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Tag Archives: leaves

Beauty on the way to Stowe

Toward Camel's HumpThis weekend I am participating in an art show in Stowe, VT, about 80 miles from my house in Woodstock. It is a beautiful drive and this morning during the drive the foliage was looking great. This morning as I headed up I-91, one of Vermont’s most iconic mountains, Camel’s Hump, kept appearing behind hills full of foliage.

I pulled off the highway and found a nice spot to get a shot of Vermont’s tallest mountain without any man-made structures. I love the way the light was making the foreground glow and keeping Camel’s Hump in the darkness.

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Meeting the friendly people of Vermont

7780-2We headed north today during my Vermont Fall Foliage Photography Workshop, to check out the area around Groton and Peacham, which has some of the best scenery in Vermont. There are a couple of ponds in Groton State Park that are amazingly scenic and they didn’t let us down. I’ve been there when the color was better but we still made some nice photos.

One thing that always strikes me about Vermont is how welcoming the people are. While in Peacham we were photographing around a church and a neighbor came out to show us some wild turkeys walking through his field toward us. Peacham gets tons out of town photographers and I’m sure many walk through this guy’s fields without thinking that they may be stomping on a fence, but he invited us come into yard to photograph his cows and the approaching turkeys.

While in Peacham, workshopper Steve Minden took a fun picture of me in the town’s information booth.

 

loren information

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Vermont Fall Foliage Photography Workshop off to a good start

7672This is the first shooting day of my annual Vermont Fall Foliage Photography Workshop at my home in Woodstock, VT. The weather this summer in Vermont has been hot and dry with drought conditions prevalent throughout the state. Early predictions were that it would be a bad season for foliage but it looks like it is just running late, like two weeks late. During the scouting I did last week, I found several pockets of beautiful color but there is lots of green showing in most areas.

So we are focusing on the nice areas, which will mean more driving than I like to do but it gives my out of town guests a good chance to see a lot of the Vermont countryside. We ventured north on the famous Rt. 100 and stopped at a cool barn along the road. It took some work but we were able to line it up with the color in the hills. It was a great way to start off the workshop.

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The latest sunrise of the year and unexpected frost

1411Today is my favorite day of the year to shoot sunrise, the sun rises at its latest time of the year since tomorrow we switch back off Daylight Savings Time. So today’s 7:30 sunrise becomes 6:30 tomorrow. I can handle getting out before 7:30, but 6:30 is always more of a challenge.

1473Even though I spent a lot of time in Vermont chasing fall foliage, I thought I would catch the end of the New Jersey version since the forecast was for clear skies this morning.

I was geared up to shoot the remaining leaves on the trees but when I got to the park there was a beautiful layer of frost on the ground.

Change of plans.

1358I walked around looking for unique patterns and great color before the sun hit, since I knew the frost would last only minutes once sunlight covered it. I found an area that had leaves from many different trees and the colors were really nice. I set up my tripod waiting for the sunlight to come over. I was looking for nice colors and found plenty of them and shot until the frost melted off.

I saw some nice leaves on a bush in the shade so I went over to check them out. The light falling on them was soft and warm and really brought out the color that was bordered by frost on the edge of the leaves. I worked my tripod around to get the composition I wanted and found myself standing there with a smile on my face. The soft light changed quickly and suddenly the best photo was gone but I got the shot I wanted and still had a smile thinking about how lucky I was to be the only person to have witnessed that fleeting moment of natural wonder.

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Shooting macros of leaves in my backyard

Maple Cells     As I was out early this morning getting some shots from the last blast of fall foliage, I was trying to shoot the sunlight coming through a leaf hanging on a tree. There was a very slight breeze but it was just enough to make getting a sharp photo near impossible. When I got home I noticed lots of colorful leaves in my yard, so I decided to backlight them.

red leavesI picked up some nice leaves and placed them on a glass table on my deck. I pulled out a small, portable flash, put it on a little light stand and stuck it under the table. I had my 100mm macro lens on my camera so I added an extension tube so I could get even more magnified shots. With the camera on a tripod, I shot straight down on the leaves, set the flash on full power and let it blast through the leaves. I had to guess at exposure but after a few shots I figured it out.

I love the way the cell structure of the leaves comes through with the strong backlight. I was shooting at f/28, so on some shots I needed a five or 10 second exposure to get enough light on the top leaf.

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Vermont Fall Foliage Photography Workshop Day 3

pomfretWe started the day at one of the most famous Vermont locations for photography – Jenne Farm. The farm itself isn’t too outstanding, the first time I went there it was mid-day in the summer and I didn’t understand why anyone would ever take a picture. I went in the fall at sunrise and suddenly I understood. As the rising sun clears the hill, it spreads a beauty across the farm that is hard to imagine. When the surrounding trees are in full color, it is magical. There is always a crowd there but there were only a few people this morning.

