Posted by: kerryl29 | February 13, 2017

New England, Day 13: Return to Evans Notch

If you’ve been following this series of posts since the beginning, you may recall that I poked my nose, figuratively speaking, into Evans Notch on Day 5 and Day 6.  As a refresher, Evans Notch is a mostly north-south gap in the White Mountains, most of which lies just across the New Hampshire border in Maine.  Only the extreme southern edge of the notch–Basin Pond–is on the New Hampshire side of the state line.  When I explored the area on Days 5 and 6, the area was still quite green.  This was particularly true of the Basin Pond region, which had just begun to show signs of color, but was largely true of the rest of the notch as well.  My hope was that a week’s time had caused the area to change and I would see for myself that morning.

Despite the lack of color I had photographed at Basin Pond at sunrise on Day 6, and then had driven to Conway, New Hampshire as a prelude to my first journey across the Kancamagus Highway on my to Vermont, so I knew the route.  I would be reversing the trip on this morning and I had the added difficulty of making my way in the dark.  Fortunately I had the spot marked on my GPS.

When I arrived at Basin Pond, the light was just beginning to come up.  It was clear, chilly and essentially windless.  As it got brighter I could see that a week’s time had indeed produced a great deal of progression in the color of the foliage.  It probably wasn’t quite at peak yet, but it was pretty close.  The temperature/humidity combination produced some mist at the pond’s surface; just enough to add some atmosphere.

Basin Pond at Dawn, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Basin Pond at Dawn, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

The pond’s access area was deserted when I arrived, but after I’d been there for 10 minutes or so, someone else drove up to photograph.  This gentleman, however, set up a couple of hundred yards behind me and to my right and didn’t interfere with what I was doing in any way.

Basin Pond at Sunrise, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Basin Pond at Sunrise, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

As the sun came up, direct warm light began to hit the slopes surrounding the pond.

Basin Pond at Sunrise, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Basin Pond at Sunrise, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

I followed the shadow line as it slid across the mountainside in front of me, and ultimately switched to my ultra wide angle lens.

Basin Pond at Sunrise, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Basin Pond at Sunrise, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

I changed my shooting position, modestly, on several occasions.  Doing so had a significant effect on the compositional outcome.

Basin Pond at Sunrise, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Basin Pond at Sunrise, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Basin Pond at Sunrise, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Basin Pond at Sunrise, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

A quick switch to a telephoto lens, concentrating on a part of the pond that remained in open shade, highlighted the effect of the mist.  I could hear a flock of geese, at the far end of the pond, honking away and splashing around.

Basin Pond Mist, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Basin Pond Mist, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

When I finished at the pond, I made the five-minute drive north, to the Brickett Place setting.  This structure, now used by the U.S. Forest Service, was built more than 200 years ago.  I had scouted this location on Day 5, and now I took advantage of that experience.  The sun was kissing the tops of some of the trees but the light remained soft enough, roughly 30 minutes after sunrise, to remain shootable.

Brickett Place, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

Brickett Place, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

From here, I drove straight to the trailhead for the Roost and made the now familiar relatively-short-but extremely-steep hike up to the overlook.  My experience there on Day 5 had been useful; this was definitely a better morning than afternoon location.

View from The Roost, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

View from The Roost, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

The view from this location is impressive, looking essentially to the southwest.

View from The Roost, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

View from The Roost, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

Since there were no clouds present, I minimized the sky in my compositions, including the eight image panorama stitch that you see below.

View from The Roost Panorama, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

View from The Roost Panorama, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

On some shots, I eliminated the sky altogether.

View from The Roost, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

View from The Roost, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

View from The Roost, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

View from The Roost, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

There were quite a few leaves on the ground along the trail–really the first time I’d seen this volume of leaves of down during the trip–and on the way back down I found a shady spot to produce the intimate image you see below.

Forest Floor, The Roost Trail, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

Forest Floor, The Roost Trail, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

This, believe it or not, was the final image I made until well into the afternoon this day.  The entire day was clear, or nearly so, and it became quite breezy.  The conditions simply weren’t suitable for shooting given my subject matter and location so I spent the next six or seven hours scouting.  The first couple of hours of that time was spent in the notch itself, heading north.  I stopped a number of times to explore areas of Evans Brook and the Wild River and some of their tributaries, literally climbing into the creek bed on a number of occasions.  My hope was to find locations that would be compelling in the even light that would be present late in the afternoon.  I found numerous interesting spots and it didn’t take long before I discovered that most of these areas in Evans Notch were at peak color.  This discovery, plus the fruits of the scouting session, convinced me that a return to the notch to photograph later in the day was a must.

It was late morning by the time I reached the northern edge of Evans Notch, at US-2.  I decided to head west–and then south on NH-16–to Pinkham Notch, an area of the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire that I hadn’t yet explored.  I spent 3-4 hours doing so, without ever taking my camera out of the bag.  I stopped first at a wide-open meadow, near the Mt. Washington Auto Road, to scout some interesting views of Mt. Washington and some of the surrounding peaks.  It was a completely blue sky day at this point, with copious wind, so photography was out of the question, but I busily marked spots near the overflow parking area for the road to Mt. Washington and further south on NH-16.  When I reached the Pinkham Notch Lodge–a jumping off point for numerous trails–I stopped again and did some hiking.  I checked out the Square Ledges Trail, the Lost Pond Trail.  It was seven or eight miles in all, but it was remarkable how easy it all seemed, given that I didn’t have my gear with me.  I took plenty of mental notes, with the expectation of returning at a different time on another day.

By mid-afternoon I’d finished my hiking and returned to the area near Evans Notch.  The light was still too harsh, so I spent about 30 minutes retracing River Road, just north of US-2 in Maine.  I’d photographed along this road on Day 1 of the trip; it was nearly two weeks later, so I was interested to see what the area looked like.   I ended up being disappointed.  The light wasn’t going to flatter the conditions regardless, but there was in fact little to be flattered.  The color–what there was of it–was dull and uninteresting.

The River Road scouting session didn’t pay any direct dividends but it killed some time and I made the short drive to the northern edge of Evans Notch and returned to some of the spots I’d marked that morning.

Evans Notch Color, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

Evans Notch Color, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

I made my way to one of the Wild River locations I’d identified and worked with some interesting reflections in some of the small pools.

Wild River Reflections, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

Wild River Reflections, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

I then returned to the first of several spots on Evans Brook that I’d visited earlier in the day.  This was another location with strong reflection possibilities.

Evans Brook Reflections, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

Evans Brook Reflections, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

Evans Brook, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

Evans Brook, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

About 30 minutes before sunset I found my way to boulder-strewn location on Evans Brook that I’d noted was especially promising during my morning scout.  This is where I would end the day.

Evans Brook, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

Evans Brook, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

I really like this spot.  In even light, it has everything–great foreground options with all of the boulders, some nice rapids, excellent background color.

Evans Brook, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

Evans Brook, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

Evans Brook, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

Evans Brook, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

Ultimately, I carefully rock-hopped out into the middle of the brook for a “head on” perspective.

Evans Brook, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

Evans Brook, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

I made my way back to the bank and picked my way over the boulders to the point where I had left my pack and began putting away my belongings.  The sun was down by now and it was getting dark.  I took one look behind me…and set up my tripod one last time.

Evans Brook at Dusk, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

Evans Brook at Dusk, Evans Notch, White Mountain National Forest, Maine

Posted by: kerryl29 | February 8, 2017

Thematic Interruption: The “M” Setting

A bit more than two weeks ago Thom Hogan posted an article on his website that essentially provided a series of “assignments” for photographers to fulfill.  The first assignment was to go out with a camera, with exposure and focus set to manual with a single normal (i.e. 50 mm equivalent) prime lens attached and shoot for an hour or two.  The assignment is a great idea and I highly recommend that everyone read the article and follow through.

Fog & Sun, Bear Rocks Preserve, Dolly Sods Wilderness, Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia

Fog & Sun, Bear Rocks Preserve, Dolly Sods Wilderness, Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia

What’s that you ask?  Did I actually go out and do the assignment?  Well, as a matter of fact…no.  I didn’t.  Why not?

Wilson Creek Beach at Sunrise, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, California

Wilson Creek Beach at Sunrise, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, California

Here’s the thing:  the assignment was designed for folks who don’t ordinarily photograph in the manner described in the article.  That is to say, the assignment is for people who don’t typically expose manually.  People who don’t usually focus manually.  People who tend to use zoom lenses as a figurative crutch, and don’t change their photographic position readily.

