Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument Loop Road

Katahdin Woods and Waters Overlook along Loop RoadThe Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument Loop Road, situated west of Wassataquoik Stream in the south section of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is one of our favorite places to photograph wildlife including Boreal Birds and Maine Moose. The monument also affords spectacular views and landscape photography opportunities of Katahdin in near by Baxter State Park.

The text below (written by Anita with contributions of data and other information from supporters of the Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument) highlights cultural, biological, and geological features of significance, as well as scenic viewpoints and hiking and biking trails of differing distances and difficulty.

Officially declared as the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument by Presidential Proclamation on August 24, 2016, the 87,500-acre landscape was donated to the National Park Service and the American people by conservationist Roxanne Quimby, founder of Burt’s Bees personal care products.

The Monument lands, known to Native peoples for thousands of years, have supported extensive logging operations from the time of early Maine statehood on. In addition, artists, authors, scientists, conservationists, recreationists, and others have drawn knowledge and inspiration from this landscape for nearly 200 years.

Mark and I along with the Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters, a nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization dedicated to supporting the Monument, hope you will be one of many to follow in their footsteps.

DIRECTIONS:

From I-95 Exit 244 (Medway): Travel west towards Medway approximately 0.8 miles, turning right onto Route 11 (also called Grindstone Road). Follow Route 11, also known as the Katahdin Woods and Waters Scenic Byway, for approximately 20 miles and then turn left onto the Swift Brook Road. Please use caution when making the left turn onto Swift Brook Road as there is limited sight distance; please be considerate of your speed as you pass the residential area near the junction.

From I-95 Exit 264 (Sherman): Travel west approximately 0.25 miles, turning left onto Route 11. Travel approximately 5 miles, turning right on Swift Brook Road.

From either direction: Travel the Swift Brook Road approximately 9.5 miles following the signs to the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument Loop Road. Sandbank Stream Camping and Picnic Area will be on your left.

Sandbank Stream Picnic and Camping Area: The Loop Road tour begins at a repurposed sand and gravel pit. Its materials were once used for building logging roads along Sandbank Stream, where a series of beaver dams have created “dead waters” or wider, slow-moving waterways along the stream’s path. Walking the short trail to the left you will arrive at the largest of these dams. Beaver dams modify the natural environment and the overall ecosystem builds upon the change, making beavers a keystone species – a species on which other species in an ecosystem largely depend. Leaving the parking area, the first half-mile of thick spruce forest provides habitat for the protected Spruce Grouse and other northern bird species including Bay-breasted and Blackpoll Warbler, Boreal Chickadee, as well as both Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

Loop Road Gate: The entrance gate is situated between a section of glacial esker and a mixed shrub marsh. Combined with the spruce forest you just passed through, this area is particularly rich in biological diversity. To explore this area further continue 0.3 miles past the gate to the first road on your right where you will find an abandoned gravel pit and a rustic unimproved parking area. This area is still evolving with plans for a more developed parking area in the future.

STOP 1 – MILE 0.3: From the parking area, a one-mile roundtrip hike along the ridge of the esker to a second marsh begins. The trail is on the opposite side of the Loop Road just before the parking area. Prominent eskers – long, sinuous, steep-sided ridges of sand and gravel formed by meltwater streams running beneath the retreating glacier – occur throughout the Monument. Landforms such as glacially scoured bedrock and lake sediments deposited during the retreat of the last glaciers record a history of dramatic climate change, from a landscape locked in ice to the rich forests and wetlands of today. Along the first section of trail, wild blueberry provides ground cover among mature spruce. Listen and watch for Eastern Wood Pewee, Magnolia Warbler, White-throated Sparrow, and the rare Black-backed Woodpecker. At the base of the trail, below the beaver dam, early sluice cribbing from logging days of past, when logs were floated down waterways to markets beyond, is still evident. Look for Kingfisher, Red Shouldered-Hawk, Great Blue Heron, Swamp Sparrow, Common Yellowthroat Warbler, beaver, and moose. Return on the same path.
An alternate hike from the parking lot is along the abandoned logging road leading from the parking area. This unimproved trail takes you through Early Mixed Successional Forest habitat past Deasey Ponds. Areas of newly generated vegetation provide excellent habitat for Ruffed Grouse, snowshoe hare, and the federally protected Canada lynx. Expect to see animal tracks and signs as this road is traveled by moose, bear, coyote, and lynx. If you encounter wildlife within the Monument please maintain a respectful distance, allowing the animal ample opportunity to retreat to a more comfortable location. Although you can hike or bike for as many as two miles along this unimproved road, plan time for the return.

STOP 2 – MILE 1: Just past Mile Marker 1 a small pullout on the left provides a first view of almost mile-high Katahdin at 5,267 feet above sea level in nearby Baxter State Park. The name of this rugged mountain (pronounced “kə-tah’-dən”) was given by the Penobscot Indians and means “The Greatest Mountain.” It is believed to be home to the evil spirit Pamola where he curses (weather) on the mountain. As early as 11,000 years ago, Native peoples began to inhabit the area. Traditionally they used the rivers as a vast transportation network, seasonally searching for food, furs, medicines, and many other resources. Wabanaki people, in particular the Penobscot Indian Nation, consider the Penobscot River and its tributaries a centerpiece of their culture and spiritual values.

STOP 3 – MILE 1.5: This section of road provides an example of an early growth successional forest dominated by aspen, birch, and maple – the first trees to occupy a recently harvested forest. The treetops and thick understory provide nesting habitat for bird species such as American Redstart, and Black and White, Chestnut-sided, and Mourning Warblers. The berry patches here and along the disturbed roadsides throughout the Monument are indicative of areas where cut trees awaited transportation to area mills. They are foraged by black bears during berry season. Continue along the road bearing left at the fork.

STOP 4 – MILE 2.2: Drive 0.2 miles past Mile Marker 2 to parking for the short walk to Lynx Pond. The trail is on the opposite side of the road just before the parking area. This small pond, surrounded by a nutrient-poor Leatherleaf Boggy Fen, is home to a resident Belted Kingfisher that rattles as he flies about defending his territory. Carnivorous pitcher plants grow in the bog mat along the edge of the pond. When insects investigate the pitcher-shaped structure that holds water, they meet a watery demise. The plant then dissolves the insect and uses it for food. Moose often feed on the opposite shore. Canada Geese, and Ring-necked and Common Goldeneye ducks are known nesters. Boreal Bird species of note including Black-backed Woodpecker, Rusty Blackbird, Canada Warbler, and Wilson’s Warbler have been recorded here.

