You can't always get what you want

Since moving to New England, there’s a time of year I really cherish (and dread): Fall.  The leaves change to brilliant hues of red, orange, and yellow.  The air is crisp, the stars clear, and it’s still warm enough that you don’t have to carry a coat everywhere.  The farmer’s market is at its peak, playing chicken with the frost.

The dread is knowing what comes next, but for a few glorious weeks I try to ignore that inevitability.

Every year I head toward New Hampshire, and specifically the Kancamagus Highway to take some glorious fall photos.  It’s always a gamble, knowing when peak will occur.  In 2009 I hit it at perfection—deep reds, vibrant oranges.  It was the weekend before Columbus day, glorious peak perfection of the White Mountains in NH.

Peaking

Fall Peak 2009 in Groton State Park, VT

This year, not so much.  I gambled.  The weekend before the peak from last year, I had a sense I should head on over.  Things were starting to look nice, I wanted lots of time in NH this year (Even 2 full weekends), and there were tropical storm remnants rolling in later that week.  I feared it would drop all the leaves and stunt the peak.  I was right.  But in a moment of doubt and sheer exhaustion, decided to stay home that weekend.

Fudge.

Heading up on October 1st , my chosen weekend from 2009, I had a plan.  Three nights, head through Crawford Notch (the Northern Route in the Whites) over to Conway, and then back on the Kancamagus, the Southern Route.  As I meandered through Crawford Notch, the leaves were yellowy, browny, looking a bit pekid.  I hoped I was just too far North and The Kanc would be better.  I was hopeful heading down Bear Notch road, the crossover.  But, alas, the colors this year were more subtle, muted,—still pretty but in a less dazzling sort of way.  Lots of pale yellow.  Cozy.  Like a drizzly day curled up with a book and a cup of tea on the porch by the beach—nice, but not necessarily what you signed up for when you came to Florida.

Yellow Stream NH 2010

Kancamagus Fall 2010

The good news about this all is that is allowed me to be a little less frantic over the weekend.  Sleep in.  Loll about.  Not worry too much about whether I was missing an awesome grove of leaves around the bend, and get creative.  Spend more time concentrating on the few nice places & trees I found, rather than wanting to cover more ground, quite literally.  I had gone into the weekend wanting to get a couple of good abstract motion shots of fall, including especially one in red.  As it turns out, the conditions were quite nice for this.  The universe did provide what I needed.

Equinox

Equinox--a portrait of one red tree, my fave image from Fall 2010

A perfect weekend in the White Mountains, indeed.