Tremont, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Tremont, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

The reason I didn’t complete the assignment is that I do these things every time I go out to photograph:  I expose manually (and with a spot meter); I focus manually; and while I don’t use prime lenses, I spend a lot of time moving around from place to place to examine a variety of perspectives.  (Ask anyone who’s photographed with me.)  I use the zoom feature on my lenses to fine tune a composition, not to establish one.  In short, I didn’t complete the assignment because its terms mimic my standard modus operandi whenever I’m out in the field.

Pink Canyon, Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Pink Canyon, Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

If, however, it doesn’t mimic your standard m.o., I encourage you to follow through on the assignment.  And here’s why.

McConnell's Mill, McConnell's Mill State Park, Pennsylvania

McConnell’s Mill, McConnell’s Mill State Park, Pennsylvania

I’m not telling you that I photograph with fully manual settings, that I expose using a spot meter and that I’m extremely mobile when investigating compositional options in the field because I’m trying to impress anyone.  I’m not trying to impress on anyone that I’m some sort of photographic purist or because I want to be patted on the back for doing things in some sort of “old-fashioned,” uncompromising way that’s somehow “the right way to do things.”  I photograph the way I do for several reasons, the least compelling of which, I think, is that this is how I learned to do it.  But the most compelling reason (again, in my view) is that…this method of shooting constantly makes me think about what I’m doing.

Mary Lake and Lake O'Hara from the Opabin Prospect, Yoho National Park, British Columbia

Mary Lake and Lake O’Hara from the Opabin Prospect, Yoho National Park, British Columbia

This process doesn’t get in the way of my vision–the je ne sais quoi of a subject that naturally captures my attention.  It’s after that moment–the exercise of seeing–that the approach I’m describing kicks in and forces me to think about how to go about capturing what I found compelling about the subject matter.  I find that it helps to go through the process–of exposure, of focus, of mobile perspective–to produce an edge of tangibleness to the otherwise intangible.  It provides for a mingling of the conscious and the subconscious.  It introduces the realm of thought directly into the aesthetic process.  It makes me, I firmly believe, a better photographer.  It makes me–if I dare use the a-word–a better artist.  And there’s the chance that it will do the same for you.

Birch Tree Twins, Hiawatha National Forest, Michigan

Birch Tree Twins, Hiawatha National Forest, Michigan

Posted by: kerryl29 | January 31, 2017

New England, Day 12: An Introduction to the White Mountains

I’d had the opportunity to do some scouting of the Kancamagus Highway–something of a southern edge to exploration of the White Mountains–when I drove from Maine to Vermont on Day 6.  That stood me in good stead on this day, my first based in New Hampshire.

One of the things I had determined during that day of scouting was that I wanted to photograph sunrise from a highway overlook that had an eastern view of Kancamagus Pass.  I’d found that overlook, the CL Graham Wangan Overlook, during my scouting session.  So that was my first destination on Day 12.

I gave myself an hour to make the drive from North Conway and I arrived in the dark.  There was a light wind blowing when I approached the overlook, which was unfortunate, but I ultimately moved myself into position to photograph the sunrise.  It was cold as well–not much above freezing–but I was appropriately attired.

Kancamagus Pass at Sunrise, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Kancamagus Pass at Sunrise, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

There was, as you can see, quite a bit of valley fog present.  Including a lot of foreground trees in the composition was out of the question, as the breeze made it impossible to obtain sharp images given the shutter speeds necessary to properly expose the scene.

Kancamagus Pass at Sunrise, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Kancamagus Pass at Sunrise, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Unfortunately, there were no clouds in the eastern sky, but I tried to overcome this by emphasizing the graphic nature of the scene.

Kancamagus Pass at Sunrise, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Kancamagus Pass at Sunrise, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Kancamagus Pass at Sunrise, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Kancamagus Pass at Sunrise, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

After the sun came up, I made a quick stop at the Pemiqewasset Overlook, just a short distance to the west, to catch some of the light on the peaks in that direction.  But the overlook is rather overgrown and the shooting options are limited.  I knew this from my first check of the location six days earlier, so I didn’t stay long.

Pemiqewasset Overlook, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Pemiqewasset Overlook, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

I headed back east on the highway, unsure of my next stop, but I was stopped in my tracks by a view I caught from the car of the Sugar Hill Overlook.  Lower in elevation than Graham Wangan, the views of the fog enshrouded valley were quite different; it was also less windy at this overlook, so I stopped and poked around for some interesting perspectives.

Sugar Hill Overlook, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Sugar Hill Overlook, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Sugar Hill Overlook at Sunrise, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Sugar Hill Overlook at Sunrise, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

My next stop was Lily Pond, a small body of water just off the highway to the north.  This was another spot I’d investigated during my scouting session on Day 6; the color here was only so-so, as there is a great deal of coniferous growth near the pond.  But sky conditions on scouting day had been cloudy.  It was sunny this morning and the resulting reflections were remarkably enticing, so I stopped to make some images.

Lily Pond, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Lily Pond, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

All of the shots I produced were made with a telephoto lens and most required focus stacking, including the image below (a 10-image stack).

Lily Pond Reflections, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Lily Pond Reflections, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

One image for which no focus stacking was required is displayed below.

Lily Pond Reflections, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Lily Pond Reflections, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

I continued east on the Kanc (as the Kancamagus Highway is known), occasionally stopping if something caught my eye.

Autumn Intimate, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Autumn Intimate, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

When I reached Bear Notch Road, the only through road on the Kanc between Lincoln and Conway, I headed north.  Bear Notch itself is filled with interesting subject matter–primarily overlooks, waterways and trees.  I spent the rest of the morning, and the early part of the afternoon, in Bear Notch.

My first stop was at Douglas Brook, where I found myself intrigued by reflections, creek intimates and foliage.

Reflections, Douglas Brook, Bear Notch Road, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Reflections, Douglas Brook, Bear Notch Road, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

I spotted an interesting looking boulder-strewn section of Douglas Brook on the east side of the road and climbed down the steep embankment, knee-high rubber boots adorned, and walked into the stream itself to obtain the image you see below.

Douglas Brook, Bear Notch Road, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Douglas Brook, Bear Notch Road, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Bank on the embankment and a short distance downstream from the above shot I found myself looking straight down on a thickly leafed (mostly) yellow branch of a maple tree.

Maple Intimate, Bear Notch Road, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Maple Intimate, Bear Notch Road, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

And then it was on to the overlooks.  (There are several of them on Bear Notch Road.)  The light wasn’t very good when I arrived, but I still made a few images and took special note of the locations for possible future reference.  Mt. Washington could be seen in the background on this (nearly) clear sky day.

Bear Notch Overlook, Bear Notch Road, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Bear Notch Overlook, Bear Notch Road, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Bear Notch Overlook, Bear Notch Road, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Bear Notch Overlook, Bear Notch Road, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

From here, I decided to explore Crawford Notch, to the north of Bear Notch Road.  The notch is a beautiful gap in the White Mountains, broader than Bear Notch, and I spent the most of the rest of the day exploring the area.  Since the sun was out I spent the next few hours largely limiting myself to scouting.  One exception was the image you see below.

Colorful Mountainside, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Colorful Mountainside, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Eventually, when I reached the northern end of the notch, the light was just beginning to improve as the sun began its descent.  I decided to take the steep mile-long trail up to the Elephant Head Overlook, which provides a view of the notch itself, to the south.  Elephant Head is an exposed rocky outcrop that sits several hundred feet above the canyon floor.

Elephant Head Overlook, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Elephant Head Overlook, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

In the shaded area on the slope below, on the west side of the notch, the colors and the patterns stood out so I pulled out the telephoto lens.

Greens and Yellows, Elephant Head Overlook, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Greens and Yellows, Elephant Head Overlook, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

I had noticed several intimate scenes on the trail on the way up and as I descended back to the trailhead, with the area of interest entirely in shadow, I decided to indulge myself.

Tree Roots and Leaves, Elephant Head Trail, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Tree Roots and Leaves, Elephant Head Trail, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Maple Leaf Closeup, Elephant Head Trail, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Maple Leaf Closeup, Elephant Head Trail, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

I then worked my way back through Crawford Notch, to the south.  By the time I reached the area around Willey Pond, much of the notch was in open shade, and I used the even light to photograph a stand of birches.

