Jim Salge Photography Blog

Images of New England captured in dramatic light and atmosphere

New Viewpoint in North Conway

I just returned from wandering around the mountains for a few days on my February break from school, and have a few posts to work through over the next few days. The conditions were never impressively dramatic, but I managed a few shots for the portfolio, and got a chance to work on my resolution to shoot more midday light.


The most exciting aspect of the trip wasn’t a shot, but instead a new opportunity for a grand-view landscape shot in North Conway. Many of you likely know the spot, heading north before you descend the last hill about a mile from the outlets, there’s a pull-off next to the Saco River. The view opens up over the river to the Moat Range, and on a clear day Mount Washington is centered over the river as it bends into the trees. I’ve seen some fantastic shots from here, but none newer than 10 years ago, as the trees on the bank have grown substantially into the view.

Viewpoint from Rt. 16 at the Pull-Off

Viewpoint from Rt. 16 at the Pull-Off

Still, I’ve tried to make it work. I kept thinking in a good snow year, the banks would be high enough to shoot over the trees. Wednesday morning I realized that nothing short of a bucket truck would do.


I looked behind me as I grew discouraged and realized that there was construction at the end of the pull-off, low and behold, they cleared a view!

I spent well over an hour exploring every angle of the new view, as the light changed from soft pink to harsh blue. The vantage has amazing potential, as the river curves and sweeps and leads the eye up to the snow-capped mountains.

Wide View from the New Vantage!

Wide View from the New Vantage!

I stress potential…as although I like my shots from here, since it’s so accessible, to really stand out above the crowd it’s gotta have punch…it’s gotta really be unique. So what will work in this location:

  1. Color…The middle ground is inherently dark here in winter, and you need a lot of reflection of early morning light off clouds to bathe the trees in a warm color. Add that to the water reflections, and a altocumulus sunrise would be a dream here.
  2. Cold: A frigid, below zero morning would likely line the shoreline trees with a hoarfrost, which would lighten up the middle ground substantially.
  3. Snowfall: A hanging snowfall would really balance the light in the shot…but it’s real tough to keep fresh snow in the trees and have Washington, which is in the clouds most of the winter anyway, in the clear.

After shooting for an hour, I found that the end of golden hour, with the light now reaching the river bank, to provide the most balance in the light with ‘normal’ conditions. A great shot…but I’ll be waiting for something on the list to increase the uniqueness factor here!  View it bigger here…

End of the Golden Hour Exploration Session

End of the Golden Hour Exploration Session

2 Responses to “New Viewpoint in North Conway”

  1. Bev R says:

    They are all beautiful, but the last one is stunning.

  2. [...] past weekend was by far the coldest weekend of the year so far, and I set out to ‘reshoot’ some scenes that I wasn’t ever happy with last year. The first was from an overlook in North [...]

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