ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine — Three kayakers emerged slowly from the mist on Jordan Pond, their green and yellow vessels breaking the calm water Friday morning.
Standing on the shore at the pond’s boatlaunch, Rahul Desai of Lynnfield, Mass., saw the kayaks through the fog and immediately reached for his camera. Adam Jones saw the scene, too.
“That’s for the people with the telephoto lenses who were wondering what they could shoot,” said nature and wildlife photographer Jones as a cluster of photographers standing around him turned and pointed their cameras at the kayakers.
It was a perfect shot for a gray morning — exactly what Desai and about 60 other visitors to Acadia National Park were searching for as they took part in Canon’s Photography in the Parks workshop Friday morning.
The workshop, one of a series taking place this month in Acadia for the first time, have been held at other national parks throughout the country. This year’s program started in Yosemite and moved to the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone before the final stop in Acadia.
The twice-daily free workshops, which are open to the public, allow park visitors to use their own equipment or borrow Canon camera bodies, lenses and memory cards, and then head out into the area around Jordan Pond, where a guide gives the group pointers about the cameras, photography in general and how to shoot the park.
After the photography session ends, the participants can print photos on site. The images are available online about a week later and can be submitted to a national contest. Prizes include cameras and trips to national parks.
Joel Saferstein, an associate publisher with the New York-based American Park Network, which publishes park guides and coordinates the photography workshops, said the program resonates with youngsters.
“There’s still this digital divide for kids who are used to being on their cell phones. Coming to a place like this, you’re disconnected,” Saferstein said at the Jordan Pond House. “One of the ways we can have them feel connected is through photography. It’s something they relate to, taking photographs on their cell phones and building social networks and community.”
Jones, who is based in Kentucky, said he had previously photographed Acadia.
He led a group of about 15 experienced photographers on a slow walk around Jordan Pond’s southern shore, stopping occasionally to discuss composition, elements of design, and how to read a camera’s viewfinder.
“Less is more when you’re taking pictures,” Jones said. “An artist starts with a blank canvas and paints on what they want. Well, we work in the reverse process. We’ve got chaos all around us, so we have to simplify our composition.”
He encouraged participants to take advantage of the flat, gray light and foggy lake. Bright sunshine isn’t always the best weather condition for photography, he added.
“Look at the light,” Jones said, stopping the group as it reached a path with a clear view several dozen feet ahead. “It’s just that path off into the woods, into infinity. … We’ve got beautiful, soft studio lighting here today.”
Most of the photographers were amateurs, and most were visiting the park from outside Maine. Desai, a 19-year-old Northeastern University student, read about the workshops one month ago and knew he wanted to be in Acadia.
“I’ve been doing this for a while, but I learned some new techniques,” said Desai, who attended a workshop Thursday and planned to return today. “Just being in the park, having all this beautiful scenery, it’s great. I was kind of tentative this morning with the mist, but it’s been beautiful.”
The workshops will be held at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. today, Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. There will be 6 p.m. photography presentations on those days at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor. For more information, go to www.usa.canon.com/parks.