Thunder Hole – Acadia National Park Photography
Acadia National Park is located in the U.S. state of Maine. It reserves much of Mount Desert Island and associated smaller islands off the Atlantic coast. Created as Lafayette National Park in 1919, the oldest National Park east of the Mississippi River, it was renamed Acadia in 1929.
Thunder Hole is an inlet that is naturally carved out of rocks. The water rolls into the inlet and is forced into a cavern, and when it rushes out, it gives a large bang like a clap of thunder. The water can come out and go as much as 40 feet into the air. When you come around the corner to Thunder Hole, roll your window down so you can listen to nature talking to you as you approach.
We can him and haw here and tell you about the magnificent views, the incredible colors, the dynamic shapes and go on and on, but we won’t. We will just inform you that this park is one of the most incredible places in the USA. If you want to photograph from morning to night for days in a row, put this on your bucket list. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Acadia National Park is one of the most photographed parks in the United States. This image alone should portray why that is so. Extra Eyes Photo Tours will take you to all of the hidden locations. It’s a great tour. See the details here www.extraeyesphototours.com.
If you want to leave here and head to another northern location, read about our journey from Acadia National Park, Maine, to Fundy Trail, Canada. It is an incredible journey. >Read more here.
The Colony’s Bar Harbor area cottages and Motel
The Colony’s Bar Harbor area cottages and Motel are located on a grand sweep of lawn overlooking Frenchman’s Bay. The 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.
Acadia National Park Thunder Hole Photography at a Glance
Lens: Wide Angle
Gear List at a Glance: Circular polarizing filter, neutral density filter, tripod, shutter release, wide-angle lens. – Long exposure running waters.
When to Go: Call ahead in the winter to see if the roads are open when snowing. We like Spring, Summer and Fall the best.
You have moving waters here. You can do your long-exposure running and milky water shots. You will have to use a tripod for this effect. Your settings will vary depending on the lighting and your neutral density filter. You will shoot in manual mode for the milky waters. ISO is always 100 or as low as your camera will allow. The aperture is f22. Your shutter speed will be the only variable depending on the light. Roll your shutter speed until your meter reads zero. (In the center) Use your shutter release or your 2-second timer to prevent camera movement when exposing. You will want at least a 2-second exposure for milky water. If you don’t have a neutral density filter, you may not get more than 1/15th of a second in the sun.
How to Shoot Milky Way and Night Sky Photography
Don’t forget Acadia National Park has some of the best Dark Skies in the USA!
What you will need:
Light pollution map – light pollution map
Camera – You will need a camera to 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 in your photos.
Tripod – A good sturdy tripod is essential for night photography. If it gets windy, you will need a sturdy one. Remember that when you buy one, 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).
Flashlight – Our choice is Coast brand for flashlights. The ideal flashlight will have high lumens, and you can zoom in and out on the amount of light emitting from the flashlight. Get the HP7, PX45, or the G50. Ideally, go with the HP7.
Moon Phaze Map – The best time to go is during a new moon, and you want to be in the darkest area possible. The week before the new moon, when the moon has not risen, is a perfect time to go, so check the moonrise chart to see when the moon will be up.
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 or your camera’s built-in two-second timer.
Use a Tripod – First, 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. Use your camera’s live view to focus in the dark, hit the zoom button, 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. You can also light it up with a flashlight, focus, then gently, without touching the focus ring, put the camera in manual focus so it will not search for the focus. You must do this each time you move your camera to take your next angel.
ISO – Start with ISO 1600 – 3200. This is a common 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. We want crisp, non-star trail images. 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, and 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 critical in these shots, but letting the light into the camera is; therefore, you should shoot wide open. If the depth of field is essential to you, try not to go too high. (wide open =the lowest aperture your camera will allow). You will have to increase the ISO, giving you digital noise.
White balance suggestion: Use live view mode to change your white balance settings and see what it will look like. You can shoot in shade or cloud mode as a standard setting and adjust things later.
Acadia National Park and Area Information:
Entrance Fees: All park visitors are required to pay an entrance fee upon entry May–October. Passes are non-transferable. Credit cards are accepted at all fee collection areas.
Private Vehicle: $25 valid for 7 days
Admits private, non-commercial vehicle (15 passenger capacity or less) and all occupants.
