Category Archives: Vermont

Barn on Route 100 in VT

The ride along rt. 100 in VT is one of the most scenic in the northeast. It’s very windy and you might get stuck behind an occasional slow moving car or truck, but it’s definitely worth the drive.

I believe this barn is in Pittsfield, but I took it back in 2009, before I started recording location info off the GPS, so I might be wrong on the town. I do remember it was just off the road to the right while traveling north on 100.

Vermont looks beautiful anytime of year, but it’s truly amazing in autumn!


The Round Barn in Autumn

The Round Barn on East Warren Rd. In Waitsfield, VT has always captured my attention. On this fall morning, I happened to be traveling on Common Rd., which runs higher on the mountain and offers up more expansive views of the Mad River Valley surrounding the barn. Everything came together perfectly for this image and I have always been pleased with result. I hope you like it too.


Blueberry Fog

In one of my early posts (Blueberry Lake Before Sunrise), I wrote how I usually stop at Blueberry Lake first during my early morning rides when in Vermont.

Back in August of 2008, the small lake alongside Plunkton Rd. in Warren, VT was almost completely hidden from view as I drove past it. The fog had come in thick overnight, but as I looked back at the lake, I noticed a little sunlight trying to peek through.

I turned the car around and hurried to the parking lot. As I setup my camera and tripod, I started to see some detail in the surrounding evergreens . The fog was lifting and I wouldn’t have much time before the beautiful scene would be gone forever.

I only clicked the shutter 3 times that morning (at the lake), but it was stretched out over a few minutes as I waited for the fog to roll in or out between each shot. Some days I have more patience than others when it comes to my trigger happy shutter finger; especially on a foggy day, when the scene can be drastically different with each click; but this morning drive was my last of five in a row that trip, so I was a little burnt out and had already snapped off a couple thousand shots during the week, so taking my time and trying to get it right in camera was an easy choice to make. I already had many hours of editing time in my future and didn’t feel like piling it on that day. The composition, along with the way the sunlight hit the trees, made this one my favorite of the three, and it still holds as one of my favorite images.

Blueberry Fog

Moss Glen Falls

Blog750_35b_20080812_0356On just about every vacation to Vermont, I have photographed Moss Glen Falls in Granville.  It is probably the most photographed waterfall in the state, so I try and get there early in the morning to beat the rush of people.  It also makes getting long exposures easier due to the lack of light reaching down into the valley that early.


Blog750_35c_20080809_0044-1-EditCloser to the parking area is Little Moss Glen Falls.  As the name suggests, it is smaller than the main falls, but it has a special beauty all its own.  Other than quick stops with the family on our way home, I like to really take my time finding new and unique ways to shoot both.


Moss Glen Falls – Granville, VT

While on one of our trips back in 2009, I wanted to photograph the falls in a way I hadn’t seen before.  Not an easy task considering how many images you’ll find if you simply do a Google image search for it.

So early in the morning, I headed to the falls and looked all over for something different to capture.  I took some traditional shots like so many others before me, but then decided to cut off the falls close to the bottom.  I tried a few different angles and vantage points before finding this one.  I knew right away I had something unique to anything I’ve seen, and more important than that, a beautiful version of my favorite waterfall.

Moss Glen Falls

Rays From Above


Days pass and we move on

Pain fades but never goes away

Legacies remain yet changed forever

Love carries on and so shall we


Walls protect yet they also hide

We care for others but at our own expense

It is OK to hurt and it’s OK to cry

I miss my friend and will never forget

Rays of Light

Sunrise from Common Road

I mentioned in the Blueberry Lake Before Sunrise post how much I love a particular drive and the lake was near the beginning of that drive.  There is a fork in the road a few miles up the road that always forces me to make a choice.  I can stay on East Warren Rd. or bear right onto Common Rd.  Both offer amazing views and there really is no wrong choice.  It usually comes down to which one I haven’t photographed in a while.


Sunrise from Common Road – Waitsfield, VT

Common Road won out on this late summer day in 2011 and as soon as I made the turn I knew I made the right choice.  I had passed this spot many times prior to this day and always thought it had the potential for nice early morning image, but on this day I wouldn’t continue driving by.  I pulled over quickly, hopped out of the car and was snapping off sets of photos in no time.

