Posted by: kerryl29 | October 26, 2016

Day 1: New England Revealed

On September 24, I drove from Indianapolis to eastern New York State, just west of Albany, a trip of about 750 miles.  That left me with 350 or so miles on September 25 to reach Rumford Center, Maine, the first place I was based in New England.  I elected to make the trip on the 25th mostly via a series of state and U.S. highways across southern Vermont, then north via I-91 to the northern part of the state, then across northern New Hampshire on U.S.-2 all the way to Rumford Center.  I hoped to arrive in Maine by early to mid-afternoon, but I thought it would be an interesting drive to get there.

I didn’t really plan to stop along the way, but when I reached Hogback Mountain, near Marlboro, Vermont, at mid-morning, I did pause at the overlook.  The light wasn’t the best and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky at the time, but I made the image you see below.  As you can see, the color was just starting to emerge in southern Vermont, at least at this high altitude.

Hogback Mountain, Windham County, Vermont

Hogback Mountain, Windham County, Vermont

The drive through New England revealed a tremendous amount of beauty, even if the color wasn’t particularly well-developed anywhere I went.  September was a very, very warm month throughout the entire region…until the day I left Indianapolis.  That day was the first of three consecutive cold nights across northern New England.  It was that sequence that led to the beginning of a significant color change.  Even with those very cold nights, it takes a while to reach peak, so I was still early for the very best color during my stay in Maine (which lasted until the morning of September 30).

On the very final leg of my drive through New Hampshire, I took a back road that paralleled US-2, between Gorham, New Hampshire and Bethel, Maine, a distance of about 15 miles.  Most of the trees in this area were still completely green, but I did find a few subjects that I thought were worth a photo stop.

North Road Barn, Coos County, New Hampshire

North Road Barn, Coos County, New Hampshire

North Road Barn, Coos County, New Hampshire

North Road Barn, Coos County, New Hampshire

Old Barn, Coos County, New Hampshire

Old Barn, Coos County, New Hampshire

It was mid-afternoon–about 3 1/2 hours before sunset–when I arrived at the place I would be staying.  After dropping off my belongings, I immediately headed east, to the town of Rumford, and then north on state route 17.  I noted a few potential photo opportunities along the way, but I finally made a stop when I reached Coos Canyon, near the tiny hamlet of Byron, about 20 miles north of Rumford.

Coos Canyon is a small rocky gorge cut by the Swift River, located right next to the highway.  There’s a rest stop, with a couple of picnic tables here.  Most visitors–and there aren’t typically many on this lonely stretch of road–take a quick break and, perhaps, snap a shot from the rim.  I examined the canyon from topside and immediately looked around to see how I could negotiate my way into the gorge itself.  It’s not difficult, and–given my tendency to lose myself in locations like this–I spent the rest of the daylight hours, under what ultimately became completely cloudy skies, in the canyon.

Coos Canyon, Oxford County, Maine

Coos Canyon, Oxford County, Maine

I love places like this, that have all kinds of elements (rocks, potholes, tree roots, etc.) that can be used to complement the broader canyon to create varying compositions.  The color was just starting to become nice at this spot and my guess is that a week later, when the area would have been at peak and copious leaves would have littered the rocks, it would have been absolutely magnificent.  As it was, I still found it entirely captivating.

Coos Canyon Intimate, Oxford County, Maine

Coos Canyon Intimate, Oxford County, Maine

I ran out of daylight long before I ran out of subject matter.  The overcast, low-wind conditions were my friends on this afternoon.

Coos Canyon, Oxford County, Maine

Coos Canyon, Oxford County, Maine

Coos Canyon Black & White, Oxford County, Maine

Coos Canyon Black & White, Oxford County, Maine

My last frame was a six-second exposure; it was that dark by the time I finally wrapped up, rock hopped back to the river bank, and made my way through a bank of trees back to my car.

Coos Canyon, Oxford County, Maine

Coos Canyon, Oxford County, Maine

Sunset in northern Maine in late September is around 6:30 PM; sunrise would be in another 12 hours or so.  I hadn’t had time to really scout out a sunrise spot so, on the recommendation of the owners of the motel I was staying at, I decided to spend first light right on the property, adjacent to the Androscoggin River.  It was a decision I wouldn’t regret.



  1. Great barn shots! Red barn and fall color, beautiful. I also like the B&W river shot; texture and shading of the stream bed is remarkable. Bet you’re having fun.

    • Thanks!

      It was a good, productive trip and it’s been fun to relive it as I slowly go through the post-processing of the images.

  2. I also really like the barn shots Kerry, particularly the red barn with the colorful trees behind it. I really enjoyed seeing the Coos Canyon images. You made some wonderful compositions there. My interest is piqued, and I’m looking forward to seeing those sunrise shots.

    • Thanks, Carol. Semi-spoiler alert: it was a very chilly night that evening in Maine and so there was a lot of fog pouring off the Androscoggin River at daybreak, which made for some interesting effects. Nothing epic, but worthwhile nonetheless, I think.

  3. Still living in Coos County so the Coos Canyon Intimate really grabbed at me. Not only because of the association with my home territory, but the visual is marvelous. Perhaps a bit sappy, but you could make a Valentine out of that one. I’ve been MIA, but running on empty with so much to do and enjoy. The glimpses of New England (where I grew up) are a pleasure as well!

    • Thanks, Gunta. (There’s a Coos County in New Hampshire as well, BTW.)

      Yup, the valentine shape of that small pothole (along with the collection of brightly colored leaves) is what initially caught my attention.

      Hope all is going well with the deliberate transition down to Gold Beach.

      • 😀 Deliberate is the right word for it! Slow, but still sure. We’ve cleared the brush down to the creek making the view all the more appreciated. Now if the rain would clear up for a few days, we could get the new windows in. Still, have to say the rain is welcome and appreciated.

  4. I covet those barn shots–thanks for the beauty!

  5. While the barn shots are quintessential New England, my favorites are from Coos Canyon. It looks like a beautiful spot and certainly rich with photo opportunities.

    • Thanks, Ellen. Coos Canyon is indeed a very nice spot, and I’m sure it would be absolutely brilliant at peak.

  6. Kerry, I’m so excited to start reading one of your trip series from the very first post! Can’t beat a red barn in the landscape. And the heart shaped debris of leaves and pine needles is absolutely lovely. Can’t wait to see the next installment 🙂

    • Thanks, Lynn. Images from my first full day in Maine are next on tap.

  7. […] I mentioned in the previous post, my plan was to photograph sunrise right from the grounds of my motel, which was situated on the […]

  8. […] I decided to visit the nearby Lovejoy Covered Bridge–a spot I had located (after dark) on my first day in Maine.  The bridge, located in South Andover, remains in service (i.e. it carries traffic).  I […]

  9. […] 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 […]

  10. […] I was in New England during the fall a few years ago, on the very first day I arrived in northwest Maine, I made a quick foray to Coos Canyon before the sun set that day. The […]

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