More colors from fall in Acadia

Standard

Fall foliage season comes and goes pretty fast around these parts, and when you factor in the potential for poor weather and the usual work commitments, chances are I might only have a couple of opportunities to try to make some photographs displaying the changing colors. With this in mind, on my recent trip down to Acadia I wanted to take advantage of the morning I had there, so I’m posting a sampling of the photographs I was able to make on the short walk from Jordan Pond down to the Cobblestone Bridge. As you can see, the colors were in full swing, and with the recent rains the stream was running pretty hard. T’was a good day 🙂

Searching for fall foliage in Acadia?

Standard

If you want to discover examples of fall foliage colors in a pretty Acadia location, look no further than the path that runs alongside the Jordan Pond Stream. Starting out behind the Jordan Pond House restaurant, find the stepped trail entering the woods leading down to where the carriage road meets up with the stream (walk out of the public bathrooms in the rear, and you will be directly facing the trail). Cross the bridge and make a left turn to follow the stream downhill and you will be treated to not only the soothing sound of running water, but also the wide array of foliage colors typically associated with a classic New England fall season.

After about a quarter of a mile walking on the carriage path, you will come to a second bridge that crosses the stream again… do not actually cross this bridge, but instead look to step off the carriage road and stay to the right of the stream… there is a rough but discernible trail running all along the right side of the stream.

Within about a mile, you will reach the picturesque and famous Cobblestone Bridge, built in 1917 by John D. Rockerfeller. As you navigate the rustic trail and follow the many twists and turns of the stream as it eagerly cascades over big and small slabs of granite on it’s way toward the ocean, you will see every fall color imaginable, and even though you are never that far from civilization, you will certainly feel as though you are deep, deep within the forest.

Socked in on top of Cadillac, Acadia

Standard

I had looked at the weather, and with a forecast of light rain and cloudy skies, it seemed like the perfect time to make a quick run down to Acadia before the fall foliage was all gone. I knew that the overcast weather and foggy conditions would give us nice even light in which to photograph our proposed destinations – the changing autumn colors at the top of Cadillac, and the rejuvenated, rain-fed Jordan Pond Stream. First stop Cadillac… there is something special about being on top of a mountain when it is socked in with clouds and you have it all to yourself, and when that mountain is Cadillac, I’m in heaven.

My friend Josh and I started our morning out visiting the cloud-covered – and very sparsely populated – summit of Cadillac, and even though we were met with a light rain that was blowing sideways, we were excited to explore the mountain on a day following some heavy rains. Swathes of red groundcover almost glowed in the subdued light, and all of those seasonal visitors who left the mountain entirely to the two of us certainly missed out on seeing Cadillac in a unique way.

Known for expansive and spectacular views of Frenchman Bay and the mighty Atlantic Ocean beyond, Cadillac today presented more intimate landscapes, the beauty of which compared just as favorably with those more familiar wide views you would expect on a sunny day. The wind and rain was blowing from the south and east, forcing us to turn inwards to face the mountain so we could offer a little bit of protection to our cameras from the elements, and so that we would not have a rain soaked lens to constantly deal with.

As we explored the quiet mountainside, we were careful to stay on the solid rock surfaces so as to avoid adding to the erosion that inevitably comes from millions of visitors trampling over the fragile landscape. We also tread quite gingerly because the rain had greased the granite, making it slick and quite treacherous underfoot. On more than one occasion I naively trusted the traction on the soles of my shoes too much, and although I escaped the mountain unscathed, I was not so lucky on the banks of the Jordan Pond Stream later in the day… but that’s another story.

We were literally up in the clouds with visibility down to about 30 yards, and in the eerie silence we were greeted by the sound of lively water quickly making it’s way downhill, and we were thrilled to discover several small, but energetic, temporary waterfalls. Right on the slopes of Cadillac, not fifteen yards from the popular concrete path that circles the summit, we (or I should say Josh) found at least half a dozen cascades of rain water trying to get from high to low, each offering a glimpse of the mountain in conditions that I personally had never seen.

I had a great time trying to photograph in these conditions, and was drawn not only to the obvious, saturated reds and yellows of fall, but also by the tall, fog-shrouded pine trees off the distance and the green lichen on the granite that seemed almost electric when soaked by the rain. We could have stayed on the mountain all day, but the amount of water flowing all around had us excitedly wondering if our next planned destination, the Jordan Pond Stream, had been similarly impacted by the recent rains?

