Thursday, November 15, 2018

Cadillac Mountain Sunrise

PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNAL: From Cape Breton in Canada to below the border with Mexico, Cadillac Mountain is the highest peak within 25 miles of the Atlantic ocean, and during certain seasons of the year it is the place in North America on which the first sunlight shines. Because there is a beautiful road winding to the top of Cadillac Mountain, on July 21 my grandson and I decided to drive there and photograph sunrise. We rose at 3:20 AM and were on the road by 3:40.

The road to the top of Cadillac Mountain is one of the most beautiful roads anywhere, also one of the most serpentine, with turns around sheer cliffs that can rearrange hairpins. In the pre-dawn dark it was not so beautiful, and each turn rounded dangerously toward darkness beyond our headlights. Morning fog didn’t help. I followed the tail lights of the car ahead of me until it turned off at a lookout, and then I was the lead car turning into dark. 

People traditionally go to mountaintops to reflect, and to gain the perspective, sometimes wisdom, that comes from standing apart and looking back. We had not expected to be alone, but we had not expected the extensive parking area almost as full as it had been at midday. After finding a place to park, we looked for a place to stand and watch and photograph. We could still see the lights of Bar Harbor against the night. All around were other seekers and photographers signalling to friends and scrambling to set a blanket or tripod on their piece of solitude.