Birches, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Birches, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

I also photographed, looking north, from the edge of the pond itself.

Willey Pond, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Willey Pond, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

I resumed the journey south as the sun continued to go down.  At the very southern edge of Crawford Notch State park I photographed a sun-kissed bluff towering above trees and the last wildflowers of the year.

Sunset Bluff, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Sunset Bluff, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

I spent a lot of time photographing intimates of some of the gorgeous fall color that lined both sides of the notch.

Autumn Intimate, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Autumn Intimate, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Autumn Intimate, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Autumn Intimate, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Autumn Intimate, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Autumn Intimate, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Autumn Trees, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Autumn Trees, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Autumn Trees, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Autumn Trees, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Autumn Intimate, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Autumn Intimate, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Autumn Intimate, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Autumn Intimate, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Autumn Intimate, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Autumn Intimate, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

I headed back through Bear Notch, expecting that the entirely clear sky would make for an uninteresting sunset from the west-facing overlooks.  But when I reached the same overlook that I had photographed from late in the morning, I was stopped in my tracks.  The sky gradient, the light and the color of the foliage were all exquisite.

Bear Notch Overlook at Sunset, Bear Notch Road, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Bear Notch Overlook at Sunset, Bear Notch Road, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

With three more full days based in New Hampshire, I looked forward to more excellent shooting opportunities in the White Mountains.  I wasn’t to be disappointed.

Posted by: kerryl29 | January 25, 2017

New England, Day 11: The Longest Day

I spent some long days in the field during my trip to New England last fall but none any longer than the 11th day, when I was to relocate my base of operations from St. Johnsbury, Vermont to North Conway, New Hampshire.  I wasn’t certain exactly when I would make the trip east, or exactly what route I would take; I decided to let the whims of the day dictate those decisions.

I checked out of the motel in St. Johnsbury in the pre-dawn darkness and made the now familiar trip to May Pond, in Orleans County, a bit east of the town of Barton.  This would be my third visit to May Pond; the previous two had been limited photographically by wind or rain.  The forecast for sunrise was iffy (what else is new?) but I figured it was worth taking the time to see what would happen.

It was dead calm at the pond when I arrived and the light was just beginning to come, revealing a cloudy sky–but it was cloudy with some definition.  So I set up and waited.  Before any sky developments took place, I produced one (comparatively) intimate image including reflections in the shallows of a small inlet to my left.

May Pond Reflections, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond Reflections, Orleans County, Vermont

As I waited to see what would happen as the sun came up I noticed some indications of cracks in the clouds to the south and east–just enough of a break to produce the hoped-for early morning color in the sky.

May Pond at Sunrise, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond at Sunrise, Orleans County, Vermont

As is my typical m.o. in settings such as this, I spent some time going back and forth between wide angle and telephoto views of the scene before me.

May Pond at Sunrise, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond at Sunrise, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond at Sunrise, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond at Sunrise, Orleans County, Vermont

As the sun rose and the color of the clouds shifted from a reddish-pink to a more subdued, subtle color, I returned to the wide angle to better emphasize the grandeur of the scene.

May Pond at Dawn, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond at Dawn, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond at Dawn, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond at Dawn, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond at Dawn, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond at Dawn, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond at Dawn, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond at Dawn, Orleans County, Vermont

When the color in the clouds to the southeast faded, I packed up and returned in the direction I had come.  As some views to the northwest came into sight along the unpaved May Pond Road, I stopped to investigate some potential images.  I placed the emphasis, again, on the sky.

May Pond Road Morning, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond Road Morning, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond Road Morning, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond Road Morning, Orleans County, Vermont

From here, I made the relatively short trip to Burton Hill Road, the spot where I’d spent so much time photographing–in less than optimal conditions–on Day 9.  While these conditions weren’t necessarily “perfect” (whatever that means), they were different than those of Day 9, when extremely low-hanging clouds produced a highly foggy atmosphere and restricted long views.

I made my first stop at the top of a hill and shot the same segment of road that I’d photographed two days earlier, but composed the image quite differently.

Burton Hill Road Morning, Orleans County, Vermont

Burton Hill Road Morning, Orleans County, Vermont

I then made my way to the same general location that had caught my attention on Day 9.

Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Burton Hill Road Morning, Orleans County, Vermont

Burton Hill Road Morning, Orleans County, Vermont

Burton Hill Road View, Orleans County, Vermont

Burton Hill Road View, Orleans County, Vermont

Burton Hill Road View, Orleans County, Vermont

Burton Hill Road View, Orleans County, Vermont

Burton Hill Road Farm, Orleans County, Vermont

Burton Hill Road Farm, Orleans County, Vermont

Burton Hill Road View, Orleans County, Vermont

Burton Hill Road View, Orleans County, Vermont

It was still fairly early in the morning at this point and I had to make a decision:  begin making my way east, toward North Conway, or commit to spending a larger chunk of the day shooting in northeast Vermont.  It appeared that it would remain mostly cloudy; I’d scarcely seen the sun the entire time I’d been based in Vermont (five days).  But despite what was shaping up to be another mostly cloudy day, I decided to stay in Vermont and revisit the area around Island Pond that I had scouted on Day 7.

I made a quick stop at Long Pond, near Lake Willoughby, before heading north.  I hoped that, given the almost windless conditions I’d experienced at May Pond, I’d be able to play with some reflections.  But, as had been the case on Day 10, there was wind at Long Pond that destroyed any semblance of reflections.  Still, I found a few subjects to shoot.  The unpaved Long Pond Road is in good condition up to and just past the pond, after which it becomes very rough, very quickly.  I drove to the “very rough” point and found some intimate scenes to work.

Long Pond Road Color, Orleans County, Vermont

Long Pond Road Color, Orleans County, Vermont

Long Pond Road Birches, Orleans County, Vermont

Long Pond Road Birches, Orleans County, Vermont

After returning to the main road and beginning my journey north, I occasionally spotted something that caught my attention and I kept pulling off to the side to take a closer look.  Sometimes I pulled out the camera and sometimes I decided against it, but the first scene that captured my attention enough to seriously investigate image-making opportunities included the barn you see in the photograph below.

Autumn Farm, Orleans County, Vermont

Autumn Farm, Orleans County, Vermont

Further along the way I passed a field full of hay bales and I found a place to pull over on the road’s narrow shoulder to make some images.

Hay Bales, Orleans County, Vermont

Hay Bales, Orleans County, Vermont

Hay Bales Black & White, Orleans County, Vermont

Hay Bales Black & White, Orleans County, Vermont

When I reached the junction of VT-5A and VT-105, I made a right on 105, heading east towards Island Pond.  It’s here that the Clyde River forms the dammed Pensioner Pond, and flows into and out of this body of water.  105 crosses the river as it flows out of the pond to the northwest just past the junction with 5A and it was here that I spotted a moose, in the river below the bridge.  Naturally I stopped and spent a good half an hour watching and photographing the moose as he dallied in the shallows below my position.

Moose, Clyde River, Essex County, Vermont

Moose, Clyde River, Essex County, Vermont

Moose, Clyde River, Essex County, Vermont

Moose, Clyde River, Essex County, Vermont

Moose, Clyde River, Essex County, Vermont

Moose, Clyde River, Essex County, Vermont

Moose, Clyde River, Essex County, Vermont

Moose, Clyde River, Essex County, Vermont

Moose, Clyde River, Essex County, Vermont

Moose, Clyde River, Essex County, Vermont

Moose, Clyde River, Essex County, Vermont

Moose, Clyde River, Essex County, Vermont

Moose, Clyde River, Essex County, Vermont

Moose, Clyde River, Essex County, Vermont

The moose was still in the river when I finally left and made the short drive to the public access point for Pensioner Pond.

Pensioner Pond, Essex County, Vermont

Pensioner Pond, Essex County, Vermont

On my scouting expedition several days earlier I had taken note of a stand of young birch trees on the north side of Rt. 105 and in the four days that had gone by these trees had progressed from yellow-green to full on peak, so again I stopped to compose an image or two.

Birch Stand, Essex County, Vermont

Birch Stand, Essex County, Vermont

Just a bit further east the road brushed up against the Pherrins River–a tributary of the Clyde–and, near the edge of a bridge, I found another pleasing composition.