Champlain Mountain, Acadia National Park

Standard

Waking this morning, we were greeted by chilly temperatures that had dipped down into the mid-30’s, and the frost-tipped grass in the front yard battling the warming morning sun was a timely reminder that our amazing summer is now over, and before long the cold, dark winter that I loathe will soon be coming our way.

Before winter gets here though, we have what is my favorite season still to enjoy… fall. I love being in Acadia as autumn begins to grab hold, so with Sam home from college for a brief fall break, he and I grabbed the opportunity to spend a wonderful morning hiking a couple of trails we hadn’t been on before. Bright sunshine and a cool breeze greeted us as we began the ascent from the Sand Beach parking lot up toward the Bowl – a shallow glacial pond nestled between Champlain Mountain and the back of the Beehive – and then on to Champlain Mountain. I had been to the Bowl before, and I can remember looking across the water to the southern slope of Champlain Mountain knowing that someday I would climb it. Today was the day.

Some amazing restoration work has been done to the trail up toward the Bowl, with a series of impressive wooden steps having been recently installed. These new steps certainly made the trail more accessible, and I am sure that they also serve the purpose of protecting the trail from erosion and wear. We had a deadline to meet, so we cranked up the hill toward the Bowl in record time. As always, Sam could have easily left this old man in his wake, but instead he chose to stay close enough so we could chat as we hiked.

After rounding the Bowl, we entered the low forest canopy typical of many Acadia mountain hikes, and the hidden streams which were full of energy after a solid week of rain were always somewhere within earshot. Using hands and feet at times, we were soon on the upper slopes of Champlain ascending above the trees and being treated to broad views of either Dorr and Cadillac to our left, Frenchman Bay and Egg Rock to our right, and if we stopped and turned around, we soaked in the Bowl from above and the long granite ridges that lead toward the southern shores of Mount Desert Island and the Cranberry Islands beyond.

Neither of us is a big fan of out-and-back trails, so after summiting the 1,058 ft Champlain Mountain in pretty good time, instead of returning the way we came, we decided to explore going down the North Ridge Trail to where it would meet the Orange and Black Path, and we would then complete the last leg of our hike back to the car by following the Loop Road to Sand Beach.

The views from the North Ridge Trail toward Bar Harbor and the Porcupine Islands were breathtaking, and as you can see from the photograph above, there were a couple of enormous cruise ships anchored just off shore. Once we hit the Orange and Black Path we descended pretty quickly. A marvelous example of the art of trail making, much work has obviously gone into making the stone steps of this trail relatively accessible, while at the same time maintaining the natural look and feel of the surrounding environment.

The granite ledges of Acadia hikes are probably my favorite places to be. I am perfectly happy exploring any of the glacially crafted southern mountain slopes of Sargent, Penobscot, or Cadillac, and the panoramic views you are rewarded with are exceptional. There is something about those sun-warmed pink granite slabs that make me feel very comfortable at any time of year, but as the fall foliage colors slowly begin to show (still about 7-10 days away from peak), what better way to spend an early autumn day than hiking in my favorite national park with Sam, followed by an awesome steak and cheese from Epi sub in Bar Harbor 🙂

Fall foliage in Maine

Standard

One of the nice things about living in northern New England is the fact that we get to enjoy four truly distinct seasons. This past summer was particularly spectacular and the spring/mud season is always a positive time for me as we emerge from the long Maine winter that I am not a huge fan of, and then there is my favorite season… fall (or as it is known in many parts of the world including where I grew up… autumn).

Every fall here in Maine we get to witness our own special version of one of nature’s most remarkable shows… the changing colors of the fall foliage. Some years it is stunning, and in other years it is merely almost stunning, but it is always a treat for the eyes. As the month of September winds down, I wanted to check the status of the color in Acadia, so I hopped in the car and paid my favorite national park a visit. There were definitely some spots of color to be found, especially in the lower-lying swampy areas of the park, but in general, the peak of foliage color in Acadia is probably still about two weeks away. Who knows if this year’s show is going to be a good one, but as I looked around while in Acadia, I couldn’t help but notice a lot of tired looking browns starting to develop. Fingers crossed though… we’ll see.

