First There Was A Little Bit Of Sun.


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The Gang’s All Here ~ Workshop participants get ready for the morning light at Wildlife Pond.


This past Columbus Day weekend, October 6~8, was my final Fall Foliage Workshop of the season, and Saturday morning, day 1, started out perfect. When we first arrived at Wildlife Pond there was a beautiful mist floating across the mirrored surface of the pond. On the far side of the pond stood Middle Sugarloaf Mountain, decorated in the brilliant colors of autumn, the mountainside bathed in golden light. Yet, as nice a scene as it was, there one thing missing. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Rather than a featureless blue sky, some white puffy clouds would complete the scene.

That was all about to change.

Be Careful What You Wish For.

Middle Sugarloaf Mountain From Wildlife Pond, Autumn.
Autumn Brilliance, Middle Sugarloaf Mountain over Wildlife Pond.

As if on cue, clouds came rolling in over the mountains, enhancing the already beautiful scene. Alas, with precious few dramatic exceptions, Saturday morning was pretty much the last time we would see the sun for the rest of the workshop.

Making Due When Mother Nature Doesn’t Play Nice.

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Not the greatest sky for wide scenic photos.


Even though gray skies and the occasional rain shower would keep us from (mostly) photographing the wide mountain views that I’m sure all of the participants were hoping for…

We Still Had Waterfalls.

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Overcast skies are great for waterfalls!
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Mary composing her image at Rocky Gorge.


And We Had Intimate Landscapes. 

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Even light, white birch trees, and brilliant color.

Yet Every Once In A While, We Would See Sunlight.

Autumn Light In The Misty Mountains
Mist on the mountains.

And when we did, it was as dramatic as it was brief. Small breaks in the clouds would allow the sun to shine through, illuminating sections of the mountainsides as if someone were sweeping a spotlight across the granite ledges and golden trees. More often than not these brief moments of sunlight would disappear before camera could be brought to eye. All of us, the workshop participants and I, played a game of cat and mouse, wondering where the sun would peek through the clouds next and would we have time to capture it.

We Also Had Tourists.

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Invasion of the Leaf Peepers.

Lots and lots of tourists.

Columbus Day weekend is one of, if not the biggest tourist weekend in the White Mountain region of New Hampshire. With good reason. People come from all over the world to view the spectacular mountain scenery awash in the vibrant colors of autumn.

The challenge for me as the workshop leader is to both show the participants beautiful locations while assisting them in capturing their own photos, while also avoiding the crowds at the more popular places in the White Mountains. Places like Rocky Gorge, Lower and Sabbaday Falls, as well as other locations along the Kancamasus Highway, the scenic byway that runs east to west through the mountains. The key is to get up early (luckily most tourists and tour bus drivers don’t keep photographer’s hours), then get in and out of the most popular (which usually means easy to get to) locations before the crowds descend upon us.

Unfortunately it’s all too easy to lose track of time at any one location, with each person lost in their own little photographic world. The problem is that the more time spent per location exponentially increases the chances that a tour bus will offload its passengers and we become overrun with what we here in New Hampshire affectionately refer to as Leaf Peepers. When this happened it was time to move on to less crowded environments.

Overall I think the participants came away with some really good images and had a good time doing so. This was the first time I had so many clients, 11. And the first time we all stayed under one roof, a lovely old farmhouse we reserved through AirBnB.

Lastly, I’d like to give a huge THANK YOU! to my good friend, Suzanne. She kept everyone well fed with delicious home cooked meals for the duration of the workshop. I’m not sure she knew what she was getting into when she offered to be our chef for the weekend, but she dealt with just about everything that was thrown at her, including a plumbing leak in the house, like a pro. 



12 thoughts on “An Autumn Weekend of Foliage, and Falls.

    1. Wrangling that many people was certainly a challenge, but a fun one for sure.

      The trick with the locations along the Kanc is to get there early. And not to spend too much time at any one location. Especially over a holiday weekend during peak foliage season. Fortunately the bulk of the tourists, including the tour buses, don’t start rolling in until about 9 a.m.

  1. The magic of nature, especially when the autumn palette is brought into play and combined with the amazing photography you share with us through your posts. Thank you for yet another opportunity to view so much from so far away while in the comfort of my own home.

    Age can sometimes impose limitations on travel, but your cameras and the internet are like a magic carpet allowing access anywhere at anytime.

    1. Thank you for the very kind and thoughtful words. One of the things that makes me the most happy is when I’m able to bring the beauty of the outdoors to those who would otherwise not be able to enjoy it in person.

Comments and thoughtful critiques are always welcome.

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