Pherrins River, Essex County, Vermont

Pherrins River, Essex County, Vermont

Another spot I’d found on my scouting trip was located at the intersection of Rt. 105 and Center School Road, a secondary thoroughfare that bends off to the south.  On the southeast corner is a dilapidated barn that I thought served as a strong center of interest.  I pulled off the road and walked around a bit to try to identify the best perspective.  It was a bit on the breezy side here so I had to wait out the wind.

Center School Road, Essex County, Vermont

Center School Road, Essex County, Vermont

Due to the relative lack of fall color in this location I also rendered this image as monochrome.

Center School Road Black & White, Essex County, Vermont

Center School Road Black & White, Essex County, Vermont

I continued east, until I reached the outskirts of Island Pond, where some trees that had been promising in terms of color a few days earlier were now at peak.  I pulled off on a wide shoulder and, near (but not on) private property I walked around with my camera and tripod and produced a series of intimates.

Autumn Intimate, Essex County, Vermont

Autumn Intimate, Essex County, Vermont

Autumn Intimate, Essex County, Vermont

Autumn Intimate, Essex County, Vermont

Autumn Intimate, Essex County, Vermont

Autumn Intimate, Essex County, Vermont

Autumn Intimate, Essex County, Vermont

Autumn Intimate, Essex County, Vermont

By now it was early afternoon and I began the return trip south.  I had seen some signs of clearing skies during the late morning and that continued, incrementally, as I made my way back in the general direction of Lyndonville.

Autumn Hillside, Essex County, Vermont

Autumn Hillside, Essex County, Vermont

When I reached the area around Newark, Vermont, I paused.  I had heard a great deal about Jobs Pond, but hadn’t made the journey over there.  Doing so required traversing some miles of unfamiliar (to me) unpaved roads.  I was now near the closest access point to the pond–Newark Road–so I decided to check it out.  I made the turn off of VT–114 and slowly made my way there.  After a few miles, I saw a sign about road construction and within a few hundred yards I could see that the road was being regraded.  I wasn’t sure if I could get through, but I decided to find out and in short order I came upon a gentleman in a road grader.  He gave me a friendly wave and pulled over to let me through.  I waved back and continued on my way.

After a false start or two, I found myself at the pull-in for the public access point to Jobs Pond in a few minutes and, after seeing the scene, I was immediately glad I’d gone to the trouble of checking it out.  There was a very nice grouping of foreground rocks, a towering rocky bluff on the hillside across the pond and excellent color present.  The only downside was a bit of wind causing some ripples, but even that wasn’t all that bad.

Jobs Pond, Orleans County, Vermont

Jobs Pond, Orleans County, Vermont

I pulled out the long lens in short order.

Jobs Pond Trees, Orleans County, Vermont

Jobs Pond Trees, Orleans County, Vermont

Jobs Pond, Orleans County, Vermont

Jobs Pond, Orleans County, Vermont

Jobs Pond, Orleans County, Vermont

Jobs Pond, Orleans County, Vermont

Jobs Pond Intimate, Orleans County, Vermont

Jobs Pond Intimate, Orleans County, Vermont

I returned to Rt. 114 and resumed the trip south, but made one more stop before reaching Lydonville when a red barn, right off the road, seized my attention.

Red Barn, Caledonia County, Vermont

Red Barn, Caledonia County, Vermont

It was now mid-afternoon and considerable clearing had taken place.  I figured that I was likely to see mostly sunny conditions for the last few hours of daylight.

I had a couple of options:  I could take US-2 east and then make my way south to North Conway.  Or, I could head south via I-91/93 down toward the Kancamagus Highway and then head east to North Conway.  I had taken US-2 west when I drove to Maine on Day 1, and I had crossed the Kancamagus Highway on Day 6.  I decided that the latter option was the better choice, so that’s where I headed.

But as I made my way south on the Interstate highway I remembered that I’d wanted to check out the area around Sugar Hill, New Hampshire.  I had driven through this general area, briefly, as it was getting dark on Day 6 and I knew that if I didn’t do it now I wouldn’t ever really have the opportunity to it again on this trip.  So when I reached the Franconia exit on the highway I took it, and slowly made my way toward Sugar Hill.

I had been told to check out the views on Sunset Hill Road in Sugar Hill, so I made my way there and reached the location about 90 minutes before sunset.  I walked up and down the road several times and stopped on a couple of occasions to pull out the camera.

Late Afternoon, Sunset Hill Road, Grafton County, New Hampshire

Late Afternoon, Sunset Hill Road, Grafton County, New Hampshire

Late Afternoon View, Sunset Hill Road, Grafton County, New Hampshire

Late Afternoon View, Sunset Hill Road, Grafton County, New Hampshire

Late Afternoon View, Sunset Hill Road, Grafton County, New Hampshire

Late Afternoon View, Sunset Hill Road, Grafton County, New Hampshire

From here, I kind of drifted fairly aimlessly and found myself driving down Easton Road, heading south.  I reached a point where a farm, behind a stone wall, spread out on a slope to the east.  The stone wall and a line of adjoining birches caught my eye.  When I went to investigate the spot along the road I could see, across the field, a very intriguing line of birch trees backed by colorful maples.  I wanted to get a closer look, but doing so would have involved crossing a large swath of the field…which was, of course, on private property.  There were no “private property” or “no trespassing” signs present, but it was clearly private property and I’m extremely reluctant to wander around on private property, posted or not, particularly in rural areas.  Instead, I returned to the car for my gear and I spent some time playing with a few compositions, all of them accessible from the public roadside and all of which required some form of focus stacking to pull off.

Easton Road Farm, Grafton County, New Hampshire

Easton Road Farm, Grafton County, New Hampshire

Easton Road Farm, Grafton County, New Hampshire

Easton Road Farm, Grafton County, New Hampshire

Shortly after producing these shots, I was standing there, longingly looking at the elements of the shot I really wanted (the stand of birches and maples across the field), when I saw a very excited Springer spaniel bounding toward me.  She was very friendly, so I let her sniff my hand, and petted her a bit, which made her very happy.  And then I heard the roar of a tractor in the field, looked up and saw it coming in my general direction (on the other side of the wall, of course).  So I waved at the farmer and he waved back, and then killed the engine.  And we engaged in a bit of small talk (he asked if I’d been up to Sugar Hill, etc.) and then I just figured I’d ask if he minded if I wandered out onto the (now plowed under) field to look at those trees.  He said “Go anywhere you like, take all the time you want.”  I said thanks very much, asked him the dog’s name (Erma, if you’re still paying attention), and told him that I was always leery about just wandering on private property.  He said “You’re supposed to post if you don’t want anyone on your property.”  I told him I’d rather be safe than sorry.  He said he understood, “but I mean it; feel free to wander anywhere you like.”  I thanked him again, and he restarted the tractor and continued plowing.  After a few more pats, Erma headed back to the farm house.

I took my gear and headed into the field and with every step, as I approached the subject matter that had caught my eye in the first place, I got more and excited and more thankful to the farmer for letting me roam on his property.

Easton Road Birches, Grafton County, New Hampshire

Easton Road Birches, Grafton County, New Hampshire

As long as I was there, I produced one additional image:

Easton Road Birches, Grafton County, New Hampshire

Easton Road Birches, Grafton County, New Hampshire

I headed back to my car entirely satisfied, sufficiently so that I didn’t even particularly care that it was just about sunset and I had no idea where to go.  I continued south on Easton Road, and basically stumbled onto another farm setting.  This one had “No Trespassing” signs up all over the place, so I was very careful not to stray from the roadside, but there was a character-laden barn and a developing sunset sky and so I just hung out there for a few minutes and tried to make the best of the situation.

Easton Road Barn at Sunset, Grafton County, New Hampshire

Easton Road Barn at Sunset, Grafton County, New Hampshire

And with that, this longest of New England trip photo days came to an end.  I still had a two-hour drive over the mountainous, curving Kancamagus Highway to make to reach North Conway, but that didn’t seem particularly onerous as I reflected on everything I had seen on Day 11.

Posted by: kerryl29 | January 17, 2017

New England, Day 10: Northern Vermont Tour, Continued

Despite (another) less than favorable sunrise forecast, I made my way back to Wheeler Pond–a spot I’d visited twice the previous day–for daybreak.  The color had been so good, I felt it would be worthwhile to revisit the spot on this morning.  It was cloudy, as predicted, when the sun rose high enough to produce enough ambient light to tell, so I started off with some long lens shots.

