit up the tree and it was possible to isolate the tree away from the background and make a very nice image.









Broken Arch
Broken Arch

Broken Arch is in Arches NP and gets its name from the split in the top of the arch which looks like it’s about to break.


Another serendipitous moment…..seeing these and imagining the image is part of the photographers skill. This spiky tree in the shadows shows off well against the red Cliffs and blue sky in the background.

Turret Arch

Another of the iconic images in Arches NP. You have to be a little adventurous to get this image because the correct photographic spot is up on a small ledge with an access trail that requires quite a bit of agility to navigate. But of course….no problem for me!!

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Shrewsbury, MA

My friend Doug emailed me and asked whether I’d be interested in going on a photography trip to the Tombstone Mountains. I thought wow, “the town too tough to die” had mountains? I watched the movie but I didn’t recall seeing Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday chasing Ike and Billy Clanton through the mountains, only shooting them at the OK corral.

Turns out he meant the Tombstone Mountains in the Yukon Territory. I googled “middle of nowhere” and up popped the Tombstone Territorial Park outside of Dawson City, Yukon. I couldn’t pass up a trip to the middle of nowhere, so off I went in September to Toronto, then to Vancouver, then to Whitehorse, Yukon then a seven hour van ride up a semi-dirt road to Dawson City, then a helicopter ride into the middle of nowhere/Tombstone Mountains.

Tombstone Mountain
Tombstone Mountain

This valley is the heart of Tombstone Territorial Park. The helicopter dropped us off at the campground just to the right of Talus Lake. In addition to the craggy mountain peaks, the primary photographic reason for coming here was the reported amazing fall colors. They didn’t disappoint…the valley was ablaze with red and yellow shrubs.

Mountainside Color
Mountainside Color

The magnificent beauty of the park is appreciated by relatively few people due the remoteness of the location, which is unfortunate since being in the park gives one a sense of serenity and a solitary experience that is so totally different than the everyday dense geographies in which most of us reside. Several times I was compelled to put the camera down and just take in the magnificent color and shape of the land amidst an absolute blanket of quiet.

Streaming Away
Streaming Away

The park has numerous streams and waterfalls many of which are tucked into remote canyons and crevices. In this image, the golden glow on the mountain lasted only five minutes so I had to work quickly to get the camera positioned with the right composition in order to capture the movement of the stream and the mountain color.

A view for eternity
A view for eternity

The park was constituted in FY2000 after agreement with the “First Nations” people. This lone hilltop gravesite is unmarked and I speculatate that this is the grave of a Klondike Gold Rush participant who never survived his gold rush experience. Whoever the grave occupant, he/she has an unsurpassed view for eternity.

Cloud over Monument Mountain
Cloud over Monument Mountain

The cloud in this image turns a rather ordinary image into something much more interesting as it overhangs this mountain ridge and almost screams “Look at these peaks”!

Monument Mountain

The golden hues of the fauna and the afternoon light frame and highlight Monument Mountain.

Dawn over Tombstone Mountain
Dawn over Tombstone Mountain

It’s called Tombstone Mountain because of its resemblance in shape to actual tombstones and is one of those iconic natural structures that draws a photographer’s constant attention as we look to the interplay of light and clouds around the mountain. This linear cloud formation over the peaks was lit up by the rising sun and made this a wonderful image. This is why we photographers rise in the dark and hope for a magical sunrise!

Red Dawn
Red Dawn

I shot this earlier on the same morning as the image above. This is a perfect example of how the quality of the light can dramatically change a scene.

Reflections in Talus Lake

This was a great photographic and travel experience out into the sub-artic wilderness and I came away with a treasure trove of images so this is the first of probably three blog posts on the trip. Hope you enjoyed this one!

Thank you for reading my latest blog entry. If you thought it was worthy of your time and you hadn’t already done so, please take the opportunity to subscribe by clicking the “Follow” button on the right side of the page. You will receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Also, you can share this blog entry on your Facebook page by clicking the share button below or you can email it to folks by clicking on the “Email” button.


Shrewsbury, MA

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