• Andy’s E-BOOK — Photography Travel Guides

  • PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS!!

    All Images and writing on this blog are copyrighted by Andy Richards. All rights are reserved. You may not, without my express, written permission, download, right click, or otherwise copy my images for any reason. Copying an image and putting it on your blog, website, or even as a screensaver on your computer is a breach of copyright, EVEN IF YOU ATTRIBUTE THE SOURCE! Please do not do so.
  • On This Blog:

  • Categories

  • Andy’s Photography Galleries

    Click Here To See My Gallery of Photographic Images

    LightCentric Photography

  • Andy's Flickr Photos

    Strafford Meeting House Strafford, Vermont 10052015000030

    More Photos
  • Prior Posts

  • Posts By Date

    September 2016
    M T W T F S S
    « Aug    
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    2627282930  

Reflections

Purple Coneflower Copyright Andy Richards

Purple Coneflower
Copyright Andy Richards

Whew!  I have finally finished my series of “old” photos from my early days and readers must surely be glad.🙂.  I made a recent trip to another new place for me, but with the still, very familiar feel of New England:  Newport, Rhode Island.  But before I comment on that, it seems like a good time to reflect back on the prior recent blogs.  I stopped at 2008 with my “old” images which dated back to the 1970s.  There is no right time to differentiate “old” from “new.”  But 2008 marks the year I started blogging here.

When I started, I continued to read that the point and nature of a blog was to publish often (daily) and have short, punchy, easy and quick to digest content.  And that is in concert with our current societal digital world.  “Sound bites.”

But I am not wired that way, and my blog continues to be more of a combination of a diary and travelog.  I don’t seem me changing that any time soon.  I will probably continue to follow my errant ways.  Because I can🙂.

That is in concert with our current digital world …. “sound bites”

I was surprised, when I looked back, to note that my very first blog in March of 2008 did not contain a single image!  Kind of strange, for a photo blog.  I have tried to remedy that in the ensuing years, posting images in the majority of my blogs.  The Purple Coneflower image is one of my first digital capture images and was posted here in my earliest blogs.

Point Judith Lighthouse Narraganset, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Point Judith Lighthouse
Narraganset, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

The next blog, and first substantive blog addressed my view of “photorealism.”  Namely that is is what my eye sees, without regard to what others may think is “purist” photography.  On my recent trip to Newport, Rhode Island, we photographed the Point Judith Lighthouse in Narraganset.  We met a guy who had spend several evenings trying to catch the moonrise in the “right” place over the light.  It wasn’t cooperating with him, but he was patient.  I am not.  I only had 3 days in the area.  So I moved the moon in my image🙂.  You can see that I need some help with getting content aware move right (I have a fringe from the the sky color where I moved it from).  I am sure I will figure out how to do that.  I am not Walter Cronkite (and even he indulged in fakery, by the way), and don’t really care where the moon was.  I am about creating a nice image.  The Bingham Falls image is another one from my earliest blogs here.

early, bright overcast conditions make this image possible

early, bright overcast conditions make this image possible

I next tackled the Don Quixote inspired topic of copyright and image theft.  It still strikes me as ironic that with the vast majority of people toting pretty capable smartphones these days that they find it somehow compelling and justified to steal the imagery of others on the web.  But it is the digital world we live in.  My level of heartburn over this issue has faded over time.  And after all, don’t they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?  So for anyone who has taken my images without permission or compensation, thanks for the compliment🙂

About the time I started blogging, I had two friends who expressed a desire to “graduate” from point and shoot snapshots to more serious photography.  They inspired me to write some long tomes intended to try to simplify some of the fundamental photographic principles.  These writings eventually were translated to some of my “tutorial” style blogs.  I am glad to say that one of these persons, Carol Smith,  has become a very talented photographer and has agreed to co-write the next edition of my Photographing Vermont’s Fall Foliage e-Book this winter.

As I began to do more and more traveling, this blog has gradually morphed into more of a travel diary, starting with my week long trip to Acadia National Park in 2009 and then Alaska in 2010.

Though finding fresh subject matter is often a challenge, I plan to keep writing here and I am very much appreciative of those regular readers and commenters on the blog. See you next time with some images from Newport, Rhode Island.

A Change of Pace; 2007

The Les Chenault Islands Michigan U.P. Copyright Andy Richards 2007

The Les Chenault Islands
Michigan U.P.
Copyright Andy Richards 2007

In 2007, we slowed the pace of travel.  Well at least a little bit🙂.  We spent 2+ weeks every summer in late July or early August, visiting my wife’s family.  For many years, one of those weeks was spent with a group of “in-laws” on the Atlantic Ocean, renting anywhere from Bethany Beach, Delaware, to the north, all the way south to Nags Head, N.C.  This year marked some life changes for the family, and for the first time in many years, we did not go to the beach.  We did do a short day trip to Shenandoah National Park.

I continued to look for imagery in my own back yard, whether canoeing on the nearby Tittabawassee River sailing in the Great Lakes with my partner and friend, who owns a nice, 36 foot rig, or traveling up over the bridge for short (long-weekend) jaunts.

Little Stony Man Outlook Shenandoah N.P., Virginia Copyright Andy Richards 2007

Little Stony Man Outlook
Shenandoah N.P., Virginia
Copyright Andy Richards 2007

In early July, I joined a couple of my law partners for a long-weekend sail.  We did 2 overnight stays, one at Hessel, Michigan in the U.P.

