Alex Mody Photography

The Archives

October 2011

  • North Carolina

    Autumn Foliage on the Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina, USA

    Before making my way out west to Arizona and Utah, I made a brief visit to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Having just had such great conditions in West Virgina, and wishing to squeeze what I can out of this (seemingly rare) stroke of good luck, I figured it would be a good idea to head down the Allegheny and into the Blue Ridge Mountains, in western North Carolina. Just as had been the case in West Virginia, most of the foliage reports proclaimed “past-peak” conditions for all of the the high country, yet conditions were incredible all over the region, save for the absolute highest elevations in the area. I think from this point forward, when planning autumn photo trips in the east, I will simply aim for mid to late season, and try my best to remember that many foliage reports or updates are just flat out wrong.


    Fall Fogliage II : Prints Available

    Anyhow, those of you familiar with photographing fall foliage may know just how magical it can be in a brilliant, autumn-hued forest on a foggy, misty, or drizzly day. I was lucky enough to have an entire day and a half of near-perfect conditions for photographing waterfalls and forest scenes; bright overcast skies, with a (usually) light mist falling from the clouds, patchy fog, and relatively calm winds. The bright overcast skies allowed me to keep my shutter speeds reasonably quick, while the precipitation brought water levels up considerably, and allowed my polarizer to do its job eliminating glare from wet and colorful leaves. On top of that, the intermittent pockets of fog provided an extra degree of dimension to many of the scenes I photographed, adding layers to otherwise flatter-feeling compositions.


    Autumn’s Boquet : Prints Available

    I finally made my first visit to the Glen Falls, a spot in the Nantahala National Forest that I have wanted to visit for years. I was initially a bit disappointed by this fallen tree, and the way the deep green rhododendrons had come in and choked out many of the other plants growing alongside this stream, but as soon as I looked through my viewfinder, and that light fog blew in, I was absolutely elated. Sometimes I can be such a baby!


    Autumn Glen : Prints Available

  • United States, West Virginia

    West Virginia Workshop Update

    10.18.11 | Permalink | 4 Comments

    The fall foliage this year in West Virginia’s Allegheny Highlands and Monongahela forest was absolutely amazing, though a bit earlier than usual. Many of the higher areas around Canaan Valley and Dolly Sods were already barren upon our arrival, we were able to find many amazing pockets of color in the lower elevations. We photographed mountain landscapes,  bountiful autumn foliage, and beautiful waterfalls, from sunrise to sunset for three full days, breaking only for the occasional omelet or nap.

    We were told by many that we had arrived to the area much “past peak” fall foliage, but we concluded that the ideas we have for “near peak,” “peak,” and “past peak” foliage are all a bunch of B.S., because great images can be made in any of these conditions, if you know where and how to look for them. These methods of describing the state of autumn foliage do little to tell one how things are actually looking, because they do not take into account the different species of trees, leaf drop variability on slopes facing different directions, intensity and type of color, or leaf drop in general. Take, for example, this stand of Beech pictured below. In what many would consider “peak” fall foliage conditions, these trees would all still be green. In addition, when “past peak,” many of the streams and waterfalls seem to look best since the majority of leaves have fallen from the trees, coating the wet rocks, and filling the streams and swirling eddies such as in this photo from 2008.

    I have quite a soft spot for West Virginia, as I spent quite a bit of time photographing there as I was just getting beginning with landscape photography. There is no other place in the Mid-Atlantic where mountains, sky, forests, and water come together in a truly “wild” place, and that is just what makes it so special. Many would argue that the autumn foliage in West Virginia can rival that of New England, and I agree, for the most part. I just wish I could have stayed longer. I miss it already, but there’s no time for that. I just got to North Carolina and it’s off to the desert in just a few days.


  • Vermont

    Fall Foliage Workshop in Vermont

    10.07.11 | Permalink | 8 Comments

    Despite the fact that Fall color has been quite rough this year in the Northeast (hurricane-force winds, catastrophic mold outbreaks, unfortunately high temperatures), the Vermont Workshop that I assisted Joe Rossbach with was a great success. Due to the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, the many road closures and washouts in South and Central Vermont forced us to move the workshop from Killington to Montpelier at the last second. Luckily, that allowed us much closer access to the Northeast Kingdom, which was coincidentally the area in Vermont with the “best” color this year.

    We made the most of our three days of shooting and scouting before the workshop, driving over 700 miles around the state in order to find areas that didn’t totally suck – and we were reasonably successful. We found some great pockets of color in the Northeast Kingdom, near Willoughby Lake, in the Groton Woods State Forest, around Noyes/Seyon Pond. Very surprisingly, areas around Smugglers Notch and the Green Mountains were, well, green. It was a weird year, for sure, but I am still very happy to have visited. I’m not sure when the next time I’ll be back East in the autumn will be, since I will be in school for at least the next three years, but I can’t wait until then.