Photo galleries from our trip at the end of August.
Some of you will recall that in early September my father and I visited Katmai National Park on the southern coast of Alaska, as part of a Muench Photography Workshop focused on photographing the Coastal Brown Bears that feast on the annual salmon run along the southern coast. I wrote a summary of the trip – and posted a few teaser photos – shortly thereafter, but then became busy. Since then, I have struggled to find time to complete the work of selecting and editing a few photos out of the 8,000 shots I snapped during the trip. I finally finished. Read on!
I just joined the Nature First community, because I am impressed by their efforts to communicate about respect for nature while photographing nature. For more, I recommend their why Nature First page.
“The Nature First Principles were developed to help educate and guide both professional and recreational photographers in sustainable, minimal impact practices that will help preserve nature’s beautiful locations:”
Prioritize the well-being of nature over photography.
Educate yourself about the places you photograph.
Reflect on the possible impact of your actions.
Use discretion if sharing locations.
Know and follow rules and regulations.
Always follow Leave No Trace principles and strive to leave places better than you found them.
Actively promote and educate others about these principles.
I missed the first snowfall of the season. I left town on Tuesday night for a business trip to Chicago, and missed the 2″ snowfall that arrived on Wednesday morning. So today, back at home and waking to a brilliant blue-sky day, I was eager to get outdoors. Most of the snow had melted close to home, but we chose a short hike along the Appalachian Trail to the top of Holts Ledge – home of the Dartmouth Skiway. (Things looked very different when I visited seven weeks ago!) We didn’t have to climb far before reaching an elevation with consistent snowcover. It was shallow, and crunchy from several melt-freeze cycles, but it was a wonderful taste of the winter hikes to come!
We paused at the top to enjoy the southward views across the Upper Valley and toward Mounts Cardigan and Ascutney. We then strolled over to view the activity at the top of the Dartmouth Skiway, chatting with two fellows who were tinkering with the snowmaking equipment. Only three weeks to opening day!
Halfway down the Appalachian Trail we encountered one of those wondrous effects to be seen this time of year: needle ice, where some mud froze, causing the expanding ice to crystallize and push the mud upward into the air.
We were fortunate to have good weather when North America was treated to a full lunar eclipse this morning. It was expected to occur an hour or more before sunrise, as the moon set in the west. Using PhotoPills as a planning tool, I didn’t think I’d have a great view from my backyard, so I arranged to meet a colleague at a location on the Dartmouth campus – a location that has a great view to the west, with Dartmouth’s iconic Baker Tower in frame.
A gorgeous late-autumn hike to my favorite mountain.
There are days when it becomes essential to set aside the to-do list and head outside, and today was one of them: an unusually warm and sunny day for the end of October, an opportunity to climb (again) my favorite mountain, Mount Moosilauke, via an atypical route.
When I first moved to this region it was generally understood that gardeners should put their garden to bed for the winter around Labor Day, because one could expect a frost to kill off any remaining vegetables soon afterward. As four decades have passed, I’ve noticed the frost arriving later and later. This year, we didn’t even have a hint of frost until mid-October. Today was the first true frost, with the leaf-covered lawns thoroughly tinged with gray, and where one’s fingernail could scratch patterns in frost-covered railings or other wooden surfaces. The good news, at least, is that clear skies bring us warm sunny afternoons as well as frosty mornings!
This time of year, my head turns south… as the peak of fall foliage passes southward past our home, I look to the south for opportunities to hike. Today, I headed to Mount Sunapee state park. Although I’ve climbed Mount Sunapee before – sometimes in winter, when its summit is busy with skiers enjoying Sunapee ski area – today I decided to try a different trail, following the Sunapee Ragged Kearsarge Greenway trail from the western side. Although this route offers no views until the summit, the trail passes through hardwood forests that were at their absolute peak of color today. Enjoy the photo gallery! Here’s one teaser below – and a video that may give you a sense of what it was like.
I set out to do landscape photographs, but put it aside when I saw these two beauties.
Autumn is advancing quickly here in New Hampshire. Last weekend, I shared photos from a trail walk on the west side of Mount Moosilauke, where the fall foliage was accenting the beautiful cascades of Slide Brook. This weekend I had another occasion to head toward Moosilauke, so I brought my camera and stopped wherever the roadside foliage seemed photo-worthy. More trees were bare this week, but many colors were just as vibrant.
I pulled into the boat ramp at Lake Tarleton, thinking I might catch some nice views across the lake to the colorful hillside on the opposite side. As I stood on shore and surveyed the scene, my eyes popped when I spotted this lovely pair of mature bald eagles perched high on a snag overlooking the entire lake.
I spent nearly an hour here, exploring the shoreline for a better angle. The eagles sat quietly – except for one or two brief calls.
I experimented with some landscape photographs, went back to the eagles… then some more landscape, and back to the eagles. They were content on their perch, and remained there after I left. Beautiful scene!
Fall foliage has hit its peak color in many parts of the Upper Valley. I had limited time to get out into the woods this weekend, but had the opportunity to join some friends on a walk up the first mile of the Tunnel Brook Trail on the southwest side of Mount Moosilauke. Despite their hundreds of visits to Moosilauke over nearly four decades, they had never been on this trail – and I’d been here only once. Today, its trees were at the peak colors of leaf season… with beeches, birches, and maples reaching prime color and dusting the forest floor with colorful leaves. The trail follows Slide Brook as it cascades over the ancient, moss-covered rocks of Mount Moosilauke, so I stopped often to set up my tripod for long-exposure photographs. I’ve selected four for the gallery.
I am pleased – but in retrospect, have ideas about how I could have done better with exposure, composition, and editing. I’ll just need to go back!
I was out at sunset tonight, driving some of the back roads of Hanover and Lyme, New Hampshire… just to see what I might encounter. Many of the trees are at their peak fall color, and I thought I might find some interesting scenes during the late-afternoon glow. I headed out too late, though, and the sun had set on the interesting locations… but as I rolled along a dirt road I suddenly pulled to a stop when a huge yellow moon appeared over a grassy meadow.
I waded into the grass and attempted to capture the incredible beauty of this moment… but my photos can’t even come close. The chill of the fall evening was settling in fast, the fall foliage retained a bit of post-sunshine glow, the moon seemed extra-large, and the sky had that deep blue only possible at twilight. I had no tripod along, but managed some hand-held photos.
As a photographer the challenge was clear: my eyes have much greater dynamic range than the camera can capture. I was able to see and enjoy the colors of the fall foliage and the detail in the moon – but the camera could only expose properly for the foliage or the moon. I bracketed the exposure in hopes of an HDR merge later, at home… but I’m still learning the Canon R5 and bracketed via ISO and, duh, that was pointless. (The HDR photos were full of noise.)
I hopped back in the car and headed further along the dirt road, deeper into the forest, deeper into the night. Again I encountered something worthy of a sudden stop … a beautiful barred owl, perched perfectly on a branch beside the road. I could not wish for a better photographic pose… except that it was now so dark (even with my high beams focused on it) that every photo I took was more noise than owl. Someday… some day I will capture good photos of an owl!
Meanwhile, let’s enjoy the full moon. Technically, the full moon occurs tomorrow afternoon (around 4pm EDT on 9 October)… so we’ll have two nights of a moon that appears full.