Summit Photo of NH Homepage

Jan 27 2012

Best Images of 2011

Photography in the White Mountains is nothing short of incredible. While it may lack the authority and prestige of places like Yellowstone, I have found it to be the perfect place to connect with nature, with one’s inner artist and with a child-like sense of adventure; all at once. As a life-long Granite Stater, my connection to White Mountains is stark, and my memory is filled with scenes of hiking through deep woods and scaling ledges of granite. As a photographer, I am quite fortunate to be engaged in the creation of an enhanced record of those memories. With regard those meaningful recollections, I’ve decided to start an annual tradition where I look back on the year in hiking and in photography.

First, a short compendium of the year. 2011 started off normally enough with deep cold (I was out in -22 in Jefferson one morning), but seemed to stray off course from the normal weather patterns as the year went on. By the end of the summer, we faced Tropical Storm Irene which devastated homes, business, and hiking trails. Irene also set the tone for one of the most peculiar fall foliage seasons in recent memory. Autumn never really seemed to find its rhythm in the valleys, and one had to travel to the brutal Alpine Tundras to find deep colour. Soon after, winter made cameo appearances the day before Halloween and the day before Thanksgiving, each time dumping well over a foot of snow in some areas. After that, winter never seemed to completely show up in normal fashion. 2011 ended much drier than anyone could have expected, and stick-season (a term we photographers use to refer to the in-between seasons) seemed to never go away.

Despite the challenges there were pockets of brilliance that I was fortunate to be witness to. To that end, I’ve picked my ten eleven best photographs from the year to share with you one last time as we say hello to 2012!

Winters Dusk on Washington

Winter's Dusk on Washington

Presidential Alpenglow

Presidential Alpenglow

Chocorua Alpenglow

Chocorua Alpenglow

Cloudland Before Irene

Cloudland: Before Irene

Pemigewassett Sunset

Pemigewassett Sunset

glen ellis falls

Glen Ellis Falls

Tuckerman Mystique

Tuckerman Mystique

Ripley Falls

Ripley Falls

September Color and Clarity

September Color and Clarity

Thompson Falls

Autumn at Thompson Falls

Franconia Ridge Autumnal Sunset

Franconia Ridge Autumnal Sunset

Beyond a doubt, in photography (as with other aspects of life) it is an important and useful exercise to reflect back every now and then. Picking the best landscape photographs from the past year’s collection helps photographers to allow for the necessary time to feel good about their efforts and their results. This can then help to establish a baseline for the new year, and for new goals. I look forward to sharing more images and experiences with you as we dive right in to 2012.

Take care.

Nov 19 2011

5 Canvases on Sale for Black Friday!

This year, Gallery-Wrapped Canvases have become insanely popular! I truly believe that there is no better way to display great works of New Hampshire art than on canvas! Here’s a bit more information…

What is a gallery wrapped canvas?

    It is a high quality print on an artist’s canvas.
    The canvas is stretched over custom-made wood stretcher bars.
    It is available in any size with a depth of 1.5″ or 2.5″.

What’s so cool about gallery wrapped canvases?

    Canvases make a bold statement.
    They appear to float on your wall.
    They don’t need a frame; the structure is inside the art.

Here are FIVE canvases that I’m releasing for Black Friday Weekend starting on Wednesday the 23rd (read on, there’s MORE)!!:

Tuckerman Mystique

Living Room

Picture A Canvas In Your Space!

To order, simply click any of the images above, or feel free to email me directly and I’ll take care of everything for you!

Pro Tip: You’ll receive a 15% DISCOUNT if you enter the code ILOVENH at the checkout!! Now THAT is a heck of a deal! Specials start on Wednesday, November 23rd and are good through Sunday at 11:59pm (which ought to cover the Black Friday spread)!

Happy shopping, my fellow travelers!

Sep 23 2011

Alpine Autumn

This year’s harvest of fall color is proving a bit slow to develop, but dashes of auburn and gold are beginning to pop up here and there in New Hampshire’s White Mountain Region. “Peak foliage” may well be a week or two away but at a handful of locations within the State, autumn’s show is already nearly over. These locations are a small and desolate bunch, each with a unique assemblage of plants and geological features. They create a beauty so raw that it continually captivates those travelers who dare to traverse their isolated and bouldered footpaths. It is here, in the barren and limited expanses known as New Hampshire’s Alpine Zone, that fall takes on a whole new look, and an uncommon cadence.

Not all who travel to New Hampshire during the fall are aware of the exemplary splendors of New Hampshire’s unique Alpine Tundra. A small handful who frequent these hard-to-reach areas tend to know what to expect, and have come to love the Alpine Zone for what it has, and for what it lacks. Alpine Tundra in New Hampshire are limited to select areas atop the Presidential Range, the Franconia Ridge, Mount Moosilauke, and patches along Mount Guyot and Bondcliff. What defines these areas is a presence of unique soils and rare (and at times endangered) plant species; and a ubiquitous shortage of tree cover. The Tundra are relics of the last glacial period, suspended on high slopes where other species cannot survive the callous and unsheltered conditions.

