Location Candlewood Lake is Connecticut’s largest lake and one of the country’s largest man-made bodies of water. Nestled in the state’s western highlands and bordered by the towns of Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford and Sherman, the lake was created in 1928 when valleys were flooded to fuel a hydroelectric plant at the northeastern tip of the lake.
The main roads on the western shores don’t have as many places to view and photograph the lake up close when the leaves are on the trees;the drive along the eastern shores is better. Candlewood Lake Road affords stunning scenic views as you head toward the town of New Milford.
Weather Dress appropriately for the hot, humid summers, but don’t forget the rain gear as storms can quickly come upon the lake. New England autumns can be unpredictable, but temperatures generally stay mild into early November. Winters can bring arctic temperatures and strong, bitterly cold winds, so plan on keeping yourself warm by dressing accordingly.
Photo Experience There are 66 miles of shoreline with breathtaking vistas of the Litchfield Hills all around. One can find hidden coves and discover little islands that dot the lake. For island lovers, the area around Gerard’s Marina in New Milford won’t disappoint. Rent a boat at one of the marinas to gain unsurpassed access to the lake.
Be sure to bring along a sturdy tripod for the summer sunsets (as well as the gusty winter winds). The best front-row seats are around Brookfield Bay, where the lake is at its widest, for better panoramic views. Watch the sun disappear behind the Litchfield Hills—and just when you think the show is over, stay a while longer; it usually gets better. Most of the boats have left the lake, and a calm autumn day can be very serene, with the glow of red, gold and orange leaves reflecting on the lake. On a good day in winter, the lake waters can be exceptionally blue.
Additionally, a polarizer is worth using to cut the glare from the sun on the water. Bring a wide-angle lens for the panoramic views and a powerful telephoto lens, such as a 100-400mm, to capture the wildlife. And invest in a good map, as the lake has many forks and bays to investigate. You don’t want to miss any of it or get lost!
Best Times Summer is magical on Candlewood Lake, with its dramatic sunsets. Late June and July especially bring on nature’s glory in deep colors that will delight any outdoor photographer.
For bird-watchers, late June is an ideal time to photograph Canada geese goslings. Blue herons can be spotted all summer. And the winter months find bufflehead, mergansers, loons and swans on the lake in addition to the mallards and geese. The baby swans usually make their appearance in late fall.
Autumn is a colorful time of year to photograph the New England foliage, of course. Wind can prevail in fall, but the flutter of leaves in the air adds to the scene.
Essential Gear... On location, you can make backups of your image files on a portable device like the JOBO Spectator. The portable hard drive copies, stores and previews directly from your memory card. There’s support for CFI/CFII, SD, MS and MD memory cards, plus a 2.5-inch LCD color display for viewing in the field. The auto-verify function ensures safe data transfer. List Price: $249 (40 GB); $299 (80 GB); $379 (120 GB). Contact: JOBO AG, (734) 677-6989, www.jobo-usa.com.