Wheeler Pond, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond Intimate, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond Intimate, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond Intimate, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond Intimate, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond Trees, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond Trees, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond Trees, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond Trees, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

After a few minutes, a hint of color began to appear in the clouds.  It wasn’t anything incredible by any means, but it gave me an excuse to break out the wide angle for an entirely different perspective of the pond.

Wheeler Pond, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond at Daybreak, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond at Daybreak, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond at Daybreak, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond at Daybreak, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond at Daybreak, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond at Daybreak, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

The sense that the skies might be clearing was extinguished in fairly short order, as a fifth consecutive day of overcast skies appeared to be a reality.  I made the rounds of some of the spots in the immediate area–this part of Orleans County–that I had scouted but hadn’t yet photographed, beginning with a return to Long Pond.  Conditions–as you can see from the reflections above–had been essentially windless at Wheeler Pond, and I hoped that would be the case at Long Pond as well.

Unfortunately, as I discovered within minutes, Long Pond was entirely rippled by a fairly stiff breeze when I arrived.  I limited myself to some telephoto shots of the trees surrounding the lake before moving on.

Long Pond Trees, Orleans County, Vermont

Long Pond Trees, Orleans County, Vermont

My next stop was a wetland I’d passed several times on the way to or from Lake Willoughby.  There wasn’t much color in this spot but I was sufficiently intrigued by the long grasses and reflections to render an image in black and white.

Wetlands Reflections Black & White, Orleans County, Vermont

Wetlands Reflections Black & White, Orleans County, Vermont

Finally, I simply had to stop to photograph a shockingly red maple, situated all by itself (color-wise) along the roadside.  I’d passed this tree at least three times over the past few days and so on this occasion I pulled over on the shoulder and made an image or two.

Shocking Red, Orleans County, Vermont

Shocking Red, Orleans County, Vermont

My route was going to take me to Lyndonville so I decided to spend some time back on Darling Hill Road, from which I’d photographed sunset on Day 6.  I’d only had time to explore part of the road, so I took this opportunity to revisit the areas I’d scouted previously and check out some other spots as well.

Darling Hill Road, Caledonia County, Vermont

Darling Hill Road, Caledonia County, Vermont

Darling Hill Road, Caledonia County, Vermont

Darling Hill Road, Caledonia County, Vermont

Darling Hill Road View, Caledonia County, Vermont

Darling Hill Road View, Caledonia County, Vermont

Darling Hill Road View, Caledonia County, Vermont

Darling Hill Road View, Caledonia County, Vermont

From this point, I decided to investigate some new locations, so I headed south and west, in the general direction of the previous day’s excursion to Groton State Forest.  But my destination this time was a bit different.  The two spots I definitely wanted to check out before the end of the day were Nichols Ledge and the village of Peacham.  So I headed in that general direction.  But before trying to find Nichols Ledge, I wanted to have a look at some covered bridges, the first near the tiny town of Lyndon.  This was the Chamberlin Mill Covered Bridge, at the site of the former (you guessed it) Chamberlin Mill…which no longer exists.  A small part of the foundation can still be seen, but that’s all that remains.  But the bridge is still in place, and very much in use by modern day traffic.

Chamberlin Mill Covered Bridge, Caledonia County, Vermont

Chamberlin Mill Covered Bridge, Caledonia County, Vermont

Chamberlin Mill Covered Bridge Black & White, Caledonia County, Vermont

Chamberlin Mill Covered Bridge Black & White, Caledonia County, Vermont

From the bridge I could see a series of cascades below me, so I climbed down the embankment next to the bridge to see if I could find a pleasing composition.  Options were limited and I settled for what you see below.

South Wheelock Brook, Caledonia County, Vermont

South Wheelock Brook, Caledonia County, Vermont

From here I continued west to check the Foster Covered Bridge.  This location really intrigued me.  I knew that the bridge was now located on private property but was accessible to the public.  I also knew that the bridge was no longer “in service” and in fact simply spanned a creek, more or less in the middle of a field.  Indeed, that’s what I found.  A sign was in place stating, that while visitors were welcome to approach the bridge, they were asked, very clearly not to stand on or cross the bridge itself.  As you might imagine, a few people–including a family of four when I was there–plainly ignored the sign and climbed all over the bridge.  I kept my distance and didn’t feel deprived at all.

Foster Covered Bridge, Washington County, Vermont

Foster Covered Bridge, Washington County, Vermont

Foster Covered Bridge, Washington County, Vermont

Foster Covered Bridge, Washington County, Vermont

Foster Covered Bridge Black & White, Washington County, Vermont

Foster Covered Bridge Black & White, Washington County, Vermont

Foster Covered Bridge, Washington County, Vermont

Foster Covered Bridge, Washington County, Vermont

From one spot near the bridge, there was an impressive view to the south.

Layered Ridges, Washington County, Vermont

Layered Ridges, Washington County, Vermont

It was becoming apparent that there were signs of some clearing to the west, so at this stage–it was mid-afternoon by now–I decided to make my way to Nichols Ledge.  The ledge, which is an open overlook providing a view of Nichols Pond and East Long Pond, as well as the thick forest surrounding both bodies of water, requires a fairly short, straight forward but steep hike of about a mile on a marked trail straight up a thickly wooded hillside.  The area had been closed for months due to the presence of some nesting peregrine falcons but had been re-opened to public access a few weeks earlier.

The hike was no problem and in about ten minutes I found myself on an open rocky shelf.  Seven or eight other people were up there already, but none were hanging out near the shelf’s edge, so I made my way there, jumped down to the lower part of the rock ledge and took in the view.  I waited at least five minutes before pulling out my camera.

Nichols Pond and East Long Pond from Nichols Ledge, Washington County, Vermont

Nichols Pond and East Long Pond from Nichols Ledge, Washington County, Vermont

Somewhat to my surprise, given what I’d seen elsewhere, the color in the area was still probably a few days shy of peak, but the view was magnificent nonetheless.

Nichols Pond and East Long Pond from Nichols Ledge, Washington County, Vermont

Nichols Pond and East Long Pond from Nichols Ledge, Washington County, Vermont

Nichols Pond from Nichols Ledge, Washington County, Vermont

Nichols Pond from Nichols Ledge, Washington County, Vermont

Nichols Pond from Nichols Ledge, Washington County, Vermont

Nichols Pond from Nichols Ledge, Washington County, Vermont

Nichols Pond from Nichols Ledge, Washington County, Vermont

Nichols Pond from Nichols Ledge, Washington County, Vermont

Despite being perched hundreds of feet above the pond, I could see, on occasion, a pair of loons in the water.  And before I left, I caught a glimpse of a falcon, arching through the sky.  Eventually, I turned my gaze to the south, away from the ponds, to take in that part of the 180-degree view.

Nichols Ledge View, Washington County, Vermont

Nichols Ledge View, Washington County, Vermont

Nichols Ledge View, Washington County, Vermont

Nichols Ledge View, Washington County, Vermont

The sun was peeking out now, with regularity.  I headed back down the trail and decided to make my way, in the now-late afternoon light, toward Peacham.  On the way, I stopped very briefly to photograph Cabot Common.

Cabot Common, Washington County, Vermont

Cabot Common, Washington County, Vermont

Peacham is a tiny Vermont village, a real throwback to yesteryear, and is the site of one of the few truly iconic scenes that I expected to come across on this trip–the view of the village from a hilly open field behind the fire department building.  I had absolutely no intention of photographing this scene myself…until I saw it with my own eyes, in the warmth of the late afternoon sunshine.  I then understood why so many people are drawn to photograph the scene and, rather than fight the urge, I simply succumbed.  A photo workshop was already on site when I arrived, but they were packing up and leaving so I ended up having the place, and the scene to myself.

Peacham Village, Caledonia County, Vermont

Peacham Village, Caledonia County, Vermont

By pure chance–as I said, I hadn’t intended to make this image–I arrived just in time.  Much sooner and the light wouldn’t have been so flattering to the scene; any later and the shadows, cast by the trees on the hillside behind me, would have covered the scene completely.

