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.

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Responses

  1. Kerry, you had me at the first photo – these are breathtaking! As I scrolled through, reading and pouring over the images, I thought “oh, that’s my favorite” and then “but wait, THAT’s my favorite” and so on. All are beautiful – it is so interesting to see your style embrace a somewhat different landscape. In addition to loving the sheer beauty of your work, I also find myself responding to some of the archetypal elements in them, such as reflections in water and the beckoning road. Always a pleasure to stop by 🙂

    • Thats the beauty of Vermont in fall. Favorite after favorite after favorite 🙂

      • Agreed, Andy.

    • Thanks very much, Lynn. There were a lot of good locations under…well, if not necessarily ideal conditions, decent ones. I hope I did these scenes justice.

  2. Nice set of images, as always, Kerry. That Peacham Scene sure looks familiar :-). My friend Al and I photographed the Foster Bridge back in October of 2015, and our shots were all from a similar perspective. I guess 2016 was THE year, as I saw a shot with an explosion of colored foliage in the background, with a head on shoot of the bridge entrance. I was envious and may go back if conditions permit.

    • Thanks, Andy. The color was indeed excellent in northern New England this past fall.

  3. I chuckled when I read “A photo workshop was on site when I arrived,” then I just shook my head that they packed up and left when the light was getting better. You are the expert at putting yourself in the right place at the right time.

    • Thanks, Ellen.

      In fairness, the workshop folks probably had things timed just about perfectly, assuming they were trying to photograph the scene with minimal shadowing on the foreground.

  4. Another excellent series of images Kerry. What struck me the most was the image taken along Darling Hill Road. Now as you know, that is a fairly long road to travel, and I couldn’t believe that one of your images was taken at the EXACT same spot that I shot from a few years ago!
    I hope the link works. If not, I will email the image to you.

    • Thanks, Carol. Wow…it really does appear as though we were standing in almost exactly the same spot for those Darling Hill Road images. That’s remarkable. (I like yours better, BTW; the misty/foggy conditions you had really lend themselves to the scene.)

  5. […] 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 […]


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