Mount Lafayette

Hiker's Delight: Alpine Autumn on Lafayette

Hiking into the Alpine Zone, a notable transition occurs at the “entrance”. A change in both the type and the condition of trees is evident, as Krummholz formations tend to prevail, and hardwoods essentially disappear from the landscape. A more inexact set of observations notes that the rush of the wind, the chill in the air, and the predominant smell of spruce all add to the dramatic transition into the Alpine Zone. Just as the area above the treeline is a different world compositionally from the boreal forests below, so too is its cycle of seasons. Here, the winters come early and linger, and the other three seasons shift and truncate in compromise.

Usually by mid to late August, the sedge on Mount Washington begins to brown, and do so quickly; a sure sign that summer is on its way out. By September, the bunchberry is turning, and the “cushions” that flowers like diapensia (diapensia lapponica) grow in, begin to turn the color of a fine merlot. Places like Boott Spur on Mount Washington, and Little Haystack on the Franconia Ridge, transform almost without notice. Add to that the long, golden light of summer’s end and you have a rich and colorful medley unlike anything found in the valleys below. The show is short, tough to reach, and utterly spectacular.

Franconia Ridge: Alpine Autumn Sunset

Franconia Ridge: Alpine Autumn Sunset

New Hampshire is a major destination for foliage lovers, yet this is a side of the state’s autumnal show that remains unseen by many. Simply by learning about the unique above-timberline environments, one can find great joy and reward. It is an area worth appreciating, whether it be by literature, photographs, or in-person journeys. This year’s in-person show most certainly did not disappoint.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this brief look into the lesser-traveled height of autumn in New Hampshire. Alpine Autumn has a dramatic beauty that always serves as a stunning opener to the more classic fall show in the valleys. Much like admiring and reflecting on distant stars in the twilight sky, remember to look up at the rocky peaks as you make your way to the quintessential New Hampshire fall vistas. Take a moment to consider what grows up there, and how splendid it is.

Mount Washington

Boott Spur's Alpine Foliage Show

Take care.

Aug 31 2011

Falling Waters Follow Up: Post Irene

Last Saturday, in the final moments of ordinary weather leading up to Irene’s arrival, I took some time to enjoy the Falling Waters Trail in Franconia Notch. On Sunday, I hunkered down all day during the storm, and after seeing what Irene unleashed in my own front yard I simply could not resist a return trip to Falling Waters. I tried imagining what 13 inches of rain in one day’s time would do to the falls, and I was nothing short of astounded at what I found upon my return.

I made my way onto the trail bright and early today, arriving just as the White Mountain National Forest reopened after closing at 6pm on Saturday. I have been on this trail many times, and I know it well. As I walked along the familiar grounds dodging the usual roots and rocks, I enjoyed big breaths of cool morning air and the aroma of fresh spruce. After about one tenth of a mile, however, any semblance of familiarity disappeared and water was the obvious culprit. The landscape had been transformed, or rather, demolished, with uncompromising force. The Walker and Dry Brooks had clearly joined forces in their race from Irene, and they had surged through a space that was simply too small for their amalgamation. In places, an excess of two feet had been carved out of the existing trail. Roots were emergent from both sides of the trail, and boulders the size of dormitory refrigerators were strewn about.

I lumbered through the new landscape trying to conceptualize the force that caused this damage. There was no doubt in my mind that if anyone had been here during Irene, they would have met an ultimate sort of fate. A juggernaut was here.

Below are four pictures, taken of the same falls from my August 27th blogpost (link will open in new window for side-by-side comparision). The differences in the look and feel of the photos, when compared to their pre-Irene counterparts, is incredible. Keep in mind that these are not carbon-copy photos, but are instead similar compositions that lend themselves to an exhibition of the changes.

Cloudland Falls

Immense Water at Cloudland Falls After Tropical Storm Irene

Not So Gentle Feature

What Was Once a Gentle Feature...

Swiftwater Post-Irene

Swiftwater: Post-Irene

A New Look for Stairs Falls

Stairs Falls: Post Irene

Additionally, a short video composition is available on my YouTube Channel. Stop over and have a look if you wish to see this incredible amount of water in motion; in High-Def!

I’ll end with a tip of the hat to the US Forestry Services for announcing the day-and-a-half long closure of the White Mountain National Forest. After seeing the destruction on the trail, there is no doubt in my mind that lives were saved as a result of this precaution.

Until next time, happy trails and do take care!