New England autumn colors are legendary and famous throughout the world. The colorful fall foliage spectacle attracts leaf peepers and nature photographers and starts in the northern parts of Maine and Vermont and makes its way south into New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rode Island and Connecticut.
This year’s New England fall foliage forecast calls for an early and spectacular season. In this blog post, New England photographer’s guild members combined efforts and compiled some classic and hidden New England fall foliage hot spots and regions. The autumn photography images provide photo tips on how to, where to and when to photograph this special season. Don’t be shy – join us at the New England Photographer’s Guild on facebook.
Title: Chocorua Lake Reflection
Photographer: Liz Mackney
Location: Tamworth, New Hampshire
Time of day: 9:35 AM
Gear: Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-200mm
Camera Settings: ISO 200, 32mm, f/5.6, 1/500 sec.
Fine Art Prints: Liz Mackney Gallery
Background: Chocorua Lake in Tamworth, New Hampshire, is conveniently located on Rt. 16. Everything about this lake makes for an iconic New England fall foliage scene. I took this shot a couple of years ago in mid October at 9:35 a.m. The sun was high enough to pop the color and help cast a fantastic reflection. The patterned clouds were just enough to add both dimension and drama above and below the tree line.
One thing I really like about reflections are the optical illusions they can create. In this shot for example, the tall trees on the far right give the illusion that the image is not perfectly horizontal, but rather tips to the right. I assure you that is an illusion. The image is aligned correctly. The small trees on the far left, which are very far in the distance, further help to create the illusion. Mount Chocorua in the background also helps to trick the eye, as the mountain’s reflection in the lake appears to be moving towards you.
I’ve found that New England fall foliage is best to shoot early in the morning when the air is clean and clear, and the morning dew stills clings to the leaves. Color is often the most vibrant at this time of day.
Title: Reflections of Autumn
Photographer: Jeff Sinon
Location: Wildlife Pond, New Hampshire White Mountains
Time of day: Just after sunrise (the sun rises behind you as you face across the pond)
Gear: Canon 5D MkIII, Canon 17-40 lens, tripod
Camera Settings: 23mm, 1/15 sec, f/13, ISO 100
Fine Art Prints: Jeff Sinon Gallery
Background: From Rt 302 near Twin Mountain, take Zealand Road to the Sugarloaf Trail parking (on the right side of the road). Directly across the road pass the gate and follow the path a short distance until you see the sign for Wildlife Pond. The walk is short and flat, though is may be wet at times. One word of note, Zealand Road is closed during the winter which adds about a mile to the walk in to the pond. Lastly, after a visit to the pond, the easy to moderate hike up to North and Middle Sugarloaf mountains (Middle Sugarloaf is the tall peak in the center rising above the pond in the center of the frame) is well worth the effort. The New England fall foliage view out over the Zealand Valley are spectacular.
Title: Autumn Sunset over the Pioneer Valley
Photographer: John Burk
Location: Mount Sugarloaf, Deerfield, MA
Time of day: Evening, just before sunset
Gear: Canon t3i, 18-55 mm, tripod, polarizing filter
Camera Settings: 27mm, f/18, 1/3 second, ISO100
Wall Art Prints: John Burk Gallery
Background: Though just 650 feet high, Mount Sugarloaf is home to arguably the finest views of the Connecticut River along its 400-mile course. With its church and farm fields nestled beneath wooded ridges, the small town of Sunderland makes for a classic New England scene. The Connecticut Valley in western Massachusetts is an outstanding autumn destination, offering many attractions including scenic vistas from low mountains, pleasant hiking trails, farms with roadside stands and pumpkin patches, and small-town harvest festivals. Foliage generally peaks in late October, later than in the nearby Berkshire Hills because of the lower elevation.
Title: Presidentials from Lewis Pond Overlook
Photographer: Jim Block
Location: Lewis, Vermont
Time of day: Early afternoon
Gear: Nikon D300s with 28-300mm lens
Camera Settings: 55mm, f/14, 1/30 second, ISO200
Fine Art Print: Jim Block Gallery
Background: Lewis is the holy grail of the 251 Club of Vermont. It is located in the boreal Nulhegan Basin. It is well worth the effort to get to this area, but don’t expect to find a town. Note, the roads are closed in winter and early spring. This New England fall foliage view looks southeast to the mountains in the background that are the Presidentials of NH.
