on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers


Beginning Again Every Time

Colleen Miniuk

Colleen Miniuk fled the grey cubicle walls at Intel Corporation in 2007 to pursue a fulfilling full-time outdoor photography and writing career. Her credits include National Geographic calendars, Arizona Highways, AAA Via, National Parks Traveler, and a broad variety of other publications. She has served three times as an Artist-in-Residence with Acadia National Park.

Colleen is putting the final touches on her next book, Going with the Flow, a part-memoir, part adventure travel story on how she paddled her way out of adversity and into happiness on Lake Powell and the Colorado River.”


Three weeks ago, I crossed the Trenton Bridge onto Mount Desert Island in mid-coast Maine and greeted what I call “my photographic home” the same way I always did: by rolling the windows down in my rental car and hollering a boisterous “Whoohoo! I’m back!”

After spending over 400 days exploring this 108-square-mile (280-square-kilometers) island since November 2009—thanks to serving three stints as an Acadia Artist-in-Residence, leading numerous photography workshops, and enjoying personal time have come to know these surroundings, as well as a doting mother, knows her own child. I know the contour of the granite ledges dipping into the ocean to kiss the waves along every foot of Ocean Drive. I know how the fog caresses the shoulders of Penobscot Mountain. I know the angles at which the birches reflect into Eagle Lake as the sun moves across the sky.Colleen Miniuk-Sperry - shoshin 5

You’d think that perhaps familiarity would breed contempt. In 2013, it almost did. I had a moment during my third residency where I was completely bored out of my mind while photographing the same types of wide-angle frames over and over again. I wondered if I had photographed “everything” the park had to offer (as I described in my last article, “Finding Your Creative Voice"). After tossing expectations aside and incorporating curiosity into my approach, though, I discovered I was more in love with the park than ever. In addition, I had obviously not photographed “everything.” (How audacious and laughable that idea was!). I had barely scratched the surface of understanding the depths of the park. “The more I know, the more I know I don’t know,” as the idiom goes. 

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