Vermont, Dressed in Snow - The New York Times

Vermont is famous for its lush summer landscapes and postcard-worthy fall colors. But it’s the winter landscape of Green Mountain State...


Vermont is famous for its lush summer landscapes and postcard-worthy fall colors. But it’s the winter landscape of Green Mountain State that really piques my photographic eye.

The new snow transforms the dull hues of stick season into a whole new palette of photographic possibilities. Like a life-size Etch A Sketch, the landscape is continuously transformed by recurring snowfalls.

Fresh snow allows lone trees, hay bales, and empty pools to cast deeper shadows. He isolates and elevates mundane objects and presents them as if on display.

Seen from a drone’s perspective in the sky, blue shadows reveal themselves more easily. The snow acts as a vast diffuser, softening the light and softening the harsh shadows.

The snow also helps clarify and distil the essence of Vermont: a red barn, or the curve of a road through a snowy forest. In winter, the state becomes brighter, more elemental, more abstract.

As a photographer based in Vermont for 20 years, I am constantly on the lookout for places that could make compelling aerial photos. Sometimes I stop and look for places when I have more time; other times I will return to a promising location when the weather is more favourable.

Many times I’ve launched my drone in search of one thing, only to discover something else entirely – like a snow-covered farm tire bunk spotted returning from the Lemon Fair River in Cornwall at the end of a day of winter.

Taking photos with a drone in winter requires a combination of planning and luck. Because of the cold and the need to operate the remote control without gloves, I have to be quick, otherwise I might get frozen.

Some days I launch my drone from my home in Middlebury to capture a crystal clear sunrise over the city, knowing that if I drive elsewhere to launch the light will have changed.

From Middlebury, seat of Addison County, my excursions go in all directions, depending on where a mission or a hunch takes me. I could take the winding Route 125 to the yellow buildings of Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf campus, near where Robert Frost wrote many of his poems. On other days I will drive further east to the small village of Granvillewhere an iconic city office building stands sentinel along Route 100.

I love finding an excuse to cross the Appalachian Gap in Buels Gore to photograph the hairpin bends on Highway 17. Add snow and the transformation is almost magical, creating a wonderland of frosty textures.

AT Rock of Ages Granite Quarry in Graniteville, my drone peers into a snow-covered pit, alluding to the hard work and long history of Vermont’s stone industry. The calm of the snow contrasts with the noisier warm days when the quarry is at its busiest.

And yet I often stay close to home. After sunset, during the brief twilight window, I launch my drone into the cold air and seek new perspectives of the snow-capped village below, taking long-exposure shots, trying to keep the buildings focused and the headlights of blurred cars.

Soon, I know, the snow will melt, the maple sap will flow and spring will gradually make its appearance. Although I love to shoot in the warmer months, the Vermont winter remains my most inspiring muse.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Vermont, Dressed in Snow - The New York Times
Vermont, Dressed in Snow - The New York Times
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