STOP 5 – MILE 3.1: Continue 0.1 miles to parking area on corner. Walk a short distance along the roadside to where a Spruce Fir Cinnamon Fern Swamp containing Rhodora (wild azalea) and Swamp Maple as well as a variety of other ferns and bog plants can be viewed from either side of the road. Magnolia and Palm Warblers along with White-throated Sparrows are prevalent bird species.
Caution! Beginning at about Mile 4.5 the Loop Road joins a two-way log hauling road to about Mile 5.8 and then again from Mile 9 to 11.8. Drive slowly, keep to the right, and yield to oncoming trucks.

STOP 6 – MILE 6.4: Turn left to reach the scenic overlook with its expansive views. It is a great place for a picnic lunch. Millinocket Lake (meaning “many islands”) is the large body of water to your left. Mud Brook Flowage and the Sandy Stream Valley flow out from surrounding mountains. The forests before you are a transitional deciduous northern hardwood and boreal spruce-fir mix – a type that does not exist anywhere else in the National Park System. Mountain tops are dominated by spruce-fir with lowland valleys full of colorful northern hardwoods. Historically, in addition to lumber – wood carvings, chips, mulch, charcoal, syrups, oils, gums, and extracts have been produced from these forests.

MILES 7-9: There are several scenic overlooks through this section. When stopping, park off the road and use existing pull-offs.

STOP 7 – MILE 11.8: Just before Mile Marker 12 is parking for the IAT (International Appalachian Trail) and Barnard Mountain Trail. Park away from the gate ensuring access to logging equipment. Overnight parking requires a permit from the NPS.
The IAT continues the Appalachian Trail that runs from Georgia to Maine. The IAT follows the ancient Appalachian Mountains, created far back in geologic time and now separated by the North Atlantic Ocean. The ancient mountain chain was built when continental plates drifted together to form a single continent, Pangaea, or “all land.” Parts of those plates began to drift apart more than 200 million years ago, and now form North America, Europe, and Africa. The IAT links traces of these mountains around the arc of the North Atlantic. The section of the trail that runs through Maine starts here and continues through the Monument for 30 miles, to continue another 100 miles to Fort Fairfield, Maine, and then on into Canada, Greenland, and Europe, ending in Morocco.

BARNARD MOUNTAIN: The hike begins on a brief section of the IAT, for about 1.5 miles up the gravel logging road frequented by moose, bear, mountain bikers, hikers, and occasionally logging trucks carrying wood harvested from adjacent lands. Within the first few minutes of the hike you will cross Katahdin Brook and pass the first IAT campsite. Continue up the long hill and the trail head sign will be on your right. This first portion of the trail can be biked as well as hiked. From here you leave the logging road and hike through a section of thick young hardwoods before ascending through a mature softwood forest over switchbacks and stone steps built in 2014 by the Maine Conservation Corps. Bring your lunch and enjoy the views from the top. Watch for moose signs near the summit where they hang out in the cool breezes of summer.

STOP 8 – MILE 15.5: Turn off the Loop Road onto the road to Orin Falls. Travel approximately 2.5 miles to the parking area. Orin Falls is a great six-mile round-trip hike (or bike) for families and fishing enthusiasts looking to access Wassataquoik Stream, which is translated as “place where they spear fish.” Most of the trail is former logging road that is wide and avoids steep slopes. A portion of the IAT also follows the same path for a short distance. The trail begins by following a glacial esker above Wassataquoik Stream before dropping to cross a bridge over Katahdin Brook (the outflow from Katahdin Lake inside Baxter State Park). Just beyond the bridge there is a large campsite as well as a lean-to shelter. The trail passes through a section of Hardwood River Terrace Forest where the lush carpet of herbs below changes from spring ephemerals such as trillium and trout lily to dense fern cover in summer. Continue going straight at the next junction where the IAT heads left towards Barnard Mountain. Along the next section of trail, the forest changes to a Spruce-Northern Hardwood Forest that provides nesting habitat for many bird species, including Sharp-shinned Hawk, Scarlet Tanager, Spruce Grouse, Swainson’s Thrush, Northern Parula, Ovenbird, and Cape May, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, and Blackburnian Warblers. The final few hundred feet of trail approaching the falls are on a recently built, narrow trail.

The Wassataquoik was a center of activity in the 19th and early 20th centuries with visitors coming from afar to approach and climb Katahdin, many by way of Katahdin Lake. These included the mountain guide, Rev. Marcus Keep as early as 1846, and the artist Frederick Church as early as 1855. Henry David Thoreau had hoped to climb the mountain via the Wassataquoik when he descended the East Branch in 1857 – he had previously climbed most of the way up Katahdin from the south in 1846 – but had to give up the idea because one of his companions had injured his feet. In 1879, the young Theodore Roosevelt was guided up the mountain by William ‘Bill’ Sewall from Island Falls. To the dismay of his guide, he lost a boot crossing the stream, making it necessary to hike in his spare moccasins. The Appalachian Mountain Club held their August camps in the area in 1887 and again in 1916, using the Wassataquoik for their approach. A party including Percival Baxter visited in 1920, before he became governor of Maine. In 1939, young Donn Fendler was lost as a twelve-year-old boy on the mountain for nine days, beat the odds, and survived by following the Wassataquoik, where he was ultimately spotted downstream across from Lunksoos Camp. He later authored Lost on a Mountain in Maine. Wassataquoik Stream also has a rich logging history beginning in the 1840s with 11 million board feet of logs sent down river during peak operations. Log drives on the Wassataquoik were abandoned in about 1915 with the completion of the Draper pulpwood operations. In modern times, a vast network of logging roads has taken over as a means of transporting wood to area saw and paper mills.

Return to the Loop. Travel past Mile 16 where you will see a left-hand turn to exit the Loop Road.

A NOTE ABOUT ACCESS: The Loop Road is typically open to vehicle traffic beginning Memorial Day weekend through the first weekend in November. However, visitors should check www.nps.gov/kaww/planyourvisit for the latest updates as access is weather dependent.

The Swift Brook and Loop Roads are gravel roads passable to passenger cars with normal clearance. Low-clearance vehicles should exercise extreme caution. Be advised that this is a new National Monument. Amenities are limited and signage is sparse. Cell phone reception can be spotty or non-existent. There are no services or concessions within the Monument.

The original text above appears on an interpretive map which was made possible by the Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters in cooperation with the National Park Service.

To request a copy of the Loop Road Interpretive Map please contact the Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters at info@friendsofkatahdinwoodsandwaters.org.

To join the Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters in their efforts to help preserve, promote and protect this wonderful resource visit: friendsofkatahdinwoodsandwaters.org

Discover Katahdin Visitor’s Mobile App

Discover Katahdin Visitors App image

We just developed our first app – Discover Katahdin!

A firm believer that we need to do a better job of helping others discover all there is to see and do in the region, Anita spent the winter months developing the Discover Katahdin – Maine’s Four Season Playground visitor’s app.

