View from the Ledge, Woodbury, Vermont, USA by Michael Blanchette

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Picture Story

The state of Vermont is well known for its spectacular fall foliage colors. The tree variety includes maple, oak, cherry, and beech trees that exude vibrant red, yellow, and orange hues.

Nichols Pond is a reservoir located near the village of Woodbury, Vermont. A precarious stone perch lies on a cliff over the eastern tip of the pond, providing a birds-eye view of the pond and neighboring forest. But this is not a destination for the faint of heart as the little stone ledge hangs over a sheer drop of several hundred feet down to the forest floor. A negligent slip off that narrow shelf would no doubt be fatal.

In autumn, colorful trees encircle the reservoir on all sides. And on a lucky day, you may get a cloud reflection on the calm waters as an added benefit. Prior to taking this photo, I had hiked up to the overlook at both sunrise and sunset, but those initial attempts lacked the desired drama in the sky. On this occasion, I hiked back up for sunset accompanied by two photographer friends at the peak of autumn foliage color. Sunset itself was uneventful, but the clouds quickly picked up color once the sun had gone below the horizon, casting pleasant hues of yellow, orange, and pink onto the moving clouds.

I used a wide-angle lens (22mm on a full-frame camera) to capture as much of the forest as possible, while ratcheting up my ISO to 800 to halt the effect of a breeze against the trees. We hiked back down the primitive trail to our vehicles in the dark, pleased with the results.

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