Inspired by Acadia fan and Chimani app developer Kerry Gallivan’s weekend tweet declaring his admiration of the Gorge Path, I decided to embrace the overcast weather and explore a pretty unique trail I haven’t been on in years. Overcast weather in the fall means nice, soft and even light… using a polarizer will enhance the colors of the leaves, and will also cut through any glare there might be from reflections. The Gorge Path departs from a small pullout on the Loop Road, and after a short walk through the woods, it soon heads up fairly steeply between Cadillac and Dorr Mountain. The terrain follows a (very) rocky stream bed, though on the day I hiked it there wasn’t that much water to deal with. Probably just as well, since you have to criss-cross the stream bed multiple times and navigate what would be a ton of slippery rocks and steps. Incredibly peaceful and totally quiet, I had the entirety of the Gorge Path – and then the cloud enveloped trail down from the summit of Dorr Mountain – all to myself… quite magical.

Though I was seriously huffing and puffing on occasion along the way, I did manage to stop off a couple of times to make some photographs. The first photograph in this post is from a pretty little waterfall about one third of the way up the trail. The falls themselves are actually about 10-12 feet high, and on another wetter day, the flow would probably be quite impressive. With a more substantive flow, this might actually be a good place to return to when the leaves have changed more. In the second photograph, I was (thankfully) getting near the top of the trail, just before making a left out of the gorge and climbing up toward the summit of Dorr Mountain. At this point on the trail the walls were closing in, with the high cliffs on each side giving a true feeling of being in a deep gorge. The water in the stream bed was just about non-existent now, but the imposing granite walls and the lush greens made me take a photograph 🙂

Jordan Pond Stream Again

Standard

One more from my personally invigorating morning spent exploring parts of Acadia National Park. I had hoped this little stream would offer opportunities to enjoy the fall foliage, and it did not disappoint. This is a more intimate view of Jordan Pond Stream (again), where I was drawn to the vibrant and colorful fallen leaves that were littered all over the scene.

Duck Brook, Acadia National Park

Standard

I actually first stumbled on this little gem of a waterfall last summer while searching for the Duck Brook Bridge, located just outside Bar Harbor. At that time, everything in the scene was still green, but I figured come mid-October there might be some impressive color. On my recent morning spent in Acadia where I explored Cadillac and Jordan Pond Stream, I had planned to stop off here on my way home to check out how things looked.

Though very pretty, this was a tricky scene to work with as I struggled to find compositions that I liked. On the one hand I wanted to show the entire scene… to give context as it were… but on the other hand stepping back and using a wide angle lens wasn’t exactly floating my boat with any of the compositions I tried. The wide view allowed me to include each of the interesting elements I saw, but at the same time it kind of pushed them all away into the distance, leaving me with nothing of any strong interest in the foreground.

Things I found interesting in this scene included the exposed slab of granite covered in red leaves, the overhanging branches of the brightly colored tree on the right side, and then the waterfall itself which climbed back up the hill as the sun broke through the clouds and created some nice highlights. The wet rocks in the foreground were quite slippery, and there really wasn’t much room to move to the right or left to adjust compositions. I tried a couple of different ideas, and though I like each of the individual primary elements mentioned above, combining them all in a coherent and pleasing way was not something I feel completely satisfied about. Oh well, maybe I will have to come back here to try again next season!

Jordan Pond Stream, Acadia National Park

Standard

After leaving the top of Cadillac Mountain where I had been socked in with fog, I made a quick stop at Bubble Pond where the colors were already past their peak, before heading off to my planned destination… the Jordan Pond Stream.

I had looked at the weather forecast for the day, and it had predicted overcast skies and some light showers… perfect weather for shooting fall foliage and running water. Clouds provide softer, more diffused light that makes getting a good exposure easier, and any rainfall that came my way would certainly help saturate the already vibrant fall colors. We had a Nor’easter blow through these parts last weekend, so I was optimistic that the heavy rains which doused the area might translate into a decent amount of water flowing in the stream. I have been here many times in the past when there has been barely a trickle, but this time I wasn’t disappointed.

