I spent last weekend in NH searching for good fall foliage and a few waterfalls to photograph. While it was a great experience with some good photos, the day also provided many lessons you can learn from. I will pass them along in this and future blog posts.
Yankee Magazine said that foliage was a week or two behind given the warm September air, so I knew the colors may not be their best. They have a great website which includes a “live” foliage map, telling you the conditions before you plan a trip. I highly recommend checking it out here -http://www.yankeefoliage.com/drives/index.php
The original plan was to drive up to the White Mountains on Saturday and spend much of the day shooting foliage. Heading up, the weather was not in my favor. I left to sunny skies but as I approached the mountains, it became cloudy and COLD! Temps were only reaching the high 30’s. Once I got close to my desired spot to look for trees and color, the clouds rolled in and it was drizzle on and off. I decided to stop at the Flume Gorge for a bit to reassess what I was going to do.
Lesson 1: Clothing
When I left my house, the temps were in the low 40’s but when I got the mountains it had changed drastically. Was I prepared? Nope. Always check the forecast of where you are going BEFORE you leave. You may require more clothing than you think. Going forward, a waterproof jacket and additional sweatshirt will be packed.
Shoes – Trails are often wet and muddy. Plus if you are shooting water (streams, rivers, ocean) you may have to get into the water (I did and it was FREEZING). Waterproof boots and/or hiking boots are highly recommended. Sneakers don’t provide enough traction on slick trails. The last thing you want to do is damage yourself or your gear when you are miles from home.
Lesson 2: Be flexible
Sometimes the colors are bright, the sun isn’t out or the object you desire to photograph is missing, closed or under construction. Don’t pack up the car and head home! Instead look for other things you can shoot. When I got to the Flume Gorge, it was overcast and the colors were dull. But as I started walking along a trail, I found a stream that had a lot of rocks. This presented many opportunities to shot “mini waterfalls.” So, I spent about two hours shooting from various angles and views. Got some good photos and by the time I was done, the sun came back out.
These are the first two lessons I learned with more to come. Check back soon for another post.