I came across an article on the prettiest drives in America. One of the photos that jumped out at me is this excellent photo of appropriately named “Thunder Hole”. Kudos to Sue Anne Hodges for this image (and my thanks to her for permission to use this image). It is filled with action, intensity, and drama. You can feel what it would be like to get drenched if you were at the end of the observation area.
I took particular note of this photo because I was at Thunder Hole in October during my first trip to Acadia National Park.
My image has an entirely different and peaceful feel. It was long after sunset and I was in no danger of being immersed in waves. The prominent rock face in the center/right of my image is the same rock face in the center of Hodges’ image. I was just a few feet from the rock face when I created this image. Hodges was at a higher angle and, wisely, farther away.
Time, tides, and wind make all the difference in the world at Thunder Hole. If you want drama, you want high tides and big waves. If not, you want low tide and calm weather.
There is an important lesson in all of this. You can get dramatically different images at the same shooting location thanks to different light and different conditions. There isn’t just one perfect image to be had at a given location. Wise photographers will go back to the same excellent locations time and time again and come away with very different images.
Sue Ann Hodges
I recommend you go take a look at Hodges’ web site and look at her beautiful images. Link below. She has clearly made the most of the time she lives in Maine. There are photographic advantages to making the most of the place where you live, even if you don’t liver near a stunning national park.
Some of the Best Drives in America
The article on the prettiest drives (link below) is worth looking at. I don’t know about all of the drives, but some of them really are among the best drives in America. Of the 18 roads in the article, here are the ones I recommend.
Pacific Coast Highway, California.
The Bluebonnet Trail in Texas Hill Country. Despite what the article says, go in April when the bluebonnets are at their best. March is too early and May is too late if you want bluebonnets.
North Shore Drive, Minnesota. Early morning is the best time of day so you can catch the sunrise light on the rocky shoreline.
Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park, Montana. Summer and fall are best.
Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. They try to plow the road open by Memorial Day. Most years you can expect 10 foot snow drifts by the road if you go in early June. The road closes with the first major snowfall in the fall. Summer and fall are best.
Highway 101, Oregon.
Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. Fall is best.
Route 66. I have a special fondness for the original sections of this highway that still remain, especially in Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Get a good guide book to catch the best spots.
Park Loop Road in Acadia National Park, Maine. This park is stunning in the middle of October when the fall colors are at their peak.
These are the Prettiest Drives in America at Definition.org.
The National Park Series: Where to Go and When – Some of the best scenic locations are in our national parks. This series of articles is your guide to the seasons of the year when each park is at its photographic best.