The Misty Mountains

The trees and misty mountains during a summer afternoon in Pinkham Notch, NH. (Michael J. Clarke)
The trees and misty mountains during a summer afternoon in Pinkham Notch, NH. (Michael J. Clarke)

Crawford Notch includes some of the most rugged landscapes of New England, and they are easily some of the best photographic lands of the area. The Mount Washington area is known for it’s quickly changing and unpredictable weather, and even in the summertime it’s hard to tell exactly what the weather will bring or how quickly it might change.

I made this picture on a summer afternoon that included both rain and sunshine, and this moment captured the blending of both conditions as fog and storm clouds rolled through the valley while the sun broke through simultaneously and illuminated the green forests of the area.

Sabbaday Punchbowl

Inside the Sabbaday Falls Punchbowl - Waterville Valley, NH. (Michael J. Clarke)
Inside the Sabbaday Falls Punchbowl – Waterville Valley, NH. (Michael J. Clarke)

Punchbowls are a rare formation for waterfalls and there are only a handful of them across the entire United States. We are lucky to have an awesome example here in New England at the top tier of Sabbaday Falls in the Southern tier of The White Mountains.

Making this picture took a lot of careful planning and execution to capture the falls on a summer afternoon with the right flow of water at the falls. It’s a picture that I am very proud of as it captures the energy and history of the location and makes me think of the thousands of years of water flow that have carved this formation into the sculpted granite rock that serves as the foundation for the beautiful spot.

Square #4 – The Cascades

The Waterville Valley Cascades on a summer afternoon. (Michael J. Clarke)
The Waterville Valley Cascades on a summer afternoon. (Michael J. Clarke)

There are tranquil and incredible locations all throughout New Hampshires White Mountains region, and the Waterville Valley Cascades are no exception. Seen here on a warm summer afternoon, the rugged series of waterfalls meander through the rocky landscape with a sublime level of natural beauty.

Square #3 – Peak Foliage

Peak fall foliage in Harts Location, NH. (Michael J. Clarke)
Peak fall foliage in Harts Location, NH. (Michael J. Clarke)

This is the awesomeness of peak fall foliage in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. The season brings an explosion of color that is a delight to see and is in full swing during the magical month of October in New England.

Summer Water

Summertime is really a winning season at New England’s waterfalls, they are alive, green, and feel fresh in so many ways. I feel drawn to them for so many reasons, and I don’t think I will ever lose the captivating feeling of photographing liquid in motion. This one below is Crystal Cascade in New Hampshire’s Pinkham Notch, and it sits within one of the most mountainous areas of the New England landscape. It’s simply a gem.

Summertime trip to New Hampshires White Mountains. (Michael J. Clarke)
Crystal Cascade – Pinkham Notch, NH. (Michael J. Clarke)

Leaving Autumn Behind

Fall in New England is a magical time, when the trees fill with colorful hues the cascade into the landscape all around us. The transitional seasons are one of the elements of the area that make the area so unique, and we are lucky to witness seasonal change as striking as any area of the country. The seasons come and go with cyclical character, and even as we head into the winter months I always look back at autumn with a particular fondness. While the seasonal changes are quite apparent within Boston, it’s outside the city and within the landscape that the glorious color really shines.

Autumn colors at Silver Cascade in New Hampshires Crawford Notch. (Michael J. Clarke)
Autumn colors at Silver Cascade in New Hampshires Crawford Notch. (Michael J. Clarke)

Silver Cascade (seen above) was surrounded by glory this year as well as a plentiful supply of mountain water to keep the falls roaring. This trip was a particularly colorful one and I caught some of the foliage at its peak within one of my favorite locations of the area – Harts Location.

Colorful autumn foliage in Crawford Notch, NH. (Michael J. Clarke)
Colorful autumn foliage in Crawford Notch, NH. (Michael J. Clarke)

The mountains of New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont go through a drastic change during the autumn months, and people travel here from all around to witness the fireworks of the forests. I usually travel in search of interesting water formations, and in the fall months those locations are usually combined with colorful drama and make the photographic conditions really spectacular.