Peacham Village, Caledonia County, Vermont

Peacham Village, Caledonia County, Vermont

When I finished on the hillside, I slogged my way back to where I had parked and then, remembering something I’d read in Andy Richards’ Vermont photo guide, walked across the street from the fire station into Peacham’s cemetery.  While the cemetery itself would be awfully interesting to photograph in the right light, I walked through–it’s surprisingly large–to the back where there are some wonderful views to the south.

Peacham Cemetery View, Caledonia County, Vermont

Peacham Cemetery View, Caledonia County, Vermont

Sunset was approaching and I really didn’t have a location planned out, so I decided to drive north, in the general direction of US-2 (which would be my route back to St. Johnsbury) and see if I ran across something of interest.  This isn’t my preferred course of action, but I wasn’t sure what else to do since I hadn’t really had the opportunity to scout the area.  I was not entirely successful…but it wasn’t exactly an epic sunset sky anyway.

Bayley-Hazen Road, Caledonia County, Vermont

Bayley-Hazen Road, Caledonia County, Vermont

Bayley-Hazen Road, Caledonia County, Vermont

Bayley-Hazen Road, Caledonia County, Vermont

Bayley-Hazen Road, Caledonia County, Vermont

Bayley-Hazen Road, Caledonia County, Vermont

I made my way back to US-2 and headed east, figuring that the day’s shooting was over.  But when I reached the overlook from which I had photographed the previous day, I had to stop.  The earthshadow effect from this location, now long after sunset, was simply too much to pass up.  It was quite dark at this point but there wasn’t a breath of wind so I opened up to a 15-second exposure and let it go.

Earthshadow Viewpoint, Caledonia County, Vermont

Earthshadow Viewpoint, Caledonia County, Vermont

Earthshadow Viewpoint, Caledonia County, Vermont

Earthshadow Viewpoint, Caledonia County, Vermont

And that was the last image of the evening.  At some point the following day I was to relocate my base of operations to North Conway, New Hampshire.  As you’ll see, that relocation took place very late on Day 11.

Posted by: kerryl29 | January 10, 2017

New England, Day 9: Exploring Vermont

As I mentioned in my last post, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to join Carol Smith for some photography on Day 9, but since she wouldn’t arrive in the area until late morning, I would be on my own for a few hours.  The forecast was for a fourth consecutive cloudy day, but I got up and out in time for sunrise at May Pond, in Orleans County–about a 30-minute ride from where I was staying in St. Johnsbury–just in case.  Unfortunately the forecast was correct.  In fact, very shortly after I arrived and set up at the pond, it started to rain.

May Pond Reflections, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond Reflections, Orleans County, Vermont

I resolved to return to May Pond at a later point in time and retreated west, through the small town of Barton, to Burton Hill Road.  My friend Andy Richards, in his Vermont photography ebook, raved about Burton Hill Road, so I decided to check it out.  Suffice to say that the fuss was entirely justified.

Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Burton Hill Road is paved, initially, but after heading west for a mile or two it changes to well-graded dirt/gravel and remains that way, pretty much all the way to its terminus in the village of Irasburg, roughly seven miles to the northwest.  The road is relentlessly hilly, which is a big part of the reason why the area accessible from Burton Hill is so scenic.  There are a number of unpaved roads that junction with Burton Hill and I spent a bit of time exploring some of the vantage points afforded to me.

Foggy Morning, Butler Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Foggy Morning, Butler Road, Orleans County, Vermont

It was not only cloudy this morning, there was also a lot of valley fog and I spent a lot of my time this morning trying to incorporate the fog into my scenic images.

Farm on Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Farm on Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Foggy Morning, Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Foggy Morning, Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Foggy Morning, Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Foggy Morning, Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Foggy Morning, Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Foggy Morning, Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

I produced some wide angle images, but during most of this time I was using a telephoto lens, due to a relative lack of usable foreground elements in many locations.

Foggy Morning, Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Foggy Morning, Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Foggy Morning, Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Foggy Morning, Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Foggy Morning, Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Foggy Morning, Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Eventually I turned my attention to some tighter, more intimate images including pockets of color that I spotted as I meandered along the road.

Isolated Red, Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Isolated Red, Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Autumn Intimate, Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Autumn Intimate, Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Autumn Intimate, Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Autumn Intimate, Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Autumn Intimate, Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Autumn Intimate, Burton Hill Road, Orleans County, Vermont

After completing my exploration of Burton Hill Road–and, again, vowing to return–I decided to go in search of Wheeler Pond, in the Willoughby State Forest.  I found the pond, which wasn’t all that far away, and checked out a couple of different vantage points.  There’s a trail that goes around at least part of Wheeler Pond and I was following it when it started to rain again, so I retreated to the car, found the trailhead for the hike to Wheeler Mountain for possible future reference, and then prepared to meet Carol because it was late morning by this time.

After a brief greeting we were on our way.  It had stopped raining by now and we made a quick stop at Crystal Lake at the south end of the town of Barton.  We stopped at a lakeside spot that Carol was particularly fond of (and with reason, I found).

Crystal Lake, Orleans County, Vermont

Crystal Lake, Orleans County, Vermont

The conditions weren’t optimal, but we did our best.

Crystal Lake, Orleans County, Vermont

Crystal Lake, Orleans County, Vermont

I was especially intrigued by the trunks of a leafless stand of trees that were backed by rich fall color.  This shot, taken with a telephoto lens, required a focus stacking approach to overcome a depth of field problem.

Crystal Lake Trees, Orleans County, Vermont

Crystal Lake Trees, Orleans County, Vermont

Our next stop was Lake Willoughby.  I’d stopped by the lake (without photographing) on Day 7; now, though the conditions weren’t quite perfect (it started and stopped raining again while we were on site), we stopped to shoot.  Lake Willoughby is long and comparatively narrow, running north-south.  We were at the north end of the lake which is, in my view, the best place to photograph the lake at water level.  There’s a decent sized beach at the north end of the lake and there are often at least a few boats moored in the relatively shallow water.

Lake Willougbhy, Orleans County, Vermont

Lake Willougbhy, Orleans County, Vermont

Lake Willougbhy, Orleans County, Vermont

Lake Willougbhy, Orleans County, Vermont

Lake Willougbhy Black & White, Orleans County, Vermont

Lake Willougbhy Black & White, Orleans County, Vermont

Our next stop was Long Pond, accessible via a well-graded unpaved road on the east side of Lake Willoughby.  The color here was excellent, as close to peak as anything I’d seen during my time in New England to date.

Long Pond, Orleans County, Vermont

Long Pond, Orleans County, Vermont

Autumn Hillside, Orleans County, Vermont

Autumn Hillside, Orleans County, Vermont

We moved on to Wheeler Pond–where I’d scouted during the morning.  It was still very foggy around the pond, which added “atmosphere,” if you were willing to view the glass as half-full.

Wheeler Pond in Fog, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond in Fog, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond in Fog, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond in Fog, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Though harder to see, the color here–as at Long Pond–was terrific.  In fact, the since there was arguably more red at Wheeler, this was the hottest of the hot spots thus far.

Wheeler Pond Trees, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond Trees, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond Trees in Fog, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

Wheeler Pond Trees in Fog, Willoughby State Forest, Vermont

We decided to spend the late afternoon hours at Groton State Forest, to the southwest of where we’d been, so we headed down I-91 to St. Johnsbury and then west on US-2.  On the way we stopped at an overlook on the south side of the road.  For the first time all day we were seeing signs of some breaks in the clouds.

US-2 View, Caledonia County, Vermont

US-2 View, Caledonia County, Vermont

US-2 View, Caledonia County, Vermont

US-2 View, Caledonia County, Vermont

When we reached the Groton State Forest area there were perhaps two hours of daylight left and we decided to spend them by checking out several ponds within  the forest, beginning with Peacham Pond.

Peacham Pond Black & White, Groton State Forest, Vermont

Peacham Pond Black & White, Groton State Forest, Vermont

Peacham Pond Black & White, Groton State Forest, Vermont

Peacham Pond Black & White, Groton State Forest, Vermont

From there, we moved on to Osmore Pond, where a beached canoe and a couple of logs served as useful foreground objects.

Osmore Pond, Groton State Forest, Vermont

Osmore Pond, Groton State Forest, Vermont

The mix of coniferous and deciduous trees across the lake were begging for the long lens treatment.