Sponsored by the Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce the app is now available as a free download in the Apple App Store, Google Play and Windows Store. The app and Discover Katahdin website were developed in an effort to highlight this remarkable area of Maine. It is full of four season recreation possibilities and includes business listings for goods and services all to help visitor’s to the Katahdin Region discover some of the area’s best kept secrets.

Discover Katahdin App Features

• Information and maps for exploring the Katahdin Region’s major conservation, park and recreation lands including but not limited to Baxter State Park, Katahdin Woods and Waters Scenic By-way, Maine North Woods

• Twenty plus fun things for children to do while visiting the Katahdin Region

• Over 30 suggested hikes both inside and outside of Baxter State Park with degree of difficulty, distance, estimated time to complete as well as directions and GPS coordinates

• Hunting and Fishing information including Guides, Outfitters and Sporting Camps throughout the area

• Area Museums, Golf Course, Photo Workshops and Yoga Retreats

• Lodging and camping facilities including B&B, Resorts, Hotels, Motels, Private Rentals, Sporting Camps, Cottages Cabins and Campgrounds

• Paddling and Rafting on flat water or quick water with guided and self guided options for both branches of the Penobscot River as well as area lakes and ponds

• Restaurants and Pubs throughout the Katahdin Region including a handy tip calculator

• Services including but not limited to ATM, Banking, Economic Development, Higher Education, Hair and Beauty, Hospital and Emergency, Human Services, Insurance, Manufacturing, Massage, Pet Services and Real Estate

• Shopping locations for Art, Antiques, Collectibles, Crafts, Camping Gear, Groceries, Hunting and Fishing Supplies and Maine Made products

• ATV Trails and maps for the Katahdin Multi Use Trail

• Snowmobile Clubs and snowmobile rental information

• Wildlife, Moose, Bird and Photography Tours by boat, plane and van

• X-Country Ski and Snowshoe Trails and Club information with maps for each

So, if you have not downloaded the app yet, go to the Discover Katahdin website and select the store you wish to download the app from.

 

Best Place to Photograph Moose – Katahdin Region of Maine

Best Place to photograph Moose Katahdin Region of Maine Map

At first glance you may think we are partial when we declare the Katahdin Region of Maine the best place to photograph Moose. However, we don’t think touting the Katahdin Region as the best place to see and photograph Moose is far-fetched. Aptly named the Katahdin Region after the mountain that casts its shadow over some of Maine’s most productive Moose habitat – Mark has personally taken over 65,000 Moose images in the Katahdin Region.

Living here certainly has its advantages. We also lead outdoor photography workshops “focused” on photographing the region’s spectacular landscapes and abundant wildlife including Moose which means we scout for Moose extensively. That is not to say we are successful every time we venture out to photograph Moose. We are not.

Moose “hot spots” change from year to year and Moose can be fickle when it comes to the weather. As a result, one could argue that no matter where you want to photograph Moose the more time you devote to the pursuit the better your chances. We agree. But that being said, we still think the Katahdin Region is the best place to photograph Moose.

But what makes the Katahdin Region of Maine the best place to photograph Moose you ask?

For us the Katahdin Region stands out as the best place to see and photograph Moose because of the numerous conservation and recreation lands that have been set aside for just such pursuits. These lands provide an abundance of quality Moose habitat and it just so happens much of these lands are spectacularly beautiful. Encompassing over a half million acres there is no shortage of photo ops in the Katahdin Region. Located in Maine’s expansive North Woods the Katahdin Region is only an hour from Bangor, two hours from the coast of Maine, and 4 hours from Boston. For those who enjoy venturing out on their own we offer a short list of the best places to photograph Moose in the Katahdin Region.

Best place to photograph Moose Katahdin Region of Maine

Baxter State Park

Baxter State Park itself is probably the most often heard about “best place to photograph Moose” in the Katahdin Region of Maine. A gift to the people of Maine by former Governor Percival Baxter, Baxter State Park encompasses over 200,000 acres. Much of the land serves as a wildlife sanctuary with its prime mission to remain “forever wild”. There are over 200 miles of trails and more than 50 ponds in Baxter State Park.  Majestic Katahdin, Maine’s tallest peak is within the park’s boundaries. The park can be quite crowded during peak Moose viewing seasons. A couple of the easily accessible Moose viewing areas (Sandy Stream Pond and Stump Pond) are designated as such and limited in size. Baxter State Park is still worth a visit though.  The further you get off the beaten path or in this case the park’s Tote Road the better your chances of photographing Moose in a less congested area. Consider visiting Dwelley, Elbow, Grassy, and Kidney Ponds for their quality Moose habitat and picturesque landscapes.

Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area

We can not say enough about this area. The Nature Conservancy’s Debsconeag Lakes Wildness Area is both remote and beautiful with much of the lands consisting of prime Moose habitat. There is plenty of shoreline to explore by canoe or kayak which is one of our favorite ways to photograph Moose. If you are interested in a wonderful paddle take a look at Chapter 70 in the Appalachian Mountain Clubs book Quiet Water Maine for help in exploring these waters. Also, the Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce has just published a new Trail Guide that can be requested through their website. For photographers who enjoy photographing and hiking there are also many trails to explore, and chances of seeing and photographing Moose are excellent. A high clearance vehicle is a must when accessing these lands.

The Golden Road

The Golden Road, a private logging road that runs approximately 100 miles from Millinocket to Quebec is considered a best place to view and photograph Moose by many locals. Stop by Moose prints Gallery for a Points of Interest handout that highlights Moose viewing ponds as well as scenic highlights along the Golden Road. Safety should be your first concern when traveling this road. Not only could a Moose pop out at anytime, the logging trucks literally own this private road. It is important to watch for trucks running in either direction both in front of and behind you (through your review mirror). When you spot a logging truck approaching pull off to the side of road (as far as practical) to allow them to pass comfortably. Consider that a fully loaded logging truck cannot easily stop so give them plenty of room. Public access is adjacent to the North Woods Trading Post at Millinocket Lake. The road is mostly gravel so be sure to have a full size spare tire.

Katahdin Woods and Waters Loop Road

The newly opened 18 mile park loop road on the Katahdin Woods and Waters Recreation Area  lands east of Baxter State Park is well worth a visit. Managed by Elliotsville Plantation, Inc., these lands were protected by  Philanthropist Roxanne Quimby of Burt’s Bees fame for the sole purpose of donating the lands to the National Park service as a gift to the American people. With unsurpassed panoramic views of Katahdin and its surrounding landscape the area has experienced limited human activity in recent years and as a result a healthy Moose population has developed. For photographers who are interested in getting off on their own there are also many old logging roads to explore on foot and it is one of the few places that bicycles are permitted in the region’s forests. Orin Falls on the remote picturesque Wassataquoik Stream can be accessed by bicycle from the Loop Road and is well worth a visit.  You are also likely to see Black Bear, Bobcat, Coyote, Lynx, Pine Martin, Red Fox, and Snowshoe Hare when visiting these lands. The Loop Road and access to it is unpaved. A high clearance four wheel drive is highly recommended.