Once I reached the first wooden bridge along the gravel path, I made a right turn to follow the rough trail hugging the stream as it meanders toward the Cobblestone Bridge. Intermittent raindrops and relatively cool fall temperatures did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm as I stumbled upon scene after scene with rich and striking foliage colors complimenting the dynamic water rushing downhill toward Long Pond and the Atlantic Ocean. Fallen leaves were scattered everywhere, and the pockets of color and mini-landscapes that I encountered around just about every turn were amazing – and once again, I had this jewel of a place all to myself.

Based on the available light, I experimented with several different lengths of shutter, each impacting the degree to which the water was either “frozen” or “smoothed” as seen in the images I ended up preferring. Our eyes cannot freeze time like a camera can, neither can they allow us to see movement beyond what exists momentarily and in a very linear way… part of what intrigues me about photography.

After getting home and editing I find that I choose – as I usually do – way more vertical compositions than landscape images… not sure why I tend to like portrait oriented photographs so much? Here is a sample from my VERY enjoyable morning spent exploring the Jordan Pond Stream.

Cadillac Mountain Fogged In

Standard

As I made the early morning drive to Acadia, I couldn’t help but be excited about the potential for some nice light. Weather was definitely rolling in, but the forecast didn’t call for rain until later in the day. On the road between Bangor and Ellsworth the pre-dawn skies had clouds scattered everywhere, but I could still see some stars peeking out… partially clear skies with some nice clouds to have the early morning light reflect off… things were looking good!

My initial destination on this particular morning was Cadillac Mountain. Lately I have been especially drawn to getting back there to see the wonderful red ground cover that blankets parts of the summit of Cadillac every fall. So my plan was to head there first, and then embrace the incoming weather and cloud cover to explore a couple of streams I hoped might have some nice fall colors dotted along them. The overcast skies would reduce highlights and glare on the water, making it easier to get a decent exposure on the streams.

Not for the first time though, as I approached Acadia and Mount Desert Island, the clouds and fog started to thicken considerably. By the time I was on the Loop Road I realized that there was a VERY good chance my sunrise plans atop Cadillac might very well be skunked, but as I was always told… stick to the plan and things will likely work out for the better.

There were about four cars in the Cadillac parking lot when I arrived about half an hour before the sun was scheduled to rise, and as I looked out of my car window I noticed that everyone was bundled up pretty well. I eagerly loaded up my gear, and headed off to explore the south face of the mountain where I hoped there might be some compositions to enjoy.

All in all I spent about an hour on top of Cadillac, and in that time I never did see the sun. The clouds were moving pretty fast across the summit, and the winds must have been gusting to at least 40 mph. I had to physically hold onto my tripod to make sure it remained still… this was especially important since some of my exposures were relatively long, and I obviously wanted to record images that were as sharp as possible.

Anyway… there is something magical and almost mysterious about being on any mountain in Acadia National Park when the fog rolls in, but Cadillac is pretty special. The huge swathes of granite seem to both absorb and reflect the light at the same time, producing colors that are both subtle and remarkable. I found my patches of red ground cover all right, and the fog that was determined to hang around created a wonderful atmosphere of soft, diffused light. Every now and then I would catch a glimpse of the ocean and islands off in the distance, but usually within seconds the fog had raced up the mountainside again and staked its claim.

As I made my way back toward the car, I realized that the conditions (and lack of a classic sunrise) must have driven those who I had originally been sharing the mountain with away… there wasn’t one other car in the parking lot… and I couldn’t help but feel almost privileged that the mountain had been all mine… at least for a little while.

 

 

Simplifying a Scene

Standard

 

Blending colors, shapes, lines and light together in the camera to produce a simplification of a scene is especially intriguing to me as I create this type of image. Moving the camera through the scene while the shutter remains open can gather all of the available elements together and combine them in a way that results in a style of image that particularly appeals to me. Using this technique, the camera allows me to see something that otherwise would not be evident… something mystical and magical.

In the image above from my weekend visit to the Bangor Forest, there were several patches of brighter light breaking through the trees and illuminating the many colors that were strewn across the forest floor. I played with the exposure settings on the camera to control the brighter spots of foliage, allowing the backlit trees in the foreground to go dark and silhouetted.

