The first two weeks of this month (October) were spent shooting in two of the best places for foliage in the northeastern United States, the White Mountain National Forest and Acadia National Park. Both shoots were extremely productive and I not only added new variations of previously captured landscapes to my portfolio but also plenty of brand new stuff. These days I try to find compositions that are not overly common for the locations I frequent. I like to refer to many of these as ‘pictures one has to earn’. By that I mean I not only shoot roadside landscapes (the shots that are less than a 3 minute walk from the car) but the rarer stuff that requires hiking into the backcountry. These round-trip hikes might be as little as 30 minutes and as long as 5-6 hours. This approach presented many opportunities to shoot many of the little known waterfalls in the WM’s as well as incredible views from high atop the mountains in both these locations - and the best part is that often I have these locations to myself.
As a landscape moderator at Nikonians I see many, often excellent, variations of well photographed places like the Arch, Tetons, Yellowstone, Maroon Bells... Seeing so many photos of these great places, and knowing that they are likely filled with photographers competing for a ‘good spot’, has me eliminating most of these locations from my short list of places to shoot. I hate crowds and even if I get to a location early to get a good spot, I find that I might be locked into that place as the crowds arrive forcing me to shoot from a constrained vantage point - this is the downside to shooting around large groups as it can become a recipe for mediocrity (more on that in a future article). I like to move around and shoot, sometimes shooting the same thing every five minutes of so during magic hour as the light changes. Places like the White Mountain Forest do not have this limitation - as a matter of fact, the best spots are little known and it takes someone experienced in the location to know when and where the good spots are - yes, this is plug to attend one of my future location workshops. Over the years I have invested roughly a month of scouting and shooting in Acadia, and about two months in the WMF (24 in 2010 alone).
I just returned from these locations and it will take time to sort through, post process and add some favorites to my galleries in the near future. You can find most of my new stuff here, both for this shoot and others. If you like what you see then consider coming along in the spring or next fall. My workshops are both a tour of the location as well as providing personalized instruction in the field and classroom that focuses on the fine points of composition (in my opinion one of the most important things one needs to master to produce great pictures), my specialities - shooting the sun and water, and advanced digital darkroom techniques. I hope you enjoy viewing some of my work and best of luck to those out shooting in the most colorful season of the year, Autumn - see tips for shooting fall foliage. I am not finished myself, as there are still several areas closer to home that should be peaking in the around now. Don’t forget that the most useful filter for foliage is the circular polarizer since it removes glare and helps saturate colors.