Maine North Woods

The KI Jo Mary District of the Maine North Woods (south of Millinocket) is a great place to see and photograph Moose. The area has hundreds of miles of logging roads which equals good Moose habitat. Logging activity regenerates the forest providing good habitat for Moose and other wildlife.  For those who enjoy photographing waterfalls, picturesque Gulf Hagus along the 100 Mile Wilderness Stretch of the Appalachian Trail is in this area as well. Access is via a well maintained gravel road.

Other thoughts on photographing Moose

The time of year (or season) makes the biggest difference in where and how many Moose you are likely to see and photograph. Take a look at our recent blog post Moose Photography Workshops and Moose Tours: What’s the Difference for more detail on best time of year to see and photograph moose. If you are limited on time or prefer to participate in a guided experience as opposed to venturing out on your own when visiting the Katahdin Region check out our schedule of group photography workshops during prime Moose viewing seasons.

As always we encourage you to respect the visitor rules associated with each of these conservation and recreation lands. While they may differ slightly (from one to another) be mindful of the cumulative impacts of human visitors. All areas are designated “carry in and carry out” – leave no trace – take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints!

We hope to see you in the woods, Mark and Anita

Shopping in Millinocket: Part of the Maine North Woods Experience

Millinocket serves as a shopping and refueling hub for outdoor recreation enthusiast and adventure seekers shopping for supplies and last minute purchases before heading to the Maine north woods Katahdin Woods and Waters Recreation Area, Allagash Wilderness Waterway, Appalachian Trail, BaxterState Park and Katahdin itself – Maine’s highest peak.

The old saying “You can’t get thay-ah from he-ah” (spoken in a Maine accent) just does not apply to Millinocket. Millinocket is located eleven miles west of I-95, just an hour from Bangor and two hours from the Maine coast. In fact, a relatively new branding slogan gaining traction for Millinocket, “All trails lead to Millinocket” is perfectly fitting. Once you arrive in Millinocket, you can hike, bike, ATV, cross country ski, and snowmobile on hundreds of miles of maintained trails right from your lodging accommodations and the downtown shopping district.

What few visitors realize is that Millinocket also boasts some of the finest art galleries and gift shops you will find anywhere in Maine. And that, shopping for art and gifts in Millinocket, can be an adventure onto itself. With two of Millinocket’s art galleries situated right on the main road leading into Maine’s expansive north woods, you can shop for stunning original art, crafts and collectables created by regional artisans in all mediums and price ranges without even making a detour off the beaten path.

Both art galleries are owner operated with the artists typically on site to share their knowledge and answer shopper’s questions about their work.  The galleries also serve as informal Visitor Information Centers. Travelers can pick up a trail map, get day hiking and paddling suggestions, make last minute lodging and dining reservations or reserve a space for an afternoon Moose tour or next day river rafting adventure.

Shopping in Millinocket at Moose Prints Gallery and Gifts

 

Shopping in Millinocket Maine

 

Shopping at Moose Prints Gallery in Millinocket Maine

Our gallery, is located along Maine Route 157/11 at 58 Central   Street in downtown Millinocket just before Bangor Savings. It serves as home base for our Maine Woods Photography Workshops and is “where we hang our hat”, so to speak, as our residence is on the second floor. The first floor gallery space is where we hang our art!

The gallery features fine art nature photographs and archival stretched canvas wraps of Maine’s largest mammal – the endearing moose, landscape images of iconic Katahdin and environs, as well as fine art images of just about every wildlife subject that is at home in Maine’s north woods. Interspersed amongst the images in our shop are handmade gifts created by a select group of talented Maine crafters. Located at 58 Central Street, parking is behind the gallery on Congress  Street. Shopping hours are 10am – 6pm Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, and Sat, as well as shopping by appointment or chance Sundays and Wednesdays. International shipping available and major credit cards accepted.

Shopping in Millinocket at North Light Gallery

Shopping in Millinocket Maine

 

Shopping in Millinocket Maine

You will discover a unique shopping experience of original artworks of Katahdin and the north woods of Maine during your visit to North Light Gallery in downtown Millinocket at the crossroads of Route 11 at 256 Penobscot Ave (just 2 blocks from Moose Prints Gallery).

With a commitment to artists who live in the interior or travel to study the interior of Maine, the gallery features one-of-a-kind oils, acrylics, watercolors, carvings, and ceramics, plus photography and jewelry.  North Light Gallery also does framing, which complements a large selection of prints. Owner and accomplished artist, Marsha Donahue also makes shopping for art supplies convenient as painting classes and workshops are offered in the off season.  For your shopping convenience, the gallery accepts most major credit cards, ships almost everywhere and often hand delivers within the state of Maine. Shopping hours are 10-6, Monday thru Saturday, and 11-4 Sundays in August and September.

So, if you thought the old adage about traveling in rural Maine was true we are here to prove you wrong. You not only can get there from here but you are going right by!  So stop and shop in Millinocket, a lovely old mill town with several inspiring art galleries and gifts shops for your shopping pleasure.

Moose Prints Gallery Northern Maine Success Story

 

Millinocket, Maine (April, 2014)  Mark Picard knew he was on to something ten years ago when a calendar featuring the pictures of moose he had photographed in Maine sold 10,000 copies — in Japan. And then Abercrombie and Fitch called, asking to use Picard’s iconic wildlife images in its clothing line.

Picard and his partner, Anita Mueller, were soon convinced they could turn an avocation into a career and have the best of both worlds – a niche business of their own and a chance to photograph full time in what Mueller calls “a really big back yard” – Maine’s North Woods.

Five years ago the couple left their comfortable jobs and moved from Massachusetts to northern Maine. They renovated a turn of the century tenement in the old mill town of Millinocket, creating a stunning gallery space on the first floor to showcase their spectacular photographs. They have grown the business’s footprint by offering their photographs to the wholesale trade for resale. Their work is now sold at more than twenty locations throughout Maine.

Today, Mark Picard is an internationally published wildlife photographer. He was named the 2012 Maine Sportsman Artist of the year. The U.S. Postal Service uses one of his images on a Maine postal stamp. His work is treasured by collectors all over the world.

Anita Mueller manages the gallery and helps organize and run the couple’s popular North Maine Woods Photography Workshop series, which includes a workshop exclusively for women.

The workshops, which capitalize on the growing number of amateur photographers worldwide, are a four-day craft intensive experience photographing in some of the Katahdin Region’s most picturesque and productive wildlife habitats. Anita Mueller says it’s an opportunity for guests to combine a relaxing Maine vacation with a creative learning experience.

