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.

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Responses

  1. Beautiful pictures!

    • Thanks very much!

  2. Gorgeous images Kerry. It’s so nice to relive that day through your photographs. The foggy drizzly weather that day added a nice mood to your images and you captured the essence of the day perfectly. It was a pleasure to meet you and shoot alongside of you!

    • Thanks, Carol–same here. I hope we have a chance to do it again some time.

  3. Quite the productive day.I like those paved/gravel roads and the foggy scenes, also the first one with those complimentary colours.

    • Thanks, Jane!

  4. Looks like a very productive shooting day. I like all the various ponds, especially Peacham Pond with those great foreground rocks.

    • Thanks, Ellen. The only downside to Peacham Pond is that the boat launch area is the only ready access point and the far shore is a long way away. All of this limits the compositional possibilities, but what is accessible (the line of FG rocks) is pretty nice indeed.

  5. Breathtaking photos!

  6. Such gorgeous saturated colors in these, Kerry – a feast for the eyes!

    • Thanks very much, Lynn!

  7. Happy 2017
    Good posts, beautiful blog.
    Congratulations.
    Welcome to see my creations:
    paintdigi.com

    • Thank you!

      • You’r welcome, my friend 🍁 🍁

  8. […] 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 […]

  9. Awesome photos. I have never seen such a colourful landscape. ❤

  10. […] 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), […]

  11. Thank you for the exposure – a delight!
    Bridie.

    • Thanks very much!


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