Mini-Narratives in Acadia

I’ve finally completed a fairly significant item on my to do list: an ebook highlighting my photos and my experience of being artist in residence for Acadia National Park. I’ve created a photo ebook for every residency I’ve been a part of; a practice I plan on continuing.

This time I tried to approach my composition of the book from a slightly different perspective. Rather than orchestrate the book around the linear narrative of my time in the park, I instead chose my top 10 locations and wrote some quick stories to accompany my photos. Since the Schoodic Peninsula is a lesser known portion of Acadia, I kind of see it as an unofficial guide to the must see portions of that area of the park.

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A view of my Lightroom window as I was building the ebook.

I’m also working on getting this ebook in the Kindle bookstore on Amazon, along with the ebooks from my last 3 residencies. I haven’t decided on the price I’ll be offering them for just yet, but the good news is, you don’t need to worry about it. If you’re on my mailing list, I plan on sending out a free copy to your inbox very shortly. If you aren’t on my mailing list yet to receive a monthly newsletter from me, head over to my website, benpanter.com, scroll down to the bottom and enter in your email. Then I’ll be happy to include you in this giveaway.

And as a side note, I did make this same ebook as a print book as well, though I haven’t decided yet if I’ll make that available to buy, or just order a copy for my own records. If you haven’t ever made a book through Blurb.com, I’d highly recommend it. The process is simple and rewarding.

I’m also working on getting my favorite images ready to print. It is not easy to narrow down thousands of photos, down to hundreds of potentials to be edited, down to a hundred for a book, down to just a handful to make available as prints. Below are just a few of my favorites. Ultimately I’d like to keep it to just about 15 of the true, stand out images.

I’ve always slacked when it comes to getting images ready to print and sell on my site. I’m always one to try a diy solution rather than something off the shelf, but I’m learning that in some areas, it’s just not worth it. So, I’m looking into more automated print selling solutions. One that I recently started checking out is Crated.com. I really like that they focus on just selling prints, rather than lots of other random tchotchkes like they do at redbubble and society6. Crated prices seem really reasonable, and of course they claim great print quality. Have you every ordered a print from them. I’d be very curious to hear your experience.

Embracing Being Back

I’ve been home for a week and a half now, after spending 2 weeks in the park. It’s hard to admit to reality after you’ve had the opportunity of living in an ideal place. I’ve been so busy getting back into the regular flow of work and teaching that I have not edited a single image on my camera yet.

However, I have been editing and posting a lot of the images I took with my phone, and I’ve been very pleased with how they came out. Iphones are truly amazing devices, and pairing them with a little photography ingenuity and know-how can yield some incredible results. I thoroughly enjoyed working with my phone as a camera because I definitely shoot a different kind of image with it than with my dslr. It’s the same reason that I like shooting with large format cameras or pinhole cameras; the device itself causes me to shoot different images.

My Instagram Simple

So if you haven’t seen any of my instagram shots, you can find me @bpanter. Now as I find time I’ll start editing my dslr shots, the plus side of which is that I get to re-live the whole experience again and again.

At Home Down East

After about a week of meandering around the peninsula, I’m starting to get into the rhythm of this very special place. I’ve seen some spectacular sunrises and even more colorful sunsets, as well as walked silent under the stars. 

I really can’t say enough good things about the lesser traveled, Schoodic Peninsula. I’m no expert on what Mt. Desert Island holds (though we did take a day trip to explore the main loop and we plan on heading back a couple times at least), but I am extremely content with everything I am discovering right here by our home. It’s got rocky shoreline, wave-smoothed granite rocks, dramatic cliffs and a variety of forest types. In fact, the only thing I’ve noticed it is lacking is all the people. For me, this seclusion and sense of remoteness is the perfect environment.

This morning I woke up an hour before dawn and headed over to one of the boulder beaches for sunrise photos. The sky was lit with dramatic pinks, peaches and oranges, all mixing with the early morning twilight blues. As the sun peaked over the horizon the orange glow lit the rounded stone beach and the nearby cliffs, bathing them in fiery light. It’s never fun to have my alarm go off that early, but the results are worth it.

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FaceTime from Acadia

A friend of mine shared this video with me. It focuses exclusively on the Schoodic Peninsula, which is nice considering schoodic merely shows up as a footnote for most things talking about Acadia. This definitely heightened my anticipation of my time in the park!