Mark Picard and Anita Mueller took a big risk in setting out to create a new life in the woods of northern Maine.  With hard work, an entrepreneurial spirit, and an intense love of the outdoors and Maine’s abundant wildlife, they have found a way to successfully make their passion their business.  But for this couple the bottom line is—and always will be–their craft.

“I don’t take a picture with my career in mind.” Mark Picard said. “I take a picture trying to show that moose or bear or butterfly in the best possible situation. So that the viewer is seeing that image and not thinking about the guy behind the camera.”

Moose Prints Gallery is located at 58 Central Street in Millinocket, Maine. For more information go to www.markpicard.com

When Photography Gets Wild

Yes, we are wild about wildlife photography and every once in a while someone asks for an interview:

Reprint from The Maine Edge: When Photography Gets Wild February 11, 2014

Anita Mueller was an interior designer. Mark Picard earned a living custom painting motorcycles. The couple lived comfortable lives in working in Massachusetts. That was, until five years ago. Mueller and Picard both became so convinced that they could turn their hobbies into careers that they left their jobs in Massachusetts and moved to Millinocket, Maine.

They decided to become wildlife photographers.

“It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it,” Picard says. Of course, the photographers were going on more than a hunch when they made the move. A calendar featuring pictures of a moose that Picard had photographed had sold ten thousand copies in Japan. Abercrombie and Fitch also bought a few of his images – 60, to be exact – to use in their clothing line.

“It was sort of a natural progression,” Picard says. He cited that he had a background in art, and already knew about composition from painting murals and scenes on motorcycles.

Today, their work is sold at more than 20 locations throughout Maine. Picard has become internationally published, and was named the 2012 Maine Sportsman Artist of the Year. The United States Postal Service has used one of his images on a Maine stamp. His images range from landscapes to Maine’s wildlife, including moose and bears. You can view them by visiting markpicard.com.

Anita Mueller manages the gallery. She also helps coordinate and run the North Maine Woods Photography Workshop series, including a workshop exclusively for women.

According to Picard, they have workshops coming up in June, as well as September and October. He says that the workshops have been popular, drawing people from as far away as New Zealand. He stated that people have even come back to attend the workshop a second time.

Of course the job isn’t always a walk in the park. Picard says that he uses all natural lighting, relying on the sun to give him the best possible exposures.

“It takes patience and time,” says Picard.

“I can’t even begin to remotely light Mt. Katahdin,” Picard says. He says that animals like moose are also challenging, because he is so far away from them when he shoots them.

“Anything is hard. I could go out and shoot something ten times and not even get something that I remotely like,” says Picard.

So what is a typical day like for a wildlife photographer? Picard says that it varies. Some days, he heads out to shoot early in the morning, only to come back with nothing of value at the end of the day. On other days, he prints dozens of his own images to keep up with inventory. He says like most business owners, he works beyond what is considered full time.

“I don’t want people to think about the guy behind the camera,” Picard says. “I want them to say, ‘Isn’t that moose or particular wild subject beautiful?’”

It’s safe to say that people are doing just that.

Mark and Anita’s Ten Favorite Photography Websites

Mt Katahdin from the Cribworks with Full Moon in Winter

Katahdin from the Cribworks with Full Moon in Winter

 

In case you have not heard – it is really cold outside.  And, if you are like us, you are spending more time inside – maybe at your computer. Surfing the web we see lists of all sorts. Top 10, Top 20, Must have, Must do, Best this, Best that – the list goes on. So, not to be “listless” in this frigid weather Mark and I offer a list of our Ten Favorite Photography Websites.  Some of the photography websites will inspire and others will help you keep up with the latest photography trends. All are offered to help you focus on enjoying photography more in the coming year. We hope you will sit down with a hot cup of your favorite winter beverage, visit our list of favorite photography websites, and enjoy the New Year!

10 Favorite Photography Websites

  1. Naturescapes.net is a high quality nature photography forum which Mark reads daily with his morning coffee. Thousands of talented nature photographers post to this site and much can be learned from their inspiring images and feedback. It is free to join unless you want to post and then there is a small  annual fee which is well worth the investment for the feedback you receive and the camaraderie that develops as photographers share their passion for nature photography. The site also provides information on upcoming photography workshops and has an online store. Photography friend Jim Borden markets his Borden Steady Foot Extreme thru this site.
  2. Tim Grey is the “go to guy” for post processing digital image tips. We subscribe to his “Ask Tim Grey” daily emails and always learn something. What is great about Tim’s information is that it is concise and comes in small snippets. It is free to register for daily emails – to ask your own questions the subscription price is $35 a year. Tim puts a great amount of time and effort into providing quality technical information. If you find the information useful we hope you will support his site.
  3. In our case the Maine Bird Google Group list serve is invaluable.  However, each state has its own bird list serve to join free where birders will post their recent sightings – often times of rare species. If you don’t want all the emails delivered to your inbox throughout the day (in real-time) you can opt for an archived version and receive just one email per day that includes all of the day’s posts. Archived is the way to go in the spring when bird migration is at its height and the list serves are the most active. As a side Note: Many of you know the United States is experiencing a major eruption of Snowy Owls this winter – one even showed up here near Painted Rock on the Park Road outside of Millinocket a few weeks ago!  Remember many of the birds listed on these sites have traveled great distances in search of adequate food and it is unethical to stress wildlife by altering their behavior.
  4. Now our file sharing site of choice Dropbox is not just for photographers. Good friend, internet wiz, and talented photographer and videographer Jim Boutin put us on to this. We have tried others but found that once downloaded to your desktop sharing files via Dropbox is seamless. A Dropbox folder becomes active whenever something is added to it. Behind the scenes large files are loaded to the site while you work on other tasks. When the file is fully loaded the intended recipient receives an email asking them to join the share folder. Free space is available at no charge and most users will find that they don’t need the larger paid subscriptions.
  5. A global community of nature photographers Whytake.net is much like Facebook.  You can register and upload images for free, commenting is encouraged. Stephen Gingold whose landscape and macro images we admire posts on this site. His images are in good company as there are thousands of quality nature images to be admired on this photography website.
  6. A good source for photographers Lisa’s Photography INFO Blog is always informative. Lisa and husband Tom Cuchara are well known for their camera club presentations and Lisa’s blog provides a wealth of up to date information. Lisa sends one email a day. Subscribing is free – donations are appreciated.
  7. Two sites we frequent when planning new equipment purchases are DPreview and Fred Miranda. They serve as the Consumer Reports for photography equipment and offer unbiased reviews. These sites will save you time and costly mistakes – nothing is worse than purchasing an expensive piece of equipment only to find it does not do what you had hoped.
  8. Downloaded to your desktop for free or uploaded to your phone as an app (for a small fee) Photographer’s Ephemeris is comes in handy. It allows you to check the exact location and time of the rising and setting Sun and Moon on the horizon. As photographers who always ‘want more’ when it comes to interesting elements in their landscape images we find this app really helpful. The location for “Full Moon Rising Over Katahdin” was chosen after consulting this app.
  9. The photography website that keeps night sky watchers abreast of the latest celestial happenings is SpaceWeather.Com . The images are fascinating however their Aurora Alert in particular is invaluable for anyone who would like to catch the phenomenon of Northern Lights on memory card. While you can sign up for their email distribution list for free it is not a daily event. They support their site by charging a small monthly fee to receive Aurora Alerts by text or phone which is well worth the money if you do not want to stand out in the cold or be eaten alive by mosquitoes waiting for a something truly remarkable to happen in the night sky.
  10. Facebook has taken on a life of its own with 350 Million pictures posted per day. Trying to keep up with friend activity let alone which pages post the most compelling images is difficult at best. We suggest Mark Picard Wildlife Photography our official business page. We post at least once a day. LIKE our page, join the conversation, and post frequently. We are happy to answer your photography questions if we can or we will direct you to someone who might be able to better help.

