Capturing Five Years of Family Vacations on Maine’s Coast

A photo-a-day project by photographer Ian Maclellan captures the nostalgic essence of a Vacationland summer on his family’s annual trips to Georgetown.

Searching for starfish in the intertidal zone at the mouth of Sagadahoc Bay.

In the first cold days of January 2014, photographer Ian MacLellan snapped a few shots, liked what he saw, and strung the images together on his website, photo-journal style. He enjoyed the process, the documentation. “I didn’t resolve on December 31 that I would start doing a photo a day,” MacLellan says. “I’m just someone who’s always walking around checking out nooks and crannies and taking pictures.” Eight years later the photographer and filmmaker, who has done editorial and commercial work for the likes of L.L.Bean, Trust for Public Land, and the New York Times, still continues his project: one serendipitous, photo-worthy capture a day, posted to Tumblr. “It’s what keeps me going throughout the doldrums and peaks of my freelance career,” he says, “and motivates me to roll out of bed for sunrises and race out the door for sunsets.” MacLellan lives in Maine, so within the mix there are, of course, beautiful skies, rainbows, and lighthouses. Most of his posts are the in-between moments, however. This series of images is a selection from five years’ worth of August trips MacLellan has taken with his wife’s family to Sagadahoc Bay in Georgetown. In his daily life, the photographer rock climbs and surfs; on his vacations he climbs mountains. But these trips to Georgetown are the antithesis of those activities. “We move furniture to the screened porch, do puzzles, read, cook. No one gets dressed up. There’s no agenda,” he says. The vacations’ rhythms are ruled by the tides, which bring in water deep enough for swimming and retreat to reveal a half-mile-wide mudflat. “As the tides shift and the water moves, every moment feels temporary, which is always happening, but it’s more pronounced when you have nothing else to do.”

A family walk to Squirrel Point Light in Arrowsic.
Floating off Kennebec Point, a favorite spot.
Kayaking off Kennebec Point.
MacLellan’s dog Dilly’s first trip to Georgetown.

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