Classic Chris Craft Boat Hessel, Michigan Copyright Andy Richards 2007

Classic Chris Craft Boat
Hessel, Michigan
Copyright Andy Richards 2007

On our return, we stopped at Mackinac Island, which vies with Frankenmuth, Michigan as our number one tourist attraction.  Its easy to see the draw of Mackinac.  Once a fortress for naval defense, it was settled early on (before lower Michigan was).  The fort is still there and you can see most of the waters of the Straits of Mackinac from the towers there.  It has been preserved and is now an admission-fee tourist attraction.  The little main street is also replete with the usual suspects; fudge and trinket shops.  There are also a few nice bars and restaurants, and the magnificent Grand Hotel, which sits uphill from the downtown area.  Mackinac Island hosts a governor’s conference at The Grande each year, and served as the filming point for the Christopher Reeve movie, “Somewhere In Time.”  The island is a rather steep hill and from the top, you have some magnificent views.  M-185, the single road which goes around the 8 mile perimeter of the island is bereft of cars, as motorized vehicles are not permitted on the island.  It is a great biking trail, if a little short.

Mackinac Island, Michigan Copyright Andy Richards 2007

Mackinac Island, Michigan
Copyright Andy Richards 2007

Most tourists access the island by passenger ferry and the Sheppler Ferry company has a near monopoly on transport to the island.

Sheppler's Mackinac Island Ferry Copyright Andy Richards 2007

Sheppler’s Mackinac Island Ferry
Copyright Andy Richards 2007

During our regular summer vacation in Virginia, we made the day trip to Shenandoah National Park.  My wife and I agreed that we would spend our anniversary weekend there later in October.  During the early evening hours, I was able to capture a sunset up on one of the overlooks.

Little Stony Man Outlook Shenandoah N.P., Virginia Copyright Andy Richards 2007

Little Stony Man Outlook
Shenandoah N.P., Virginia
Copyright Andy Richards 2007

The next day, in the early morning light, I found a pathway with light shafts that was intriguing to me (it might look vaguely familiar to those regular readers here, who have looked at my banner image).  I also saw a momma bear and her two cubs cross the road in front of me, and a couple of young stag deer sparring in the road a while later.  Neither incident presented an appropriate opportunity to photograph them, but I will always remember these wonders of nature.

Shenandoah N.P. Virginia Copyright Andy Richards 2007

Shenandoah N.P.
Virginia
Copyright Andy Richards 2007

In late October, back in Michigan, I shot some fall foliage scenes in the nearby Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.  The photographs here are from a footbridge in the refuge just 5 miles from my home.  The images are “busy,” but show that you can find foliage images if you work at it.  The “big picture” is kind of “eh.”  But I was able to find two shots that I thought were worthy, by isolating areas.  The leaf on the water reflection has resulted in several sales.

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge; Saginaw, Michigan Copyright Andy Richards 2007

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge; Saginaw, Michigan
Copyright Andy Richards 2007

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge; Saginaw, Michigan Copyright Andy Richards 2007

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge; Saginaw, Michigan
Copyright Andy Richards 2007

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge; Saginaw, Michigan Copyright Andy Richards 2007

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge; Saginaw, Michigan
Copyright Andy Richards 2007

I was not ready to give up on fall color yet, this particular year.  My sister and brother in law and I took a quick long-weekend trip at the end of October, to a small house he owned for a very short time in the town of Rapid River in the U.P.  We did a waterfall tour, and at the end of our trip, visited an area I had not been to before:  Fayette State Park.  Fayette was a large, iron smelting encampment during the Michigan U.P.’s boom in iron ore production.  There are some really nice image opportunities there.

Rapid River Falls Rapid River, Michigan Copyright Andy Richards 2007

Rapid River Falls
Rapid River, Michigan
Copyright Andy Richards 2007

Whitefish Falls Rapid River, Michigan Copyright Andy Richards 2007

Whitefish Falls
Rapid River, Michigan
Copyright Andy Richards 2007

Tannery Falls; Munising, Michigan Copyright Andy Richards 2007

Tannery Falls; Munising, Michigan
Copyright Andy Richards 2007

Fayette State Park Michigan Copyright Andy Richards 2007

Fayette State Park
Michigan
Copyright Andy Richards 2007

2006 – Vermont Reprise

The Mad River Warren, Vermont Copyright Andy Richards 2016

The Mad River
Warren, Vermont
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

The Mad River, and in particular, this pool, was an area I would return to numerous times in the future to photograph.

The 2005 Vermont experience with Rich shocked me.  Sure, I had not been there in many years, but my memories were of a 3-4 week “wonderland” of foliage and color everywhere you looked.  As we saw, that was not to happen in 2005.  The week we were there at the end of September produced an awful lot of green foliage (still pretty, but not according to the plan).  We left, thinking we should have waited a week as we began to see some promise of color toward the end of our visit.  But the following week, it rained in torrents pretty much all week and essentially took the leaves down with no color that year.

 

The Waterville Mountain Road goes from my “home base” of Bakersfield, over the mountain to Waterville.  In years past it was colorful.  You can see the lack of maple leaves, with one small suggestion of the reds in the upper right.

Waterville Mountain Road; Bakersfield, VT Copyright Andy Richards 2006

Waterville Mountain Road; Bakersfield, VT
Copyright Andy Richards 2006

Wanting to restore my faith, I determined to return in 2006.  Rich had other obligations, so I set off on my own.  I flew into Burlington, rented a car, and began another week long adventure (again, making the farm in Bakersfield my primary base of operation, though this time I did book a couple nights in a motel in the middle of the state).  It turns out, this would be a time for me to explore and solidify my notes for what I eventually would decide would be my first foray into writing and publishing, The Vermont E-Book.  The opening image was a find on a rainy morning near my Montpelier Motel.  I was driving down Route 100 scouting, looking for color.  Any color – anywhere.  While this wasn’t the color I was looking for, the Mad River, and this particular pool was an area I would return to numerous times in the future to photograph.

Once again, I was mostly stymied

My thinking was that if I went a week later, I had a better chance of finding color somewhere – even though I might miss it in the northern parts of the State.  Once again, I was mostly stymied.  A combination of a more normal, early fall, and a leaf mold disease afflicting Vermont’s Maple trees, created early leaf drop from the Maples.  While birch, beach, oaks and ash trees are colorful, it is the Maples that create the brilliant reds and oranges that make New England so colorful in the Fall.  Instead, there were the muted colors of the other species, amidst lots of “sticks” (branches).  Again, disappointed, I set out to make the most of it.  The Waterville Mountain Road goes from my “home base” of Bakersfield, over the mountain to Waterville.  In years past it was colorful.  You can see the lack of maples, with one small suggestion of the reds in the upper right.