Title: Southern New England Fall Foliage
Photographer: Butch Lombardi
Location: Colt State Park Bristol, RI
Time of day: Early morning.
Gear: Canon 5D MK II, Canon 24-105 mm, Induro Carbon Fiber tripod. Manfroto Ball head
Camera Settings: 88mm, AP, 1/6 sec., ISO 200
Fine Art Prints: Butch Lombardi Gallery
Background: While Northern New England gets all the press come foliage season, Southern New England puts on a pretty good show also. Colt State Park (former estate Samuel Colt of Colt firearms fame) is a large bay side park in Bristol RI. This beautiful stand of maples is along the entrance road and it didn’t hurt that there was still some fog that hadn’t burned off yet. The date of this photo is Nov. 5, 2015. By this time Northern New England has pretty much gone to stick season but the color in Southern New England can last well into November.
Title: Sleepy Hollow Farm, Cirrus Sweep
Photographer: Kim Carpentier
Location: Pomfret, Vermont
Time of day: Midday.
Gear: Nikon D800, Nikkor 24-70 2.8 lens, Benro Carbon Fiber Tripod, VU Filter System with Sion Circular Polarizer, Lee .6 Hard Grad, angled
Camera Settings: 34mm, 1/15 sec., ISO 100, F/11
Photo Prints: Kim Carpentier Photography
Background: Bucolic farmstead of over 150 rolling acres in a dreamy backdrop of beautiful Fall foliage colors. Property formerly owned by Aerosmith’s Joe Perry. Last Fall was my very first time visiting this often-photographed farmscape located on a beautiful country lane in Pomfret, Vermont. While many New England fall foliage photographs exist of this beautiful place, that did not prevent me from capturing one for myself.
I particularly like the cirrus cloud formation in the sky on this particular day. And befittingly, this pastoral property is located on Cloudland Road! Tip – if you visit this property, especially in the Fall, you will not be alone. Not to worry, as there is still plenty of space to breathe any many different compositions available for you to scout out. However, all of your photo opportunities will be curbside, as this is private property and is gated.
Title: Autumn at the Falls
Photographer: Jonathan Steele
Location: Glen Road, Manchester, CT
Time of day: Afternoon, 3:48 pm
Photo Gear: Canon 6D, Canon 70-300mm 4.0 lens, tripod
Camera Settings: 4 sec., ISO 50, F/11
Photo Prints: Jonathan Steele Photography
Background: Case Mountain is a very popular hiking and mountain bike area in Central Connecticut. By the time autumn arrives in Connecticut the waterfall is usually down to just a trickle. For this New England fall foliage shot I was fortunate in that it had rained the night before and into the mid morning giving the waterfalls a nice water flow.
Title: Mount Katahdin Fall Colors in Maine
Photographer: Jeff Folger
Location: Katahdin Woods and Water National Monument National Park
Time of day: Midday
Photo Gear: Canon 50d, EF 24-105mm, polarizing filter, handheld on bridge
Camera Settings: 28mm, f/9, 1/800 second, ISO400
Purchase Photo Prints: VistaPhotography Gallery
Background: We traveled up the gold road (a logging road) in Maine that goes from Greenville to Katahdin Maine. This new National Monument is one of my bucket list items. The Native Americans called Katahdin the great mountain and even from a long way off it fills my lens. Katahdin is the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail and is located near a stretch known as the Hundred-Mile Wilderness.
