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Christmastime in London

England during the holiday season is a delight.

A retired call box in Chichester

A retired call box in Chichester

I don't know the reason or the history, but I don't think I've been to a more festive place during the holiday season (I'm sure the Christmas markets in Germany give it a run for its money, but I've yet to have the opportunity to visit there). Everywhere you turn, there are light displays, trees, ornaments, and holiday cheer.

I returned late last week from a week-long trip there with Lauren and her family, where we had a wonderful time.

We spent a fair bit of the trip in Southern part of the country visiting family, and even got to attend our first Premier League football (soccer) match (in Southampton).

The second half of our trip was spent an hour and a half train ride away in London, which, turned out to be the photographic highlight of the trip.

London

Waterloo Bridge & Trafalgar Square

We braved the chilly evening air to make our way from Waterloo Bridge, and it's dusk views of the city, to Trafalgar Square. From there we enjoyed the Christmas lights that adorned the streets and retail shops along Regent, Brook, and Bond Streets before finishing our evening with dinner at gastropub near where we were staying. It was all quite festive and fun.

London, full of holiday spirit

London, full of holiday spirit

Sky Garden & Covent Garden

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Our second and final morning in London, we awoke to forecast of rain, but made the most of our day, with a visit to the Sky Garden, which despite the weather and low visibility, gave us some fun views of the city.

Rainy London

Rainy London

A late morning breakfast and wander through Borough Market (I never knew that 'Shake Shack' sauce was something that I needed on a bacon sandwich) was a highlight of the day. We also managed to sneak in a visit to Covent Garden before the rain sent us packing.

Our brief London stay ended that evening with a festive bang at the Royal Albert Hall for a performance of Christmas Classics by the London Concert Orchestra, Royal Choral Society, and Fanfare Trumpeters of the Royal Logistics Corps. A late evening pint at the pub near our hotel was the evening's finale, and we went to sleep quite content with the week that was.

See these all these images (and a few more) on my Flickr: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmaUZmiG

Royal Albert Hall

Royal Albert Hall

Why I Love this Wedding Picture

I'm not a wedding photographer, but this photograph encapsulates what I love about photography: finding a unique moment in someone's life journey, and freezing it forever. Life's memories or precious, and while today its easy to move on to the next moment, tomorrow's reflection will be all that more enjoyable when you can hold a bit of history in your hands.

I stumbled upon Kevin Mullins's work sometime in the last year, and make sure to check out all of his new posts. The way he takes his subject matter (weddings & families), and figures out a way to make each story unique is inspiring. In addtion to his great wedding work, his Day in the Life shoots are an inspiration, and somewhere I'd eventually like to get to with some of my clients.

Acadia National Park
Hiking through woods of Acadia

Hiking through woods of Acadia

Early this spring, on the heels of a successful trip to Iceland, John, Luis, and I began discussing the idea of late summer trip to "somewhere fun". After a series of emails and text messages, Acadia National Park in Maine was chosen, and our good pal, Brandon, had eagerly joined in on the fun. Flights were booked, a rental apartment was found, and hikes were researched. We planned to pack as much fun into our extended weekend as was reasonably possible. I think we were successful.

A Mainecation in Acadia

Day 1

A Lost Day of Travel

John, Luis, and Brandon all chose to book an earlier afternoon flight, which boarded, took off, and landed without a hitch. I, however, had a different path. A cancellation, 3 re-booked flights, and a brief delay on the tarmac unfortunately delayed my arrival until after the boys had called it a night.

Day 2

Road to Southwest Harbor and St. Sauveur and Acadia Mountain Loop

The day started rather poorly when, with little sleep and less water, I nearly passed out scrambling over some rocks during a sunrise shoot with Brandon. Things started looking up rather quickly though, as we grabbed a quick breakfast at The Holy Donut, and hit the road for Southwest Harbor.

Sunrise view a light from Fort Williams Park in Portland, ME.

Sunrise view a light from Fort Williams Park in Portland, ME.

We made two pit stops on our way to Southwest Harbor, once for lunch at a quaint little deli, whose name I don't recall, and again in Rockland to check out the Rockland Breakwater Light

From here, we made the rest of the approximately 3 hour journey to our homebase for the weekend: Southwest Harbor. Our rental for the weekend was a great little apartment in the Cannery building at Dysart's Marina.

Once settled, we hopped right back into the car, and made our way into the park for a couple of afternoon hikes.

We decided to stick to an area of the Acadia a short drive from Southwest Harbor, the St. Sauveur and Acadia Mountain Loop. A 3.9 mile loop spanning two summits (Acadia & Sauveur), this hike featured some incredible views of Valley Cove and Somes Sound. This hike proved to be a good warm-up for the weekend, sapping us of our remaining day one energy, and sending us home excited for more.