Trapp Family Farm Stowe, VT Copyright Andy Richards 2006

Trapp Family Farm
Stowe, VT
Copyright Andy Richards 2006

In a way, less than spectacular conditions probably contribute to “growth” in a photographer’s craft.  It makes us really look at the scenes and the images we produce and requires a much more disciplined focus on composition (we should be doing that at all times, but sometimes “good stuff” in front you makes you lazy).  The Trapp Farm image was made in a part of Vermont that I was pretty familiar with.  Just a few miles from where I lived for several years in the 1970’s, Stowe, in addition to being a ski and tennis resort, has become a very popular tourist destination.  This image was made from near the front lawn of the Trapp Family Lodge.  Few among us are not familiar with the musical, The Sound of Music, a musical based on the story of the Von Trapp family’s escape during the Hitler regime.  Coming to, and touring in America, the family eventually settled here and who can blame them.  You can see the massive leaf drop in the high mountains, but there is still enough low color to make this image pop a little bit.

Hillside Acres Farm, West Barnet, VT Copyright Andy Richards 2006

Hillside Acres Farm, West Barnet, VT
Copyright Andy Richards 2006

The color never got much better, but I spent most of the week, driving around the state, looking for color and scouting some of the “iconic” locations I knew about.  My most successful side-trip was to West Barnett, where I knew there was the potential of an image of Hillside Acres Farm.  I found it and was rewarded with some remaining color and nice light.  The John Deere tractor spewing black smoke was an added stroke of luck.  Still, one can only imagine the big Maple in front of the white house when in full foliage.

East Orange, Vermont Copyright Andy Richards 2006

East Orange, Vermont
Copyright Andy Richards 2006

West Barnett is in the Peacham vicinity, so of course, I stopped back in Peacham to look at that scene.  I made a number of images, but couldn’t really improve upon the 2005 shot.  So I moved on to East Orange.  In 2005, the foliage had grown so full in front of the village up on the hillside, that there was really no shot.  The irony in 2006 was that the substantial leaf drop created some “looks” through the new growth that were not there a year before.  I liked this image of the Village of East Orange in spite of the lack of colorful foliage in the background.  There is a great amount of detail in all the parts of the image.  Someone else who must have been there right around the same time period must have liked it alot, too.  A few years later, I got an e-mail from someone who had seen my image and felt compelled to write to me to tell me he hope I had been well paid for the image, which was on the Wallmart branded tissue boxes that fall.  I did some research and found that the image was on boxes being retail marketed in Wallmart stores on the East Coast.  My heart skipped a beat when I saw the box.  The image was so close to mine that the shooter could have been standing in my footprints.  I did see just enough variation, though, to satisfy myself that the image was not mine. 🙂.

East Corinth, Vermont Copyright Andy Richards 2006

East Corinth, Vermont
Copyright Andy Richards 2006

Two other iconic scenes are nearby.  One is East Corinth.  It is down the road from East Orange and the Waits River Village, and then just slightly East.  I visited East Corinth that evening and found the field where the image could be made, just at the tree line above the village.  The next morning I was there at dawn, but unfortunately, there was a heavy fog and the recurring theme; significant leaf drop.  I made a few images anyway, and this one gives the viewer the idea of the potential if made before the leaves in the background hillside have dropped.  What is also pretty obvious from this, the East Orange, and the East Topsham shot below, is that these images are probably no longer viable because of the heavy growth of new foliage obscuring them from the shooters vantage point.  East Corinth may continue to provide some views, but it is a bit cluttered as a photographic subject.

East Tophsham Village, Vermont Copyright Andy Richards 2006

East Topsham Village, Vermont
Copyright Andy Richards 2006

Just up the road to the North of East Corinth is East Topsham.  Another Arnold J. Kaplan iconic shot, this village, too has enough new growth foliage in the foreground to render attempts to photograph it futile.  When I returned there a few years later, not only was this shot completely blocked, but the owner of the building to the right of the church had put a new, bright reddish-purple metal roof on.

I headed down to the Woodstock area to scout Cloudland Road and another Kaplan Icon, Sleepy Hollow Farm.  I found it, but didn’t make an image I was happy with.  Cloudland Road is pretty magical, but better when there is good foliage.  On the way there, though, I found a shot that I don’t believe was in Arnold’s book.  I wanted a shot of the Tunbridge Fairgrounds.  A local in the village told me about a road above the cemetery and I drove up and found a shot from a pasture.  Sadly, I could see even then, that new growth would soon obscure this already marginal “long view” photograph.

Tunbridge Fairgrounds Tunbridge, Vermont Copyright Andy Richards 2006

Tunbridge Fairgrounds
Tunbridge, Vermont
Copyright Andy Richards 2006

Near the end of my trip, I visited the Vermont State Forest area called “New Discovery State Forest.”  State Forest Highway 232 goes roughly north and south  through the forest, which seems to have pretty good color every year.   One of the best parts of this forest is the Owl’s Head Overlook.  The negative is that it is not open for sunrise or sunset, however.  I was up there during the middle of the day and the light could have been pretty harsh.  It was an overcast day though, with sun peaking in and out of the clouds, so I made a couple images I like.

Owls Head Overlook New Discovery State Forest, Vermont Copyright Andy Richards 2006

Owls Head Overlook
New Discovery State Forest, Vermont
Copyright Andy Richards 2006

Owl's Head Overlook New Discovery State Forest, Vermont Copyright Andy Richards 2006

Owl’s Head Overlook
New Discovery State Forest, Vermont
Copyright Andy Richards 2006

Vermont wasn’t the only shooting I did in 2006, but it was the major part of it. I could see a pattern developing where I would travel and shoot, and then not shoot much in between. Earlier in the year, though, I did make it out a few mornings to my local Shiawassee Wildlife Refuge. Among other images, I was able to capture the very skittish Wood Duck from a blind. I don’t think I would ever have gotten this shot if he had the slightest inkling that I was there. This was made with a 300mm lens and a 2x converter.

