With an all-day forecast of mostly sunny conditions following chilly temperatures overnight, I decided to return to Sandy River Pond for sunrise. This would be my third visit to this location, having previously been there on Day 2 and Day 4. The trees surrounding the pond were approaching peak and I had determined that the public access area–on the west side of the pond, adjacent to ME-4–would provide a potentially good spot for sunrise. Mist off the water was likely, given the overnight temperatures; now if I could just get some clouds in the eastern sky, I’d be all set. I wasn’t disappointed.
It was about a 45-minute ride to the pond so I had to get up extra early to be on site for the start of civil twilight. But it was worth it.
This turned out to be one of those dawn settings where, for a few minutes, everything turns pink–the sky, the clouds, the light itself.
There was no wind at dawn so the reflections on the pond were glass-like.
The public access to Sandy River Pond is limited to a concrete boat launch, perhaps 20 feet in width, surrounded on both sides by dense stands of trees and shrubs and bordered on either end by private property. As a result, perspectives are extremely limited. But that doesn’t mean that compositional options aren’t available. As you can see from the above photos, the area across the pond to the right had the largest amount of mist. Once the pink light disappeared, as the sun began to rise, I pulled out the telephoto lens to play with the elements.
When I finished at the pond, I moved a bit north on ME-4 and spent a few moments photographing from the eastern Rangeley Lake Overlook. Though this was after sunrise, I really liked the combination of elements.
Given the forecast, and the fact that I’d thoroughly scouted and photographed the area around both sides of Rangeley Lake in the previous few days, I decided to spend the better part of Day 5 looking over a new area: the Kennebec River Valley, located well to the northeast of where I’d been thus far.
For context, my base of operations was about five miles west of Rumford (in the bottom left of the above map) on US-2. My sunrise destination was about 10 miles southeast of the town of Rangeley.
The Kennebec River Valley runs north from the spot on the map demarcated by the town of Moscow, and runs alongside US-201. Before the day was over, I followed the road all the way north to Jackman and then took ME-6 east for about 25 miles before turning around.
This was pretty, empty country. While the foliage wasn’t really any further along than in the Rangeley Lakes area and the light wasn’t great, I’m still glad I made the drive. About 10 miles south of Jackman I saw a huge bull moose on the west side of the road. I pulled off the highway on the east side and while I was pondering whether to get my camera out of the trunk a noisy semi, coming from the other direction, kind of spooked the moose (who had been content to nibble on some foliage on one of the trees) and he meandered off into the forest.
Despite the light, I did take some pictures at a few spots along the way, beginning with a small wetland just north of the town of Bingham, not far from Moscow.
My next stop was at a pull-off on the west side of the road that was lined with birch trees. The wide Kennebec River lay below.
At a rest area another 10 miles or so north, I made another stop. It was a bit windy at this spot, but I was able to gain a shutter speed sufficient to freeze the action.
It was much calmer by the time I reached The Forks and stopped at another rest area. I crossed the highway at this point and photographed the river from the shoulder of a bridge.
The most intriguing view, I think, was of Attean Pond, near where I saw the moose and not very far to the south of Jackman. The overlook–the final rest stop on US 201 before reaching the border with Quebec–provides a distant view of the pond, which is dotted with tree-covered islands, has a foreground of hardwoods and coniferous trees and a background of low mountains. I produced a panorama and a conventional horizontal image from this spot.
After scouting east of Jackman on ME-6 I drove all the way back to Rumford Center and then west to ME-113 into Evans Notch. I arrived there about two hours before sunset. My first stop was at the trailhead for “The Roost” trail, a steep one-mile one-way climb to an overlook of the notch. I discovered, after making the climb, that while the view was terrific, this wasn’t a place to go on a sunny afternoon, as the view was looking almost straight into the sun. I chalked the experience up to scouting and indeed I would return to this spot later in the trip, but in the morning.
After descending back to the car, I drove the length of the notch on ME-113, all the way to Basin Pond at the very southern end, just across the state line in New Hampshire. Most of the locations in the notch, which is a mix of deciduous trees and conifers, with an emphasis on the former, were still almost entirely green. But I did stop at one or two spots that had some color.
There aren’t many places in the notch from which to effectively photograph sunset. There are some spots you can hike to, but doing so would require some pretty gnarly descents in the pitch dark–like the Roost, for instance. The thought of descending that steep, rock-and-root-strewn trail in the dark, even with a headlamp or flashlight, struck me as something other than a good idea. Besides, there were few clouds in the sky by the time sunset rolled around. I drove to the Cold River Overlook–a small pull-out with an essentially southern view through the notch which I’d scouted on the drive to Basin Pond. It was a bit overgrown and the perspective wasn’t the greatest, but I made a couple of images anyway.
And with that, my last full day based in Maine would come to an end. I still had another morning. I’d shoot sunrise along the Androscoggin River and make a few more images in the immediate area the following morning before decamping for the Kancamagus Highway in the White Mountains of New Hampshire en route to my new base in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.