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Photography and the East Coast Foliage

Photography and the East Coast Foliage
If you've never experienced New England in the Fall, you truly have missed one of nature's miracles. In fact, if you plan your trip well, you could travel from Vermont down to Virginia photographing the most magnificent pictures of the entire Eastern coast as they burst into a spectacular array of color. For this type of a journey, it's important to be prepared for all situations.
A camera backpack would be a good way to pack your equipment throughout the trip, since you may want to get off the beaten path to get some nature shots and the backpack provides convenience and ease of handling for these activities. Other bags or cases may work later in the trip, we'll talk about them when we get there.

The journey begins in the Green Mountains of Vermont just outside the quaint village of Stowe. The panoramic view from the window of your Bed and Breakfast takes your breath away. With your wide-angle or zoom lens, you can get some phenomenal shots of that color-blanketed mountain that would rival any postcard. It's time to pack up and hit the road if we're going to see all the foliage through to Virginia before the leaves start to fall.

Next stop, New Hampshire. A state that certainly can claim it's share of Autumn's beauty, there is a very stark contrast nestled between the White Mountains and Lake Winnipesaukee known as Center Sandwich. It's a very white town; with a white church, a white cemetery and a law that prohibits anyone from painting their house or any other building anything but white. Imagine how the color of fall must pop behind that little white town.

Either a bright blue sky with big puffy white clouds or one that is slightly overcast, not cloudy, would both be good conditions for shooting the brilliance of the leaves and the whiteness of the church steeple. Remember, when shooting your church, make sure it's off center to add dimension. This time you might consider setting up a fanny pack for your camera and accessories because our next destination...

...the Lancaster area of Pennsylvania, by way of the beautiful roads of upstate New York. Many awesome pictures can be taken when you get off the main highway and travel the back roads of New York on a crisp fall day. With a fanny pack, you'll have quick and easy access as you're pulling off to the side of the road to take those frequent shots you just can't pass up. If you're lucky, you may get some rain. The colors in the leaves take on a whole different life when they've been "washed" by a fresh rain.

Once in Lancaster, the photographic opportunities are abundant. The foliage is so brilliant it hurts your eyes, yellows, reds, oranges. There are many other interests in this wonderful area. It is home to a very private group of people who have become a great source of curiosity, mainly due to their traditional clothing and mode of transportation, horse and buggy. Even though it is tempting, since their religious beliefs prohibit recognizable photographs we need to respect them and not take their pictures.
What you will want to do is grab your camera backpack, take along your camera, lenses and a tripod in case you're fortunate enough to see some wildlife by the stream that's flowing under one of those 28 covered bridges that are still in existence in Lancaster County.

Finally, we end up in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia on the Washington Heritage Trail. Beginning in Martinsburg, the heart of the panhandle, which was laid out in 1773 and incorporated in 1778, we tour tree-lined streets with a wealth of architecturally historic buildings. Next we drive to Shepherdstown which is a colonial town with pre-1800 brick buildings rich in Civil War history. It's located on the Potomac River and the Potomac River Valley providing some of the most outstanding scenery to be found anywhere. Travelling south we come to Harper's Ferry, famous Civil War site and beautiful location offering panoramic view of the Shenandoah Valley. This is also part of the Appalachian Trail. Here you can walk the trails or do some serious hiking.

Take your camera case that can accommodate several lenses, you'll need them for this area. Your perspective lens to get the best shots possible of all the historic architecture, your macro lens for that wildflower close-up on the trail and your zoom lens for the incredible foliage down in the valley. To the west is Charles Town which was laid out in 1786 by Charles Washington, George Washington's brother. The original courthouse, dating back to 1836, where John Brown was tried and convicted for treason in 1859, still stands as an operating courthouse. We end our trip in Berkeley Springs, once known as Bath.
It was established by George Washington as the home of the country's first warm springs spa and offers a 4 acre village of thermal water baths, outdoor pools and a host of seasonal events that spotlight the area's natural beauty. Here we can take our final shots of the falling leaves and head over to the Bath House to enjoy a well deserved steam bath and massage.

A road trip like this just requires planning and organization. Since you'll be far from home, you want to make sure you have all the equipment you'll need to make your trip enjoyable and successful. A quality camera bag and or backpack is a must. A small case for the day trips that will only require minimal equipment is a good addition. Add to that a fanny pack and your camera cases are ready to be filled and loaded in your vehicle.
You'll want to make sure your bags are water resistant since you'll be hiking by streams and possibly encountering misty mornings in the fall foliage. And, as with anything, quality is worth the price. You want bags made of strong, durable material with heavy stitching and good padding that can hold up under the rigorous use of an active photographer.***

By: Suzanne VanDeGrift

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