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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spring In New England

As the weather warms, the Northeast offers some of its most dramatic and colorful vistas

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Spruce Forest

Spruce Forest Near Stratton Pond, Green Mountains, Vermont

The Green Mountains are thickly forested and crisscrossed with a myriad of hiking trails, backcountry dirt roads and rushing streams to explore. In spring, I enjoy venturing into the woods, searching for compositions that feature the rich greens of spring that seem to peak from the middle of May to mid-June.

A shot like this fern-laden forest scene works best in even overcast light as long as you keep the sky out of the composition. I almost always use a polarizer in the woods to reduce glare on wet or waxy vegetation, allowing colors to pop. With low light in the forest and the use of a polarizer, I’m often faced with long exposure times, sometimes several minutes. I previously relied on my watch for timing these exposures, but now I use Canon’s TC-80N3 Timer Remote cable release, which allows me to set an exposure time of any length I choose. Nikon F100, AF Nikkor 28mm ƒ/2.8, Fujichrome Velvia 50, polarizer

Rhodora In Bloom, Acadia National Park, Maine
Wildflowers are abundant in Acadia in May and June, particularly on the shorelines of ponds, on the sides of the park’s carriage roads and in the sub-alpine meadows on the park’s granite domes. There’s also a cultivated wildflower garden in the park, and the wonderful zen landscape of the Asticou Azalea Garden is just outside of the park in Northeast Harbor. For my flower photography, I prefer to use a 100mm ƒ/2.8 macro lens. It’s bright, making it easy to compose my images. It also has a good working distance (about 12 inches for 1:1), which means I can shoot in dewy conditions without worrying about touching my lens to the wet surface of leaves and flowers, as often happens with a shorter focal length.

St. Elmo's Keep
Situated on an island in the Gulf of Maine, Acadia gets plenty of fog, mist and drizzle. For this photo of rhodora, I used a polarizer in the overcast light to saturate the colors. For some reason, my camera had trouble automatically setting the white balance, so I also photographed a white card in the same light and created a custom white balance later in Adobe Lightroom by using the eyedropper tool on the white card photo and applying the resulting white balance to this flower photo.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, Canon EF 100mm ƒ/2.8 Macro, polarizer
. Jerry Monkman has coauthored six books with his wife Marcy, most recently Wild Acadia. In the summer of 2008, he leads photo tours to Acadia and Western Ireland. For more information, visit www.jerryandmarcymonkman.com

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