Photo of the Week: Moss Glen Falls
My Photo of the Week brings us to New England where sweeping deciduous and coniferous forests paint the landscape during autumn with bright reds, oranges, yellows, and many other colors in between. I had been to Boston a couple of times before, but had never ventured beyond the city to see why millions travel to this region to become “leaf peepers”. Every year, a great transformation occurs as the green maples, oaks, aspens, and more change their color and put on the most impressive fall foliage display on the planet. The fall colors typically start up in the Northeast area of New England around northern Maine and start to work their way south to the coast. The higher the elevation is, the earlier those leaves will change as well.
What I did not understand at first is how serious leaf-peeping is to New Englanders as many will put early forecasts out as to when the peak color will be, while many local news stations and newspapers also do their best to find the brightest colors and the most advantageous time to visit. There are many websites and apps out there as well that keep peepers updated with the conditions and where the best pockets of forest are so one can gaze away at the true definition of fall. After spending weeks researching, I narrowed my visit down to the first two weeks of October, which normally would be a little late for Vermont, New Hampshire, and northern Maine. However, the last few years had late color arrival and they said it would be the same for the 2018 autumn season. I was hopeful they would be right as I didn’t want to miss the peak foliage, and luck was on my side. The entire trip through New England was full of color, more color than this California boy could handle at times. It can be dangerous to be behind the wheel on a winding road as you rubberneck back and forth trying to spot the brightest and most dazzling of trees.
It was quite cloudy on one of our earlier days as we headed from the quaint village of Woodstock, Vermont to the well-known ski resort of Stowe to the north. I knew large panoramas of the trees wouldn’t be as brilliant since the sun was hidden, so I settled on this gorgeous waterfall, Moss Glen Falls. I had wanted to see it regardless, so the fact that it was overcast played to my advantage for reducing the amount of highlights and shadows while allowing me to slow down the shutter to achieve the motion blur of the water. While it was fairly dark under the canopy, I still opted to use a 4-stop ND filter I had to achieve the right amount of blur. Of course, as the shutter stays open longer, this can cause problems with other subject matter moving such as the branches and trees. There are really only two ways to counter this. Either remove the ND filter and take a quick shot of the trees and leaves to blend with the slow-motion waterfall shot later, or wait for the wind to die down. I chose the latter option as I didn’t feel like a blend was necessary. Not to mention, there was only a small breeze, so I did not have to be too patient to get everything to come together.
I will be returning to New England and Quebec once again this autumn to chase the leaves and become a leaf-peeper as it is hard to imagine a fall more spectacular than the one this area of the US puts on. My only recommendation to anyone planning on visiting this region is to plan and book early! I made my reservations recently and most places were beginning to sell out, especially around Columbus Day weekend. It is best to plan your trip there 7-9 months in advance to secure the best lodging during the peak dates. If you have any questions about your New England trip, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask! Good luck and happy peeping!