Autumn in Vermont: Old Barns, Buildings, & Waterfalls

Vermont's charm for me lies in its small towns, gorgeous and varied landscape, and the old, abandoned houses and barns that can be found around various bends in the road. Of course, the many friendly Vermonters I've met play a huge part in that, but as a landscape photographer, it is these scenes that continually call me back to the Green Mountain State.

I arrived late Tuesday night, planning to be up for sunrise Wednesday morning. The weather had other plans, as rain overnight stuck around well into the morning. I headed out early, hoping the moody weather would bring something special to my images. The great conundrum for photographers is that overcast days will often allow autumn foliage to appear more brilliant since the light is not reflecting off the leaves as harshly, but the light itself is uninteresting and can leave the overall scenes looking flat.

When the weather is overcast with flat light, I will often divert to waterfalls. Waterfalls look best in overcast conditions, and Vermont has no shortage of gorgeous falls. I visited several, including Bingham Falls, pictured above, and Moss Glen Falls, both near Stowe. The overcast conditions gave me some soft light to work with, which is ideal at a waterfall where you want the water evenly lit for the best definition. Both falls were flowing very well due to the recent rains. There's nothing like the cool breeze in the forest, the scent of wet leaves on the ground, and the roar of a good waterfall to make you feel at peace with everything.


The overcast weather the first morning also allowed for moody shots like "Forgotten", an abandoned house I found on a back road in East Orange. And then things cleared up for me the next day when I visited Chittenden Mills in Jericho to photograph the Old Red Mill (above). I'd seen the usual angles but I was itching to do something a little different, so I climbed down into the slot and used an ultra wide angle to capture both the waterfall in front of the mill, and the mill itself, perched up on top of the gorge. The cherry on top for that image is the patch of blue sky that showed up on top to really bring some pop to the photo.

My favorite moment of the week happened Friday afternoon. Wednesday stayed overcast and drizzly most of the day, and Thursday started with a brilliant sunrise (see my "Autumn Sunrise in Peacham" image above) followed by a mix of sun and clouds. Friday was mostly cloudy but they were these gorgeous, dramatic cumulus clouds that could add a lot to a scene. The only problem was, they were making the light really flat and uninteresting.  I'd visited Hillside Acres Farm on Wednesday and came away a bit frustrated by the overcast weather, which made the scene look drab. On Friday, I decided to try again and hoped that at least the clouds would make the scene look better.  They did- in fact, they did even more than I could hope for!

I stood there for a bit, taking a photo here and there, but the light was still flat. I looked behind me, where the clouds were coming from, and saw a break coming.  I knew that if the break passed through the right spot, it would create some really dramatic light on the farm. So I waited. And hoped. And my patience was rewarded. Suddenly, this beautifully soft, warm sunlight broke through and bathed the hillside and valley beyond in its glow. The sunlight simply completed the scene, and completed my trip, letting it end on a high note.

Be sure to check out the rest of my Vermont images!