The highlight of the day is going to a property in the town of Pomfret that is owned by my Woodstock neighbor. It is a special place and I’m so lucky that she allows me to wander the property and take people with me. Visitors love when I put them in my four wheel drive Explorer and make the 15 minute ride up a narrow, rocky trail to the pinnacle. It is a unique experience to see for miles in all directions and there are only a few buildings to be seen. I love seeing the church steeple sticking up through the maples.

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Always finding something new

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I’m always amazed at how often I’m looking for one thing and finding another. During this weekend’s Vermont Fall Foliage Workshop, I was looking hard for the beautiful colors produced by the maple trees when I noticed this plant along a pond’s edge. At first I wasn’t too interested, I was looking for bright reds and yellows. But when I looked closer, I loved the way this plant’s leaves intertwined and how it stood out against the deep blue of the water reflecting the clear sky.

I worked the angles a bit to make sure there wasn’t anything but water behind the leaves and shot like a fool. It wasn’t the colors I was looking for, but I sure like the outcome.

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Shooting to the top of Killington

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One of the many benefits of doing my photography workshops is that I get to snap some pictures along the way. I spend most the time working with the other photographers, but I occasionally get a few shots off. We rode the gondola to the top of Killington mountain today where the leaves were looking great. I shot this one out the window on the way up. Once we were there it looked pretty cool but there weren’t a lot of great photos to be had on top of the mountain. I was happy to get this one along the way.

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Walking the trails on Cortes Island

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With the beauty that is contained on British Columbia’s Cortes Island the best way to really see it is to go for a hike or paddle around in a kayak. Today we did a hike to Hank’s Beach, which has a little bluff with a great view of surrounding islands.

The trail splits right before you get to the sandy Hank’s beach and goes over to a rocky beach on the southern tip of a point. The rocks and driftwood are fascinating and I could stay there all day making pictures.

I’m really loving the ferns along the trails with the thick moss hanging from the trees and how the sunlight barely gets down to them. I love photographing ferns and these tall ones really make unique photos.

Click to see my British Columbia photo gallery from the trip.

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A fitting last day for an Oregon adventure

20131103-LEF_4627Today was the last of our short Oregon weekend photo adventure and we concentrated on waterfalls. Walter and I headed out from out hotel in Salem to Silver Falls State Park, home to several large waterfalls and plenty of hiking. The first falls was near the parking area and it is spectacular, it is one of the most photogenic falls in the state. Even though it was a short walk, Walter and I were shooting like fools before we even got to it. The trail leads behind the falls and to the other side and we worked our way around, shooting too much and trying not to get too wet from the blowing mist coming off the falls.

The next falls was about a mile away so we hiked the trail and made plenty of photos. The hike was pretty nice, of course water flows downhill and after shooting the second falls we had the choice of hiking farther for more falls or heading back toward the car. Time was getting late since we constantly stopped to shoot mushrooms, leaves and the green moss growing on trees, so we headed back for the car. The trail back was a little over a mile and, like usual, I was carrying a lot of camera equipment and the hike back was uphill. When I ran out of breath I’d find something to photograph so I didn’t look like the total out-of-shape old man I’ve become. Other hikers a bit younger than us were on the trail and struggling as much as me and they weren’t carrying extra gear, so I took solace in that.

We got back to the car and ventured back north to shoot waterfalls along the Columbia River gorge. Not long after getting in the car the rain started and stuck with us the rest of the day. The weather prognosticators got it right, they said 100% chance of rain and that is what Oregon got.

When shooting moving water I prefer cloudy days so I can keep my exposures long, the longer the better. The waterfalls in Oregon are huge and spectacular but very hard to shoot in a way that makes them look like anything more than a long, thin white ribbon. We stopped at several falls in the gorge and hiked down to Bridal Veil Falls, which surprising seemed like a long hike going down than coming back up. Walter and I were pretty tired at this point, we had driven a lot and fought the rain all day and when we got to the falls it pretty much looked like the other long, thin Oregon falls. The sky was very dark and as we were walking out I noticed a couple of bright yellow and red leaves at the edge of the water rushing away from the falls. The light was dim and everything was wet and the colors popped. Green moss on the rocks seemed to glow and with the water flowing past I knew it would make a great photo. My 13 second shutter speed made the water look milky everywhere and I came away with a photo that will be hanging big on my wall for a long time.

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Birches and reflections make a good mix

pomfret_birch-2478I was up at my favorite pond in Pomfret, VT, this afternoon and enjoyed the way the foliage was reflecting on the water. There were two small birch trees on the near side of the pond in the shade and made an interesting shape. Since they were in the shade, they tended to look a bit blue when I opened them in Lightroom, my photo editing program. So when I made the trees look white it really enhanced the yellow of the reflections.

