Jim Salge Photography Blog

Images of New England captured in dramatic light and atmosphere

Decisions and Luck in Sugar Hill…

So much of landscape photography is being at the right place at the right time. Many point to luck as the reason a shot comes together, but you really have to make your own luck in order to get consistently good shots. Learning what lighting conditions are conducive for certain types of shots is a good start. Using weather forecasts to anticipate these conditions ups the odds. Knowing seasonal cycles at a location can make or break a scene. Put it all together, and then you rely on luck.

I was in Woodstock, Vermont last Friday, finishing a great shoot on some rare orchids, and was faced with a decision. Drive to Sugar Hill and gamble on a break in the showers to create some clouds at sunrise and possibly some low lying fog. Or stay local and shoot the Queechee Balloon festival, which was more of a sure thing. Ultimately, I ended up in the lupine fields.

I was the only one. The forecast scared off the other photographers, and the town was empty. I checked out the lupine conditions until dark, and planned my morning shoot for a variety of conditions.

Dawn was looking to be a bust. The showers had held off, but clouds choked much of the eastern horizon for the sunrise. I was packing up to move onto plan b, when I turned around and saw a brilliant rainbow in the west.

I raced to a spot I hoped would combine the rainbow with other intriguing elements, and couldn’t be happier with the scene I saw. It only lasted another minute or two after setting up, but it was all I needed, thanks to scouting, planning, anticipation, and yes…luck!

Sugar Hill Rainbow

Sugar Hill Rainbow

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