When searching for opportunities to create this type of photography, I generally look for strong lines, relatively even lighting, complimentary colors, and the potential for striking scenes with some depth. I then compose the scene looking through the viewfinder as normal, but then move the camera across and through the scene during what is usually a half a second or so long exposure. The direction of the movement and the speed of the movement can both have a dramatic impact on the final image, and of course having the benefit of immediately gaining feedback from the review screen is incredibly valuable. Adjustments can quickly be made to the technique, and I usually only have to make a half dozen or so passes at a scene before I can determine if I am going to capture something I like.

Below are several more from that same morning, and as you can see the colors on show were breathtaking. These simple images might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but to me they are very appealing… and that’s what matters most, right? Oh yeah, they make awesome wallpaper backgrounds for the iPad 🙂

Maine Fall Foliage

Standard

Despite the strong Nor’easter winds and heavy rains that blew through our area these past few days, there are still plenty of leaves hanging on and enjoying the welcome sunshine after the storm. The local fall colors seem to be at their peak this weekend, and on a short visit to the Bangor Forest today, I came across this wonderful little view tucked away along the Kitteridge Road. I was drawn to the classic rock wall and how the backlit branches and leaves framed a natural window out into the field. When I made these two photographs, the sun was high overhead and shining down through the leaves, providing an canopy of intensely vibrant and quite remarkable colors.

 

Fall Colors

Standard

The wind is whipping pretty hard and the rain is coming down in sheets as I write this. I have yet to get out this year to really enjoy the changing fall colors, and by the time this storm blows through there might not even be any leaves left on the trees! Traditionally the colors should be peaking down on the coast this weekend, and my plan is to take a couple of runs down to Acadia over the next couple of days.

In the meantime, I am dipping back into the archives to share this image of Mount Katahdin from a year ago. I had a hard time truly conveying this scene with the camera… it was just above freezing as the top of Katahdin became bathed in soft early light. The fast-moving clouds that surrounded the peak also caught some of that light, creating a remarkable sight both around the mountain summit and in the foreground reflection. The grandeur of Baxter State Park and the mighty Katahdin was of course impressive, but in this scene I was especially drawn to the colorful carpeting of fallen leaves that seemed to stretch forever. Here’s hoping there are still some leaves left on the trees when I get down to Acadia National Park this weekend!

Gorham Mountain Trail, Acadia NP

Standard

With Sam newly installed at college, his absence was causing a slight air of melancholy around the house as the weekend developed. Nothing serious, but we were definitely feeling the adjustment to him not being around. We all miss him immensely, though it is obviously something that we will become accustomed to. We are fortunate to have the beauty of Acadia National Park in our backyard, so what better way to lift the spirits than spending some time in one of our favorite places. On most of our recent trips down to the park we have spent time either on the quiet side of the island, or on one of the many magnificent mountain ridge hiking trails. Feeling like we all needed a “fix” of ocean views this time though, we turned to an old favorite of ours and decided to hike the Gorham Mountain Trail.

Gorham Mountain Trail offers several options for making your hike interesting and different, allowing you to go up one way and down another. On this occasion we decided to start at the parking lot trailhead just past Thunder Hole, and rather than going all the way to the summit of the mountain and then descending to where the trail meets the Ocean Path and Loop Road near Sand Beach, we followed the rocky but relatively easy path upward through the forest until we reached the intersection of the Cadillac Cliffs Trail. At this point the paths diverge and then meet up again maybe half a mile further up the slope, but the terrain on each of these trails is quite different. The Cadillac Cliffs trail takes a lower, more adventurous route which is a little bit more challenging than the more familiar and traditional route of the Gorham Mountain Trail. Huge granite cliffs tower over you as you navigate several opportunities to scramble over and around an array of rocks and ledges, and on this day the cooler temperatures and shade provided by the cliffs was much appreciated, as was all of the wonderful restoration and development work that has been done on this trail. It always amazes me how impressive the trail work in Acadia is… much work has been done on many of these trails to make them more accessible, and in most cases this work is quite subtle, to the point where it looks very natural.

