Monticello is located on the Northern Branch of the Meduxnekeag River in Aroostook County, Maine, and is made up of about 38 square miles of rolling hills and beautiful farmland. Starting from a small pond to the West of Monticello, the Meduxnekeag River winds 35 miles through the beautiful woodlands and farmlands of Monticello before crossing the border into Canada, where it joins its confluence, the Meduxnekeag in Wakefield, New Brunswick. Once you get off of the I-95 interstate in Houlton, you take a left and drive 10 miles north, enjoying the potato fields in bloom during mid-summer or the crisp feel of the snow-covered landscape in the winter. An old rail bed provides access all over the County for more secluded views with miles and miles of ATV and snowmobile trails.
Summer in the County can get very hot and humid, with temps getting up into the 90’s with dew points well into the 60’s making for some hot and sticky days. During the fall you can enjoy cool temps and a landscape that looks like a patch work quilt of yellow and orange. Winters can get brutal with snowstorms of over a foot of fresh snow at a time and temperatures hovering around 0 degrees for weeks- and sometimes dipping down to well below zero.
On this day in mid-winter, the temps had warmed up a bit to around 30 degrees as a snowstorm dumped a good solid foot of heavy, wet snow overnight. Traveling to work from Houlton to Presque Isle that morning, I through my Nikon D7100 in my car in hopes for a photo opportunity as the storm cleared out. Once I got to Monticello the sky started to set off with some beautiful colors, so I pulled over on U.S. Route 1 and used the Meduxnekeag River as a leading line to the sunrise. The trees along the river were beautifully coated with fresh snow, and the sky was full of color as the sun rose over the horizon. I focused my Tokina 11-16mm lens and set the camera to ISO 500 with an aperture of f18 to keep everything sharp and a shutter speed of 1/60th of a second and began photographing the winter wonderland that mother nature had painted. As the clouds were moving, they covered the sun, and the beautiful light was gone almost as fast as it came. What a morning!
Aroostook County can provide photographic eye candy year-round. Whether you like to canoe or kayak the river, hike the orange and yellow forests of fall, ski, snowshoe, or snowmobile in the winter. You can always find something magical to photograph around The County.
Last week it was a gorgeous ride down through Millinocket and up the Golden Road and across Abol Bridge with a nice view of Mt Katahdin. Then another 10 miles to the Telos Road where we drove around 10 more to the Telos checkpoint before continuing on 29 more miles where we parked for the final mile of hiking through the woods to where these trains set between Eagle and Chamberlain Lakes. It's just amazing to see these sitting there after all of these years. The last quarter mile of the hike you see the tracks half sunken in the ground and spare parts scattered through the woods as you get closer and closer until you step out of the woods and become face to face with these trains. It's eerie and mind blowing. Just to the right of this photo there is a tram-way that runs 6,000 feet to Chamberlain Lake that was used to pull the logs from Eagle Lake to Chamberlain Lake so the logs could be driven south via the East Branch of the Penobscot to the Bangor saw mills. What amazes me is that all of this was built in 1902. My hat is off to those who came before us who believed no problem was to big, and who never gave up. Below is a few photos of the sites on the hike in to the trains, along with a few of the Tramway and the steam system that ran it. Enjoy!
Saturday night was just a beautiful night to be out under the stars. With a small Northern Light display going on to the North and the Milky Way to the South West and no moon, it made it a perfect night for star gazing. After playing around with the Northern Lights I made my way back to the top of the hill in Monticello where this patch of sunflowers are. Now what caught my eye is that these are being lit by yard lights from three sides which I thought would be interesting. I started out by the road but the lights where too bright. So I carefully picked my way deeper into the field until I found this sunflower a little taller catching some side light and in the camera with a longer shutter speed it looked like it was glowing. The rest of the field was faintly catching some of the yard lights without it being to harsh as the Milky Way started to set in the background. I played around with different exposures and a few angles until something started rustling off ahead of me in the dark. I think I set a new record for the hundred yard dash back to the truck lol. I'm happy I got lucky with the shots I got because I wasn't going to try to find that flower again in the dark hahaha. Here is a shot of the Northern Lights from the West Road in Monticello along with the sunflower and the Milky Way. Enjoy!
Houlton Maine Photographer located in downtown Houlton specializing in Landscape and Nightscape photography. I have a full time job that I work at so photography is a fun hobby to get out away from the hustle and the bustle of the work week and enjoy the beauty Maine has to offer.