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Photography Hikes: Acadia National Park

Lighthouse at a national park

Is there anything better than wrapping up warm, chucking on some walking boots, and taking a long, scenic walk?

Well, yes, actually, there is. If you do all of that and add a smartphone into the mix, then you’ve got yourself a pretty perfect day on your hands!

Hiking is one of the best ways to take a break from the real world, breathe in the fresh air, and come away with some beautiful photographs while you’re at it. 

But there are so many amazing hikes to experience in the US, so unless you’re a super-fit postal carrier from the eighteenth century, you’re going to need to narrow them down. 

And that’s where we come in. To help you narrow things down, we’ve created a list of our favorite hikes in the US, along with a full guide on how to photograph them. 

Starting with a hike for our friends in Maine.

The Hiking Trail: Acadia National Park

Let’s be honest, if you’re a photographer searching for a hiking trail online, you’re going to choose the one that would translate best to Instagram. Don’t worry, we all do it. If there’s an Instagram album or an Instagram photo book at stake, then it’s all about the aesthetics, baby. 

The only problem with this is you can land yourself on some pretty tough trails – it turns out the most view-friendly hikes are the ones that take you as high as possible. Go figure!

If you’re living in or near Maine, however, we think we’ve found a hiking trail that offers the best of both worlds. On the “Ocean Path”, in Acadia National Park, there are beautiful coastal views with not so much as a hill in sight!

It stretches around 2 miles from Sand Beach to Otter Point, and it’s one of the most popular walks in the park due to how flat and easy it is. Throughout the walk, you will have gorgeous coastline views, as well as some beautiful forest scenery, as it takes you just alongside Park Loop Road.

Why It’s So Good

For the “meanderer hiker”, this couldn’t be a better location. This is for hikers who want to stroll along, phone in hand, and enjoy the scenery without worrying about the time. There are also some awesome spots to explore, including the incredible Thunder Hole cavern, and the infamous Ocean Path Cliff. 

What To Look Out For

If you love a bit of wildlife photography, then you’re also in luck. You’re likely to bump into several creatures while walking the trail, and some of the most interesting include:

  • Snowshoe Hares
  • American Redstarts
  • Ruffed Grouses
  • Belted Kingfishers
  • Red Foxes
  • Bobcats
  • Otters

Remember, you’re also walking along the ocean. If you’re lucky, you might also glimpse a few seals, whales, or even dolphins  – all of which have been known to visit the coastline of Acadia.

Photography Tips

Obviously, every hiking trail is different, so we’ve got some specific tips to help you photograph your journey:

  • Choose Your Timing Wisely

Another reason why this hike is so spectacular is the end goal. Otter Point is one of the best places for sunset or sunrise photography not only in Acadia National Park, but in the whole of the US. Make sure you time your walk so that you get the opportunity to capture it or, alternatively, get up bright and early, go straight to Otter Point, and do the walk the other way around!

  • Change White Balance To Daylight Mode

With the ocean beaming blue and the sun shining down, you’re going to be taking some pretty bright photographs. If you don’t plan for that, however, then none of them are going to look very good when you bring them to a photo book maker! Make sure to adjust your white balance to daylight mode, widen your aperture, avoid over-exposure, and shoot any subjects at an off-angle to the sun.

Photography Challenges

To finish off, we’re going to cater to the people who want more of a challenge. For the more ambitious photographers, here are a couple of tests to give yourself before you set off: 

  • Photographing Noise

Toward the end of the trail, you’re going to come across Thunder Hole. This is a spot where the waves hit the rocks so hard that they recreate the sound of thunder. Obviously, you can’t photograph sound, but if you shoot the waves at the perfect moment, you can capture the force of the impact, making the viewer hear thunder subconsciously, even though they can’t hear it in reality. It’s a real thing that all the best photographers can achieve, so go and try it for yourself!

  • The Perfect Silhouette

Because you’ll have some gorgeous sunrise or sunset opportunities at Otter Point, we think it’s a good opportunity to flex your beach photography skills. Try to capture a friend or family member with their backs to the lens, looking out over the ocean. If you time it right and get your lighting in order, you might achieve one of the best silhouette shots of your life. It’s well worth a try, even if you don’t succeed!


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