John, Brandon, and Luis look out over Acadia National Park from the summit of Mt. Sauveur.

Dinner post-hike took us first to Bass Harbor Lighthouse for sunset, and then to a lobster pound, Thurston's (Brandon was a repeat customer). After fighting off the bugs and personal-space-unaware patrons, we polished off a steamed lobster each, and called it a night.

Day 3

Cadillac Mountain, The Beehive, and Ocean Loop (and Gorham Mountain)

After looking at the weather forecast, we realized that we'd have the opportunity for a nice sunrise before the day's hikes, so alarms were set, coffee was prepared, lunches were packed, and off we went at 4:30 in the morning to catch the country's first light from the summit of Cadillac Mountain. It's hard to even describe how incredible the view and light was from this vantage point. While it certainly was crowded, it's an experience I'd recommend to anyone visitng the Northeast.

For the day's hikes, we made our to the parking lot at Sand Beach, dropped the car off, and made the short walk over to The Beehive for the park's 2nd most difficult hike, which checked in at 1.3 miles.

(Author's Note: Unfortunately, my fear of heights conquered me about 2/3 of the way up the mountain, so I made my way back down to wait for John, Luis, and Brandon, who quickly and fearlessly conquered the summit, iron rungs, bridges, and all.)

After the Beehive, we chose to take the relaxing and scenic Ocean Trail (4.2 miles roundtrip). We made our way past landmarks such as Thunder Hole and Monument Cove, ultimately stopping when we arrived at Otter Cliff for some relaxation. Our return trip to the car led us to the top of the day's second summit, Gorham Mountain, where we ate our lunch, and relaxed for a few before trudging back to the car.

Looking to do something unique for dinner, we booked a water taxi from our adopted marina home through the fog to Little Cranberry Island for drinks and a fantastic meal at Isleford Dock Restaurant.

Day 4

Precipice Trail, Jordan Pond, and Bubble Rock

Luis snaps a photo of Champlain Mountain after climbing to the top of Precipice.

Luis snaps a photo of Champlain Mountain after climbing to the top of Precipice.

After a couple days of hiking we decided to skip sunrise for our final day in the park. Instead, we woke up, and headed straight for Precipice Trail (1.5 miles). After my experience at the The Beehive, I opted for the "scenic route", (adding about a mile to my journey), and began my ascent up the Champlain North Ridge Trail, where I met the guys at the summit of Champlain Mountain. Unfortunately, it was yet another foggy morning, so there weren't many views to be had at the top.

Following Precipice, we hopped in the car with an eye towards one more summit, South Bubble, in order to marvel at the impossibility that is Bubble Rock. After our 6th summit (well, 5th for me, technically) in 3 days, we moseyed our way back to the car along the Jordan Pond Loop, and left the park for the weekend's final time.

Knowing that we only had one evening left before heading back home to recover, we were left with no choice but to consume, you guessed it, more lobster (this time at Beal's Lobster Pier). With full bellies and tired legs, we stumbled back to our weekend rental, and spent the rest of the evening relaxing with a few beverages and many episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Dark & Stormy, Lobster Stew, Onion Rings, and a Lobster Roll w/Garlic Aioli.

Dark & Stormy, Lobster Stew, Onion Rings, and a Lobster Roll w/Garlic Aioli.

Day 5

Maine Brewing Company, Allagash Brewery, and Portland.

After a filling breakfast at Eat-a-Pita in Southwest Harbor, we got in the car, hopped on the highway, and began making our way back to Portland. Stops for tastings at Maine Beer Company in Freeport and Allagash Brewing Company in Portland hit the spot. We were all on an early evening flight, so after some time relaxing at a local park, we headed to the airport for the flight home, but not before two more lobster-based meals: lobster mac at Andy's Old Port Pub and lobster grilled cheese at Linda Bean's Maine Kitchen.


I think I speak for Brandon, John, and Luis when I say that this trip was absolutely fantastic. We hiked, we ate, we laughed, we nursed sore legs, we dragged cameras with us anywhere and everywhere, and we had nothing but fun. I'd wholeheartedly recommend just about everything that we did on our trip to anyone looking for an adventure in the northeast. It's an incredible part of the country with spectacular scenery.

As I've hopefully demonstrated in this post, it's hard to find a better place to bring a camera, and capture some images that you'll cherish for the rest of your life.

I look forward to my next visit. If you're planning a visit to Acadia, and have questions, feel free to reach out.