Motorcycle: $20 valid for 7 days
Admits one or two passengers on a private, non-commercial motorcycle.
Per Person: $12 valid for 7 days
Admits one individual with no car.
Hulls Cove Visitor Center:
April 15 – October 31, open daily
April, May, June, September, and October: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
July & August: 8 am – 6 pm
Park Loop Road:
Closed annually December 1 – April 14. Road opening may be delayed on years of heavy snow and ice. Two short sections remain open year-round.
The following restrooms are open during winter operations:
- Brown Mountain Parking Area
- Eagle Lake Boat Ramp
- Eagle Lake Carriage Road
- Fabbri Picnic Area
- Jordan Pond Boat Ramp
- Parkman Mountain Parking Area
- Sand Beach Parking Area
For a map of these restrooms, click here.
Acadia National Park Hotel Information:
No lodging is located inside the park, but there are plenty of hotels just outside of the park. Here are Pam’s Picks for the best bang for the buck.
The Colony Cottages and Motel – 20 Route 3, Hulls Cove, Bar Harbor, ME, 04644, United States of America, 888-950-5062 – See the pictures and details above.
Add your hotel here!
Do you want us to send our photography and ghost-hunting friends to your hotel for their photography or ghost-hunting trip? Put your hotel information here. We will put pictures of your hotel, the website link, the phone number, and your hotel information.
Where Camp Near Acadia
Do you want us to send our photography and ghost-hunting friends to your campground to stay during their ghost-hunting trip? Put your campground information here. We will put a picture of your establishment, the website link, the phone number, and the information on your campground to make it easy for our photographers and ghost hunters to find you. They are good at getting there in the dark.
Would you like to be featured in an article as a place to stay while doing photography or ghost hunting? If so, please send us an email. You will be surprised at how affordable our prices can be.
Located on Route 3 the campground is 5 miles (8 km) south of Bar Harbor. It is open all year, with the following restrictions:
- May – October: Reservations recommended. Fee: $30 per site, per night.
- April and November: Weather permitting, Fee: $10 (self-registration)
- December – March: A limited number of campsites are available for primitive camping only in the offseason at Blackwoods. During this time campers must obtain a camping permit from the dispatch at park headquarters (8 am – 4:30 pm daily). Facilities are limited to a hand pump for water and a portable toilet. The campground entrance road is closed to automobiles during this time; campers are required to hike in from the campground entrance on Route 3. Campers must pack out all trash. Fee: Free. For more information, visit the Winter Camping page.
Schoodic Woods Campground
Located on the Schoodic Peninsula, this campground is 3 miles (5 km) southeast of Winter Harbor. It will open in 2015 from September until Columbus Day. After this season, it will be open from late May until Columbus Day. The entire campground will be first come, first served this year. Reservations for following years are highly recommended.
Fee (per site, per night): $22 walk-in tent sites, $30 drive up tent/small RV, $36 RV with electric only sites, $40 RV with electric and water. Discounts available for Senior and Access (Permanent Disability) pass holders.
Reservations for individual sites are handled by the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS), not the park. By Phone
888-448-1474 (Customer Service)
FOOD & DINING
Restaurants – Acadia National Park
The Jordan Pond House Restaurant:
Located inside the park. This is where we stop to eat.
Address: Park Loop Rd, Seal Harbor, ME 04675
Perry’s Lobster Shack:
1076 Newbury Neck Road
207-667-1955 – This is where you go to do sunset photography and enjoy your incredibly fresh lobster dinner. Don’t go here and not have lobster. I actually got up during dinner and did some sunset photography and came back. I was out on the deck. No one seemed to care. I could have shot it from my seat but of course, I needed just the right angle. There were a dock and a man fishing below to get in my sunset shot.
Perry’s is run by Perry and his wife Beverly. The lobster shack is on the side of Newbury Neck Road, with stairs leading to the town beach. Perry’s menu is simple, with fresh lobster, mussels, and corn on the cob.
Add your Restaurant here!
Do you want us to send our photography and ghost-hunting friends to your restaurant after their ghost-hunting trip? Put your restaurant information here. We will put a picture of your establishment, the website link, the phone number, and the information on your restaurant to make it easy for our photographers and ghost hunters to find you.