After making the ascent up from the Cadillac Cliffs Trail via a series of steep granite steps to rejoin the Gorham Mountain Trail, we continued a little further to the first real opportunity to view Newport Cove and the Atlantic Ocean. This little clearing with wide open views has always been one of our favorite spots in Acadia, and is probably the first place we really hiked to with Sam, and now with Jack. The Gorham Mountain Trail is a fun trail, one that in terms of difficulty is quite kid-friendly, yet the payoff in terms of scenery is absolutely spectacular. We spent a while here just chilling and reminiscing… soaking in the cool ocean breeze and views of Otter Cliffs and Sand Beach before wandering back down the mountain, this time skipping the Cadillac Cliffs Trail and following the Gorham Mountain Trail all the way to the parking lot. Even though it was only late August, the leaves on many of the little birch trees that are scattered all over the mountainside had already started to change color, showing off beautiful shades of yellow that seemed to be on fire when backlit by the late afternoon sun. Our summer in Maine has been a spectacularly sunny and pleasant one, and I wonder what impact that might have on either the timing or the intensity of this year’s fall foliage season? Methinks we will be back on this trail to enjoy the fall colors… maybe we can bring Sam with us on fall break?

Bubble Pond, Acadia National Park

Standard

Nestled between Pemetic Mountain (1,248 feet), and Cadillac Mountain (1,532 feet), Bubble Pond is a glaciated valley that is now home to a beautiful and pristine pond. Using a circular polarizer, I was able to eliminate reflections from the crystal clear pond water allowing views of the rocky bottom. The polarizer also removed the glare of the mid-morning light from the trees hugging the rugged shoreline, and it enhanced the definition in the clouds. The intermittent sunshine breaking through the clouds made the scene come alive. A very peaceful spot, I definitely plan on returning here in the fall to take advantage of the changing foliage colors.

Favorite Photographs

Standard

I like taking photographs.

I have recently been reading some blog posts by photographers about the task of paring down all of the images you might have taken in the past year, and presenting your favorites for others to see. These photographers are very active shooters, who have enough images to actually make this a more worthwhile activity. I haven’t really been shooting all that much in 2009, so rather than limiting myself to just the past 12 months, I decided to take on the challenge of creating a collection of favorites from all of my images.

New to the blog are several pages that can be accessed from the menu above under the heading “Gallery” –  from there you can access several categories that I thought best suited the path that my photography has taken.

These are my favorites… not just based on how the final image is presented, but also because of the story behind how each of them was obtained, and the places and experiences I have been able to enjoy along the way. Many of these images were created either early in the morning or later in the day, usually outside of the general population’s tolerance for hanging around. Quite often I am alone in very pretty and peaceful settings when these images were made, and that often means more to me than the making of the actual photographs – though it is nice to empty the memory card and see what I was able to capture.

Here’s one of my all-time favorites to get things started:

Green River2

Impressionism in the forest

Standard

Another wonderful Sunday morning spent wandering along the “Deer Trail” in the Bangor Forest, and a couple more impressionistic images captured moving the camera while the shutter was open.

Most of my images in this genre to date have been landscape oriented, but when I saw this scene I knew it was a prime candidate for applying this technique in a portrait orientation.

The leaves strewn across the forest floor added an element of color to the scene that I hoped would provide an interesting foreground, and the lines offered by the tree trunks would hopefully hold the viewer’s interest compositionally. The vertical shape of the image I think also accentuates the lines.

Though I realize that not everyone will like this type of image, I personally enjoy the color palette and find it very pleasing to the eye.

In the second image, I was drawn not only to the large tree in the foreground with the vertical patterns on the bark, but also to the layers of trees that you can see in the background.

As we wandered along the trail, the light would periodically break through the canopy of the forest, and at this time of year the sun is fairly low in the sky offering pretty dramatic side-lighting on the tree trunks. The shadows and highlights on the tree trunks add depth to this image that is crucial to its impact.

I love how the colors and shapes blend together while still maintaining enough of their original form to allow the viewer to understand what they are looking at. I enjoy how what are often complex and cluttered scenes become simplified and distilled to basic elements.

Treworgy Farm and pumpkin picking

Standard

pumpins09-1Once again it was time to make the annual visit to Treworgy Farm just outside Bangor to pick the pumpkins, explore the corn maze, and generally enjoy the New England fall atmosphere. The sun was bright, but there was definitely a nip in the air reminding us that summer was over.

Grandpa came with us this time, and I think he enjoyed how quaint and local the experience was. All of the usual fall suspects were there… the corn maze to solve, the pumpkins to pick, the livestock to pet, the apple cider to taste, and the local fare to enjoy.

