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Acadia National Park, Thunder Hole Photography Location

Acadia N.P. Thunder Hole Photography – This location is on the top side of our top 10 places. This park will blow you away for dynamic photography!  You cannot go wrong doing photography here. If you want to make a travel photography trip of a lifetime, this is your place. You can also go on a tour with Extra Eyes Photo Tours. They will show you all of the secret locations. They already know where to go to do sunrise and sunset photography and all the other things you will need to know. If you go at it alone, you cannot go wrong either.  You could come out with at least one top ten photographs from this spot. When you go into the park, they will give you a map where Thunder Hole is marked. There is also a link to it below. If you drive the one-way road and you are not sure, roll your window down. When you get close to Thunder Hole, the thunder will start, and you can hear it plain as day. Acadia National Park, Thunder Hole photography location, is a major tourist stop along the park road. Sunrise is the best time to go here to avoid the big crowds in the warmer months.  You won’t miss this spot driving the park route.

Food – Only one restaurant in the park is walking distance from Jordon Pond. There are chairs outback; you can sit and view the location and eat in your chair. That’s what we did.

Park has an entrance fee, so be prepared to pay or buy a yearly National Park Pass.

Click here to open Acadia National Park Map –   http://www.acadiamagic.com/Park.html

FREE DAYS: January 19: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
February 14-16: Presidents’ Day Weekend
April 18-19: First Weekend of National Park Week
August 25: National Park Service Birthday
September 26: National Public Lands Day
November 11: Veterans Day

National Park Passes have some discounts be sure to check out the Entrance Fee Link – Example – Senior Pass: $10
This is a lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over.

When to Go: Weekdays, when it is slightly offseason, is best. This is a tourist town, so be prepared for people. Keep in mind this is also a milky way dark sky area, so you might want to plan your trip around a new moon or the week before during milky way week.

Camera Settings

Aperture Priority

It is generally used to control the depth of field (control how much is in focus from your subject back). If your shutter speed drops to 1/30th sec. or lower because you lack light, you will need to put your camera on a tripod to avoid blurry pictures. Anything handheld below 1/30 sec will be blurry. The higher the “f” number, the less light that will come in, and your shutter speed will drop to let more light in.

When your “f” number goes up, your aperture closes. At f-22, you are barely letting any light in.  Always watch your shutter speed when taking your shot, look at the bottom of the screen through the viewfinder and check your shutter speed. Do not let your shutter speed go too low when hand-holding.  Sometimes you cannot get a super high f stop because you do not have enough light. This will happen quite often at times, such as a sunset. Again, put your camera on a tripod, and now your photos will not blur except for any subject moving in the image.

You might want the opposite effect. That is when your subject is in complete focus, and the background is blurred, called the bokeh effect. You will use your lowest F-number, such as 2.8 or 3.5. Go as small as your particular lens will allow.  Shooting in Aperture Priority allows you to control this.

Shutter Priority

If you have moving subjects such as people moving, you will want to shoot in shutter priority to be sure your images come out sharp. When people are moving slowly, shoot at 1/250th sec, and adjust your ISO accordingly. If they are moving very fast, increase your shutter speed to about 1/1000th sec. If it’s a bright sunny day, go as high as 1/1200 second for very fast-moving subjects.

Manual Mode

If you have moving waters here, you can do your long exposure running, milky water shots.  You will have to use a tripod for this effect.  All of your settings will vary depending on the lighting and what neutral density filter you have. You will shoot in manual mode for the milky waters.

ISO is always 100 or as low as your camera will allow. Aperture is f22. Your shutter speed will vary depending on the light. Take some test shots to decide on your shutter speed after you put your neutral density filter on. (It’s like sunglasses for your camera to stop light from coming in).

Use your shutter release or your 2-second timer also to prevent camera movement. Voila. You now have your milky water exposure. You will want at least a 5-second exposure for water. (If you don’t have a neutral density filter, you may not get more than 1/15th of a second in the sun. That does not give you a good effect). Go to our store to buy your ND filter. We like a 3.0 for super long exposure in the daytime, and we have a ten stop filter for bright sunny days.

How to Shoot Milky Way and Night Sky Photography

What you will need:

Light pollution map light pollution map

Camera – You will need a camera that you can manually control your ISO, shutter speed, and aperture.