Moose Photography Workshops and Moose Tours – What’s the difference?

Moose Photography Workshop Moose Tour picture

“participate in a guided Moose Photography Workshop that focuses not only on Moose but also the landscapes and other wildlife”

Guided Moose photography workshops as well as guided moose tours are becoming more popular each year. This post attempts to help potential guided moose photography workshop and guided moose tour participants determine the type of experience that best meets their needs and individual goals.

First, it is important to differentiate between the two. A guided Moose Tour can be a three hour tour by van or an all day adventure that focuses on as many Moose sightings as possible and does not include any photography instruction. A guided Moose Photography Workshop on the other hand, generally lasts several days, focuses on photographing Moose and other wildlife at close distances, includes instruction, and may, or may not include local transportation, meals, and lodging in the package price. Some guided Moose Photography Workshops also take advantage of accessing Moose habitats via kayak or pontoon boat. Prices vary considerably between the two.

The time of year to participate in a guided Moose Photography Workshop or Moose Tour should be your first consideration. Moose are most visible in June and early July when they frequent ponds and waterways to feed heavily on aquatic vegetation. Bull Moose are in velvet with their antlers growing as much as an inch a day. Cow Moose give birth in May and June and there is nothing cuter than a cinnamon colored new-born calf.

Fall Moose Photography Workshops and Moose Tours coincide with the annual Moose Rut and while Moose are much more difficult to locate that time of year, it is the only time of the year to observe and photograph Moose displaying courtship behavior. Moose are often elusive in the fall and generally no guarantees are made about sightings for either guided Moose Photography Workshops or Moose Tours at this time of year. However, when you do observe Moose during the moose rut, the Moose interaction can be both fascinating and thrilling.

If you have a few days, we suggest that you participate in a guided Moose Photography Workshop that focuses not only on Moose but also the landscapes and other wildlife that are indigenous to the region. That way, given a few days, you will have a greater chance of success photographing Moose and also have time to photograph other subjects of interest in between Moose sightings.

A well conducted Moose Photography Workshop should offer plenty of instruction and focus on each participant’s individual skill level and their respective goals. A Moose Photography Workshop’s group size should be small to ensure individual instruction and a “front row seat” so to speak, when photographing. An experienced professional Moose Photography Workshop leader, who preferably lives in the area, should be your first choice when differentiating between offerings. They will help you save time and frustration by taking you to the most productive Moose habitats which can change from year to year depending on the availability and quality of the food Moose eat. A local Moose Photography Workshop leader and guide will also be aware of the rules associated with visiting a particular location, have the required permits to conduct business in a particular park, and have permission to access private lands that you may visit.

An experienced Moose Photography Workshop leader will also know their subjects well which will help immensely with the participants success rate. Moose sightings are often time-of-day and weather dependant. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to view Moose as well as most other wildlife. Moose, regardless of the time of year, heat stress at temperatures you and I typically might find a little chilly. If the region experiences a heat wave Moose sightings go way down. Prolonged rains can force Moose out of the ponds and streams due to high water levels. Windy conditions will also have an adverse effect on Moose sightings as high winds impair a Moose’s most important senses needed for survival – hearing and smelling approaching predators. In the fall, Moose are in the woods, generally not in the ponds, and coaxing them out (much like a hunter would do) requires skill.

With 40 plus years of combined experience photographing and observing Moose it has become abundantly clear that like people, Moose each have their own personalities. Some Moose have been habituated to people, are pretty laid-back, and happy to hang about allowing ample time for even the beginner photographer to capture amazing Moose images. Some Moose are even a little gregarious, coming closer to the photographer out of curiosity – almost appearing to pose for the photographer. Other Moose will have no part of a photographer’s presence, or anyone else’s for that matter, and quickly exits the scene.

For those less cooperative Moose, it is important for each Moose photography workshop participant to be able to quickly, confidently, and quietly adjust camera settings and composition. That’s where good instruction comes in. Spending adequate time with each Moose workshop participant ensures they get the most out of the workshop and are prepared to capture a fast moving wildlife subject with ease. For this reason workshop leaders who are not photographing for themselves during a workshop are better able to help participants take their current skills to the next level regardless of the participant’s current expertise.

Unlike a petting zoo, Wildlife Park or even a wildlife safari, a Moose Photography Workshop is different. The biggest difference is that some of the Moose you encounter during a Moose Photography Workshop may have never seen a human. Expect to travel to some remote wildlife habitats. A good tour leader will scout extensively for Moose and animal sign prior to the Moose Photography Workshop start date and will be happy to share the not so well known “secret spots” the area has to offer.

Finally, check out the testimonials associated with the Moose Photography Workshop or Moose Tour you are interested in. Often times they can be helpful in determining if past participants were happy with the experience. If the workshop includes meals or lodging in the pricing, dig a little deeper and read the respective establishments reviews on Trip Advisor. Often times it will quickly become evident that differences in quality exist.

We hope this information was helpful and that you consider joining one of our professionally guided Moose Photography Workshops, now in their 11th year!  Our 4-day, all-inclusive Moose Photography Workshops are like mini vacations and include expert photography instruction, transportation (once you arrive at our location), kayak rental, pontoon boat reservation, Registered Maine Guide, as well as upscale lodging and meals. Be prepared to be pampered! With spectacular views of Katahdin, Maine’s tallest mountain, our host resort boast luxury North Woods style shared cabins and wonderful food in quantities that mirror the appetites of log driver’s from a bye gone era.

We hope to see you in the woods, Mark and Anita

Photography Workshop for Women – 2013

A video commemorating the first Maine Woods Photography Workshop for Women held in the Katahdin Region of Maine. Eight women wildlife and nature photographers combined a relaxing Maine vacation with a creative learning experience photographing the amazing wildlife and spectacular landscapes the Katahdin Region is noted for including its majestic Moose.

