This year I made a conscious effort to shoot fall colors here in Maryland. In my spare time I have driven many miles chasing the leaves of color, even driving as far as at least four to five hours away from my home. The problem is that here in the Mid-Atlantic the fall colors can be quite fickle. One day the colors are almost peak (which is not what I want), and the next they have peaked but by the time I get a chance to grab my gear and get out shooting, they are gone. Earlier last week I knew that the colors were almost here and had planned the following saturday for shooting. As the days went by I could see the colors get stronger and more vibrant. Then last thursday I happened to be on the phone with a client who actually lived in a part of the state where I was most excited to shoot, the western part of the state which is about three to four hours away. I told her of my plans for upcoming weekend, and she relayed to me the fact that the colors there had in fact peaked and moreover, the leaves were mostly gone from the trees. Even though I was not happy about this news, I was grateful because I at least would not waste gas and travel that far for nothing.
But now I had a new dilemma. Where now? I had no clue of where to go. I don’t like looking online for places because for me the whole idea is to get out, explore, and find my own way without being influenced by something I saw on the web. That’s when I realized that I had seen the week before when I was looking for fall colors a sign on the highway that read “Big Pool”. The sign was brown so I knew it was a state park. It is about an hour away from the house so at least if it was a bust, I could at turn around and go somewhere near home to more familiar places. Shooting in places that I knew was not an option that I was thrilled about. I really wanted someplace new. Then, that night after going to bed, I awakened by the heavy sound of a hard rain absolutely pummeling the tin roof on the side porch of my house right outside my bedroom window. I panicked as I knew that the heavier the rain, the more likely that I would be left with no leaves on the trees by the weekend.
By the time saturday came, I ate a hardy breakfast, grabbed my gear that I had packed the night before, jumped in my car and hit the highway. As I was driving further and further away from home I kept an eye on the landscape of trees as I flew up the highway. Things weren’t looking so good. The more I drove, the less the leaves were on the trees. Undaunted, I decided to stick to the plan and not bail on this project which my gut was telling me to do. I finally arrived at Big Pool which is actually a pond of water created for the C&O canal back in the nineteenth century. When I got out of the car I saw that not only were there hardly any leaves to be found, the pond itself looked dismal, almost dry. To say that I was unhappy was an understatement. I sulked about the situation for a few minutes and finally I thought “Enough!” “Get back in the car and find something else.” And that’s exactly what I did.
As I was leaving I saw an unmarked dirt road that headed into the woods. I followed the road for awhile looking for a spot to setup my camera and at least get something that I would be happy with. Before too long I realized the the road was coming to an end I would have to turn around and go home. However, right when I reached the end of the road I found myself in a clearing that paralleled a river. I got out of my car to scout the location and saw that not only was this a good spot, but all the trees along this part of the river still had their leaves and were in full color. I could not have been happier. I set up shop along the banks of the river and snapped away. After about five minutes I had what I needed, so I got in my car and left. This put me in such a great mood that it emboldened me to explore three more parks that I had never been to before on my way home and needless to say, things were just as successful at these places as it was at Big Pool. Seven hours later I finally made it home with enough fall photos to last me until next year. Pics from the other parks will be posted later.
Canon 5D mark II, EF 50 1.2 L, ISO 800, 1/125 @ f/8