Osmore Pond Trees, Groton State Forest, Vermont

Osmore Pond Trees, Groton State Forest, Vermont

Osmore Pond Trees, Groton State Forest, Vermont

Osmore Pond Trees, Groton State Forest, Vermont

The light was fading by time we reached Ricker Pond, but it was my favorite of the three spots we checked at Groton State Forest.  We ended up at the southern end of the pond, quite near the spot where the Wells River serves as an outlet stream.  As the ambient light dropped to nothing we scrambled to procure some images.

Ricker Pond, Groton State Forest, Vermont

Ricker Pond, Groton State Forest, Vermont

Ricker Pond Outlet, Groton State Forest, Vermont

Ricker Pond Outlet, Groton State Forest, Vermont

Finally, with the light almost completely gone, I made one last reflection image shooting diagonally toward the east side of the pond, with a partially submerged tree stump serving as mid-ground interest.  The exposure was a full 10 seconds in length but the dead calm conditions allowed the foliage to remain sharp.

Ricker Pond, Groton State Forest, Vermont

Ricker Pond, Groton State Forest, Vermont

And that was the end of the photographic day.  I’ll be forever grateful to Carol for guiding me around all afternoon.  Much of whatever success I had photographing on this day is due to her patience and willingness to show me so many of northern Vermont’s top photographic locations.

Posted by: kerryl29 | January 4, 2017

Double Entendre: Scenes of Vermont

On a couple of occasions during the chronology of my trip to New England I’ve mentioned that I had some assistance in trip planning and photo location advice, particularly as it pertains to my time in Vermont, so I want to take a moment to give credit to those who deserve it.

My friend Andy Richards–also my Photographing Michigan’s Upper Peninsula ebook co-author–published a photo guide to Vermont in the fall in 2011 entitled Photographing Vermont’s Fall Foliage.  I purchased this ebook a few months before I hit the road for New England and it served as my template for my time in Vermont.  While the book ostensibly covers the entire state, I confined my explorations to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom (the northeast quadrant of the state) and a bit of time in the northwest quadrant.  Many of the locations I visited I first learned about in Andy’s guide and it was a valuable resource for planning locations, time of visitation and recognizing best conditions.

Lake Willoughby in Fog, Orleans County, Vermont

Lake Willoughby in Fog, Orleans County, Vermont

Andy also referred me to the invaluable Scenes of Vermont forum.  There are some folks who post on this forum who have spectacularly detailed knowledge about Vermont locations and they’re very willing to share their insights with others.  I received some detailed suggestions for specific locations to visit and drives to serve as the source for regional exploration from forum members that was truly invaluable.  If you’re planning a trip to Vermont–be it a photo trip or something more of a traditional sightseeing venture–you’d be doing yourself a huge disservice by not visiting the forum first and making some inquiries.  The denizens there are knowledgeable, friendly and incredibly helpful.

Ricker Pond, Groton State Forest, Vermont

Ricker Pond, Groton State Forest, Vermont

Tying things together, Andy gave me a personal introduction to Carol Smith, one of the most active members of the Scenes of Vermont Forum (and a moderator there).  In addition to having decades of on-the-ground experience in Vermont, Carol is a terrific photographer in her own right (seriously–check out her blog and website), so I was thrilled when she invited me to join her for a day during the time that I was based in Vermont.  (That day will be featured in my next post.)  During my time with Carol, she was gracious enough to show me quite a few new locations, many of which I probably never would have found on my own.

Long Pond, Orelans County, Vermont

Long Pond, Orelans County, Vermont

I’ve always said, the guidance of someone familiar with a particular area is invaluable to the landscape photographer new to that locale.  During my time in Vermont, I was lucky enough to have the copious assistance of a wide number of knowledgeable and helpful individuals–Andy, Carol and other members of the Scenes of Vermont forum.   Much of my success during my time in Vermont is due to their magnanimous efforts, and for that I offer my enduring and heartfelt thanks!

Southern Exposure Caledonia County, Vermont

Southern Exposure Caledonia County, Vermont

Footnote:  Andy’s Photographing Vermont’s Fall Foliage is already a highly valuable resource to the photographer planning an autumn visit to Vermont.  But a second edition, which will be co-authored by Carol Smith, is expected to be released some time in 2017 and, trust me, that is going to be an absolute must-have volume.  As I said, the first edition is of tremendous value, but with the addition of all of Carol’s intricate–and intimate–knowledge of Vermont, coupled with Andy’s foundation…let’s just say I can’t wait to see the finished product.

View From Peacham Cemetery, Washington County, Vermont

View From Peacham Cemetery, Washington County, Vermont

Posted by: kerryl29 | December 27, 2016

New England Day 8: Franconia Notch

That cloudy weather that was ubiquitous on Day 7?  That was the forecast for Day 8 as well.  But there’s cloudy and then there’s cloudy.  You know, the kind of gloomy overcast day with no definition in the clouds.  The kind of day that’s so dark it appears that it will start raining at any moment.  That is the kind of weather forecast for Day 8…and the forecast was accurate.

I decided to spend the day in a location that was well-suited for the weather conditions, so I headed south on I-93 to Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire–about a 30-minute drive from St. Johnsbury.  A guidebook that I’d purchased before the trip gave me some details about a couple of trails in the park filled with waterfalls and streams–good subjects for overcast conditions, as I constantly preach.

My first stop was the Falling Waters Trail, which has three waterfalls on it in addition to the stream (Dry Brook).  This is a very popular route up to the Ridge Trail in the White Mountains.  Even on a day like this–with absolutely no visibility above perhaps 2000 feet due to the low cloud cover–there was still plenty of traffic.  The waterfalls all lie in the first couple of miles on this fairly steep trail, and I was only planning to go up as far as the top of the third cataract (Cloudland Falls).

Dry Brook parallels–and occasionally crosses–the trail and I started out by noting some opportunities to photograph the waterway below the waterfall.  I made one photograph:

Dry Brook, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Dry Brook, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

 

I decided to wait until the return trip to actually shoot these spots.  I then made my way up the trail to the first of the waterfalls:  Stair Falls, the smallest of the three falls on the route.

Stair Falls, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Stair Falls, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Not much farther along the trail is Swiftwater Falls.

Swiftwater Falls, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Swiftwater Falls, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

The rocky surface immediately below the falls was remarkably slippery so I was very careful with my footing as I investigated some alternate compositions.

Swiftwater Falls, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Swiftwater Falls, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

As you can see, many of the trees along this trail are conifers, so there isn’t an abundance of color.  The waterfalls, however, are quite photogenic including 80-foot Cloudland Falls, the better part of a mile farther along the trail from Swiftwater.

Cloudland Falls, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Cloudland Falls, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

I spent a fair amount of time at this location, exploring a number of different spots.

Cloudland Falls, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Cloudland Falls, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Cloudland Falls, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Cloudland Falls, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

I climbed the steep, slick trail above Cloudland Falls.  On the way up, I found a spot from which I wanted to photograph the waterfall, but it was a very narrow ledge and given the traffic on the trail, I decided to wait for the trip back down to try to produce the photo.

I resumed the climb up the trail and produced a few shots of Dry Brook above Cloudland Falls.

Dry Brook, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Dry Brook, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

I then began the descent of the trail, but stopped at that small ledge to produce the image of Cloudland Falls that I’d identified a bit earlier.

Cloudland Falls, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Cloudland Falls, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

When I got down near the trailhead, I returned to the spots along Dry Brook that I’d found on the way up.

Dry Brook, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Dry Brook, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Dry Brook, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Dry Brook, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Dry Brook, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Dry Brook, Falling Waters Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

It was early afternoon by the time I got back to my car and I made the short drive to the parking area for the Cascade Brook Trail, a several mile-long trail that includes a couple of waterfalls and excellent access to Cascade Brook itself.

Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

I spent about four hours investigating photo opportunities along the trail.  One particularly interesting feature is “The Basin.”  I spent a fair amount of time fine-tuning compositions of this unique spot.

The Basin, Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

The Basin, Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

The Basin Black & White, Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

The Basin Black & White, Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

I continued along the trail and found many compelling locations.

Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Eventually I arrived at the first of the two “major” waterfalls along the trail:  Kinsman Falls.

Kinsman Falls, Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Kinsman Falls, Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Kinsman Falls, Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Kinsman Falls, Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Kinsman Falls is tucked into a notch with a sizable splash pool so I spent most of my time investigating the surrounding environment with particular emphasis on the foreground.

