Eastern Maine Camera Club

Developing Photographers

Where to Photograph - Ecotat Gardens and Trails 

Ecotat Garden and Trails

One of the hidden jewels near Bangor, in Hermon, is Ecotat Gardens.  The acreage is home to over 55 gardens containing 280 varieties of trees, over 1500 varieties of perennials, and an abundance of animals, birds and insects.  The gardens are free to the public and photographers are more than welcome to use the gardens whenever they want during daylight hours. They appreciate donations.  I love it here as a place to practice different flower photography techniques.  I also have seen the gardens used for family photos. 

“The mission of Ecotat Trust is to preserve and expand the gardens and trails for the enjoyment and use of future generations. The name “Ecotat” was formed by combining portions of the words “ecological” and “habitat” – words describing the 91 acres of land located on Route 2 in Hermon, Maine, at the intersection with Annis Road at the top of Miller Hill.”

Ecotat Gardens and Trails
Photographer Tips

* Don’t just stick to eye-level shots. Strive to be unique.

* Shoot from a higher angle. This is actually quite easy to execute. Especially since you’re taller than most flowers.

* Go lower. You’ll have to stay really close to the ground, but the shots you get are definitely worth it.

* To help you stay clean while shooting, bring a rag or an old yoga mat you can lay on.

Wait for the flowers to be still. 

Camera settings suggestions. 95 percent of the time I shoot at aperture priority.   I love a soft/blurred background behind flowers.  I will shoot at F2.8 and F5.  Blurred backgrounds make the flower stand out. If you are outdoors and it is a bright day, consider underexposing slightly by -1 stop, to bring out the details of the flower, the leaves and stem.

Too much wind?  Moving flowers is another technique.  To make a swirling flower set your camera at its lowest ISO (50).  F18 and set the camera speed around (ish) 1 second. Using a ND filter also helps but is not needed.  This is just a crazy fun.  The method.  Move your camera and chimp.  Try different swirl movements and pick out what you like best.  

Posted by Mary Hartt Tuesday, September 3, 2019 6:30:00 AM Categories: Around Maine Places to Photograph Under an Hour Away
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Where to Photograph - Blue Hill Fair 

The Blue Hill Fair is a win, win place to photograph. You will find lots of quality things to take pictures of from farm animals to people.  The non-photographers will enjoy the sites and (Mike) the food.  " A Down to Earth Country Fair. Always scheduled around Labor Day weekend".

As many know I am a horse girl from way back.  When Mike and I got married, instead of building a house, we built a barn.  The horses lived downstairs and we lived upstairs.  We had a plexiglass window in the living room floor to keep an eye on the pregnant mare when she was going into labor.  That said, I love workhorses!  My favorite place to see workhorses is at the Blue Hill Fair.  The most interesting part is seeing how loved they are.  Last year there was a very elderly, very frail, farmer with over 2 tons of horses.  I bet he didn't weigh 120 pounds. When he was done with his pull the crowd gave him a standing ovation.  It was impressive.

In addition there are many other things to photograph, sheep, oxen pulls, cattle, night lights on the rides, dogs, and lots of people.  Check out the schedule on the website.


Photographers Tip

Keep an eye on the background.  I have liked to stand at the gate where the animals come in and out.  In this spot I have a clear view of the horses coming towards me with just a food stand in the background to show we are at a fair,  I use a fast shutter speed (over 500) and shoot near f 5.6 to blur the background.  I use my ISO to bring the shutter speed over 500.  You will need to do this on a grey, overcast day.  Why a fast shutter speed?  In shooting animals I am looking for sharpness.  In my opinion, the horses have a lot of moving parts that look wrong when they are blurred.  My opinion,  your photos you do what you like.  Bring your longest lens but don't sweat only having a short lens.  You are able to get close.

Beware! There is lots of dust.  I wrap my camera in a towel when I'm not using it.

Have fun!

Posted by Mary Hartt Tuesday, August 27, 2019 5:42:00 AM Categories: Around Maine Places to Photograph Under an Hour Away
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Where to Photograph - Leonard’s Mills 

Leonard's Mills
       Inside the historic Mill

Eastern Maine Camera Club is starting a new Blog series highlighting places to shoot around Maine and beyond.  The hope is to create ideas of where to find a place to make your creative side be very happy.  Maine is a beautiful place.

Maine Forest and Logging Museum. "Located on Blackman Stream in Bradley, Leonard’s Mills is at the actual site of an early pioneer settlement, identified by the remains of a stone dam and the foundations of several houses. Today, Leonard’s Mills is “alive” once again, as the Museum is represented by an authentic reconstruction of a logging and milling community of the 1790s." 

Photo Tips

The grounds are open every day during daylight hours. Blackman Stream winds through the grounds with a historic mill and covered bridge.  Bring a polarizer.  The stream makes a nice leading line to the buildings.  On Thursday mornings until October the buildings are open.  I have practiced HDR in the building.  Bring a tripod.


From Bangor and Brewer, take ME Route 9 from Brewer 4 miles towards Eddington. Turn onto ME Route 178 and follow towards Milford for another 4.5 miles. A large sign will be on the left but the entrance and Government Road will be on the the right directly across from the sign.

Posted by Mary Hartt Tuesday, August 13, 2019 8:46:00 AM Categories: Around Maine Places to Photograph Under an Hour Away
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