Friday, May 28, 2010

Fall Photography Workshop in Acadia National Park

I will be co-leading a trip to Acadia National Park this fall for the Massachusetts Audubon Society. This trip is a fantastic opportunity to photograph some of the nation's most beautiful scenery. Acadia is a mystical land where mountains run into the sea. A long time playground for the nation's elite, Acadia has become one of our country's most treasured National Parks.

We will visit some of the parks most celebrated views and some lesser known secrets. The trip will include views from Cadillac Mountain, Jordan Pond and Ocean Drive. We will also explore Bass Harbor, a quaint Downeast fishing village.

Please read the following excerpt from the Mass Audubon website:
Maine: The Photogenic Natural Beauty of Acadia National Park
When: October 15-17, 2010
Where: Departs from the North River Wildlife Sanctuary, Marshfield
Leaders: John Galluzzo, Adult Education Coordinator, Mass Audubon and Greg Lessard, Greg Lessard Photography
Cost: $375; $325 Mass Audubon or Plymouth Photography Meet-up Group

The place names are as familiar to New Englanders as the names of beloved family members: Otter Cliff, Cadillac Mountain, Boulder Beach. They stand for Maine, for rugged coastlines and the ancient pine forests that crawl right to their edges. And they make Acadia National Park one of the most beautiful places on earth. Join Mass Audubon’s John Galluzzo and photographer Greg Lessard on a photographer’s journey through the sunrises and sunsets of Acadia, along the Tarn Trail, to Jordan Pond, up the Shore Path and to Bass Harbor Lighthouse and Eagle Lake. We’ll focus on the natural beauty and the manmade additions to the landscape, catching them in just the right light throughout the weekend.

A $75 non-refundable, non-transferable deposit is required at the time of registration. No cancellation refunds will be issued 6 weeks prior to the program unless we can fill your space. Single supplement $90. Full fee covers all transportation, lodging and park entry fees. Payment in full is required by September 15, 2010. Contact John Galluzzo at or 781-837-9400 for an itinerary.

You may also view some of my favorite images of Acadia at the following links:

Adventures in Photography: Photo Clubs

Joining a photography club is a fantastic way to improve your camera skills, while meeting new people and expanding your creative horizons. There are numerous camera clubs throughout New England. Most clubs offer workshops and classes designed to help photographers of all levels.
Participating in club workshops will not only help improve your photography technique, they will likely inspire you to try new things. Many club members take turns leading workshops, offering up their expertise on a variety of subjects.
At a recent workshop of the Plymouth Digital Photographer’s Meetup Club, Eric Swiech, a member of the club, led us to the Mass Maritime Academy for a sunrise shoot. On this particular day, the sun rose through the center of both the Buzzard’s Bay railroad bridge and the Bourne Bridge. Eric had discovered this occurrence by using the website to plot the sunrise.
From the parking lot of the Mass Maritime Academy, we were able to make many fantastic images of the beautiful dawn. My favorite shot came nearly an hour after the sunrise. The fishing boat “McKinley”, traveled south through some early morning fog. With the sun at a low angle, the fog and the water of the canal almost looked as if they were on fire! The fishing boat slowly made its way through the fiery fog, providing numerous opportunities to create an excellent image.
Without the club and Eric’s knowledge, I would never have risen from bed to be at the canal and I would have missed the shot. This is one example of many opportunities that a photography club can provide for novices and pros alike.
Another local group, the North River Arts Society holds many classes and numerous juried competitions throughout the year. Studying the accepted works and the finalists of juried competitions is an outstanding way to learn how to make a great photograph. It may also help inspire you to create your own masterpiece. The North River Arts Society holds its largest competition in May of each year. If you start now, you may have that masterpiece ready for 2011!

This Month’s Tip:
Some of the best light of the day happens before sunrise and after sunset. The skies often contain subtle pastels or brilliant nearly neon hues. Most people won’t get up early enough to take advantage of pre-dawn light. Those same people often head home soon after the sun has dipped below the horizon. Many of my favorite images have been created at the cusp of day. Be sure to take advantage of these exciting pre and post sunlight hours.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Adventures in Photography: Puffins

Downeast Maine is famous for beautiful coastlines and its colorful, quirky residents. Perhaps the most colorful of all Downeasters is the puffin. This curious little bird stands approximately 10-12 inches tall and has a wing span of 20-24 inches. With its black and white body and bright orange beak, many people mistake it for a penguin. Their beautiful beaks almost look as if someone may have painted clown make up on their faces. This comical appearance has earned them the nickname “the clowns of the sea”.

Atlantic puffins breed on small islands and coastal cliffs where they can build nests in small burrows. The northern Gulf of Maine provides a perfect habitat for them. One of the best ways to observe puffins up close is to visit Machias Seal Island.

Machias Seal Island is approximately 10 miles off the coast of Maine and it is protected by both the U.S. and Canadian governments. In order to land there you need a permit. This can be arranged through a couple of different tour companies. I traveled with Norton of Jonesport. They run a lobster boat to the island on a regular basis during the summer. John Galluzzo of the Massachusetts Audubon Society also arranges a summer time tour to the island for a modest fee.

Once on the island, the lighthouse keeper guided our group to some blinds that were located in the middle of the puffin nests. Four of us occupied a small wooden box for the next two hours. While the conditions were cramped, we could not complain about the view. There were hundreds of puffins surrounding us. Some were as close as two feet away! My hardest decision was which lens to use. Did I want to photograph a bird with my wide angle lens, my medium telephoto lens or my long lens? Well, I used them all.

After getting many fantastic portrait shots, I started trying to create more unique images. I spent a lot of time capturing puffins returning from fishing trips with their mouths filled with sand eels. Puffins have a small yellow pouch on the corner of their mouths. This pouch holds small prey in a Velcro like grip. Some puffins have been recorded with over fifty fish stuffed in this pouch at once!

My favorite shot of the trip came when I noticed that some of the puffins were taking a break from the busy cycle of fishing by sunning themselves on a nearby rock. I patiently composed the image and waited until all seven puffins were looking in my direction. This took quite a while, but it was worth the effort.

This month’s photo tip: Using blinds can help you get much closer to wildlife. One of the best and easiest blinds to use is your car. Once you spot an animal, safely park your car and roll down the window. Often, animals don’t mind being near cars. This may give you the chance to make some outstanding images. Keep in mind that as soon as you open the car door, the animal will likely leave in a hurry.
Greg Lessard is a professional nature photographer. To view more of his photographs, visit his website at

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Got Crab?

This kit was enjoying some fine dining this morning at a local beach. It was foraging through some beach grass when it discovered this crab claw. It quickly picked up the claw and headed back to its den.

A tip from a friend put me in the right spot to view this fantastic creature. I went to the beach to scout the area out. I am thrilled that I made a keeper!

While at the beach I was also able to create a nice image of a goldfinch among some crab apple flowers.

I was blessed with a fantastic view of nature at its best this morning!
Nature Blog Network