Join us for a Maine photography workshop in Acadia National Park where we’ll capture our Milky Way over some of the most spectacular landscapes in the Atlantic Coast of the United States.
We are running this tour during the month of September, 2023, which is a beautiful time of year to explore Acadia’s scenic overlooks, photograph the coastline, and capture the Milky Way.
During this Maine photography workshop, we will focus specifically on landscapes and nightscapes shooting the Milky Way over the most photogenic landscapes Acadia National Park has to offer.
Also known as “The Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast”, in Acadia National Park you’ll see and photograph some of the most beautiful rocky shorelines, coves, and scenic overlooks in Maine. Since we will be photographing towards the ocean, the light pollution is almost nonexistent in this particular area, making it ideal for astrophotography.
Joseph Cole and Chris Bundens will personally help you capture the best possible images during this Acadia National Park photography workshop. They will show you the best techniques to shoot the Milky Way, from the basics to the most advanced techniques like star-tracking, and they will also run post-processing sessions so you can bring your captured images to life.
While this workshop is primarily focused on Astro shooting at night, we will also have time to capture the sunrises, sunsets, and daytime images during the trip.
Our Maine astrophotography workshop itinerary is flexible, and it will be adjusted according to the weather conditions so you can make the most of this trip.
Our workshop will be during the best time of year to capture a south-facing Milky Way over Maine’s rocky coastline, when our galaxy is visible from around 8 PM to 11 PM.
Depending on the conditions, we might also have the opportunity to photograph the fall colors over some of the most iconic landscapes in Acadia NP.
Our Maine milky way photography workshop begins at the “Acadia inn” at 2:00 PM. This hotel is situated in an ideal spot at one of the shortest drives from the main shooting locations, and it’ll be our base camp during the entire trip. It also puts us in close proximity to the beautiful and quaint town of Bar Harbor, where there are plenty of amenities and restaurants.
After a meet and greet with the rest of the group and a welcome speech, we will prepare for our first night session at South Bubble Overlook, which offers amazing views of Jordan Pond and Bubble Rock. This location offers fantastic photo opportunities to capture an unobstructed view of the Milky Way over some of the most renowned Acadia National Park’s landscapes.
We will start the day with an epic sunrise from Boulder Beach. Here we will capture the ball-sized boulder rocks and ocean views with the iconic cliffs and pines of Acadia National Park in the background.
After that, we will get some grub, recharge some batteries, and rest up. Since Saturday is the busiest day for the park, we will take you to more secluded locations starting with an optional afternoon hike at Great Head Trail which overlooks Sand Beach.
Before sunset, we will head over to another secluded location called Hunters Beach which is a short half-mile flat walk to the beach. We will get there to capture the sunset and stay for our Milky Way photography session.
On day three, we will visit Thunder Hole for a beautiful sunrise and then walk along the impressive Ocean path. This is a flat and easy trail that follows one of the most dramatic stretches of coastline in Maine. We will stop at the numerous vantage points from which you can photograph this visual feast.
We will scout out compositions from Monument Cove, where you’ll enjoy the views of some rugged granite walls and spectacular pillars shaped by centuries of waves and storms, to Otter Point, another popular spot with amazing views of the coastline.
After this morning session, we can get food, rest up and recharge. Later in the afternoon, we will have our first post-processing session where we will work on the images that you have captured during the trip with a special focus on your night images. We’ll show you the best techniques according to your skills, from the basics to some top-notch post-editing techniques.
In the evening and, after our editing session, we’ll visit Monument Cove again to photograph this location at sunset till’ the Milky Way emerges over the Acadia’s southern skies.
From there, it is a 1-minute drive to Otter Point, where we can capture additional milky way images.
Depending on the clouds and night conditions, we’ll reserve the morning to do any of the morning shooting plans that we couldn’t do in the previous days.
Later that afternoon, we will head on over to Beech Mountain Trail, which is a 1.2-mile hike to the peak. Here we will capture the stunning views that overlook Long Pond. We’ll also offer a second optional post-processing session in case you want to skip this hike, where we’ll continue with the editing instruction helping you with your images of the trip.