Finally, and I do mean finally, as it is something that we have wanted to do for several years; we held our very first Mark Picard sponsored Wildlife Photography Workshop for Women this summer at the New England Outdoor Center’s Twin Pine Camps.

Five of the eight women participants traveled to the Katahdin Region from the western states of Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. One hailed from Connecticut and the other two traveled I-95 North from Southern Maine.

They photographed the region’s landscapes and wildlife on the water from kayaks and pontoon boat, as well as photographed and toured by van. It was a fun group to lead as they enthusiastically photographed all manner of wildlife including Maine’s majestic Moose, nesting snapping turtles, white-tailed deer, butterflies, dragon flies, Loons and diving ducks as well as a number of nesting birds and warblers.

The weather was near perfect and as usual for June, the Moose were plentiful. As for wildflowers and macro opportunities, Bunchberry, Twin Flower, and Hawk Weed were prevalent with a few Pink and also White (variant) Lady Slippers still hanging about.

Sunrises and sunsets were dramatic each day with a tribute on the Summer Solstice to one of the earliest artist’s to visit the Katahdin Region, Fredrick Church. A visit to his historic cabin “Rhodora” on Millinocket Lake to photograph the setting sun below the Katahdin Range was the cultural highlight of the workshop, if you don’t count the food! The region’s logging history was also woven into the weekend as the group photographed several of the rivers, gorges, and falls that once served as bi-ways for the river log-drives of a bygone era.

Did I say we had fun? We did, but I have to say, I think the funniest part of the weekend was when our New Mexico gal decided to climb a tree to get a better look at a Moose feeding in the stream below as Speckled Alder obscured the view! Only seconds after announcing she wanted to climb a very large pine tree she was 15 feet in the air. Apparently she does a lot of rock wall climbing as a hobbyist and the skill set is the same. And really, who does not want to both see a Moose and do some climbing when vacationing in the Katahdin Region of the Pine Tree State?

Photography Vacation with Mark Picard and Friends

One of this summer’s highlights was our much anticipated annual working photography vacation deep in Maine’s North Woods. Moose feed heavily in the ponds, rivers and streams in the early summer so a summer photography vacation and kayaking trip that focuses on capturing fresh new images and visiting with old friends is always a treat. As luck would have it, this year’s photography vacation also provided an opportunity for Mark to share his wildlife photography passion and philosophy with Portland Press Herald’s award winning journalist, Susan Kimball, for the Kimball and Keyser video segment INTO THE WOODS: WITH WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER MARK PICARD viewed above. We commend Susan for her journalism and interviewing skill. Her love of craft is evident in her work. Special thanks to Jim Boutin, videographer and friend for capturing the interview.

Wildlife photography is not only our passion, we love to share the Katahdin Region of Maine and all the things we have learned over the years during our North Maine Woods Photography Workshops. Now in their 10th year, our workshops are really photography vacations that mirror as close as possible, the experience we enjoy during our summer photography vacations. That is why, in addition to touring by van, we include opportunities to photograph from kayaks and pontoon boat in otherwise inaccessible remote wildlife habitats. Check out the fall 2013 all-inclusive Maine Woods Photography Workshop dates if you are so inclined, as we do have limited space available.

Prefer to venture out on your own? Visit Moose Prints Gallery and Gifts for information on the latest wildlife sightings and the largest display of Mark’s work. Although Mark (who is a wealth of information) spends as much time as possible in the woods photographing you can generally catch him in the gallery mid-day (when the light is too harsh to photograph) through-out the busy summer tourist season. The only caveat to this is when the Katahdin Region experiences bright overcast skies at which time, all bets are off. Either way, both of us enjoy meeting vacationers and visitors that travel to the Katahdin Region of Maine from near and far, registering their origin in the gallery guest book. So far, 2013 has brought us many Maine summer vacationers, New England tourist, and shoppers from just about every state as well as several countries including, Canada, China, Botswana, Great Britain, France, Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand. Moose Prints Gallery and Gifts is open 7 days a week during Maine’s busy vacation season which is the 4th of July through Columbus Day Weekend.

With just a couple of weeks left, you can also view a large selection of Mark’s images this summer by visiting Acadia National Park’s Schoodic Peninsula Visitor’s Center. MAINE: WOODS, WATER, AND WILDLIFE II is a show of fine art photography depicting Maine landscapes and creatures both great and small on display at the visitor’s center in Winter Harbor through Labor Day. From Maine’s North Woods to its Rocky Coast, thirty-five images provide just a sampling of the spectacular vistas and amazing wildlife that have attracted artist, vacationers and visitors to Maine for more than a century. Speaking of spectacular vistas, there is no better place in Winter Harbor than the Visitor’s Center to relax and enjoy the changing landscape as the tide comes and goes – which makes the Schoodic Peninsula Visitor’s Center a great place to stop for a morning coffee and fresh baked scone, blueberry muffin, or breakfast sandwich. At lunch time, choose from a nice selection of hearty gourmet sandwiches and coastal soup of the day, or enjoy a sizzling fresh wood-fired artisan pizza Friday or Saturday night.

Another of this summer’s highlights was when Moose Prints Gallery had the pleasure of co-hosted the opening night reception for the 27th Annual Highpointers Convention with our friends at North Light Gallery. Conventioneer’s strolled between the two galleries before heading to the Blue Ox for a dinner barbecue, Millinocket style. The Highpointer’s actually spell convention with a “k” though. Apparently, their founding-father’s typewriter had no “c” key and the “k” became sticky in that, the “k” is still used 27 years later. They were a wonderful group of passionate hikers who annually plan their conventions around visiting and climbing each state’s highest peak. In Maine’s case that would be Katahdin. Mark also had the honor of presenting his Giant’s of the North Woods digital slide presentation at the convention banquet two nights later. It was interesting to learn that many of the 225 convention attendees had previously visited Maine and had already climbed Katahdin multiples times. Many in fact, have visited and climbed (which they also spell with a “k”) the highpoints of all 50 states! And, several highpointers have hiked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail which many of you know Katahdin to be, either the start or terminus of their 2,200 mile trek. There are local Highpointer’s activities throughout the country which may be of interest. Their motto is “Keep Klimbin”, they clearly know how to have fun, and their foundation does good work promoting access and maintenance projects at highpoints in many states.

Continued in next post…

Celebrating All Things Moose from North Country Magazine

North Country Article Tear sheet

Celebrating All Things Moose from North Country Magazine – A reprint from the Spring 2013 Issue of North Country: The Journal of Maine. Shelia Talbot is a talented freelance writer and regularly contributes to North Country Magazine. She resides in the Moosehead Lake Region of Maine. North Country: The Journal of Maine is published bi-monthly and features all that is Maine.

