Jefferson, New Hampshire, USA by Michael Blanchette

Picture Story

The states of New Hampshire and Vermont in the United States are well known for their brilliant fall foliage colors. And since I live in New Hampshire, every October turns into a frenzied hunt to capture autumn colors across New England. This year, fall foliage peaked earlier than usual due to drought conditions we suffered over the summer months. So, I was already out by late September scouting for possible shooting locations in northern New England.

During the last full week in September, I drove up to scout the White Mountains in New Hampshire. When I arrived in the northern regions, it was clear that peak foliage had already arrived, and so my scouting trip quickly turned into a glorious day of photography.

As I drove over a remote railroad track near the town of Jefferson, New Hampshire, I glanced over my shoulder in time to see a bend in the tracks leading to a myriad of colorful trees sporting peak colors. It wasn’t long before I turned around, and drove back to capture the scene. The sky was mostly cloudy, with a filtered sun casting soft and even light onto the vibrant foliage. I find scenes like this evocative: an old railroad track leading to something more auspicious perhaps.

I set up my tripod low to emphasize the leading line of the tracks, and shot a “focus stack” consisting of six frames to ensure front-to-back sharpness in the resulting image. Seeing the rust on the rails, it was obvious that the tracks were unused, so I felt safe standing there. Sometimes, our better photos are those that are unplanned.

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