FALL FOG AT THE SHORE

I drove down to the shore house to enjoy it for one more night this year and then to drain its bodily fluids for winter.  What a pleasure driving down the island at 45 mph through blinking traffic lights.  No wonder the locals resent our summer arrival with its return of traffic lights and lower speed limits.   The sky was overcast with broken clouds so no dramatic sunset but it was pleasant to have a couple drinks in front of the gas logs as they brought the house from its winter thermostat setting of 50°.  The near-full moon asserted itself through the spotty clouds and I kicked myself for not having brought my long lens.

Later, a good dinner at the Engleside and a good night’s sleep which Pearl ended at 7:30.  Not bad.  The day seemed gray.  At first I thought the window was just dirty but when I cracked the sliding door I saw that the fog was on its way.

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Later it began to thicken up.

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At the boat landing, however, there was a bright spot.  These marigolds have dodged the frosts so far.  I wished them well.

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I enjoyed one of my favorite breakfasts at Fred’s Diner and learned that they’ll close in two more weeks.  They weren’t busy so we could chat a little. He said that Sandy’s waters a year ago reached the tops of his booth tables. That’s scary.  The town looks as though it has recovered and it has been functional but there are still closed shops and homes that are sad shells.  The town really closes down though I know that several merchants will stay open through Christmas, and a handful even beyond.  Uncle Will’s and Buckalews will continue as oases till next season.  My year round friends down there will survive though some will surreptitously slip away to Florida for a few weeks.

After breakfast the fog was becoming thicker so I set off down Bay avenue to Holgate.  On the way I passed these tidal ponds in the marshes.

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Further down at the end of Bay Avenue at the entrance to the wildlife refuge the foggy waves were more interesting.

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At this time of year pickups and vans are permitted to drive onto the refuge beach for fishing.  Here, one just passed me and another can be dimly seen ahead of it.

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A surf fisherman was working three rods in front of me.

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And this seagull was working the fisherman.

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VERMONT FOG AND FOLIAGE

My last photo trip to Vermont was four years ago.  The itch was itchy.  I googled Vermont photo tours and serendipitously found Kurt Budliger Photography offering an early October tour in the more northern part of the state.  This was appealing as I’ve done plenty of touring down in the Weston-Chester area and below.  Budliger’s landscape images have a dreamlike quality so it’s no surprise that he’s part of the Dreamscapes team which includes Ian Plant, Joe Rossbach, and Richard Bernabe, with all of whom I’ve enjoyed previous productive workshops.  So, into the saddle and off to the great northland.

Evening from the Sparrow Farm

Evening from the Sparrow Farm

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I joined eight others at a nice Comfort Inn in the countryside outside of Montpelier, which served as our base.  We left early each morning to see the sunrises that absolutely no one else had ever photographed.  They would be followed by some early morning scenes before the sun became too harsh.  Then back to the inn for lunch, a rest, and afternoon classwork before setting out again for sunsets and twilight photography.  The classroom emphasis was on composition ideas and post-processing.  I learned things in both categories. Deep sigh:  I keep thinking I know what I need to know but along comes someone like Kurt, and suddenly there’s a couple of those “Why didn’t that occur to me?” things.

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For me, the above was our best sunrise location (Marshfield Pond).  It was still quite gray when we got there and the fog was rolling in from the pond.  It was somewhat surreal; my mood was excited but in awe of what I was seeing.  I was so moved that I captured some video to better convey the mood.  (Please, no comments about watching grass grow; rather, think how you’d be feeling in such a setting.)

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Not all of our sunrises were so dramatic but they were at least peaceful, quieting, tranquil.  Here the boats await the day ahead on Seyon Pond.

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After our sunrise experiences we were guided to other locations to enjoy the scene as the day’s light evolved through the mists.  One such spot was Ricker Pond.

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I then hiked out on the above peninsula and was rewarded with lots of dewy spider webs.  I wish the leaf hadn’t been there or that I had pre-processed by snipping that twig but that’s nature.

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Just as we had early morning shoots, so did we have pre-sunset shoots on the way to a sunset location.  Among these was Moss Glen Falls on Route 100 north of Granville.  I had photographed this with Joe Rossbach in 2009 and had told Kurt that, having been there, I wasn’t keen on returning.  But, his workshop so back we went.  I was astounded at how large it had become as my four year old memory was of a rather unimpressive scene.  Wow!  I was glad we had returned to it.

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Sunsets were also lovely.  They induce mixed reactions.  One is the warm power of the scene.  Another is the primitive feeling of one’s own mortality: day is ending, darkness comes.  This image is of Lake Champlain from Oak Ledge just outside of Burlington.  It also brought back memories of piloting our rented houseboat on the lake years ago with my then two pre-teeners taking tricks at the wheel; of late afternoon anchoring and swimming, leaping from the roof of the boat; and cozying in for the night after a Marty Lou dinner.

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The glow from a sunset can also result in some powerful non-sky-sun images as in this case.  Note the rock alligator emerging at right from the grasses.  Careful!

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We finished the workshop on a hillside above Peacham, founded in 1776.  Here we are in the fog again, waiting for some sign of the valley, and photographing whatever appeared with some promise.

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It was here that I bid my new friends and colleagues goodbye.  On the way down the hillside, however, I passed the cattle on the farm below, ambling out to pasture in the mists.

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It was a splendid workshop, and I brought home some of the best images I’ve done in recent years.

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There is a gallery of these and many more images from the workshop.  It can be seen by clicking here.

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