I've been lucky to spend the past month visiting my family in New Hampshire during New England's famous foliage season, which I'm rarely around for. This year has been particularly spectacular in terms of the bright reds and vibrant yellows the trees presented. The peak of foliage season in New England is rather short, lasting only about a week before the leaves start to dry up and become too weak to hold on through the Autumn winds. The peak week this year happened to be the same week I was flying to Colorado to work a show with Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness at Red Rocks, a legendary venue I've always wanted to experience.
The day before I was departing to Colorado I set out to the woods near my folks house to try and capture a great colorful image that would summarize my feeling for the Fall in New England, where I grew up. I was afraid that when I came back a week later all the foliage would be gone, so I suppose I was extra anxious to get one last good shot. Moments after snapping the picture above I noticed some fleeting sunlight shining through the trees fifty yards downriver. In a haste to catch the light in what I thought would be the perfect shot, I used hefty branch to counter balance myself while navigating the bank of the river. When I heard it crack and felt it start to give way I realized how poor of a decision I had made. The moment happened in slow motion, grabbing at the air while reaching for any other branch to keep me from plummeting backwards into about three feet of rushing water, with my prized camera hanging around my neck. I don't even recall the feeling of the cold water soaking my whole body, because all I could think about was saving my camera. Upon pulling myself out of the river, I immediately pulled the battery out and quickly unscrewed the UV filter to pour water out of the lens. I was absolutely horrified! Only three days later I was to be shooting a show at one of the most iconic venues in the world, and my camera was quite possibly ruined! I decided my best chance of saving my it was to bury it in rice for a few days, so I flew to Denver with a large ziploc bag filled with rice and my camera stuffed into my carry on bag with high hopes. Each day leading up to the show I pulled the camera out to find that it still contained water, until the fourth and final day, show day. I cant express how happy I was to have a dry, 100% working camera again, and just in time for the show!
Before heading back to my family in New Hampshire I stopped home in Nashville for a few days, and while I was there I happened to catch a few great shows. Relient K have become good friends of mine since working for them over the years as their backline tech, and they were in town for a tour stop at the historical Ryman Auditorium. They were a blast to shoot, and certainly a nice change of pace from shooting the same show every night for three months in a row!
I also had the opportunity to shoot Pretty Lights at Municipal Auditorium while home. Shooting a DJ was quite a different experience than I'm used to. The lighting design of the show was less focused on visually highlighting the musicians, but instead created an entire experience, incorporating lasers, strobes, and LED panels.
The following day I flew back to New Hampshire to spend the rest of October with my family. In my previous entry I wrote about my twin sister Jackie being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. She has made an almost complete recovery from the tumor surgery in her spine, though she is still dealing with numbness from her chest down, making walking difficult for her at times. She now has a treatment plan which includes three weeks of Radiation, followed by three cycles of Rituxan and Chemotherapy. The doctors are confident that she will make it to complete remission after her treatments, and they are also hopeful that she will regain the feeling from her chest down. She remains in incredible spirits, and its been a joy spending time with Jackie and her family while I've been home.
Jackies newborn son Kenton is growing so fast! He's able to make eye contact now, and even smiles, often in his sleep. A little personality is starting to form, Its been so fun to watch!
Although the best part of foliage season had passed, I was still able to make some colorful pictures that I feel capture the feeling of fall well. The shot below has an interesting story to it. Towards the end of my stay in New Hampshire I was feeling guilty, like I hadn't taken complete advantage of the awesome outdoors all around me. On a whim I threw my bike in the car and drove a few towns over to Dublin, New Hampshire, where there is a beautiful lake overlooked by Mt. Monadnock, the splendid mountain that the local region is named after. I like to climb the mountain whenever I can, but this visit I just couldn't find the time. So instead, on my last day in New Hampshire, I took a nice bike ride around the lake. I noticed an opening in an old stonewall that followed the treeline beside the dusty old road I was riding on. I was curious why this obvious break in the wall existed, because as far as I could tell there was only woods on the other side. I left my bike behind to explore, and I found what seemed to be a seldom traveled footpath. I followed it up a rather steep hill, though I lost the trail often and had to backtrack to find it repeatedly. Eventually I noticed the sun shining bright onto what appeared to be a large rock outcrop, and when I climbed up to it I was stunned at the view it offered!
As I was staring out at this spectacular view of Mt. Monadnock and Dublin lake, I wondered about all the people in the past who had enjoyed this hidden outlook, and what their experiences might have been. This spot had a wonderful energy, partly because it was so tucked away and difficult to find, especially if you're not looking for it! Later that same night I was at my grandparents house, and my grandmother had a pile of books she had pulled out of her closet. I found one from the 1930's that was sort of an advertisement to entice people living in big cities to move to the smaller towns in the Monadnock Region. It has a chapter on each town in the Monadnock area, each with a picture of its view of the mountain. I flipped through the book to the Dublin chapter, and my jaw dropped to see an almost identical picture and composition as the picture I had taken just hours before!
This photo from the 1930's was taken from the EXACT same spot I had just stumbled upon earlier that day, but 80 years prior! What a truly awesome coincidence! Though I'm sure they have long passed on, It really made me feel a connection to the photographer who many years ago stood in the same spot I had, enjoying the same wonderful panoramic view, only to compose a picture in the same way I did. How would they feel knowing almost 100 years later some guy would find a photo they made and really connect with it on this deep level? The idea that 100 years from now someone could stumble upon a photo I took and really appreciate it excites me! Photos truly have the ability to transcend time, and this was a great reminder of that for me, as well as motivational. I like to believe this occurrence was the universe telling me something... Maybe that I'm on the right track? Its encouraging at a time where I've been questioning my direction and progress with my photography.
There are many great antique shops all around my folks house in New Hampshire that I love to frequent when Im around. I found a super cool little range finder film camera that looks almost identical to my Fujifilm X100T. I bargained with the owner and paid $30 for it, and had a blast shooting with it. I really get a kick out of the difference of experience shooting film versus digital, and love the challenge film cameras present. Here are a few pictures I shot with it, mostly at my friend Chris Myott's house, and studio. He is a fantastic artist, check out his instagram if you get the chance.
I hope you have enjoyed this journal. I'm still trying to nail down a format and I'm always questioning the sort of content to include here. I have opened a comments section below, I'd love to hear any feedback you may have. My next project is making sense of thousands of pictures I took on a month long trip to Iceland, Copenhagen, Prague, the French-Italian Alps, and Paris in August. Please check back in a few weeks for a new post and possibly a few photo essays, as I have taken some of my very best pictures on the trip and I cant wait to get them on here! Here's a shot from the Alps...
Thanks for reading, see you soon!