Moss Glen Falls during peak foliage season in Stowe, VT. (Michael J. Clarke)
Moss Glen Falls during peak foliage season in Stowe, VT. (Michael J. Clarke)

There is a particular beauty to be found at waterfalls during autumn, as they are both surrounded by the colors beside them but also within them as the fallen leaves scatter into the flow and formations making up the landscape features. It’s really breathtaking when the timing and weather conditions work out perfectly, and can be a photographic dream come true. While waterfalls are a focus that lead me into some of the remote places of the region, they often lead to other foliage views, and shining landscapes become something to smile about.

Trees glowing with fall foliage in Harts Location, NH. (Michael J. Clarke)
Trees glowing with fall foliage in Harts Location, NH. (Michael J. Clarke)

Snow is here to stay for right now, and brings a beauty of its own and also brings some time to look back at the autumn work and share our local colors with the world.

 

Sabbaday Falls

Over the past 2 years I have been working on one of my favorite personal artistic projects of my careers, Waterfalls of New England, which has since taken me all around the area to some of the more remote and distant hidden gems of the forest that many people never see or know of their existence. It has been a project more fulfilling and rewarding than I ever would have imagined going into it, and it’s one that I will talk about a whole lot more in upcoming posts. In some ways the project is a whole new venture, but in many ways its just a honing in and focus on many of my favorite subject elements to work on. As a photographer i’ve traveled a whole lot, mostly on commercial projects and sports assignments, but also on artistic ventures that have made seeing new places more rewarding and fulfilling than they ever would be otherwise.

One of the big things that shined through when starting this project and continues to resonate today is how thinking locally is often the based way to tackle pursuits within the art world. Sure there are more recognized places than the spots within the New England states, ones with more marvel and dramatic size, and sure there is a long list of places I hope to travel to and work within during the coming years, but I really have a fondness for chasing work in these areas because its home, its beautiful, and in many ways, New England does compete with anywhere in the world when it comes to artistic beauty. I like to think that knowing the area has given me an upper hand with knowing where to go and what to look for when making these pictures, and looking back at it now its certainly knowledge that pays off and grows over time.

Sabbaday Falls is a twisting waterfall formation along New Hampshires White Mountains region that is one of my favorites and was a starting point and launching pad for this project. The waterfall itself is simply beautiful, and is a rare formation and combination of features that is about as unique as anywhere in the world.

The lower cascade of Sabbaday Falls in New Hampshires White Mountains. (Michael J. Clarke)
The lower cascade of Sabbaday Falls in New Hampshires White Mountains. (Michael J. Clarke)

Resting along the middle of gorgeous Kancamangus Highway, the waterfall is a fairly short hike away from the road and it’s approach begins with the lower tier of the 3-section waterfall. Seen above, the lowest section is a roaring short cascade that flows between a carved rock canyon and into the pool and river below. It’s a stellar display of cut rock that has formed over many thousands of years of water ripping between the two seams of White Mountains granite. As pretty as the lower section is, the glory of Sabbaday lies ahead on the trail, as the next formations are seen after ascending about 30 feet up the cliffs where the top tiers come into view.

The Sabbaday Falls punchbowl and middle cascade in New Hampshires White Mountains region. (Michael J. Clarke)
The Sabbaday Falls punchbowl and middle cascade in New Hampshires White Mountains region. (Michael J. Clarke)

As you can see, the middle and upper sections of the waterfalls are both visually stunning as well as extremely unique within nature. The middle section of the waterfall is a 20+ foot expanding cascade, with a punchbowl pool above that forms the start of the formation. You can see some of the bridge construction build beside the waterfall in the overview, and it has been constructed with care and allows for awesome exploration of the scene without getting in the way of its beauty. As cool as the formation is as a whole, its the punchbowl at the top of Sabbaday that strikes me as one of its profound features. With careful safety considerations I have explored several of the plunges different views, and they are about as glorious as the natural world can be.

The upper punchbowl at Sabbaday Falls in New Hampshires White Mountains. (Michael J. Clarke)
The upper punchbowl at Sabbaday Falls in New Hampshires White Mountains. (Michael J. Clarke)

The view from inside the punchbowl is a stunner, and shows the jet of water that blasts from the river above and supplies all of the natural formations below. The punchbowl is an enclosed cavern with naturally carved walls and a deep and swirling pool that makes for a rare formation in these parts of the country, but really amongst the whole planet. This formation is what makes Sabbaday such a gem, and its one of my favorite natural studios to explore within and share with the world.