The place that offered us the most spectacular color and even doubled it for us was at Willey House on the Saco River in New Hampshire. When the resident mallards weren’t paddling to the shore for a handout from a passerby and when the wind was not rippling the water, it was calm enough to provide a clear second look at the reflected colors on the shoreline. I still can’t get over the range of colors we saw.
The morning mist was aglow in the hillsides off Crawford Notch Road in New Hampshire one morning. We didn’t have to go far to get this view. We pulled over to the side of the highway and turned around. In a few minutes the mist had dissipated and the mystery of that moment was gone.
The Ammanoosuc River is a picturesque little river that seems to be off the beaten path. We turned onto Jefferson Notch Road (there are lots of notches in New Hampshire) and basically took over the road. As I recall, only one or two vehicles passed by us and we were there a couple of hours. At the bridge we used long exposures to make the water silky and seem even lazier. The river seemed to fit Hoagy Carmichael’s lyrics to his classic “Up a Lazy River.”
New Hampshire is the Granite State, after all. Many of the hillsides in the White Mountains were ablaze in glorious fall colors but the color was interrupted by large swaths of native granite where trees cannot grow. The white and gray streaks of rock seemed to make the fall colors even more brilliant.
The scenic and winding Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire parallels the Swift River for much of its length. At the river’s Lower Falls, a few of the maples were sporting their fiery orange-red autumn finery on a green and yellow backdrop of evergreens and birch.
The Albany Covered Bridge was first constructed in 1858 over the Swift River in New Hampshire. It carries automobile traffic today and it has been restored and rebuilt. However, it was originally built to accommodate hay wagons and its size is a “load of hay high and a load of hay wide.” Covered bridges were built to help the bridge itself last longer by protecting the road bed from harsh winter weather. New Hampshire has 54 covered bridges, all protected by state law. It takes patience to photograph this and other covered bridges in New Hampshire. I waited until no one was in sight to take this image. It was sometimes a long wait between clicks as there was a contrast stream of visitors and vehicles entering and existing the bridge.
Simply looking up can give you an entirely new and unexpected perspective on a scene. Using a wide angle lens and pointing the camera straight up reveals a unique symmetry in the forest. The tree trunks all appear to tip inward to a central point where the canopies of each tree meet. The colors mingle. Close down the lens and a starburst from the sun adds a finishing touch.
The breeze was stiff so the colorful leaves at Willey House on the Saco River in New Hampshire were shimmering too much to get good photographs of the fall colors. We ventured into the woods. The ground was strewn with decaying bark and leaves which made the perfect base for Waxy Cap mushrooms to thrive. These tiny fungi (less than an inch in diameter) were the most colorful thing on the ground as most of the red and gold leaves were still attached to their branches. They reminded me of the mushrooms in the China Dance in the Walt Disney classic Fantasia. I kneeled down and placed my Nikon Z6II with the Nikkor MC105mm macro lens on the ground. in front of me. I needed a small stick to elevate the lens to the right position and thankfully, the monitor pulls out so I didn’t have to scrunch my body down to see through the viewfinder. I decided to try focus shift shooting which in this environment was new to me since I’d only tried it indoors with a tripod. I took 20 shots to combine into this final image, not enough to get every part of the mushrooms in focus but I like the end result and the colors are a lively contrast to the brown compost beneath. I expected to hear strains from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite at any moment and for the mushrooms to leap and spin. It was Fantasia in the forest.
We called her Charlotte when we found her busily constructing a huge web between the posts of Covered Bridge No. 51 in Jackson, New Hampshire. When I realized the background was the fall colors on the banks of the Ellis River, I knew I had to photograph her. I used my Nikkor Z70-200MM lens to capture the intricacies of her legs and of the web as she spun concentric strands that connected the radial lines of the delicate silk.
As its name suggests, the Silver Cascade is a waterfall that cascades down a granite slope. It is like a silver thread visible in the midst of the tapestry of glorious autumn shades of gold and red and orange and yellow and green in the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. For all its striking beauty, you could miss it if you’re driving too fast. Unlike so many gorgeous places, this one is not a hidden gem. It is literally on the edge of Crawford Notch Road (US Route 302). If you’re not paying attention, you might not notice the cars parked on either side, or you might run down one of the visitors slowly ambling across the highway, or you might smash into the gawker in front of you slowing their vehicle to a crawl for a drive-by iPhone shot of the cascade. It is smart to pay attention when you’re in this neck of the woods, especially during the peak of fall color. It’s a sight you don’t want to miss.