Sunrise from Common Road


Mad River Light

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.  We’ve all heard that saying before, but the question is, have you listened to that advice?  Sometimes I think I know better and give up, figuring it will save the wasted time.  It’s a toss-up between giving it (whatever it is) another try or listening to that other phrase I’ve heard before;  insanity is the repeating of something over and over again, expecting different results.


Mad River Light – Warren, VT

I learned a while ago to never expect the same results when it comes to photography.  Too many changing variables make it an impossible task, although it might be a fun experiment to attempt: Try and take the exact same photo on two separate days.  I doubt an exact match could happen, but it would be interesting to see how close the two could get.

By the end of my most recent trip to the Mad River Valley, I was beginning to wonder if getting mediocre results was all that I was going to get at this one particular spot that week.  I had been there  every day of the trip.  Sunrise, sunset, cloudy, sunny, and each night when I looked through the days captures, I would be disappointed with the results.  Not always bad, but just not the beautiful scenes I was seeing in person.  I was missing something and made it a goal to go back on my last day and figure it out.

I sat there for about 15 minutes, just looking around while remembering the photos that had come up short.  I knew I needed to showcase the light better for this scene, but until then I had missed what I was doing wrong and I concluded that it was nothing.  The cloudy days simply lacked the punch that the scene needed and the photos from the previous sunny days had way too much contrast in them to ever photograph well in one exposure.

It was about an hour prior to heading home from our summer vacation before I figured this out, so I was feeling a little embarrassed, but I was also glad I hadn’t given up.  There was still time to shoot and I probably had some good sets from the previous days to edit as well. They just needed some HDR and color work.

That was still unproven to me though and I wasn’t going to rely on speculation for what I knew could be a beautiful image, so I grabbed my gear, setup, and refocused on the same rock I had the previous 4 days.  This time, paying close attention to the histogram on the back of my camera to make sure I captured the full range of light.

Processing was done with the following applications and in the sequence listed: Lightroom; Photomatix; Lightroom; Photoshop; Lightroom; Nik Color Efex Pro; and Lightroom.  Not every image I work on is quite this involved, but you can see that Adobe Lightroom is the goto program in my workflow.  After every step of the process, I look at it in LR and almost always make a tweak or two.  When I’m finally happy, the image gets added to a fav collection where I can export it in just about any format I need. There are limits to everything of course and LR is no different.  That’s where the other programs come in. Cloning and masking are done in Photoshop. HDR processing is done in Photomatix, and color tweaking is done with the Nik product.   They are all just tools in box.  If the vision is there, the results will follow.   This image was one of the last from the trip, but it is very high on my list of memories from it and it proved again, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

I will add the before photos to the Facebook page soon if you want to see the transformation for yourself.

Mad River Light


Tomorrow I’ll have a “who to follow” and an image from Cape Cod.


Blueberry Lake Before Sunrise

Mad River Valley Vermont

I first started going to Vermont and the Mad River Valley about 13 years ago when my then-girlfriend and future wife invited me to her grandparents’ cabin in Warren.

It was at a time when I was still getting into photography and I was blown away at all the beauty everywhere we went.  I would go out every day and explore all of the roads In the area, trying to make mental notes of the ones I liked the best.  The next morning I would wake up early and head towards one of those places to photograph the early morning light.

We’ve gone back up to the cabin almost every year since. Some years we would take both a summer and a fall trip, getting two very different vacation and photo experiences.  The summer trips meant 4 a.m. wake up calls to be out for the early light, but also being back at the cabin just as the family is waking up.  I can sleep in till 5 in the fall, which may sound early, but that extra hour makes a big difference to me.
The location of the cabin is perfect!  It is a quick drive to route 100 for easy access north towards Stowe or south towards Rochester.  Most mornings, however; I prefer to take one of the most picturesque drives there is and the cabin sits right at the beginning.   Just over a mile down the road is one of my favorite spots and I don’t pass it up often. On every trip to Vermont, I end up with more photos of Blueberry Lake than any other location. The cool mountain air usually makes for low flying clouds along with steam rising as the water warms.  This means it really looks different every day, but almost always dramatic.


