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…

Baxter State Park: MYWLP

An honor to participate!  Mark has been invited to lead the outdoor photography segment of this year’s week long Maine Youth Wilderness Leadership Program sponsored by The Friends of Baxter State Park. Prior to attending the program in Baxter State Park the nine high school students were asked to complete an assignment which included reading the North American Nature Photography Association’s Principals of Ethical Field  Practices and then answer the following question: “What is the most important sentence and why?”  Here are a few of the responses:

“The most important sentence in this position statement is this sentence: “One must always exercise good individual judgment”. This is true because in all  actions towards nature, including photography, personal judgment allows you to follow your own instincts and create a safe and stable environment for the wildlife and others around you. By doing this, you are further helping the safety and success of the surroundings, wildlife, and photographer. This also allows for greater ease and self-confidence in both the photographer and subject!”

“Many people unknowingly endanger themselves and animals: This statement, although in the Individual section of the principles, can also be applied to the Environmental and Social sections. A lot of people are ignorant about what lives in the wilderness and, therefore, don’t know what actions are acceptable in a human-nature relationship. Having knowledge of subject and place (i.e. animals and their habitats) and being aware of the rules and laws in specific areas will allow someone to be more responsible and safe overall. As animals and plants don’t have the ability to research the patterns of human beings, it is our ethical responsibility to obtain this knowledge about the wildlife (because we have the resources to do so). By learning all about wildlife before we explore it and being conscious and aware when among nature, it allows us to act as “good role model[s], both as…photographer[s] and…citizen[s].”

“Most Important sentence: Treat the wildlife, plants and places as if you were their guests. Why: Although there were a number of sentences in this statement from the North American Nature Photography Association that proved to be very insightful, I thought that this particular one instilled a very important ideal for anyone who wishes to enjoy the abundant wildlife. When enjoying the wildlife it is of utmost importance to remain respectful to living and nonliving things. Too many times do people enter the wilderness without any knowledge of subject and place. It is then that disturbances are made that have the potential to alter the life of far too many organisms. I felt that the sentence that I chose was a reminder of how all people should feel when entering the wilderness. It is important to be aware that humans, for the most part, are visitors in life away from urban areas. Because people are simply guests they must do research and become informed when entering a place in which they are less familiar with.”

“I believe that the first statement, knowledge of subject and place, is the most important in nature photography. This section deals directly with the health and safety of the subjects you are photographing, wild animals. Practicing this principle is the most effective in preserving the natural environment for photography and prevents any damage to the ecosystem. While the other principles also help achieve this goal, I believe having proper knowledge of how to conduct oneself in the wilderness is most effective and therefore most important.”

“I found the most important sentence in the article to be: “In the absence of management authority, use good judgment.” I believe ‘use good judgement’ is one of the most important phrases to think upon when you interact with the wild. Written/posted rules and laws are great, and important to follow, but they don’t exist everywhere in nature. Before you do something/go somewhere, you need to assess the situation by yourself, and figure out if it really is a good idea. Always err on the side of caution, and respect the animals, plants, and ecosystems.”

We think the answers provided by the program participants were very insightful and thoughtful. In fact, we think it will be our pleasure to run into these young leaders while photographing in Baxter State Park.  If we had to choose just one sentence as the most important Mark and I would choose “Treat the wildlife, plants and places as if you were their guests.” There are an increasing number of us photographing wildlife every day and far too often we forget that we are in someone else’s home. Limiting the cumulative effects of our presence should always be our goal.