Many people come to Maine with the hope of seeing one of the most amazing creatures, the mighty moose, or as it is technically known Alces alces, the largest member of the deer family. This amazing creature, which can seem as large as a house when encountered on foot, saunters gracefully through the woods in spite of its size, and in the case of the male, its ungainly rack of antlers. They are like no other animal; to some they look like they’ve been constructed out of spare parts by Mother Nature – an almost droopy cow-like nose, narrow hips, long, long legs and a tiny snip of tail. In spring they move out of the deep woods and into boggy places on lakes and ponds to enjoy the fresh plant life growing nearby or underwater. That’s the best place to catch sight of them. And, if you’re very fortunate, you might be treated to a Mama moose with one or two fuzzy little ones. It’s a lifetime experience for sure – one you’ll never forget. Hopefully you have your camera ready!

If not, you still can find your moose, magnificently photographed by the folks at MOOSE PRINTS GALLERY AND GIFTS in Millinocket. This July, owners Mark Picard and Anita Mueller will celebrate the third anniversary of their business. They are both talented photographers and, as our good fortune would have it, also have a passion for the North Woods of Maine and the creatures that live there. Mark’s work has graced the cover of North Country Magazine many times. His photographs are like paintings, the brilliant shot of a fox on the last edition of North Country and the antlered moose in snowfall published prior to that, are two examples.

It takes infinite patience and time, not to mention a deep understanding of the animal’s behavior to capture images like these. Mark’s quiet way has been such an asset and he is now known worldwide for his extraordinary digital presentation of moose. His portfolio of more than 150,000 quality nature images has been featured in numerous national and international publications, books, and calendars including Audubon, Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation, Vermont Magazine, Yankee, Defenders of Wildlife and Birder’s World, and Ranger Rick, (just to name a few) as well as North Country.

While photographing at a wildlife sanctuary he met Anita, a talented free lance interior designer, who as a hobbyist, photographed birds. She shares Mark’s passion for the natural world and, with her eye for design as well as photography, designed Moose Prints Gallery as a perfect foil for their work.

“This space reflects my long-time love affair with the Katahdin region and its wildlife,” Mark observed. “Much like a walk in nature, you need to expect the unexpected. Anita has created this gallery in such a way that the walls are filled with creatures, landscapes and gift items both great and small.”

Anita smiled. “Mark has been photographing in Maine for over 30 years now,” she said. “Then, a little over 10 years ago, LL Bean hired him to lead one of their Photography Outdoor Discovery Schools. It seemed like such a good idea we continued to promote the workshops in the Katahdin Region, which have attracted visitors from around the world. However, the few short months we spent in Maine for the workshops was never enough so we re-located permanently to Millinocket three years ago and opened MOOSEPRINTS GALLERY & GIFTS.”

Not long ago Mark was honored to have his Moose images used in rendering the Maine State Postal Stamp and last year he was selected as the Maine Sportsman Artist of the Year. “Most recently, the Turnpike Authority has used his images on one of the large-scale banners that hang in the visitor centers,” Anita said. “We have several large canvases on loan to the Maine Tourism Association to greet visitors at the Kittery Visitors Center. The center attracts thousands of visitors each year. And, who does not want to see a Moose when they visit Maine?” For most, it’s at the top of their list and the banner and canvases are dramatic invitations to spot your own.

Picard’s canvases, with the photograph stretched around the frame are impressive, especially the ones featuring the adult bull moose, a creature who can weigh in at around 1200 pounds and stand over seven feet tall! No less spectacular are the panoramic landscape images of Mt Katahdin, Maine’s tallest mountain which are photographed in such a way as to make the viewer feel as though they are standing right there. The image transferred to canvas gives it a more “painterly” look and can be a centerpiece that commands a whole wall.

“We have enjoyed living and doing business in Maine” Anita said. “We have accomplished a great deal in a few short years.” Looking forward and new for 2013, in addition to Mark’s group photography workshops they have added Maine Woods Photography Workshops for Women led by Anita which are scheduled during prime viewing times of June and September. It is quite a trick to photograph a sometimes fast-moving subject, and with her special eye for birds, Anita has the knowledge and technique to assist photographers of all levels of experience. She knows her subjects well, and can anticipate movement and patterns of animal behavior. As is true for all their workshops a heavy emphasis is placed on learning how to operate a digital camera for consistent results.

On your way to Katahdin or Baxter State Park, be sure to include enough time for a stop in Millinocket and a leisurely visit to MOOSEPRINTS GALLERY & GIFTS where you can bag your own moose souvenir. You will find a rich assortment of Mark and Anita’s work, including Mark’s popular moose wall calendar, greeting cards and photographs of all sizes. You can also find works by other gifted artisans, including nature-themed jewelry, candles, cd sound tracks, moose antler sheds, and locally authored books.

MOOSEPRINTS GALLERY & GIFTS is located on 58 Central Street (Routes 11 and 157) at the intersection of Congress Street and just down the road from a picturesque stretch of Millinocket Stream, adjacent to Key Bank. Call Mark or Anita for information regarding workshops and presentations at 207/447-6906 or visit their excellent website at www.markpicard.com or e-mail them at mark@markpicard.com

Reprinted by permission North Country Magazine

Spring in Maine’s North Woods

Katahdin from the ATIt has been an unusually long Winter in Maine’s North Woods (compared to recent years) with another three inches of snow falling just last week. Making the most of the extended Winter, Mark has been photographing the ever changing Katahdin landscape. His newest image provides a view of Katahdin from the Appalachian Trail with its snow capped peak. The locals will tell you, as long as there is snow on the mountain it will remain chilly in town – and it has been chilly.

Cow Moose Licking SaltA sign that Spring has technically arrived though are the numerous sightings of Moose licking salt along the roadsides, a behavior that not only tells us we need to take extra care when traveling but that the Moose are starting to move around in search for depleted nutrients after a long Winter.

Here in the gallery we have also been making the most of the extended Winter. For starters, we tackled creating a new website. The old website needed to be more user friendly, which also meant creating a mobile friendly version. Visit www.markpicard.com on your mobile device and find icons that link to basic web functions, a full site option, or choose to browse the mobile friendly version – either way, we have an all new look.

Once the new website went live, preparations began for our premier at the New England Products Wholesale Trade Show which took place in late March. The show was a success as we visited with existing re-sellers and added several new locations that will carry Mark’s photographs in the coming year. Look for a list (with links) to resellers on the new site and when visiting their respective shops, be sure to check out Mark’s latest images.

Over the next several weeks we will be getting Moose Prints Gallery ready for the upcoming season and on nicer days we will be out photographing and scouting for Moose and other wildlife. It is always exciting to find which ponds are attracting Moose in a particular year, which fox dens are active and where nesting birds begin to construct their seasonal homes.

We hope this newsletter finds you all well and that we see you in the woods, Mark and Anita