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Friday, October 12, 2018

Moose Bog, Ferdinand VT

One of the most interesting adventures of my recent foliage trip to VT was a visit to Moose Bog. This is in a very remote area of the Northeast Kingdom of VT, not far from the Canadian border. It is located in a boreal forest ecosystem. Definition of a boreal forest ecosystem:

 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. A boreal ecosystem is an ecosystem with a subarctic climate in the Northern Hemisphere, roughly between latitude 50° to 70°N. 

  Boreal forests are also known as taiga, a Russian word which simply means swampy, moist forestBoreal forests are coniferous and contain large amounts of evergreen trees.
Boreal forests must withstand harsh conditions, which include long, frigid winters, and short, dry summers. Plants and tree species that inhabit boreal forests have adaptations that help them tolerate such adverse conditions.

This hike has been on my radar for approximately 5 years, ever since I saw a blog post written about this location by a bird photographer that I follow. This area is home to many different species of birds, as well as moose, black bear, and deer. To get to the Moose Bog Trail, follow Rte 105 North out of Island Pond for approximately 8-10 miles. Turn right onto a dirt road (South America Pond Rd) which has a sign that reads Wenlock Wildlife Preserve. Follow the road about 1/8 mile and park in the cut out on the right hand side with a trail head sign board. Follow the trail for about 1/2-3/4 of a mile and turn left downhill to reach the boardwalk that leads you to the bog.

The boardwalk:

The bog:

What interested me the most about this area was the interesting plants that we found I've never seen a Pitcher Plant before....a Pitcher Plant is a carniverous plant which have a prey trapping mechanism featuring a deep cavity filled with liquid.

Pitcher Plant:

I also found the moss that covers the forest floor to be very interesting. In some areas, the green moss was covered in a red moss like substance. I tried to identify it but had no luck. Here is a photo I took of it......please let me know the ID of this if you know what it is called:

Other areas had this bright yellow substance growing over the moss. My research helped me to identify this as Slime Mold.

From Wikipedia:
Slime mold or slime mould is an informal name given to several kinds of unrelated eukaryotic organisms that can live freely as single cells, but can aggregate together to form multicellular reproductive structures. Slime molds were formerly classified as fungi but are no longer considered part of that kingdom.

Speaking of fungi. we came across various types of mushrooms along the trail. I initially was not photographing the mushrooms, as they typically don't interest me. But as we got further along, it became apparent to me that this wasn't the regular mushrooms you see everyday in "the woods". This was something totally different and and I wanted to capture it with my camera. 

Most of the mushrooms I am having difficulty identifying, but this one was one I could ID.

The edible Wild Red Russula Mushroom:

No, we did not eat these! Also, notice the orange mushroom to the left.

Other red mushrooms:

Yellow Mushroom:

Purple Mushroom:

Brown Bracket Fungi (I think):

Honey Fungus (I think)

We never encountered any wildlife, although we did hear a large bird flying off a perch as we were on the trail.......never saw the bird but assuming it was either an owl or some type of hawk, as the wings were very loud in flight.
This was a great walk though nature and I thoroughly enjoyed it! It certainly wasn't the typical walk through the woods.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

May Pond and Windswept Farm Surprise

As mentioned in the previous blog post, the sun was elusive during this year's foliage trip to VT. One particular morning, we were on location at May Pond in Barton for a sunrise shoot. The sky was looking fantastic with a partial cloud cover that was reflecting in the still water of the pond.

It was shaping up to be a beautiful morning.....or so I thought. Within moments of taking the shot shown above, the wind kicked up and the beautiful reflections were gone, and the sky filled in with clouds which put an end to the plans of photographing the sun rise. This was time to switch to plan B. As we were milling around down at the pond, I looked uphill and noticed there were a few rays of first light that were hitting the farmhouse, sugarhouse, and maple tree above. I quickly turned my attention and camera in that direction, and the light only lasted for about 20 seconds.

First light:

We then drove up to the above farm and shot the pond below.

Adam, the owner of the farm came out to greet us, and as we were chatting, the sky to the West of us was turning dramatic with beams of strong sunlight shining on the distant hillsides. This was my "Vermont moment" of 2018. It was beautiful to see and capture with my camera, and as I was photographing the scene, I knew that these were going to be my favorite images of this Fall. Occasionally landscape photography can be a spiritual experience for me, and this was certainly one of those times. I was humbled, thankful, and felt a deep connection with God and my parents who have gone before me.

What I thought was going to be a disappointing morning (photographically) turned into an amazing experience at my favorite place in the World. Life is good!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Coffin Pond, Sugar Hill NH Fall Foliage

I'm back from a wonderful trip to Vermont to photograph the Fall foliage. I would rate this year's season up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont a solid B+. The colors of the foliage were excellent, and spectacular in a few spots. I would rate the colors an A-. The weather however really wasn't the best, and that's why I am rating this year as a B+. There was only one day of sunshine during my trip. It was disappointing not to have at least one night of clear skies, as I had planned on shooting the Milky Way, which was impossible to do with the cloud cover. Not complaining, as I know the weather could have been A LOT worse.

Here are a few photos of spectacular colors at Coffin Pond in NH. These were taken on a very overcast evening, about 30 minutes before sunset.

A wide angle shot using the Toikna 11-17 mm f2.8 lens.

Many more blog posts to follow in the next several days.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Early Fall Foliage Colors NEK Vermont

Last week I took a quick two and a half day trip up to my home in Barton VT to check out the foliage colors. I knew the colors would be early, and for the most part, they were. I did find some decent color ad it's only gotten better since then. I'm heading back up today and promise to have some pretty photos to share with you when I return.

Sunrise at May Pond in Barton

Overlooking May Pond there were a lot of reds and oranges beginning to emerge:

Colors coming along nicely along Rte 16 in Barton:

Early colors at Wheeler Pond:

Early colors at Long Pond in Westmore:

Early colors on Burke Mountain. I found this vantage point by walking along one of the many bike trails in East Burke. This location has a lot of promise and could possibly make it into the next edition of my ebook. Will try to go back to this spot late day this week to make a better photo.

Will be back to the blog next week when I return home. Have a wonderful long weekend.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Swamp Maples

Happy Autumn 2018!!!!

I shot these swamp maples yesterday along Rte 139 in Holbrook MA. The swamp maples are the first to turn each Fall. I hope you enjoy the beautiful gift of Autumn that Mother Nature provides us each year.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Photographing Vermont's Fall Foliage

As the Fall foliage season is just about upon us, I'd like to remind you about the book that I co-wrote with my good friend Andy Richards........Photographing Vermont's Fall Foliage......Where To Find The Iconic Shots.......2nd Edition

This e-book is a wonderful resource not only for photographers, but also for leaf peepers. We provide directions to some of the most beautiful locations in Vermont, usually with gps coordinates as well. We also tell you in most instances where to safely park your car and provide an example from each location taken by one of us.

This e-book is available to download on and the apple itunes bookstore. 

Cover photo taken by my co author, Andy Richards.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Sunflowers, Tangerini's Spring Street Farm

A few weeks ago I went back to Tangerini's Farm with some friends to photograph the sunflowers and have a delicious lunch. This visit the weather was not as hot as it was when I went with Miss J and the kids.

On this first photo I was able to catch a bee and a butterfly on one of the sunflowers....

Was happy to catch the butterfly in flight......

Unfortunately, the sunflowers were past bloom, so I needed to get creative with my shots, as the opportunity to shoot the sunflowers was minimal. I decided to slow down the shutter speed and zoom the lens as I clicked the shutter.

As always, it was a fun day and lunch was delicious.