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Tag Archives: Vermont

Lot’s of snow for Vermont Winter Photography Workshop

Today was the last day for this year’s Vermont Winter Photography Workshop. The weather was good, there is lots of snow on the ground and we had a great group of eight people. They came from all over, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. We were prepared for the cold, so it didn’t feel like 15 degrees during the day.

We hit many locations during the three days, farms, covered bridges, towns, rural scenes and a couple of real Vermont country stores. Several of the group hadn’t walked on a lake before, so going out on Silver Lake to see people ice fishing was a bit of an adventure.

I always know it was a good shoot when my SUV is a filthy mess. After our breakfast stop this morning, I was surprised to see a lovely note scratched on my back window. Thanks gang.

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Birch trees always capture my imagination

My love affair with birch trees continues. There is a fairly large grove about 15 minutes away from my Vermont house and I love wandering around there. It has a magical look to it no matter when I go.

Today I was there before sunrise hoping to get the rising sun shooting through the trees. When the sun came up, it glowed for a couple of minutes and then went behind a large cloud. I could see it would come out again so I tried several shots while waiting to see how the snow, trees and sky would look once the sun was shining again.

As usual, I wasn’t disappointed. The long shadows in the snow and deep blue sky highlighted the white bark and made for beautiful images. There must be 250 trees in the grove and today I noticed a couple of crooked ones shooting skyward. I like the shape they make and worked to get an angle that would highlight them. I’m pretty happy with the shot.

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Happy Winter Solstice

I drove 150 miles today around Vermont making pictures on a beautiful day – the first official day of winter. I didn’t hear too many people talking about it but they were pretty happy that the temperature got above freezing and it was sunny in some areas. People were out enjoying the day, I went to a couple of the big ski areas and they were pretty busy for a Wednesday in December. There is a good base of natural snow and the weather is perfect for making snow. It should be a good week for them as the new year approaches.

I stopped at Moss Glen Falls in Granville to see how it was looking. It has been very cold here and the falls was nearly completely frozen over. There were a couple of spots you could see water flowing but it didn’t make for a good photo. I put on my big snow boots and wandered into a little brook that runs along the road in front of the falls. I always love seeing how flowing water makes unique designs of ice, especially where it lightly splashes to make weird shapes and then carves into it.

I think Winter Solstice should be a holiday and many Vermonters would agree with me.

On the way home I heard a guy on satellite radio say the best thing about this being the first day of winter is that spring will soon be here. He wasn’t from Vermont.

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Making an island glow

Glowing islandAt Chittenden Reservoir in Vermont there is a pretty little island about 300 yards off shore. It is a favorite  place for photographers and I’ve photographed it on many occasions at different times of day and different seasons. I decided to try it at night and use a large flashlight to illuminate the island using a technique called light painting, where you pass the light over the subject many times during a long exposure, I usually do 30 seconds.  So tonight I started about 30 minutes after the sun went down and shot for the next hour. There was only a slight breeze which gave me the nice reflection on the water. Then I was lucky to have a shooting star which gave me a beautiful final touch. This is one exposure with only minor adjustments in Lightroom. As the sky got darker I needed to bump my ISO up to 400 and I was shooting at f/5.6.

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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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Last day of this year’s Vermont Fall Foliage Workshop

7936It is always sad to come to the last day of a workshop when I have met so many fun, nice and interesting people, but the 2016 edition of my Vermont Fall Foliage Photography Workshop came to an end today. Eight participants came from all over the country to enjoy Vermont’s beauty and hopefully improve their photography skills. My friend Nat Clymer joined us on Tuesday to share his photographic knowledge, it was great having him here.

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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.

 

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Making quick friends

7746-2As the week goes on the color gets better at my Vermont Fall Foliage Photography Workshop. We hit several of the local hotspots and found some nice color and cool scenes.

We have a great group with two people from California, two from Florida, one from PA, Ohio, NY and CT. It is always fun to watch a group of people who don’t know each other quickly meld together with their common interest of photography.

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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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A surprise visitor appears at birch tree grove

4403-2I was out in a stand of birch trees as the sun came up this morning and thinking about how wonderful it is to be standing in a Vermont forest, hearing only birds chirping and bees buzzing. I was surrounded by beautiful white trees reaching for the blue sky as their leaves as just starting to fully appear.

I have been to this spot many times, the trees look pretty much the same at every visit but the pictures are always different. As the sun was first starting to stream through the trees, I wasn’t seeing any pictures better than what I have shot before. I walking around for about 30 minutes looking for different angles, trying to see something I hadn’t before. With all these trees and beauty, I know there are always unique images to be made.