In the evening, we will head south to Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. This lighthouse dates back to 1858 and it’s one of the most historical and photogenic spots in Acadia National Park. We’ll arrive in time to grab a good spot to enjoy a beautiful sunset and starry night sky if conditions allow.
From this location, we will teach you how to mitigate some of the harsh red light that is emitted from the lighthouse. This will be a great location to practice and nightscape panorama as well!
For the final day, we’ll do a final sunrise shooting along the Acadia coastline to photograph the cliffs and waves under the beautiful morning light.
After a breakfast in our hotel, we will conclude our Maine photography workshop.
Deposit: USD 1,000
A $1,000 deposit is required to reserve your spot for this workshop. You can also pay in full at any time. The remaining balance is due 90 days before the start of the tour. If the remaining balance is not paid in full by the due date, you will lose your spot.
*Capture the Atlas operates under a CUA (Commercial Use Authorization) with the National Park Service to run photography workshops in the park premises.
This workshop is mainly focused on night and Milky Way photography. However, we will also photograph landscapes during the blue and golden hours, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn about landscape astrophotography.
What you learn during the workshop will vary according to your goals and skills. Your instructors are professional photographers with extensive experience who will help you take your photography to the next level.
Some of the photography basics you can learn during the workshop are:
Some of the advanced photography techniques you can learn during the workshop are:
Some of the post-processing techniques that you can learn with are:
Your instructors on this Oregon Coast photo tour
Joseph James will be the tour leader of this Acadia Astrophotography Workshop and will help you with your photography throughout the entire trip.
Joseph has a background in arts and painting, specializes in landscape and night images, and has a unique vision and style.
He’s travelled across the States, visiting stunning locations and perfecting his craft, to the point that he has become an expert in night photography, coastal scenes, and waterfall photography. He also knows the Acadia National Park very well, thanks to multiple visits and having led photo tours there in the past.
He will show you not only the best techniques but also how to be more creative with your camera gear so you can learn to see new compositions and perspectives that go unnoticed by most photographers. He will also help you with your tracker and Milky Way editing during this trip to elevate the quality of your night images.
Chris Bundens will be the co-leader of this Maine workshop and he will make sure that you get the best photography results and experience out of this tour. He will help you with your photography, technique, composition, and post-processing for both day and night images.
Chris is a landscape astrophotographer who has explored and photographed the most photogenic spots in the States over the last few years, including the Oregon Coast, Death Valley, Utah, Monument Valley, etc.
Chris has a very good eye for composition and he will help you capture the best possible images of the Maine Coastline.
Below, you can find a summary of things you might need:
Some optional items if you are focused on advanced MW photography are:
*While zoom lenses are acceptable for this workshop, prime lenses are recommended for Milky Way photography. Some of the best lenses in this range are:
-20 mm f/1.8, 24 mm f/1.4, 28 mm f/1.4, 35 mm f/1.8, 40 mm f/1.4, 50 mm f/1.8
You can get them either from your camera brand or from third-party manufacturers like Rokinon or Sigma.
*This Maine astrophotography workshop focuses on Milky Way nightscapes and not on deep-sky imaging. However, you can bring a telephoto/telescope and take your own deep-sky photos if you like.
You may be interested in this guide, where you can dive deeper into photography equipment for traveling.
Even though the sun makes temperatures warm during the day, nights can be chilly after sunset in late September, with temperatures around the 50s in the evening and night.
For this reason, we recommend bringing the following clothing:
If you are traveling from outside the US, you may need a specific travel visa or an electronic travel authorization (“ESTA”) depending on your country of origin. We can help you with this process.
During this Acadia astrophotography workshop, we will be staying in shared rooms with private bathrooms at the Acadia Inn, one of the top-rated accommodations close to the National Park.
This is not a hiking photo tour, however, there are a few walks and hikes to get to and from the photography locations that you should consider.
