Many years ago, I used to hike in the White Mountains with a group of friend. We did this each June. We called ourselves the June Hike Club. After about 10 years, I got more interested in the photography I was doing while on the hikes. Then, my tendency to get leg cramps made much of my hiking happen in the seat of a car.
I’ve had a long hiatus since those days, but this year, I managed to get this June thing going again. Instead of the Whites, we concentrated on the Greens…the Green Mountains of Vermont.
A good number of my previous images have included weird HDR techniques. I still do this and many of the following images use this technology. However, I’ve moved away from the weirdness. In fact, this sign photo has the most aggressive effects applied. It’s a bit Crayola Crayon colorful, but I find it interesting.
This sign is at the Jenne Farm in Reading, VT. This farm has been photographed by countless photographers over the years. It’s one of those iconic scenes from Vermont. I chose not to include an image of the farm because I really didn’t find one I liked.
We drove down to the Jenne farmhouse to buy some maple syrup and chatted with the owner. I asked him about how he gets along with photographers. He said he was OK with them for the most part. He doesn’t like it when his hay field gets trampled by the photographers because he doesn’t have the right kind of hay machine to scoop up the grass. On the other hand, he likes the contributions that the red box gets. (We made sure we put in some dollars…and we bought a half gallon of syrup between us.)
River Scene in Barnet, VT
In Barnet, VT, a small stream crosses under the bridge in the foreground in this scene. There is a nice waterfall here. I made some video captures for B-roll from that spot. I was intrigued by the scene in the background. I liked the silos and train tracks there. You can see the trains better in this next view.
RR Siding Scene in Barnet, VT
We had been battling cloudy weather most of the days we were in Vermont. We had to work with rain, too. As it turns out, I like photographing in the rain. But, it was mostly the nice clouds that made our photos interesting.
We were quite lucky because the clouds often cooperated by producing dramatic skies. Sometimes, rain clouds are just bleak and boring. This time, they were magical.
Clouds along Rt 2, VT
The clouds are from a grab shot I managed to get as we were driving. I shot this through tinted glass. I’m amazed it came out.
A lot of the time, we just stumbled upon interesting things. My brother, Art, spotted these bird houses and asked that we stop. He saw the front view of this collection but, as we were turning the car to get off the road, I opened my side door (both he and I were sitting in the back of the van). I took a liking to this haphazard display on the end of the stack. I raised my camera, made a photo, and forgot about the capture until much later. I liked it enough to punch up the colors and want to present it here.
When I saw Art’s images of the bird houses, I actually liked his version a bit more. We may be posting all of our images together in an online album. He may include it there.
Rock of Ages
We had planned to photograph covered bridges on this day, but we got sidetracked. We ended up in Barre, VT, and then later in Graniteville, which is nearby. That’s where you can find the Rock Of Ages quarry. I have the following photograph from that visit. There are so many nice shots one can make there on the tour they let you take. This was my favorite. I had to wait for the skies to open up and the sun to create the right kind of shadows on the rock face.
Rock of Ages Quarry in Graniteville, VT
The water here has an eerie color. Part of that comes from the fact that there is very little (or no) oxygen in the water. You can see similarly colored water in the lake photos in British Columbia. I don’t know why there’s no oxygen there. Here, I imagine it’s the quarry operation that contributes to this condition. Also, there’s a layer of granite dust in the water suspended about eight inches from the surface of the water. They use pneumatic drills to help cut the granite and the dust, itself, is a byproduct of this type of drill. It’s quite deadly when breathed, so they try not to do that anymore. They have to wash everything down with water for safety.
East Orange, VT
We ended up in East Orange, VT at one point. We drove along some dirt roads to get there (we spent a lot of time on dirt roads). The dirt roads in Vermont are very smooth and quite passable, much better than here in Massachusetts.
I really liked the church we found in this small community. We also found some interesting barns, an old house that looked like it was ready for recycling. My favorite view of the church is below. I also liked this barn that follows it.
We stopped at a few barns along the way throughout Vermont. Each photographer managed to get different and interesting views. I shot very few barn pictures, though. But, that’s just me.
Church in East Orange, VT
Barn in East Orange, VT
How to Find and Photograph the Photo-Scenics in Vermont
We had been following instructions from a booklet written by Arnold Kaplan about 20-30 years ago. It described the “tripod holes” in Vermont. These are scenics that are so popular, you could probably see the holes that countless photographers’ tripods make.
We were using the information in the booklet as a guide. We were curious about his recommended scenes. One of his recommended locations was Peacham, VT. He said that you had to find the general store in the center of the town, then follow a dirt road up a hill, find the right back yard, and ask someone’s permission to photograph the village. We never found the right yard, but managed to go back to the town to see what we could find on our own. We drove down an “interesting” road toward a cemetary. I managed to get this shot when someone in the group spotted a rainbow on our right side.
Rainbow and Water Supply Pond in Peacham, VT
I had followed my brother out along the road heading up to this field to get a different view of the rainbow. He stopped by a sign and telephone pole there. I wandered a bit further. I managed to find this fence in the foreground. I liked the composition. Later, at home, he liked my capture so much that he helped me work for over an hour doing all sorts of imaging manipulations to get this look. Thank you, Art!
On our first day, when we arrived in Woodsville, NH, where we spent our nights, we asked about covered bridges. We found out there were two nearby. The first was right in Woodsville. As we explored it, we encountered a light rain. I looked down at the water running below the bridge and I liked the reflection pattern and the raindrops. I thought I could get creative with it.
Later on, I also made a panoramic “photosynth” with my iPhone. You’ll need to download some software from the Photosynth site to be able to view this on your computer. (I’m guessing Mac and Windows only.) Check it out.
On our last day, we decided to concentrate on covered bridges and the Jenne Farm. Here are my bridges…
Covered Bridge near Tunbridge, VT
Moyley Bridge near Chelsea, VT
A word about poison ivy. On our last day, we were at one of the covered bridges in Thetford, VT. I was photographing YIG (Yellow Intel Guy) and placed him on the ground near some cascading water. I got down on the ground with him to get this closeup. That was a mistake. Apparently, there was poison ivy there, which I’m very allergic to. I now have arms and legs covered in itchy skin. Thankfully, I have a good supply of Calamine and Benadryl. (Here is a photosynth of that bridge.)
Here’s YIG-gie and proof of my dedication to the photographic arts…artists are supposed to suffer, aren’t they?
Click on YIG to see the June Hike team slideshow.