Wood Duck Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, Saginaw, MI Copyright Andy Richards 2006

Wood Duck
Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, Saginaw, MI
Copyright Andy Richards 2006

2005 (part II) – My Vermont “Homecoming”

Copyright Andy Richards 2005

Copyright Andy Richards 2005

For the past several posts, I diverted from my series of “old” images over the past couple weeks to write a couple Fall Foliage – specific posts, and to self-aggrandize with my two eBooks covering Vermont and the Michigan “U.P.,” the two best fall foliage locations in the U.S. (in my ever-so-humble opinion🙂 ).  I will return to the foregoing series for a few more posts, though I am rapidly approaching the point where I began regular postings here and I don’t plan to “bore” you with “re-runs.”  It will have to come to a logical end, soon, and then I will actually have to think of something new and creative to post about🙂.

Fittingly, the next couple posts have a substantial connection with Vermont and foliage, so the “theme” will continue into foliage season.  For some time I had been regaling Rich with stories about the utopian Vermont fall foliage.  I had many memories from the years I lived there.  With its high percentage of Maples, and its mountainous territory, when things turn in New England, they really turn and present some truly spectacular color shows.

With its high percentage of Maples, and its mountainous territory, when things turn in New England, they really turn

While we were on our brief spring trip to the Michigan UP, we agreed it was finally time for Rich to visit Vermont.  My last trip to Vermont had been some 20 years ago and I was pretty excited to show Rich the “stomping grounds” of my youth, and really the birthplace of my own photography obsession.  So we planned our trip.

H. T. Doane Farm Bakersfield, VT Copyright Andy Richards 2006

H. T. Doane Farm
Bakersfield, VT
Copyright Andy Richards 2006

Traditionally, fall color “happens” in Vermont any time from the last 2 weeks in September to through the first 2 weeks in October.  It typically progresses from north to south and from the high mountains down to the valleys.  But that is a generalization, I have learned, from my own empirical experience.  There are pockets of the state where foliage happens out of sync.  I have always found good color in Peacham in the “Northeast Kingdom” of Vermont – sometimes getting there late and sometimes early.  The Village of Barton seems to share that character.  On the other hand, there are parts of Southern Vermont that seem to always peak in September.  Unfortunately, I have missed it every time I have visited those locations.

Big Falls Missisquoi River Copyright Andy Richards 2005

Big Falls
Missisquoi River
Copyright Andy Richards 2005

We used my aunt and uncle’s (H.T. Doane) farm in the northwestern part of the state as our home base for this trip.  My uncle’s advice was to come the last week of September.  In his lifetime of experience, that was our best percentage chance to see “the good stuff.”  My aunt and uncle were very generous people and I was always welcome (as were many other visitors over the years) to a bed, food and whatever other hospitality they could offer.  I had first lived on the farm in the 1980’s where I spent summers working.  I was anxious to go back and excited about the process of photographing the New England Color.  I spent a lot of time researching and one of the things I found was there was no really good resource for photographers.  During this (and every other) trip, I kept careful notes, and later recorded the information I gathered.  This eventually resulted in my eBook, “Photographing Vermont’s Fall Foliage.”  I digress, I know, but I cannot pass up an opportunity for yet another blatant plug for my own wonderful writing🙂.

This trip was the beginning of a series of trips that would result in my Vermont eBook

Disappointingly, from a fall-foliage standpoint, this trip was close to a complete bust.  The magical color I remembered from earlier years just never happened in 2005.  As we drove through upstate New York and into Vermont, my heart sunk.  All I could see was green everywhere I looked.  During our week long stay, we drove all over the state to find color.   We started in Montgomery, seeking covered bridges and waterfalls, hopefully surrounded by brilliant fall foliage.  Not to be.  As you can see from the images, there was very little color and where there was, it tended to be Sumac bushes.  But we made the most of what we had.

Longley Bridge Montgomery, Vermont Copyright Andy Richards 2005

Longley Bridge
Montgomery, Vermont
Copyright Andy Richards 2005

My research had unearthed the Arnold John Kaplan pamphlet that is referenced in my eBook and often elsewhere on this site.  This pamphlet was to become my primary research tool and the basis for the later eBook (with foreword graciously written by the late Arnold John Kaplan himself).  There were a handful of “iconic” scenes that Arnold had famously photographed many years ago and I wanted to visit them.  So, we set off looking for Peacham, Waits River, East Orange, East Corinth, and others.  We didn’t make it to all, but we did see many.  And, pretty uniformly, there was really no color😦.

Waits River, Vermont Copyright Andy Richards 2005

Waits River, Vermont
Copyright Andy Richards 2005

We did find a hint of color (which I have been able to “tease” out in post-processing) at Peacham, and you can see it was trying to start in Waits River.  The other thing we found was what I note in the beginning of the Photographing Vermont eBookOne constant about nature is that it is constantly changing.  We found the back road up the mountain that would give us the near aerial shot of East Orange.  But we didn’t see the iconic shot.  A passing local noted that over the 20 years since Arnold had photographed it, it had all grown up (meaning trees).  I didn’t bring anything home that I though was worthy of display from East Orange in 2005, but I did return in 2006 and found an opening (partly because the foliage was mostly gone by the time I arrived) which gave me a pretty nice photo.

Peacham, Vermont Copyright Andy Richards 2005

Peacham, Vermont
Copyright Andy Richards 2005

One constant about nature is that it is constantly changing

We also visited the famous ski resort/tennis resort/tourist-destination of Stowe, and spent a day in and around Burlington, Vermont’s major city and university town.  The Old Red Mill (now a shop) is in Jericho, on the way to Burlington from the north, and we made it a morning destination.  Basically giving up on the foliage images, we knew this would be photogenic with or without colored foliage.  This is a tough shot as you have to negotiate a very busy road (full of commuter traffic), and scramble over a bridge on around on a steep, rocky embankment to set up for the shot.  The light was pretty hot by the time it was high enough to light the scene, but we were generally pleased with the resulting images.

