Pond Overlook, Vermont, USA by Michael Blanchette

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Picture Story

Groton State Forest is among my favorite places to photograph in all of Vermont, situated in the Northeast region of the United States. The forest covers over 26,000 acres of mostly undeveloped land, featuring several pristine ponds that offer abundant photo opportunities.

A one-mile gravel road leads up to Owl’s Head Mountain. After hiking uphill on a rocky and at times challenging trail, you reach a spectacular overlook above Kettle Pond — one of the prettiest ponds in the entire region.

In autumn, Owl’s Head is a popular destination for morning photography as the sun lights the hills colored in a mix of yellow, orange, red, and green foliage. But we decided to come here at sunset instead to catch the scene backlit. From the vantage point of Owl’s head, the sun sets directly behind the pond in October. After studying several weather forecasts and satellite imagery, we decided to make the hike just before sunset in hopes of catching good color.

We were not disappointed. I’ve hiked up to Owl’s Head many times, but never had I experienced such dramatic clouds over Kettle Pond. After sunset, the sky turned to shades of yellow, orange, and pink. I used several colorful trees in the immediate foreground to frame the scene, as the vibrant sky mirrored nicely in the pond below. We photographed from sunset until twilight, hiking back down the trail with headlamps and a good deal of satisfaction.

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