Finally I got some vision. Things starting falling in line and I shot lots of scenes. None of them excited me as much as Thursday’s birches at the pond, but they were fun pictures. I worked the angles on a large tree with two leaning trees behind it.

As I moved to find another subject, a bright orange flash flew through the air. I was startled by the sudden burst of color and looked to see where it went and what was. A Baltimore oriole landed on a tree nearby. I’m not a birder, but I was a baseball fan as a kid and I recognized the bird from their logo. I watched as the bird flew to another branch, the orange color brightly on display. Another oriole joined it and they flitted around a little and flew away.

I thought about running to the car to get my big telephoto lens so I could get a closer shot of the birds. Then I decided to just enjoy the show and not worry about working for a few minutes. It was quite a show.

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Fun at the Winter Photography Workshop

LT_fallsHosting a photo workshop is fun, it is hard work, but boy is it fun.

This weekend was my Vermont Winter Photography Workshop and even though conditions weren’t perfect people were excited to be there and made the best out of the situation. Earlier in the week it was pretty warm and I was worried that all the snow would melt and there would be no ice. We did lose a lot of snow but it got cold so at least there was ice in the river when we photographed covered bridges and when we went to the water falls.

One of the great things about workshops is that people are there to learn and have a good time. We all seem to leave our troubles at home and we just concentrate on making good pictures, enjoying the scenery and making new friends. This group was no exception. I had people from Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey, Vermont, Connecticut and Florida. They bonded right away, helping each other, learning from each other, sharing ideas and trying new things.

A couple of people had never been to the ski area so that was fun to show them how that looks. We went to one of Vermont’s largest waterfalls, Moss Glen Falls, which looked great after the freezing cold overnight. Since there was a lot of melting during the week, there was plenty of water coming over the falls, which made for really nice pictures.

I’ll soon be posting photos that everyone made during the weekend, so check back.

I can’t wait for next year’s winter workshop. Let it snow.

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Last day of Vermont Fall Foliage Photography Workshop

black and redSeveral years ago I found this great little overlook in Bridgewater, VT, that has an easterly view of layers of hills all the way into New Hampshire. Each time I go there it looks different and I’ve made some beautiful shots from that spot. Today’s sunrise was pretty nice and shooting sunrise and hills can be tricky so I didn’t break out the camera, I just helped my workshoppers get the best pictures they could. And they did great, you can see some of their photos by clicking here.

After the sunrise, we went back into Woodstock to get breakfast and then did some photography at Billings-Marsh Farm, the only U.S. National Park that is a working farm, and then some shots around the village of Woodstock.

At noon it was time to say goodbye to my new friends, which always makes me sad. But it is great to know that I now have more people to visit when I make journeys around the globe.

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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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Day two of Vermont Fall Foliage Workshop

ChittendenWe did a ton of driving yesterday seeking the best color in the leaves. We found some good spots up north, but today I kept us closer to home so we could shoot more and drive less. We started the day at Chittenden Reservoir, which always looks good. There are usually several other photographers there but we had the place to ourselves this morning. For a good while there was no wind and people made some great reflection shots in the water.

foliageWorkshopper2015After grabbing breakfast at a nice, new little restaurant in Brandon, we were crossing the mountains and came upon a large hillside full of color. One little tree was in a field and it was bright red. The farm had a little store to sell maple syrup, so I knew there wouldn’t be a problem if we pulled off the road and made some shots. As I was getting out of the car, some people were coming out of the house so I let them know why two carloads of photographers were moving down the roadside. I told them about the international group that we have and they loved that we appreciated the beauty they enjoy daily and said we were welcome to wander the field and shoot whatever we like.

It is always great to run into people like that.

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Taking a 10-day photo challenge

LeonardFriend Lisa Lacasse invited me to join her Queechee Area Camera Club 10-day photo challenge where you have to shoot and post a photo each day for the next 10. I’m not a big fan of shooting photos just to shoot, I like to have a purpose and a goal. While there are times I’ll go out and just enjoy the search for something different, I usually have something that I am looking for or something I want to work on.

I haven’t shot tight faces for a long time, so I decided to make faces my challenge. Old men are a subject I enjoy to photograph and chat with. While shooting at an old church with Lisa this morning, I heard a voice across the street. A man was telling us that we could come over and take pictures of the church from his yard. While I knew the photos wouldn’t be too good from there, I thought it would be fun to talk with him.

Leonard has lived in the little house for many years and grew up in the town. He told us some interesting details about the church that built in 1844. I joked with him wondering if he saw them build the church, I guess he really didn’t see the humor. Later I asked him if I could make a picture of him and he declined. I pressed him a bit knowing he was just being shy. He finally relented and I made some nice shots of him.

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