Old Red Mill Jericho, Vermont Copyright Andy Richards 2005

Old Red Mill
Jericho, Vermont
Copyright Andy Richards 2005

Stowe is a short distance from the farm and is at the southern base of perhaps the most dramatic mountain (“notch”) roads in New England, passing over Mount Mansfield; Vermont’s tallest peak.  “Smuggler’s Notch” is, from Bakersfield, the shortest way South.  It unfortunately or fortunately – depending on your mission and point of view — also goes through Stowe, which can be a traffic nightmare in high tourist season.  Nonetheless, we found ourselves traveling through it almost daily.  We stopped for mid-day meals and occasionally dinner after the sun had set.  We learned a bit about the place, including that there was a “high view” shot of downtown Stowe.  Like so many of these, the shot we saw had been taken years back and new growth had all but blocked any view.  We found a trail that was very primitive and basically “bushwacked” our way down to a possible view late one night, guided by flashlight.  Believing it had potential, we arrived at dawn the next morning and schlepped our equipment down to the cleared plateau we had found.  Daylight came shrouded in a heavy fog that promised to be slow to lift.  We patiently waited for about an hour and a half as coffee got cold.  While waiting, an inspiration from a year ago (perhaps fueled by boredom) came to me and I started searching the ground for “leaf compositions.”  This leaf image and the covered bridge we photographed one morning while staying close to the farm, were combined later in Photoshop and became the official “logo” for LightCentric Photography (see the opening image).

Maple Leaf Stowe, Vermont Copyright Andy Richards 2005

Maple Leaf
Stowe, Vermont
Copyright Andy Richards 2005

Eventually, we gave up and sought breakfast.  During breakfast, the sun finally broke through.  It was late enough in the year that we figured we still had some time before the light became untenable.  So with renewed energy, we decided to return to our spot and though it is difficult to find an area that is not blocked, the photo here is my best image of the Stowe Village (and yes, there has been some retouching🙂 ).

Stowe, Vermont Copyright Andy Richards 2005

Stowe, Vermont
Copyright Andy Richards 2005

As we prepared for the long return drive to Michigan, we decided the last morning to stick close to the farm.  Waterville, only about 15 miles away (a very short distance in Vermont terms) has several covered bridges that are kind of hidden away.   We decided to start there on our last morning.  The lone tree with muted orange color in the resulting image is illustrative of our frustration.  But this image ultimately served as the primary image for my logo.

Montgomery Bridge Waterville, Vermont Copyright Andy Richards 2005

Montgomery Bridge
Waterville, Vermont
Copyright Andy Richards 2005

I would continue to return to Vermont every couple falls, and great foliage would continue to evade me.  But eventually, I found some and some years, spectacular results.

Oh, the Places I’ve Been!

D.H. Day Barn, Glen Haven, Michigan Copyright Andy Richards 2014

D.H. Day Barn, Glen Haven, Michigan
Copyright Andy Richards 2014

I am pretty sure Dr. Seuss wasn’t talking about my photography when he penned his inspirational book (presumably for kids), “Oh, The Places You’ll Go,” which was clearly intended for a higher calling than this blog.  But it seemed like maybe a good jumping off point for this title, so thanks for the inspiration Dr. Seuss. 🙂.

This is about my favorite subject:  Fall Foliage photography

Farm in Saginaw County, Michigan Copyright Andy Richards 2004

Farm in Saginaw County, Michigan
Copyright Andy Richards 2004

While I am sure my travels pale compared to many readers and acquaintances, I have been blessed to visit many places (near and far) during my lifetime.  I aspire to go to even more new places before I am done here, but in spite of the rambling lead-in this blog is actually about what I normally write about this time of year: fall color photography.

The previous couple blogs have plugged my 2 eBooks, “Photographing Vermont’s Fall Foliage,” and “Photographing Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Nelson Road Old Mission Peninsula; Traverse City, Michigan Copyright Andy Richards 2014

Nelson Road Old Mission Peninsula; Traverse City, Michigan
Copyright Andy Richards 2014

The previous couple blogs have plugged my 2 eBooks, “Photographing Vermont’s Fall Foliage,” and “Photographing Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.”  I will believe (and argue :-)) to the grave, that these two locations are the absolute acme of fall color photography.  But I have been to other places which approach their beauty, some in similar ways (like Maine, Minnesota’s North Shore and West Virginia’s Mountains), and some in very different ways (like the West).  While I have not visited them yet, I understand that the Great Smoky Mountains have their own brand of spectacular foliage in the fall.

Shiawassee River_2

Shiawassee River, Owosso, Michigan
Copyright Andy Richards 2009

Readers might be surprised to find that I have found some images right in my own backyard!

Just for inspiration for those who have not already planned their 2016 Fall Foliage trips, I thought I would demonstrate the potential with a few images from around the U.S.  And, based on my travels and commentary about every place away, the reader might be surprised to find that I have found some images right in my own backyard!  The top image is near my hometown of Traverse City, Michigan, just east of Lake Michigan,in Leelanau County.  The round hay bales are even closer to home, just a few miles from my office in Saginaw County, Michigan.  The Old Mission Peninsula juts north into Lake Michigan, from Traverse City, in Grand Traverse County.  The Nelson Road vineyard image is near a point on the peninsula where you can stand and see both of the bays formed by the Peninsula.  The Shiawassee River is one of several rivers that all come together in Saginaw County to ultimately form the Saginaw River, which eventually empties into Lake Huron.  The image above was taken in Shiawassee County, just west of Saginaw County.  Perhaps the moral of the story here, is that (at least in certain parts of the country) you don’t have to travel far to find foliage images.

