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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.


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!


Aug 27 2011

Falling Waters

The Falling Waters Trail in Franconia Notch State Park is home to a delightful collection of New Hampshire-Blend Water and Falls. The incredible variety of water features along this trail simply adds to its popularity. Waterfall enthusiasts and landscape photographers have quite a bit of incentive to discover this area, as the Dry Brook and the results of her labor are nothing short of spectacular. All of the significant water features along this trail are reached within a moderate 1-1.5 hour hike.

Take care to not forgo normal preparations; bring your water, food, first aid, and all the essentials. Along the way there are several rocky areas, two river crossings, and other challenges to be met. Do tread carefully, for your own safety and for the overall good of this incredible trail.

If you happen to be hiking off the Franconia Ridge on a hot summer day, descending along this trail offers an ultimate reprieve (almost better than a cold beverage)!

Here are five photos of the landscape and the waterfalls. But don’t just take my word for it. Get out there and check it out, because you are guaranteed to love discovering them yourself.

Cloudland

Cloudland

Gentle Feature in the Woods

Gentle Feature in the Woods

Swiftwater

Swiftwater

Stairs Falls

Stairs Falls

Humble Beginings of Autumn

Humble Beginings of Autumn

Some of these photos may reappear in my blog very soon, as Tropical Storm Irene’s deluge is bound to tempt me to make a return trip….

…until then, be well, hunker down, and do take care!