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Thunder Rolls In The Morning At Acadia

Thunder Hole, Acadia National Park, copyright Michael Rickard
Michael Rickard
Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Landing that perfect photo of Thunder Hole at Acadia National Park is not easy. The lighting has to be just right, the waves have to cooperate, and you have to snap the shot at just the right time

Michael Rickard nailed it for this shot back in October. Here's how he did it:

"On this particular morning back in October of 2011, I got up early with the intention of hiking around Great Head in order to position myself for some long exposure shots of lobster boats in front of the Egg Rock Lighthouse. A day or two prior to this I hiked up to the top of the Beehive before the sun came up in order to do the same thing. But, when I got up there I thought it might be better to hike out around Great Head for a different perspective.

"I hung out over there for awhile; after I got done with the lobster boat I moved and climbed down the cliff on the southside of Great Head for some more crashing waves. What I should have done was walk back across Sand Beach in order to get over to Thunder Hole. I did not even think about the waves crashing over there until I looked. So before it was too late I zipped across Sand Beach and got over to Thunder Hole. As I was walking across the street and down to the rocks, another photographer was coming up. I figured I probably missed the best light (at sunrise) and the best waves as the action was starting to calm down. But, I hung out for awhile and got a couple of shots with this being one of them. No one else was around again.

"I know a lot of people visit Acadia National Park, and over the last ten years I have come to the conclusion that some of the best views of the park (pre-dawn hours and early morning light) are missed... a lot. As I grabbed these shots I got blasted with saltwater mist about 3-4 seconds later. Yeah, my camera just loves me. For those of you that are just becoming interested in Acadia or are making your first trip there soon, note there is a large rock behind the wall of water you see...

"...Thunder Hole is probably as well known as Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. The best time to visit is half-incoming tide when the water rolls into a small cavernous opening at the end of an inlet. Water and air is forced out, and when it does, it sounds like a booming, thunderous clap. I usually avoid this area during our visits because it is packed with people. Buses line the right side of the roadway and the visitors walk out from the front of the buses without looking...

"...I used my Canon 5d Mark II on this shot along with my 17-40 f/4 lens at 38mm and f/6.3 in manual mode. I also used one of my solid neutral density filters, which allowed me to use a slow shutter speed of 1/4 of a second. And exposure time right around 1/4 of a second will give you some decent "exploding" wave shots."


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