But I have traveled far.🙂.

Cadillace Mountain, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine Copyright Andy Richards 2009

Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine
Copyright Andy Richards 2009

In 2009, my friend, Rich Pomeroy and I spent a week in Maine, mostly in Acadia National Park, shooting.  Because of our scheduling, we arrived late in the season.  There were some pros and cons to our scheduling.  We were (as the images illustrate), mostly late for color.  But the later turning birch and beach trees were still in full foliage and were cooperative, if somewhat monotone.

Jordan Brook, Acadia National Park, Maine Copyright Andy Richards 2009

Jordan Brook, Acadia National Park, Maine
Copyright Andy Richards 2009

We were also late for the lobster pounds and many of the restaurants which serve the seasonal tourists.  I had looked forward to a lobster roll at one of the pounds, but that was not to be.  But the lack of tourists did not stop the lobstermen from their daily activities.  We had a great time photographing the boats and tools of the trade in several of the harbors in and around Acadia.  The Southwest Harbor shot shows the potential for great foliage shooting with wonderful foregrounds.

Southwest Harbor, Maine Copyright Andy Richards 2009

Southwest Harbor, Maine
Copyright Andy Richards 2009

We also found a different kind of color which we had been anticipating.  We had read about the colorful wild blueberry bushes that turn color this same time of year.  Again, we mostly missed that and never found the vast fields of them we were looking for.  We did fin this image, though, which at least gave us a taste of what we sought.

Blueberry Bushes Acadia National Park, Maine Copyright Andy Richards 2009

Blueberry Bushes
Acadia National Park, Maine
Copyright Andy Richards 2009

There are a number of iconic images in the Park.  One (not technically in the park) is the Somesville Town Hall, with its distinctive white bridge.  As you can see, if timing is right, there is some serious foliage-image potential here.  We made the best of what we had.  Will have to go back someday.

Somesville Town Hall and Bridge Somesville, Maine Copyright Andy Richards 2009

Somesville Town Hall and Bridge
Somesville, Maine
Copyright Andy Richards 2009

My wife and I spent a weekend in October in 2007, in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park.  As serious foliage shooters know, timing is critical and also unpredictable.  But as a general rule, this is far enough south that we were probably early in the best of times.  2007 produced an unseasonably warm and dry fall and this weekend was no exception.  On of the images I was looking for was the layered sunset image with the mountains in the background.  It mostly eluded me.  But the image here illustrates that in a few weeks, the color in those mountains might be pretty spectacular.

Little Stony Man Outlook Shenandoah National Park, Virginia Copyright Andy Richards 2007

Little Stony Man Outlook
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Copyright Andy Richards 2007

In October of 2008, we had better luck, traveling to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to spend a week with my sister and brother in law, who acted as guides during our visit.  In addition to being on the grounds and photographing the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta (a color of a whole different kind), we traveled around other parts of the state.

Santa Fe National Forest New Mexico Copyright Andy Richards 2008

Santa Fe National Forest
New Mexico
Copyright Andy Richards 2008

Western foliage is very different from what I had experienced in the northeastern United States.  With a much higher percentage of Aspen Trees, mixed in with conifers, the foliage is golden yellow and orange, with only an occasional splash of redder color.  It is “Western Foliage.” :-)  I shot these Aspens, somewhere in the Santa Fe National Forest north of Sante Fe.

Santa Fe Ski Basin Santa Fe, New Mexico Copyright Andy Richards 2008

Santa Fe Ski Basin
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Copyright Andy Richards 2008

My favorite foliage spot was the Santa Fe Ski Basin.  We had gone to Taos and stayed overnight and it rained overnight.  In the higher elevations, that translated into snow!  I was elated.  We headed back to the ski basin, which tops at an elevation of 10,350 feet, and we were able to drive up the ski basin road and stop for several views with colorful (western) foliage in the foreground and snow up top.

Santa Fe Ski Basin Santa Fe, New Mexico Copyright Andy Richards 2008

Santa Fe Ski Basin
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Copyright Andy Richards 2008

My trip in 2011 to West Virginia, to photograph the famous Glade Creek Grist Mill in Babcock State Park, also yielded very good results, even though we again arrived at the tail end of the season.  You can see a substantial amount of leaf drop (due largely to torrential rains over a period of 2 days just prior to our arrival.

Glade Creek Gristmill Babcock State Park West Virginia Copyright Andy Richards 2011

Glade Creek Gristmill
Babcock State Park
West Virginia
Copyright Andy Richards 2011

There are some pretty great shooting opportunities in West Virginia.  My friend and mentor, James ____, believes West Virginia (and not Vermont or Michigan’s U.P. – though he was thoroughly impressed with the U.P.) is “god’s country” where fall foliage is concerned.  He might be right (but I will argue that he is not🙂 ).  I will, however, let you judge for yourselves, based on a very small sampling here.

Boley Lake; Babcock State Park, West Virginia Copyright Andy Richards 2011

Boley Lake; Babcock State Park, West Virginia
Copyright Andy Richards 2011

There are many more shooting options for fall foliage.  I have friends who have been to Alaska in September and the colors there tend to be along the ground – but are spectacular.  I have been to Yellowstone and and Jackson Hole in Wyoming, but not in the fall.  I have to believe the colors there are also spectacular in their own right.  Idaho and Utah also hold great interest for me.  And, I still want to get to Northern California when the grapevines turn sometime later in the fall.  I have my work cut out for me. 🙂.

The foregoing was a smattering of places I have been and have photographed; all places I can highly recommend, in addition to Vermont and Upper Michigan.  So get out there and shoot.  Somewhere.

Boley Lake, Babcock State Park; West Virginia Copyright Andy Richards 2011

Boley Lake, Babcock State Park; West Virginia
Copyright Andy Richards 2011

The Colorful Fall Foliage of Vermont

Vermont eBook

Vermont eBook

In 1965, Leslie Gore crooned “Its my Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To.”  Well.  Its my Blog and I’ll brag if I want to🙂.  Or Plug.  In 2012, I published my first e-Book:  Photographing Vermont’s Fall Foliage.

