Posted by: kerryl29 | January 9, 2023

The Story Behind the Image: Mooselookmeguntic Lake at Sunset

A segment of northwest Maine is known as the Rangeley Lakes region. Heading north from Roxbury towards the small town of Rangeley on Maine-17, you pass a location on the west side of the highway known as Height of Land. This spot is an overlook, with a view of the interestingly named Mooselookmeguntic Lake and the distant mountains beyond.

Visiting in late September, 2016, my first full day in the area was a scouting session and I visited Height of Land late one morning. The light was awful, but the view was quite impressive and I made a mental note to return late one day while I was still in the region. And so I did, near the end of the very next day.

I arrived at Height of Land about 30 minutes before sunset and waited to see what would develop. It wasn’t a spectacular sunset–there weren’t nearly enough clouds for that to even be a possibility. But the scene was exceptionally beautiful, so I prepared to capture it.

As the sun dropped, the sky turned shades of yellow and orange and it was reflected in the waters of the lake hundreds of feet below me. With the innumerable trees that made up the forest surrounding the lake shore just beginning to turn, it was kind of ironic that it was the sky that was revealing the colors of autumn that evening.

I pulled out my telephoto lens, and zoomed to the point where the shoreline met the lower right-hand corner of the frame and then arched into the mountains in the background. I metered for the highlights and let the shadows fall where they may. I could have bracketed exposure and prepared an HDR version of this scene, retaining vivid detail in the trees, but that would have been counter to my intentions. To my eye, this was a graphic scene of shapes and colors, and the aforementioned details would have served as nothing but a distraction in that regard.

To this day, almost 6 1/2 years later, one look at this image puts me right back at Height of Land, watching the sun sink behind the mountains to the west of Mooselookmeguntic Lake on an early autumn evening in northwest Maine.

Mooselookmeguntic Lake at Sunset from Height of Land Overlook, Franklin County, Maine


  1. Beautiful photo and quite a name!

    • Thanks, and I completely agree…”Mooselookmeguntic” is a mouthful.

  2. Gorgeous image. Thanks for story behind the image.

    • Thanks very much!

  3. Interesting name for the lake — I wondered whether it really was moose-related and found that it’s Abnaki for “moose feeding place.” Very nice comp — the shoreline really pulls the eye around to the hills and sky — and the colors are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks, Steve. And, thanks for researching the lake’s lengthy and unusual name.

  4. Lovely lighting in this beautiful scene. I too, had to look up the name, thinking it was a combination of English and Indigenous. thank-you, sscarter. Was not familiar with “Abnaki” so looked that up, too. The Abenaki (Abenaki: Wαpánahki) are an Indigenous peoples of the Northeastern Woodlands of Canada and the United States. They are an Algonquian-speaking people and part of the Wabanaki Confederacy. The Eastern Abenaki language was predominantly spoken in Maine, while the Western Abenaki language was spoken in Quebec, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

    • Thanks, Jane. And thanks for the anthropological linguistic deep dive. Very interesting!

  5. i would love to see more of the photos that you took of this lake.

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