Also, there are longer and tougher hikes that we can offer as optional during the day if there are enough participants interested such as the Great Head Trail or the Beehive Trail.
Estimated Duration (Roundtrip)
Bass Harbor Lighthouse
30-40 feet of stairs straight off the parking lot.
Flat walk from parking through a path with roots and small rocks onto massive rock flats.
Flat walk up a path to the overlook where there will be roots and other possible trip hazards.
Easy hike from parking lot until you descend onto the rocks which are round in shape and must be very cautious traversing.
Easy wide pebble trail flat walk around the lake.
Easy flat walk from parking.
Little Hunters Beach
Short easy walk down to the rocky beach from the parking lot.
Short walk down a path through the woods from the parking area.
Great hike and views, progressive incline, big rocks, roots, puddles.
Great Head Trail (Optional)
2mi trail with scramble, roots, rocks, puddles & great views.
Beehive Trail (Optional)
Toughest hike, open wall climbing and scrambling.
We recommend being in good physical shape to enjoy this experience
There are different airports within a relatively short drive from Acadia. The nearest airport to Acadia National Park is Bar Harbor Airport (BHB), which is 8.8 miles away. Other nearby airports include Bangor (BGR) (42.6 miles), Rockland (RKD) (46.8 miles), and Portland (PWM) (114.3 miles).
Airline ticket prices will depend on the airport you are flying from. We recommend reading this article if you want to find the best flights from your current location.
Transportation will not be included, and all the driving will be on paved, easy roads, so any type of vehicle is fine for this Maine photo workshop.
When traveling to different locations on the tour, we will try to carpool as often as possible. Some parking areas are small, and we would like to minimize our impact on the land and ecosystem as much as possible.
Meals are not included, except for breakfast in our hotel.
Bass Harbor has grocery stores where you can buy food, drinks, and snacks. We recommend buying some groceries and snacks before the start of the tour, since our schedule will completely depend on the shooting conditions, and some days, we might not make it to any of the local restaurants for lunch/dinner.
The Acadia Narional Park pass cost $30 per vehicle and is valid for a week. You can get your pass online or in person at the kiosk before entering the park.
If you plan to visit more national parks within the following year after the workshop, we recommend getting the “America the Beautiful” annual pass, which gives you unlimited access to all national parks and some state parks in the country for only $80. You can get it online here.
Whether you are experienced or just starting out in Milky Way photography, you are welcome, and I am convinced that you will progress quickly. Together, we will send you home with a thorough knowledge of many photography areas, from the basics to multiple advanced techniques.
Once you sign up for the workshop, we will discuss your skills and goals for this tour, and I’ll organize a teaching plan so you can make the most of this experience.
Generally, we won’t do any long or strenuous hikes, since most locations are a relatively short walk from the parking lot. The maximum distance/elevation hike during the trip will be no longer than 1.5 miles and with no more than 500 ft elevation gain. Some hikes will be optional and you’ll have the opportunity to choose between the hike or a post-processing lesson.
Also, many of the shoots will be done at night between 8PM and 11PM, with sunrise sessions scheduled in the mornings. For this reason, we recommend having good energy levels and being in good physical shape to enjoy this experience.
There is no age limit. This trip is perfect for anyone over 18 years old who wants to photograph Acadia with us.
You don’t need a star-tracker, but you can bring one to the workshop if you have a good foundation in Milky Way photography and you’d like to focus on some advanced shooting.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with and help countless photographers over the last few years. Sharing and teaching photography is my passion, and I love doing this both online and in the field.
The Maine coastline is the most impressive place where I have photographed the Milky Way on the US East Coast. Rugged coastline, steep cliffs, wild beaches, and endless pines create a dreamy scenery to photograph our home galaxy. The seascapes also offer majestic views during the golden moments of light like the sunrise or sunset.
Acadia is known as “The Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast” for good reason, and on this trip, you’ll have the opportunity to capture it with your eyes and camera forever.
Let’s capture the Milky Way!