This book is a one-of-a-kind resource for photographers seeking guidance on how to find and get to some of the best photography opportunities in the world.

Craftsbury Common, Craftsbury, Vermont Copyright 2010 Andy Richards

Craftsbury Common, Craftsbury, Vermont
Copyright 2010 Andy Richards

Photographers, it is time (if not already too late) to plan your fall foliage trip and there is no better destination than Vermont, nor better shooting guide than Photographing Vermont’s Fall Foliage.  We are just a month away from September 15 and the beginning of the 2016 season!

Burton Hill Road Barton, Vermont Copyright 2010 Andy Richards

Burton Hill Road
Barton, Vermont
Copyright 2010 Andy Richards

I have traveled to Vermont during its foliage season (generally between September 15 and October 15) for many years.  I lived there for about 4 years back in the 1970s.  Returning in the 2000’s to photograph there, I was disappointed and surprised to find very little real useful information about shooting locations and conditions.  There are a number of very good books by some top-drawer professional photographers, but they seemed to either be designed primarily to showcase the writer’s own work, or to concentrate too narrowly on a geographic region, or type of image.

Lake Willoughby in Vermont's "Northeast Kingdom" Copyright Andy Richards 2010

Lake Willoughby in Vermont’s “Northeast Kingdom”
Copyright Andy Richards 2010

In the early years of my trips, I began to keep notes of not only the shooting conditions, but specific directions for locating the shooting vantage point, parking, and time of day considerations.  Over time this morphed from my personal notes, to a PDF document offered on my first website, to its culmination in the e-Book in 2012.  Due for a refresh in 2017, my friend, talented photographer, and sometime Vermont resident, Carol Smith, will be joining me as co-author.  We will be adding new destinations to the book (many of which she has found and shown me, including the Burton Hill Road farm shot above).

Grandview Farm Stowe, Vermont Copyright 2010 Andy Richards

Grandview Farm
Stowe, Vermont
Copyright 2010 Andy Richards

This Blog is designed to promote my book and to give a few examples of the near-unlimited photographic opportunities Vermont offers.

Waits River, Vermont Copyright Andy Richards 2005

Waits River, Vermont
Copyright Andy Richards 2005

There are a large number of barn scenes, and “New England” churches and villages to be photographed in Vermont.

Bragg Hill Road, Waitsfield, Vermont

Bragg Hill Road, Waitsfield, Vermont

Hillside Acres Farm, West Barnet, VT Copyright 2006 Andy Richards

Hillside Acres Farm, West Barnet, VT
Copyright 2006 Andy Richards

Stowe, Vermont Copyright Andy Richards 2005

Stowe, Vermont
Copyright Andy Richards 2005

The Village of East Orange, Vermont

The Village of East Orange, Vermont Copyright Andy Richards 2006

Windham County Courthouse, Newfane, Vermont

Windham County Courthouse, Newfane, Vermont

Vermont also has the distinction of being one of the states with the most wooden covered bridges (I believe it ranks third) in the U.S.  Many of these bridges are very photogenic.

Covered Bridge Cabot Plains Road, Cabot, VT Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Covered Bridge
Cabot Plains Road, Cabot, VT
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Dummerston Covered Bridge

Dummerston Covered Bridge Copyright Andy Richards 2010

Longley Covered Bridge Montgomery, VT Copyright Andy Richards 2005

Longley Covered Bridge
Montgomery, VT
Copyright Andy Richards 2005

COVERED BRIDGES NORTHFIELD VERMONT 100620100008

Bridge in a Bridge Copyright Andy Richards 2010

For Waterfallers, there are hundreds of great falls; many of them virtually unknown.  The mountain brooks and streams provide many exploring and shooting opportunities.

The Mad River Warren, Vermont Copyright Andy Richards 2016

The Mad River
Warren, Vermont
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Bartlett Falls, Bristol, Vermont: Getting a "just right" shutter speed in difficult, but dramatic lighting conditions makes this image unique

Bartlett Falls, Bristol, Vermont: Getting a “just right” shutter speed in difficult, but dramatic lighting conditions makes this image unique

This shot involved a pre-sunrise, 20 minute hike down a very steep mountain trail on a Sunday morning. I'd rather be here than in church any day! Copyright Andy Richards 2008

This shot involved a pre-sunrise, 20 minute hike down a very steep mountain trail on a Sunday morning. I’d rather be here than in church any day! Copyright Andy Richards 2008

There are also numerous small lakes and ponds creating reflection, cloud and atmospheric opportunities.

Noyes Pond Seyon Ranch State Park Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Noyes Pond
Seyon Ranch State Park
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Cool (32 degree) temperatures following a very wet period created wonderful steam and colorful morning cloud conditions on this pond near Barton, Vermont Copyright Andy Richards 2010

Cool (32 degree) temperatures following a very wet period created wonderful steam and colorful morning cloud conditions on this pond near Barton, Vermont
Copyright Andy Richards 2010

Vermont also has a large number of state parks and recreational facilities.

Noyes Pond Seyon Ranch State Park Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Noyes Pond
Seyon Ranch State Park
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Kettle Pond from Owl's Head Overlook

Kettle Pond from Owl’s Head Overlook; Copyright Andy Richards 2006

I hope you will visit the eBook page and go to your favorite online retailer (the book is available on Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble and Kobo, among others), and download this guideComments and reviews are very much welcome.  Hope to see you out there somewhere this fall!

Foliage; Michigan vs. New England

Photographing the U.P. eBook Copyright 2016 Andy Richards and Kerry Leibowitz

Photographing the U.P.
eBook
Copyright 2016 Andy Richards and Kerry Leibowitz

No, this is not a poll🙂. But it is about my Fall Foliage E-books.

