“Are there fish in there?”

As I eagerly await the glorious explosion of color about to take place upon the landscape, I’m going with another autumn themed post of this weeks Photo Challenge.

Most people visiting New Hampshire during autumn, come for scenes like this one showing fall in all its glory.

Color In The Notch. Crawford Notch, NH

Not me, at least not always, and definitely not on one particular day in early October of last year.

I was looking for a unique point of view.

On a mission to create a series of abstract nature photographs for a client, I set out to capture the warmth and brilliance of autumn in New Hampshire without the photographs being too “seasonal.”

Photographs that depicted the peak of autumn color, yet could be displayed year round and not seem out of place with the season.

Since I was after an abstract style of photo, I felt that each photo should engage the viewer and leave them asking, “what is that?” Recognizable, even if only slightly, as something in nature while inspiring the viewer to invest more than a casual glance.

So instead, I came up with this,

Abstract Autumn Reflections. Crawford Notch, NH

Would you believe that these photographs are of the same scene and as close to mirror images of each other as I could get? The second, which by the way, the client loved and is now printed BIG on canvas and hanging on her wall, is the same sheer granite wall, the same splendid fall foliage, as in the first photo, only in the second it is reflected on the rippled surface of a small pond at the base of the cliffs.

But what do fish have to do with anything?

Well now, that’s a funny story. I started the day with a beautiful sunrise, and an iconic New England ย scene, complete with white steeple church surrounded by mountains of color. Then I finished the day off with a moose.ย All of which can also be seen in this post from last year.

However, during the remainder of a long full day in the mountains of New Hampshire, even thoughย surrounded by glorious mountain scenery at the height of autumn color, I rarely pointed my camera directly at the foliage laden scenery, and when I did it wasn’t in a conventional way. Most of the time I was photographing it indirectly, through reflections, or using camera motion to capture all the vibrant color in a unique and abstract way.

By panning my camera, both vertically and horizontally during exposure, or setting it low to the waters surface to capture the reflection, I was able to create the series of abstract images I sought for my client.

Anyway, let me finish my fish story.

Without exception, at any place I was photographing, no matter how beautiful the scene, I was the one and only photographer, among the hoards of tourists and other photographers, who was pointing their camera at the water. Quite often I would walk up beside a group of tourists, immediately get down on my knees to set up my camera, pointing down at the water, take a few shots, then get up and leave.

The puzzled look on their faces, as they watched this guy with a bag full of expensive gear, who never once looked up at the scene everyone else was admiring, was priceless!

And without fail, every single time I set up for a shot, at least one person would ask me, “are there fish in there?”

66 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual Point Of View

  1. It’s so funny how people have certain ideas in their head of what constitutes a good photo opportunity. Then when they observe somebody photographing something outside “the norm” the funny looks appear. I have had many of those funny looks, which used to make me really self-conscious, but I’m used to it now and just ignore them :). Your abstract is amazing by the way, and this is a great post!! Reflections can create some amazing results.

    1. Thanks Cindy. I used to be mildly self conscious when out photographing the way I do, but stopped caring when I realized the photos I was getting were different, often very different that what everyone else was getting. If I only wanted snap-shots I would just walk up, grab a shot and go, but I want more than that.

  2. Love your Impressionist painting and the post from last year. The colors of fall are beautiful! Now I will look at the attachment …for fish??

    1. Thank you very much, but don’t bother. Not a single fish was photographed in the making of these photos. Though I know from fly fishing in many of these very same waters that there are in deed, “fish in there.” ๐Ÿ˜€

        1. You are so right. A few years ago we had none of the brilliant reds New England is known for. Mostly yellows, oranges, and browns. For an out-of-towner it was still a pretty good fall that year, but for us locals it was a major disappointment.

  3. Gorgeous!!! I love fall colour and you capture it so beautifully … I don’t understand why your posts don’t come up in my Reader, even though I’ve been following your blog for a while. I see I’ve missed a few. Will try to catch up today. … Be well, Dorothy ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you Dorothy. Try hitting the subscribe button on the right. Then you’ll get an email notification. I hate to admit that I’m terrible at checking my reader. The blogs that I get email notifications of I never miss. I may not always leave a comment or a like, but I read every one I get an email for.

  4. I thank you for this. Had a not so great or productive, successful, or anything, day, & then read this post. I smiled. Your pictures are also amazing. Autumn! My favourite season.

    1. Thank you very much. While I’m truly sorry to hear about your day, it pleases me immensely that my words and photographs were a bright spot in an otherwise dreary day.

      That to me means my images were successful. I do hope for better days ahead.

  5. This is terrific Jeff and spectacular images as well. That must have been some morning for sure! I have never gotten the fish question, but I do get a lot of funny looks and more than once have been asked…”what are you taking a picture of?”

    1. Thanks you Paula. I’m not sure about the intelligence of the tourists, but I know that had to be confused. It was a holiday weekend, the busiest of the year in New Hampshire, and I was the only one NOT taking photos of all the great foliage. What had to have really made their brains hurt was me with my professional looking camera and big white 70-200mm lens, looking at the water and not the mountains ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Thanks Cardinal. I’m always happy to hear I’m not the only one who thinks I’m not half bad with a camera. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Though I still often think, when the landscape looks as good as the ones where I place myself, it’s almost easy. I know there’s much more to it than “being there,” experience, and knowing when to “be there” has a lot to do with it.

    1. Well come on over, the season hasn’t even begun yet! And thank you very much!

      You’re so right, learning to see more than the obvious right in front of me is probably the hardest thing I’ve had to learn. Still learning actually.

  6. Amazing images! I really like this story and I’m going to keep this in mind the next time I go to a usual tourist place. It’s good to have a different point of view. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks Angie. Definitely, the next time you’re photographing at a really touristy location, take a look around and see what the masses are missing. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find.

    1. Thanks Rick, I couldn’t agree more. The more popular the location the harder I look for that unconventional shot too. I’m just not fan of making carbon copy photos of what everyone else has already done.

  7. BTW – how did you get the second photo…I have been staring at it, trying to figure out if it is a photo of a reflection in water or if it is a mastery of processing…

    1. Trade secret. I could tell you, but then I have to figure out where to hide the body, come up with an alibi, so much work for a day off. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      There is some processing involved, but not in creating the shot. If you can get both images on your screen at the same time, you’ll see that the second photo is almost a mirror image of the first. At the base of the cliffs in the first photo there is a small pond, the second is the reflection on the rippled surface of the water. It’s as close as I could get as far as composition to mirroring exactly the first shot.

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