Blueberry Lake Before Sunrise

The problem with having such a beautiful spot so close to the cabin, is that I end up missing my intended locations quite often. I might get there, but it’s usually after the golden light is gone, so on our most recent trip this past summer, I made a point to get to my spots on time. As you can see in the “Mad River Morning” post, I was successful at least once.  In fact, I took this photo that same morning.
Instead of waiting for sunrise like I normally would, I decided to stop while it was still dark out and use long exposures to grab what little light there was.  This was my final shot before heading towards Moretown, but I was delayed again when I saw the fighting deer along route 100.  It was quite the morning!

Blueberry Lake Before Sunrise


This morning had some amazing fog. Actually. too thick for most of the morning, but as it started to lift I was able to capture some nice, moody photos.  I hope to have something to share later in the week.

Also…if you like this blog, stay up to date with post updates, links to other photographer’s pages and more on the After The 9 To 5 Facebook page.  Like it here.


Stars and Stripes Air Show

Photographing Motion

Photography usually means recording a scene the way it looks in the viewfinder, but when the subject is moving, some pretty cool effects can be achieved. We can crank up the shutter speed and really freeze the movement, or we can slow it down and allow the action to streak across the sensor. When I photograph water, I almost always go slow; creating silky smooth areas around sharp, stationary objects, but when I photographed a high speed boat race a few months ago, I shot at very high speeds — 1/1000th of second or faster most of the time. It stopped the movement completely and showed off the super high rooster tails left behind the boats.



Another option for capturing motion is to take the camera and follow along with the moving subject. If the camera remains moving at the exact speed of the subject while the shutter remains open, you can get some pretty amazing results. It isn’t easy however and it’s very humbling to get bad results over and over again.

Panning_bThe first time I tried panning, I think I took over 150 photos. I knew that the bike leg of a local triathlon would be coming through the area so I found a good, out of the way spot to set up my tripod. Then, one by one and sometime two by two, racers came flying by. Time after time, I produced a nice image of a blob. I eventually figured out that I needed to speed up the shutter a little, but even then, I only walked away with 4 or 5 decent images with the sharpest one shown at right.


Stars and Stripes Air Show – Warren, VT

A month later I went to an airshow with my family at Sugarbush Airfield in Warren, VT. I took many photos that day, but when this one red plane continued to do low flybys in front of us, I decided to tryout my recently practiced new skill. I only had 4 or 5 opportunities to get the shot, but when I zoomed in on the image on my camera, I was excited to see the plane in detail. Without the practice a month earlier, there’s no way I would have captured this shot.

Stars and Stripes Air Show


Tomorrow…Setting the mood.


Mad River Morning

A Quick Word About HDR Images

I will be doing a series on HDR imaging next month, but for today I want to just quickly mention my feelings on whether or not it is photography.  I have read some heated debates over the subject, and foolishly chimed in on a few.  I say foolishly because it doesn’t matter.  Let me repeat that in case I wasn’t clear.  It does not matter.  None of us take a photograph thinking about what someone will call it.  I hope not anyway.  And anyone admiring it doesn’t care whether or not some forum jockey living in his mother’s basement says it’s not a photograph.

I take the high road most of the time and call my final output an image.  It doesn’t matter whether I processed it using HDR or made a slight color change in Lightroom. It’s hard for anyone to fight the word image and it avoids having to deal with something that just doesn’t matter.  My end goal when I go out with my camera is to be able to come home and create an image I can call a work of art.


Mad River Morning

A few minutes after I snapped the photos of the deer fighting, I found this little pull-off on Rt. 100B in Moretown, VT.  This was a clear HDR image for me as the bright clouds from the rising sun would have forced me to choose between blown out (so bright there is no detail) highlights or very dark shadows.  This “image” is the wallpaper for one of my monitors at work.  I never wonder what to call it.

Mad River Morning


Tomorrow I go old school with one from the darkroom days.