Bookbaby_Cover_thumbnail
I want to use the next couple blogs as a blatant pitch for my books.  They are easy to download, and I truly believe, one-of a kind reference guides to two magical fall destinations for photographersJust click the cover shot above, or any of the hot-links in the body of this blog to go to the book page for direct links to the Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes & Noble versions of the e-Book.

Presque Isle River, Porcupine Mountain State Park; Michigan U.P. Copyright 1997 Andy Richards

Presque Isle River, Porcupine Mountain State Park; Michigan U.P.
Copyright 1997 Andy Richards

This is a blatant pitch for my 2 e-Books

I have been regaling (or perhaps boring🙂 ) you with shots from years past.  We are quickly closing in on the present, but at this point, I feel the urge to divert from that effort and talk about my favorite time of the year.  Fall is right around the corner.  And I want to use the next couple blogs to highlight what my 2 e-Books do to help photographers who want to visit arguably the 2 finest foliage destinations; Vermont and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Miner's Castle; Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Michigan U.P. Copyright 2012 Andy Richards

Miner’s Castle; Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Michigan U.P.
Copyright 2012 Andy Richards

Foliage is still a month and a half away.  But for shooters, that is right around the corner.  Many photographers who will be making a Fall Foliage Shooting Excursion probably already have plans made.  But some are just starting to firm them up.  I have been making trips for fall foliage photography for many years now, and most of my trips have been to the 2 above destinations.  My familiarity with them has made it possible to create two very useful resources for photographers wishing to visit these two wonderful destinations.  The books, “Photographing Vermont’s Fall Foliage“; and “Photographing Michigan’s U.P.“, are designed for photographers (though anyone would benefit from them if they just want to travel and view the foliage).  The books have directions to locations; tips for shooting vantage points; time of day and light conditions; and other relevant commentary about places, where warranted.  They are also abundantly illustrated with examples of the images photographers can expect to make.

Fayette State Park

Fayette State Park
Michigan U.P.
Copyright Andy Richards 2007

This week, I’ll showcase some of my best and favorite images of the U.P.  If you like what you see, please go to your favorite eBook provider (the books are on Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo, among others) and take a look at the book.  If you do purchase and download it, please review it.  We (me and my co-author, Kerry Leibowitz) are always open to comments and hoping to be able to make the next addition better.

SANDSTONE LEDGES LAKE SUPERIOR SHORELINE 042120120048

Sandstone Reef; Lake Superior Michigan U.P. Copyright Andy Richards 2012

The U.P. is a fairly small geographic space that is literally packed with photographic opportunities.  From “pure nature,” to more “travel” oriented subjects, there is something for everybody with a camera in hand, or just wanting to see the wonders of nature.

Pete's Lake Moon Set Hiawatha NF, Michigan U.P. Copyright 2012 Andy Richards

Pete’s Lake Moon Set
Hiawatha NF, Michigan U.P.
Copyright 2012 Andy Richards

The Hiawatha National Forest covers much of the middle of the U.P. and there are hundreds of small lakes which produce wonderful flat-water reflection opportunities and often great fog and cloud formations to boot.

Red Jack Lake; Hiawatha NF Michigan U.P. Copyright 2012 Andy Richards

Red Jack Lake; Hiawatha NF
Michigan U.P.
Copyright 2012 Andy Richards

Irwin Lake; Hiawatha NF Michigan U.P. Copyright 2012 Andy Richards

Irwin Lake; Hiawatha NF
Michigan U.P.
Copyright 2012 Andy Richards

Sunrise; Mocassin Lake Hiawatha NF Michigan U.P. Copyright 2012 Andy Richards

Sunrise; Mocassin Lake
Hiawatha NF
Michigan U.P.
Copyright 2012 Andy Richards

In addition to the detailed directions we give to many of the photographic opportunities in the U.P., you can just wander on your own, follow the next road, and see where it leads.

National Forest Road; Hiawatha NF Copyright 2012 Andy Richards

National Forest Road; Hiawatha NF
Copyright 2012 Andy Richards

For Waterfallers, the U.P. is a treasure trove.  As the peninsula is surrounded on 3 sides (duh — the definition of a peninsula🙂 ), there are many rivers and streams that start inland and empty into Lakes Superior and Michigan.

Eliot Falls, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Michigan U.P. Copyright 2009 Andy Richards

Eliot Falls, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Michigan U.P.
Copyright 2009 Andy Richards

Munising Falls Michigan U.P. Copyright Andy Richards 1997

Munising Falls
Michigan U.P.
Copyright Andy Richards 1997

Tahquamenon Falls Michigan U.P. Copyright Andy Richards 2004

Tahquamenon Falls
Michigan U.P.
Copyright Andy Richards 2004

Whitefish Falls Michigan U.P. Copyright Andy Richards 2007

Whitefish Falls
Michigan U.P.
Copyright Andy Richards 2007

The U.P. has for many years been a favorite destination for a number of well-known photo workshop leaders, including John and Barbara Gerlach, John Shaw and Moose Peterson, among others.  It is not unusual to run into some of these groups shooting almost anywhere you go in the U.P.

Photogaphers At Red Jack Lake Copyright 2012 Andy Richards

Photogaphers At Red Jack Lake
Copyright 2012 Andy Richards

Transient Light Photography Workshop October, 2012 Copyright 2012 Andy Richards

Transient Light Photography Workshop
October, 2012
Copyright 2012 Andy Richards

I hope this very small sampling will intrigue readers enough to wander over to the eBook page here and/or go to your favorite online retailer and download Photographing Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  There is virtually unlimited photographic opportunity there.  I have spent a lot of time in the U.P. (and in Vermont) and have put my familiarity with the area and conditions in writing with hopes that other photographers will find it the useful photographic guide that nobody else seems to have created.  There are certainly other very photogenic places in the U.S. and Canada to find great fall foliage.  I have photographed many of them.  And with that knowledge, I can still state with conviction that the Michigan U.P. is one of the two best!  Next week, the other “best” location; Vermont.  Hope to see you out there somewhere this fall!