Kinsman Falls, Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Kinsman Falls, Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Kinsman Falls Black & White, Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Kinsman Falls Black & White, Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

The end of my journey on this trail was Rock Glen Falls.  This waterfall was difficult to see; the only decent viewpoint lies between two large rocky edifices.  I played around with a couple of different compositions.

Rocky Glen Falls, Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Rocky Glen Falls, Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Rocky Glen Falls, Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Rocky Glen Falls, Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

I captured one intimate fall color scene right at the Cascade Brook Trail parking lot.

Fall Color, Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

Fall Color, Cascade Brook Trail, Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

With only about an hour of daylight remaining I made the relatively short drive to the Lost River area of White Mountain National Forest.  The color in this area was excellent and I spent the short time I had left before it became completely dark capturing some images.

Fall Color, Lost River, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Fall Color, Lost River, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Lost River, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Lost River, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Fall Color, Lost River, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Fall Color, Lost River, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

And with that, the day came to an end.  Day 9 would be spent back in Vermont, covering quite a bit of ground, but before chronicling that experience, in the next post I’ll describe a special source of information I was able to utilize to help me find locations while in Vermont.

 

Day 7, my first full day in Vermont, presented a bit of a conundrum.  I was unfamiliar with the lay of the land, though I had a series of suggested driving routes to check out.  The problem was, most of these routes were pretty heavily focused on countryside views.  What’s wrong with that, you ask.  Nothing, really, but the forecast (complication number two) was for a cloudy day, with periods of light rain, i.e. not great for grand scenics.  I did have one specific recommendation to shoot a remote creek–a perfect suggestion for a day like this–so I more or less built a loose itinerary around some locations I wanted to scout in the general vicinity.  (I’ll describe in detail the extremely helpful sources I was able to leverage for Vermont shooting locations in a future post.)  So, I worked generally north and east of St. Johnsbury, covering a large chunk of Orleans County in the vicinity of Barton and part of Essex County, around Island Pond.

Passumpsic River, Orleans County, Vermont

Passumpsic River, Orleans County, Vermont

The weather was indeed cloudy–very cloudy–and, right on cue, there was on-and-off drizzle to deal with, particularly in the morning.  I won’t bore you with many of the details as the bulk of the time was spent scouting.  A fair amount of the foliage was still fairly green, but there were excellent pockets of color all over and the farther north I moved, the better the color was.  By the time I reached the northernmost portions of my wandering, north of Island Pond, the color was essentially at peak.

Red Maple, Orleans County, Vermont

Red Maple, Orleans County, Vermont

Colorful Hillside, Orleans County, Vermont

Colorful Hillside, Orleans County, Vermont

Regardless of where I was at any moment, the sky was a feature-less white, so I omitted it from the frame whenever possible.  I simply eschewed shots that I otherwise would have made but for the sky.

Fall Color Roadside, Orleans County, Vermont

Fall Color Roadside, Orleans County, Vermont

Birches & Maples, Orleans County, Vermont

Birches & Maples, Orleans County, Vermont

I basically tooled around VT-16, VT-58 and several other state highways and spent a lot of time checking out the conditions on a variety of secondary roads.  I did a lot of stopping, noting color conditions and other specifications, and then deciding whether it merited a photograph at the time or whether I should return at a later date.  I did more of the latter than the former.

When I reached Jack Brook–the primary destination for the day–following an interesting drive on a series of lonely back roads, I got out, surveyed the situation, and then spent the next 90-odd minutes teasing out compositions along the creek after donning my rubber boots.  I simply walked up and down the creek bed, after descending into the waterway from the unpaved road.

Jack Brook, Orleans County, Vermont

Jack Brook, Orleans County, Vermont

Jack Brook, Orleans County, Vermont

Jack Brook, Orleans County, Vermont

Jack Brook, Orleans County, Vermont

Jack Brook, Orleans County, Vermont

Jack Brook Black & White, Orleans County, Vermont

Jack Brook Black & White, Orleans County, Vermont

On the way back to the main highway, I found a couple of spots along the road that I found intriguing enough to pull out the camera.

Lost Nation Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Lost Nation Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Lost Nation Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Lost Nation Road, Orleans County, Vermont

From here, it was back to the inevitable drift to the northeast and the exploration of interesting looking back roads and other locations spotted along the way.

Red Maples, Orleans County, Vermont

Red Maples, Orleans County, Vermont

Newark Road Color, Orleans County, Vermont

Newark Road Color, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond Road Mix, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond Road Mix, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond Road Mix, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond Road Mix, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond Road Color Intimate, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond Road Color Intimate, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond Road Hillside, Orleans County, Vermont

May Pond Road Hillside, Orleans County, Vermont

I spent a lot of time scouting around Island Pond without photographing (time that would prove to be well spent when I returned to the area later in the trip), particularly in an ultimately fruitless attempt to visit the Lewis Pond Overlook, which beckoned like Shangri-La.  I finally made my last image of the day when I determined that the road to Lewis Pond Overlook was far too rough for my vehicle.  As much as I wanted to visit the overlook it wasn’t worth taking the chance of getting a flat tire and being stranded in the middle of nowhere.  Been there, done that.

Henshaw Road Color, Essex County, Vermont

Henshaw Road Color, Essex County, Vermont

The day ended more or less the way it began:  entirely overcast with a bit of light rain thrown in for good measure.  There was no sunset; it just got dark.  What’s more, the forecast for the following day was identical and with that in mind I decided to seek out some subject matter that was entirely compatible with the weather.

 

 

Posted by: kerryl29 | December 15, 2016

Thematic Interruption: An Ongoing Celebration of the Mundane

I’ve said it before, more than once:  I take my photographic proclivities–the perspectives, the “eye,” if you will–everywhere I go.  After years of cutting my teeth on locales that effectively require an attention to creating order from chaos, even when I’m at places where grand scenics are virtually everywhere, I find my eye inevitably drawn to intimates.  While I’m attracted to the grand scene as much as the next person–as I believe my chronological travelogues demonstrate–I don’t simply jump from one of theses locations to the other.  I invariably seek out the details between grand scenic captures.

Pine Forest Color, Carroll County, New Hampshire

Pine Forest Color, Carroll County, New Hampshire

And so it was, yet again, during my time in New England this fall.  You’ve already seen evidence of that, particularly during my days in Maine, but it was every bit as much the case during my adventures in Vermont and New Hampshire as well.

Colors of Autumn, Essex County, Vermont

Colors of Autumn, Essex County, Vermont

This is now “a thing.”  While I’m aware of it, I’m not really consciously telling myself to “look for intimates” when I’m in the field.  It’s a firmly ingrained part of my in-field workflow at this stage.  I don’t have to try and find intimate shots; I simply do so, almost literally every time I’m in the field.

Maple Splendor, Essex County, Vermont

Maple Splendor, Essex County, Vermont

And I think it would be a big mistake for me to fight this embedded tendency.  It’s not causing me to miss grand opportunities–I believe I’ve demonstrated that with my posts.

Birches and Beeches, Long Pond Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Birches and Beeches, Long Pond Road, Orleans County, Vermont

Besides, fighting what is plainly a natural tendency would not only make me miss a shot of these more subtle intimate shots that I like so much; at this point, I think it would also produce a level of cognitive dissonance.  I’d have to work to not see these kinds of shots at this stage.

Roots and Leaves, Elephant Head Trail, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Roots and Leaves, Elephant Head Trail, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Besides, it’s pretty clear to me at this point that this is who I am as a photographer.  Why would I want to fight something that has emerged, organically?  Why would I want to suppress something that essentially defines me as (dare I say it?) an artist?

Birch Trunks, Easton Road, Grafton County, New Hampshire

Birch Trunks, Easton Road, Grafton County, New Hampshire

I think the answer, clearly, is “I wouldn’t.”  If this represents a semblance of the much-discussed, long-pondered personal style of photography (and I’m not at all certain that it does), then so be it.  And if it doesn’t…well, that’s okay too.

Maples and Birches, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Maples and Birches, Crawford Notch, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

My tendency to analyze to death notwithstanding, I’ve more or less concluded that these are compositions I’m inclined to see and I like to produce them so…that’s what I do. 🙂  And I’m perfectly content with that conclusion.

Maples Leaves Intimate, Bear Notch Road, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Maples Leaves Intimate, Bear Notch Road, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

The next post will return to the chronology of the trip with an account of my first full day based in the Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.

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