One of the Greatest Shows on Earth

October 20, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

For my money, there's no better place to enjoy the spectacle of autumn than New England. It was my home for more than 20 years, so you'll expect some regional bias. :) That said, I've traveled to a variety of locations in autumn, and while each have been pretty, none compares.

I recently spent a little over a week back East working along the New Hampshire seacoast, in the White Mountains, in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, and at Acadia National Park. 

Just as the colors were late arriving at Grand Teton National Park, so were they off-schedule in the Northeast. I was dismayed to find most trees still green in and around Portsmouth. Once I arrived in the mountains, to my relief, there was color. It was spotty and not as advanced as it normally would have been based on the calendar, but it was still beautiful.

The bigger culprit were the conditions. The wind blew every day but one: even very early in the morning. This wreaked havoc with most of the water shots I had planned, and made close-up work challenging.

Tossed into the mix were the remnants of Hurricane Nate, moving quickly but dumping copious amounts of rain.

Wet weather is not a bad thing when it comes to photographing foliage. Drizzle, in particular, makes the colors pop even more dramatically. There are down sides to precipitation: sometimes the ceiling is so low it can obscure the very scenery you're trying to view and/or shoot. And when the drizzle or showers turn to heavy rain, it becomes nearly impossible to work. Even with a rain jacket on the camera, an umbrella is still required to keep the rain off the lens. This can be difficult logistically if you're working alone with no assistant. (Not enough hands!) Also, especially when working close-up, heavy rain will cause the subject to move.

On the day Nate blew through, I took advantage of the rain and kept working until there was just too much of it.

While I always begin a location shoot with a shot list, by necessity, it often ends up significantly altered. One never knows what Mother Nature will have in store! In this instance, I had to make significant adjustments due to the persistent wind, and to get the most out of the rain and fog.

The single morning which was calm, I was able to make a photograph at a spot at which I actually HAD planned on working. There was just enough definition in the sky to make this composition work. Shortly thereafter, the sky became flat and white, and the winds picked up - erasing this scene:

In the Stillness of the MorningIn the Stillness of the MorningThough "leaf peepers" crowd the area in early October, the landscape is quiet, peaceful and mostly deserted in the hour before sunrise. (White Mountains, New Hampshire)

 


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