Also, today I got a Facetime call from that same friend, who was at that very moment standing on Schoodic Point. The surf was particularly rough due to the tropical storm off the coast. In fact, they said there was quite a crowd of visitors that had flocked to wave and storm watch. Below is the screenshot I took from that call, unfortunately I didn’t get any of the waves crashing in it. They were pretty spectacular.

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The (sort of) Calm before the Storm

These last few weeks have been sort of calm. I’ve been compiling my classes for the upcoming semester every night for a couple hours and doing some preliminary planning for my residency. But tomorrow, the semester starts for real and today I just got some news that is going to keep me a lot busier.

This semester, I’m listed to teach 6 classes for 2 different schools. 4 of those classes I’ve never taught before (2 of which, I developed). So that has led to quite a lot of prep work leading up to this semester. However, it looked like 1 or possibly 2 of those classes would not be running. That’s fine, that’s why I’m listed on so many. But today, I found out that those last 2 classes did indeed get enough students to run, so I’ll be teaching an incredibly full load of 6 classes, for 2 schools, at 4 different locations and 1 online. (For those of you keeping track, a typical “full load” for a full time professor is 2-3 classes).

So now, I’m feeling overwhelmed but blessed, because I know there are too many out there in higher ed that weren’t as fortunate with their classes running. Time to take a deep breath before I dive in. Something tells me it’s going to be a wild ride.

A short update on my game: Park Trails

I just received a small order of my Park Trails card game that I am now sending off to some reviewers and vendors. We’ve also contacted some local stores in Collingswood and Haddonfield, and they’re very interested in carrying it on their shelves. Hopefully we can get some wheels turning before Christmas. We’ll see.

The Road to Acadia

So if you look at the map, the part that most people associate with Acadia National Park is the large center island called Mount Desert Island. Cadillac Mountain, Bar Harbor, and all the classic calendar shots are on that island. However, that is not primarily where I’ll be. The Schoodic Peninsula is that little spot of green over to the east, just below Winter Harbor. We’ll be staying at the very southern tip of that peninsula (schoodic point), walking distance from the waves crashing on granite shores. I’m sure we’ll make several day trips over to the main island, but it isn’t really my goal to recreate all the iconic Acadia shots, so I’m not really that concerned. There will be plenty to explore on schoodic (and several Maine locals have recently told me that’s there favorite spot in the park!)

The other spot I would like to explore, though I’m not sure if it’ll happen, is down to the far southwest, Isle au Haut. It is by far the most remote and least visited portion of the park, which makes it inherently interesting to me. But getting there is a bit of a pain (couple hours in a car and then a ferry), and honestly if I’m going to make the trip I’d like to stay over night to get more shooting in. However, there are only 5 camping spots on the island (no b & b for me), and they require reservation. I’m hoping there aren’t any major weather issues on my trip, but there could be a hurricane, so I’m not really too keen to reserve something just yet. I think I’ll just bring the basic camping gear and ask about availability when I get there.

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Countdown to Acadia 2

So, I’m about a month out from heading to Acadia for a couple weeks for the artist residency. I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet. For so long it has been that thing that will be happening in a long time and recently I’ve been so focused on getting all my classes up and running for the start of the semester that I haven’t really had much time to think or plan. I’m sure once the semester starts I won’t have any extra time, so it’ll probably only sink in once I’ve actually started driving north.

There is one thing I’ve been mulling over a little though, and that is the question: how mobile am I going to be? Am I going to be traversing the whole park, hitting every hot spot at the golden hours? Or am I going to stay stationary as much as possible, and settle into the landscape directly around the Schoodic Institute?

I think my residency time in Ireland taught me to really appreciate a slower pace of creating. I was there for a month and didn’t have a car. All my favorite work that I created was walking distance from where I was living. The same was true in Toronto.


In Rocky Mountain I did travel more. I think I was trying find deeper wilderness areas where there were very few or no other people. I’m happy with what I was able to accomplish in my time there, but it had a very different quality than the other two. More hurried, less contemplative.

So, it’s clear which way I’m leaning right now. Staying close to home, really spending time in slow, careful observation. But at the same time, I feel compelled to go and see the most iconic sights. You know, the ones that have been shot a million times before from all different angles in every feasible lighting scenario. So yes, I want to see them, but realistically, what am I going to do that looks significantly different than the thousands of shots that already exist? 

Yes, I’ll visit those locations, but I’m not going to make it my focus. I will move slow, observe details and respond to the space that is closest to me, in order to make work that is most in tune with the park itself.

And on a final note, I am running a small pre-order of a few select items that I’ll be producing during the residency. Click here to take a look and find something you’d like to order.