For Photographers there are really 6 seasons in New England. Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall each holds special image making opportunities, but the challenging seasons are the other two. Between the glorious fall colors of October and the pristine beauty of winter lies November, or as we call it "stick season". Although I try to find photographic opportunities during this barren period, I typically spend my time working on the back-log of autumn images while praying for snow. We are now in that other transition season, which I think should be called "flowing water season". In March the buds begin to show, but the trees are every bit as bare as in November. What saves us is the spring run-off . Waterfalls that for much of the year display a trickling flow explode in glory during this brief period. We all grab our tripods and head out to catch the satiny pattern of flowing water taken in a long exposure. Water NEVER actually looks like that, but who cares!
I finally got out for a few hours yesterday for my end of season "Calendar Tour", circling through the region picking up money and unsold 2010 New England Reflections Calendars. We had a good year, selling over 700 Calendars to benefit the Pulmonary Rehabilitation at The Cheshire Medical Center in Keene, NH. Naturally I was looking for images along the way, but yesterday was a beautiful warm sunny day - it was terrible for flowing water. There are a number of ways to deal with harsh bright light. The first is to get up early and shot during the "golden hour". Unfortunately, since I knew I had to do my store rounds when the stores were actually open, I slept late. One of first places I stopped was in Mill Hollow. The old mill sits next to Camp Brook which drains from Lake Warren in Alstead, NH. The Brook was roaring, but the bright sun was right in my face creating terrible contrast. I grabbed a few miserable pictures, but then noticed a small wisp of cloud that was creeping toward the sun. After about 15 minutes the cloud veiled the light long enough for 3 quick images. The result was a workable shot. I then spent the next 45 minutes jumping from cloud to cloud before finally moving on. By the time I took the image along the brook in Gilsum there was no chance for a cloud reprieve. Here I was able to combine ISO of 100, f20 and a polarizer to slow the shutter to a water softening 1/10 second. The problem was that, with all that depth of field, the foreground tree tended to be lost in the sharply detailed background. In this case I used the bright light as a spotlight on the tree and darkened the background in post. It's not perfect, but what do you expect from crappy light. Let the water flow ! But a Little green will be nice too.