While Long Island has its own traditions that Granny and Grandpa enjoy, and it could loosely be considered to be on the periphery of New England, in my opinion nowhere matches up with Maine at this time of year when it comes to fall activities.

Jack has definitely inherited his older brother’s love of all things holiday related. Whether it is Christmas, Easter, or the Fourth of July, Jack embraces all of the special times of the year. The fall though, and especially the time leading up to Halloween, is unique and receives special attention from him. He asks to go pumpkin picking and carve pumpkins as early as August, and the kid would decorate the house in orange and black all year if we let him. Good times…

pumpkins09-3

Bangor Forest

Standard

bgr_forest1The Bangor Forest is a really neat 650 acre parcel of land located right here in my own backyard. A short drive gets us here to enjoy the many paths and trails that intertwine all across what is still a vibrant working forest. We try to get out here as often as we can, and today was a perfect day to explore the area and admire the changing fall foliage.

We headed left out of the main parking lot, and eventually ended up on the Deer Trail, a pretty, winding pathway that meandered through the forest. Even though the foliage in the greater Bangor area is probably right about peak color this weekend, the leaves within much of the forest had already turned. Much of the forest landscape is swampy and low lying, and most of the brighter colors look to already have been and gone.

I carried my camera with me knowing that I might not get to see much in the way of bright, fall colors, but I did hope to come across some scenes where I could include movement in the composition. This technique involves opening the shutter for a longer period of time and dragging the camera across or through the scene. Depending on the light, the shapes, the colors and the elements… sometimes an image of interest can be captured.

I like how this type of scene can be created by anyone, and also how it can be created just about anywhere. The remaining fall color certainly added to these two images, and they are a reminder of what was an enjoyable fall family walk together… though as I write this it is snowing here in the mid-Maine area… way too early to be thinking about winter!

Technical data: both images were shot at f16 at iso 100 with 17-40mm Canon L lens and a shutter speed of 4/10ths of a second. The camera was panned in a vertical direction each time to try to accentuate the lines and shapes of the trees.

bgr_forest3

Maine Foliage

Standard

My guess is that 90% of the photographs I make are with a wide angle lens. When I visit a scene my first thought is usually to try to include as much as I can to give a true sense of everything that I see. I love the flexibility offered by my trusty 17-40mm f4 Canon L lens, and the colors, clarity and sharpness are all exceptional. While I enjoy and am often pleased with wider images, I sometimes have to pinch myself to remember to look closer at the details around me.

Fall foliage season in Maine is a time when there is ample opportunity to try to capture the beauty of the changing colors… often in a detailed and more intimate way. Maine is a beautiful state, one with a variety of landscapes that shine regardless of which of the three seasons you are in. We have an amazing summer, the most gorgeous fall, and usually a very long winter… those are our three seasons. Unless you count mud season, Spring doesn’t really seem to happen around here.

On a recent trip to Baxter State Park to shoot the fall foliage, I once again got good use out of my wide angle lens, but on this trip I did remember to pull out a longer lens and pay attention to some of the more detailed beauty that surrounded me.

The image below was shot with my 70-200mm f4 Canon L lens at a focal length of 180mm, and I really like how the backlit leaves are so vibrant and alive with the Penobscot River in the background. I had to be patient and wait for the wind to die down to minimize the movement in the leaves, and I also had to be very careful while hand holding the camera and lens to remain steady enough to render a sharp image at this shutter speed.

Technical data: f6.3, iso 100, 1/100th of a second at 180mm

katahdin4

The Mighty Penobscot

Standard

katahdin9

The 350 mile long Penobscot River flows under the shadow of Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park, Maine. This image is taken about a mile or so from the Abol Falls Bridge along the Golden Road. I had to climb over several large boulders to get to a place where I could see both snow-capped Katahdin in the background, and have an unobstructed view of the flowing water. I really liked the blaze of color that the fall foliage offered on the nearest river bank to the left. To slow the water and get the misty effect in the foreground, I used a 6-stop neutral density filter that allowed the shutter to be open for 15 seconds.

Technical data: f22, 15 seconds, iso 100, 17-40mm at 20mm with a 6-stop ND filter.