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Title:  New England, USA 2010

Trip Type:   Family ‘fly-drive’ holiday with a bespoke itinerary booked through Kuoni .  Photography was not a priority but we clearly went with the intention of seeing the fall colours which would offer some photographic opportunities.

Outline Itinerary:  We flew in and out of Boston, driving first north into Maine before heading inland to the White Mountains, on to Lake Champlain, down past the Green Mountains to Rhode Island and Cape Cod and back to Boston.  We passed through the states of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine (just!), Vermont and Rhode Island.  2 weeks.

When:  October

Equipment:  D300/MD-10, Nikkors 70-200/2.8, 17-55/2.8, 12-24/4, TC-14E, Arca Swiss Z1 B&S head, Gitzo GT3540XLS, SB-800, polarizer and neutral grad filters

Photographic Highs and Lows: 

As this was a family holiday any photography would be a second priority.  Just driving through such a large and varied region at this time of year was however sure to throw up opportunities and, despite not being ‘a landscaper’, I took a small kit for such eventualities.  So everything was a bonus.

I found the changeable weather in the White Mountains to be very atmospheric for some of the pictures (though not ideal at times for a holiday!), certainly more atmospheric than clear blue sky although at times it was just a miserable white-out.

The weather was often grim.......

.......but often atmospheric........

..........and incredibly colourful

The one photographic aid that I found invaluable which I have not listed above was a sat-nav system.  This frees you from the distraction and time of navigating and if set to take you the shortest or scenic route rather than the quickest it will take you places off of the highways which you would otherwise detour.  Also if you decide to venture off route to explore a little it will also get you quickly back on track.  Map reading can be a great way to explore but I would not hesitate to hire a sat-nav again (in fact if I go back I will probably buy one with US maps before I go as they cost little and you can use it for subsequent trips).



One evening we were driving to our next destination when the sat-nav directed us off of the main road. We were approaching Belchertown but the lane we had taken took us into a small valley past a little lake lined with beautiful painted wooden houses. The sun was just setting and so the houses were switching on their lights and the reflection in the still lake was amazing. Not expecting to pass back that way, and being a big believer it taking opportunities as they present themselves whenever possible, I pulled over and fired a few quick frames before getting back on the road. These turned out to be some of my favorite shots of the trip and I would have loved to have spent a little more time there to get the cable release and mirror lock used. As things worked out we were back it the general area the next day and so I spent a little time looking for the lake but could not find it. I therefore drove out on the main road well past were would have turned off, activated the sat-nav to take us back to the same destination as the previous day and expected it to take us back via the same lake. It did not, this time it kept us on the main road and I never did find out where the lake was. This was a little disappointing but the mystery perhaps adds a little intrigue to the pictures…..

Misterious location found by the Sat Nav

 Other Comments: 

We had tried to time our trip with the peak of the fall colours (or should that be “colors” on a US trip?) and whilst there are many helpful sites and pieces of information on the web to supplement the guide books the exact details of the timings of the fall are often contradictory.  Our timing was therefore a mixture of a best guess combined with our, and the accommodations, availability.  I was a little concerned that we may miss the sweet spot timing wise.  What we actually found was that in some areas (mainly coastal) we were too early, in others such as the mountains we were a little too late and in yet others our timing was spot on.  The change in foliage colour starts first in the north of the region and those areas at relatively high attitude typically in September and advances south and to lower altitudes as the season progresses.   Therefore if you aim to cover a relatively large area from the coast heading inland and a variety of landscapes, you will surely see some colour at its peak.  Indeed, by covering such a large region you are very unlikely to see the optimum colours throughout you trip unless you start in the north and slowly move with the changing season.     

Driving around was very easy, as you would expect, and the locals were incredibly friendly and hospitable.  All in a very enjoyable holiday with the added bonus of some gentle relaxing photography too.




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