Title: Glorious New England Fall Foliage Colors
Photographer: Juergen Roth
Location: Maine Acadia National Park
Time of day: Midday
Photo Gear: Canon 7d, EF 11-22mm, polarizing filter, handheld from
Camera Settings: 22mm, f/11, 1/60 second, ISO100
Photo Prints & Licensing: Juergen Roth Galleries
Background: Acadia National Park is located on Mount Desert Island in Maine and is about a 5 to 6 hour drive north of Boston. We love the outdoors and try to make the journey at least ones a year. Bar Harbor is a good base with easy access to the park. It also offers plenty of accommodation, restaurants, shops and entertainment. There are many photography hot spots along the Park Loop Road that offer grand sea views for exceptional seascape photography. The park road also provides easy access to autumn colors at Jordan Pond and Bubble Pond. Eagle Lake, Long Pond and Little Long Pond are great destination to capture unique fall images too. To fully experience fall foliage in Acadia I recommend easy to moderate hiking trails up to one of the many mountain peaks or biking the carriage roads through deep forests along ponds and waterfalls.
New England fall foliage peak colors vary each year. I was luckiest during the last week of September and beginning of October. I now always plan around this time of the fall season and keep checking local foliage forecasts online or in the news. Extra time should be planned into your itinerary for photographing some New England picturesque harbors and villages like Bar Harbor, Northeast Harbor, Bass Harbor, Bernard, Seal Harbor, and Southwest Harbor. Sunrise atop Cadillac Mountain is an experience year-round and not to be missed!
Make sure to bring a polarizing filter to minimize glare on leaves and boost color saturation. It is the one must have accessory for capturing glorious autumn scenery and make the colors pop. Other essential photo gear in my camera bag for photographing New England fall foliage are a variety of wide-angle and telephoto lenses, a neutral density filter to lengthen exposure times for those silky water effects in brooks and waterfalls, a set of split neutral density filter to balance dark foregrounds against the brighter skies at sunrise and sunset, sufficient battery power and memory cards. Good light and happy photo making!
Title: Autumn at Kenniston Farm
Photographer: John Vose
Location: West Cornwall, CT
Time of day: Afternoon
Photo Gear: Canon 6d, EF 24-105mm, polarizing filter, handheld on bridge
Camera Settings: 80mm, f/11, 1/2 second, ISO100
Photo Prints: John Vose Gallery
Background: The Kenniston Farm is located in West Cornwall, CT. This New England fall foliage image was taken in October in the late afternoon as a storm started to move in. Autumn is a great time to capture this picturesque Connecticut scenery especially when the fall foliage is peaking in vibrant colors and dark threatening skies are forming before an approaching storm.
Title: Maple in the Midst
Photographer: Tom Gaitley
Location: Trail to Houston Brook Falls, Pleasant Ridge, ME
Time of day: Late Afternoon
Photo Gear: Nikon D800 with Nikkor 16-35mm f/4.0 lens
Camera Settings: 16mm @ f/19, 0.5 second shutter speed, ISO 200
Buy a Print: Tom Gaitley Photography
Background: I noticed this lone maple leaf on the rocks in the middle of a tiny stream on my way to Houston Brook Falls near Pleasant Ridge, Maine. I enjoyed my waterfall photography shots but the serenity of this scene was more captivating. Sometimes it’s the image along the way that far exceeds the image that comes from my destination.
Title: Stumpfield Marsh Color
Photographer: Scott Snyder
Location: Hopkinton, NH
Time of day: Morning, 9:30 a.m.
Photo Gear: Canon 5d, EF 16-35mm, polarizing filter, tripod
Camera Settings: 35mm, f/10, 1/20 second, ISO100
Photo Prints: Scott Snyder Galleries
Background: One of my favorite local haunts, Stumpfield Marsh, turning on the color in mid October. I kept my daughter home from kindergarten this day to hunt up some color. We scored!
Title: Golden Peak
Photographer: Jeffrey Newcomer
Location: Chesterfield, NH
Time of day: Evening
Photo Gear: Canon 5D Mark IV, 24-105mm, polarizing filter, tripod
Camera Settings: 32mm, 1.3 seconds, f20, ISO 100
Wall Art Prints: Jeffrey Newcomer Galleries
Background: Roads End is one of my favorite local farms. I visit regularly and there is always something interesting to shoot. On this day, the evening light was shining perfectly through the autumn foliage, creating an electric golden light. I never cease to be amazed that I get to live in a place that can look like this.