Lens – A fast wide-angle lens of 1.4 – 2.8 is ideal. If you use a 3.5 or higher (slower lens) you will have to increase the ISO. The higher the ISO the more grain or digital noise or grain that will appear in your photos. Nikon’s 28mm f/1.8G or Canon’s 28mm f/1.8 are good choices if you are going lens shopping for your night photography trip.

Tripod – A good sturdy tripod is essential for night photography. If it gets windy you will need a sturdy one and we never know what Mother Nature will bring us while we are out there. Keep that in mind when you buy one to go in your suitcase if you are going on a plane. It should be sturdy enough to withstand the wind but small enough to fit in your suitcase.

Sky Map – Sky Guide is available through the iTunes Store for $1.99. It has a 5 out of 5-star rating on both the current (3.2) version (1200+ ratings) and all previous versions (8600+ ratings).   Android Version? Sky Guide is not currently available as an Android app. The closest thing I can suggest is SkySafari ($2.99).

Flashlight –  Our choice is Coast brand for flashlights. The ideal flashlight will have high lumens and you will be able to zoom the in and out on the amount of light emitting from the flashlight. I like a small stream of light not a wide amount of light. That was I can be specific as to what exactly I want to paint with light. Get the HP7, PX45, or the G50. Ideally, go with the  HP7 if you can.

Light Pollution and Moon Phaze Map – The best time to go is during a new moon and you want to be in the darkest area possible.

Remote Shutter Release – When painting with light and you want to go over a 30-second exposure you must have a shutter release to use your bulb mode. When exposing your pictures in general you can use the remote release so you are not using your hand to press the shutter button and make the camera move even a little bit.

Milky Way Photography

Use a Tripod – First of all you must be on a tripod. A good sturdy tripod is necessary if it is windy. If the tripod moves your picture will blur.

Focus – Use live view. When you use live view your mirror locks up and it does not drop so avoid any movement at all inside the camera.

To focus in the dark use your camera’s live view and focus on a bright star. You can also use the infinity setting on your lens but do several test shots to see if it is accurate. It can be off a little on some lenses.

ISO – Start with ISO 3200.  This is just a standard starting point and you will adjust from here.

Shutter Speed – Remember the earth is rotating. If you leave the shutter open for too long you will see star trails that will not make for a crisp image. You can do star trails specifically but that’s not what we are going for here since we are starting out with milky way photography. We want crisp non-star trail images when doing this. Here is the formula to avoid star trails. The 500 rule – Divide 500 by the focal length of your lens. So, if you have a 24mm lens on a full-frame camera, you will set your shutter speed to 20 sec. (500/24 = 20.83). If you are using a crop sensor camera first do the math of the crop sensor to find the focal length. Cannon is 1.6, Nikon is 1.5. Convert to full-frame focal length then use the formula. Nikon 18mm x 1.5= 27mm – 500/27 = 18.51 seconds.

Aperture – Depth of field isn’t very important on these shots but letting the light into the camera is, therefore you should shoot wide open if. If the depth of field is important to you try not to go to high. (wide open = the lowest aperture your camera will allow, ex. 2.8).

Those are all of the basic starting points for doing your milky way shots.  You will want to find some interesting foreground to make your shot dynamic. Doing plain old milky way shots will not win you any awards.

White Balance – Always shoot your night photography raw so you can edit it in Lightroom.  When in live view mode, you can change your white balance settings and see what it will look like. You can shoot in shade or cloud as a standard-setting and adjust things later. You can shoot the sky in tungsten mode to make it bluer but if you have trees and such in the picture they will come out blue also.  I sometimes add in color in my milky way to match my subject.

colony motel acadia n.p. showing a hotel and a car in the national park

The Colony Cottage and Hotel. This is where we stay when we visit Acadia National Park to do photography.

Contact them for Bar Harbor Maine area lodging information:

The Colony
20 Route 3, Hulls Cove, ME 04644
Telephone: 207-288-3383

Colony Acadia Maine

The Colony’s Bar Harbor area Cottages and Motel are located on a grand sweep of lawn overlooking Frenchman’s Bay. Our cottages are just a five-minute drive to Bar Harbor, and Acadia National Park. The Colony Cottages are ideally located to be a Bar Harbor haven or your Bar Harbor headquarters to the many attractions of Mount Desert Island. The Colony Cottages and Motel offers a little bit of everything for your Bar Harbor lodging – with a sense of yesterday; the privacy of a cottage or motel unit, and the opportunity to meet other guests. Relax as you enjoy our panoramic views of Bar Harbor’s very own Frenchman’s Bay.

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