Pros and Cons of National Park Campsites

Going to a national or state/provincial campsite always has its pros and cons. The pros include the location, of utmost importance if you plan to get up early to photograph sunrise. You can get that extra 45 minutes of sleep if your location is a sleepy stumble away from your doorstep.

The cons include no services, such as you would get at a private campsite, such as electricity, sewer connections and, most painful of all, no wifi.

I was all ready to spend a week off the grid in exchange for our outstanding location in a national park campsite where we would be on the edge of the cliff overlooking Green Point beach in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland. I could get my extra 45 minutes of sleep, capture the shiny large stones on the beach at dawn, and put my feet up and enjoy the view when I finished photographing.

Wasn’t I surprised when I discovered there was wifi! It’s almost ridiculous how happy wifi makes me :) Elated, I ran outside the RV and looked up and low and behold a wifi tower right beside us!

It turns out that the park rangers were using wifi to process credit card and debit transactions, so they decided to make the wifi available to everyone for free. How very nice of them! For $15 a night we had the most excellent location, a stunning view, and lightening fast wifi.

To make these images, I rose at the very late hour of 6am, took the stairs down to the beach, and set up for a low-angle shot. I was very close to the water because I wanted the rocks in the foreground to be wet and shiny. That meant that the odd wave was going to run over me, so I had to remain ready to grab my tripod and retreat up the beach.

For the first time, I am including higher resolution versions of the images for you, so please click on the images below to view them larger. The first image is a 13 second exposure.

Green Point, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland

The second image was taken from a lower angle and is a 10 second exposure.

Green Point, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland

At the time I thought I preferred the lower angle version, but now that I see them on the computer I’m not so sure. I would love to hear your opinion. Which one do you prefer?

I know some of you are waiting for my big announcement since I mentioned it last week. Oh, I can hardly stand it, I’m so excited about it. I’m just waiting for it to go up on an external website first before I share it with you. Come on, come on, it was supposed to go up on the 1st already!

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    • Anne McKinnell says

      Hi Len, Yes, I am in Bar Harbour. I am a little early for the fall colours. I was in a big rush to get down here thinking I might miss the leading edge, but I probably should have stayed in northern Maine longer to get the colours up there. Anyway it has been cold and windy and white sky ever since I got here. Last night was the first frost though so the colours should be here very very soon. Are you going to Ian Plant’s workshop? I was thinking of going to one here too, but part of the workshop is classroom time and you need a laptop with photoshop. I have my iMac, not very portable. It’s too bad our paths will not cross, it would have been cool to go on a photo walk together.

      • says

        No I am in a Bill Fortney / Matt Kloskowski workshop. They had a few last minute openings (still do) and I have been a fan of both of them for a while. Start off in Bangor, head to VT and then NH, finally ending in Bar Harbor for 4 nights. I don’t think it’s a heavy classroom workshop but I could be wrong (as I said, a spur of the minute decision). The workshop ends on Sunday, Oct 16th. Hope the colors start coming for you (and me).
        Len Saltiel recently posted..Blue Hour at the PierMy Profile

  1. says

    Oh you love making it difficult for us. I love both images. I love the way the mist is covering the rocks in the second shot. I keep going back between the two but i think I’m leaning towards the first shot as the colors are brilliant. Waiting for the the big anouncement.
    Edith Levy recently posted..Rocky RaccoonMy Profile

    • Anne McKinnell says

      Thanks for the feedback Edith! I might have to go ahead on the big announcement without the big photo to go with it!! I don’t think I can wait much longer :)

    • Anne McKinnell says

      Hi Pablo, thanks for the feedback. I am finding most people are choosing the second image, which I initially liked better before I started second guessing myself. I really like getting feedback from others for a fresh perspective.

  2. says

    I’m sitting on the fence because they both have their strong points. The first one has more saturated colours and the stones look wetter. The second has more of a wide angle feel to it with the stronger foreground and longer taper to the water – and that’s the one I would have taken.
    LensScaper recently posted..Descending the Midi AreteMy Profile

    • Anne McKinnell says

      Thanks Lenscraper, I appreciate your taking the time to give me your feedback. It was such a gorgeous beach, I spent hours down there taking photos of rocks until the light was too bright.

    • Anne McKinnell says

      Kris, yes, the national park campsites in Canada are usually really good. They always have the best locations and usually have hot water and flush toilets. Have you been to Oregon, their campsites are even better!

  3. says

    State Parks are typically more expensive than forest service, but the recent inclusion of Wi-Fi is a definite perk.

    Hope you’re getting some great fall color back there Anne. The second image here is my favorite as well.

    • Anne McKinnell says

      Thanks Russ. In Canada, our park campsites are fairly cheap, it’s the private sites that can be expensive. We also have some forestry sites that are even cheaper or free, but have no services and you usually have to drive on logging roads to get there. The locations are excellent, but you have to watch out for those logging trucks since they literally own the logging roads. Those are great for camping on a lake in the summer :)

    • Anne McKinnell says

      Toad, I think the salmon come perfectly prepared right out of the ocean :) Thanks again for your feedback, much appreciated.

    • Anne McKinnell says

      Thanks Andy, although it is hard to tell from these photos, I was pretty much in the water and the ocean was fairly rough. The long exposure makes it look all calm, but the waves were crashing and I didn’t want to end up swept out to sea :) The rocks were about the size of footballs, so it was actually pretty hard to jump out of the way without twisting an ankle. But it was awesome, I had such a great time that morning. Thanks so much for your visit and comments!

      • says

        I know the feeling all to well. I’ve gone swimming with my camera twice. Once I was lucky, the other time – not so much.

        The big rocks are a problem too because they move with the incoming and receding waves. I had a couple of hairy experiences at Otter Cliffs.

        Andy Nixon recently posted..iPhone FunMy Profile

  4. Anne McKinnell says

    Hi Andy, Ya, wrecking your camera is a drag, but I’m more afraid of wrecking my ankle or something. That would really suck, especially when I’m travelling. Funny you should mention Otter Cliffs because I was at Otter Cliffs when you left the comment! Weather was terrible there (and not in a good photographic way). I didn’t even take my lens cap off until day 5!!

  5. Gregg Marquardt says

    (Sorry for the late reply, Ann – I’m just catching up on my Tweetdeck.) I love the colors and contrast of the rocks in the first photo, but I also like the depth created by the fading contrast of the rocks in the second shot.

  6. says

    Lovely images! Reading the comments, I was startled to realize that both you and Len were in Acadia about the same time that my wife and I were there. We spent about 15 great nights on the island; the weather was dry and superb.

    FWIW, I like the first frame. The rocks look slicker, and the haze from the moving water doesn’t ‘interfere’ quite as it does in the second.

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