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Scouting for leaves in southern Vermont

barn_birch-2318I have my annual Vermont Fall Foliage Photography Workshop this weekend in Woodstock, VT. The workshop is sold out with people coming from CA, NE, KS, CO, NC, NJ and NH. We had wicked rain and wind yesterday which beat the leaves pretty bad, so I decided to head south today and see how the leaves look.

The foliage around Woodstock peaked last week but there is still good yellow and orange leaves hanging on. The deep reds didn’t appear this year, I think it was the lack of a killer frost, that is what usually makes the reds pop.

I found this nice scene on a back road south of Springfield. I like when I can get the white of a birch intermingled with colorful leaves.

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The foliage in Vermont is running late

Fog hangs in the hills before sunrise in Woodstock, Vt.

This weekend is usually peak season for fall foliage around the Woodstock, Vt. area but things are running behind schedule this year. Most trees are still green and some just lost their leaves without a colorful fight. At least the weather is great this weekend, last week it was nothing but steady rain. I wandered out before sunrise today and went past Billings Farm before heading along the Ottauquechee River and then through Hartland.

This time of year there usually is a ground fog before the sun comes up and burns it off, and as I headed past Billings, I saw a couple of horses in a field. It was well before sunrise, so the sky was pink as I jumped out of the Jeep and grabbed a camera and tripod. By the time I got set up, the pink was gone but the fog hung in the hills behind the horses.

Early morning in Hartland, Vt.

I went to a hill in Hartland I’ve been several times for sunrise. The vista extends well into New Hampshire and the fog comes off the Connecticut River and filters through the hills. Today I didn’t make my favorite image from that spot, but I like the backlit fog as the sun comes up.

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When it rains, time to head for the brook

 (Loren Fisher)

Rain pours on leaves and vines along Peter's Brook in Somerville, NJ. Click on the photo to buy a print.

When I was a kid and it started to rain, I’d run outside and wait for the water to roll down the street. We lived at the bottom of a small hill and in our little town there weren’t any curbs or storm drains. So when the rain began, I’d run out in the street and start moving dirt to make a dam to capture the water as it started flowing down the hill. When you’re a kid in a town of 300 people, you have to work hard to find entertainment. But it gave me an enjoyment for rain.

Today was about as rainy a day as they come. It rained hard all night, waking me up several times. After sitting around for a while, I decided to put on some old boots, grab my raincoat and umbrella and head out in the rain.

I put my macro on, stuck the camera under my raincoat and swung my tripod over my shoulder and walked over to a local park along Peter’s Brook. The rain was coming down pretty steady, so I sat under the umbrella by the broke, which was running fast after all the rain.

I tried some shots of leaves overlapping each other. The wind and long exposures made the images blurry so I moved father down the brook. I saw some fine yellow vine wrapping around some large leaves at the edge of the brook. A couple of the leaves were bright red.

I really liked the way the rain made the green, yellow and red colors shine.

As I was walking back home, I saw a large sycamore leaf laying in the grass. It looked like a leaf in October not what I usually see in August. It was fun to see all the color this time of year, so I wrestled with my umbrella to keep the camera dry and shot a bunch of close-up shots to show the detail of the color and the leaf’s veins.

By the time I got home, I was pretty much soaked. But I kept my camera under my rain coat and an extra lens in a plastic bag, so they were dry.

 (Loren Fisher)

A sycamore leaf changed color in August this year. Click on the photo to buy a print.

 

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Reflecting on Earth Day

Bare trees are reflected in a pond as new spring green leaves sprout.

Every year on Good Friday, I think about my senior year of high school when friend Tim Kochert and I hopped in his car and drove around the lake region of northern Indiana. I remember it as the perfect spring day, warm and sunny with that great feeling in the air. We drove around a state park where I’d later work for two summers and then headed around several of the lakes. I had known Tim since before we started grade school and even though we shared a locker, we didn’t hang out together much. It was a fun day of not doing anything special with an old friend and the memory has lingered all these years. Tim created another special memory for me last summer when he took me on a flight in his plane over glaciers in Alaska.

Today wasn’t a beautiful day but I wanted to celebrate Earth Day by being sure to get out and spend some time in the great outdoors. I went to Lord Stirling Park, which is a large county park adjacent to the Great Swamp National Wildlife refuge. The swamp isn’t too pretty this time of year, it is a swamp, after all. With all the rain, the grass is brilliant green contrasted against the dark, swampy water. I was fascinated with the way the trees were reflecting in the water as a few blades of grass stuck out of the pond.

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