Sometimes what You’re Looking for is Right Under Your Nose

A freak October snow storm a few weeks back dropped over half a foot of heavy wet snow across the Northeast. Saturday afternoon and evening were punctuated by sharp cracks as over weighted branches buckled under the strain of the heavy snow accumulating on limbs still covered by leaves.  I felt this would be a great environment to make striking images combining colorful fall leaves set against a bright white snowy background.

I had two locations in mind as I headed out the door that snowy Sunday morning. The first was “The Bedford Oak”. This is a majestic 500+ year old tree that, when I scouted it the day before was covered with turning leaves. In my minds eye I could see the branches covered in snow and looking very surreal. I was also concerned a bit about the weight of all that snow on those branches. Unfortunately as it turned out downed trees and power lines blocked several of the approaches I tried forcing me to turn my attention to my second target of the morning.

I‘ve photographed this trestle several times and made this image in the fall of 2009. It was one of those chilly November mornings we get in the Northeast where there is frost on the ground and a heavy mist hangs in the air and lingers until the rising sun burns it all away.

I had been watching those trees for several weeks hoping to catch them at peak color. The combination of the bright fall color, the strong earth tones of the bridge and the mystery of the mist all combine to make this one of my favorite images.


So my initial thinking was that snow would add a very different dynamic to the location and possibly  make for a totally different image of the abandoned railroad right of way. (the trestle is located just west of the Goldens Bridge Metro North Railway station RT 138 Goldens Bridge New York)

When I got to the spot I realized right away reality was not going to match the scene I had in my head. I worked the location a bit trying different perspectives (high/low, super wide to telephoto)  and while I’m pleased with several of the images nothing really came close to my original vision. A bit disappointed I headed home to my waiting shovel and cold dark house (no heat or electricity).


Fortunately we regained our power early that evening  and when I processed the mornings images I had all but forgotten the first set of images of the day were right in my own back yard.

This was exactly the type of shot I’d been anticipating! I had completely forgotten about the bench and tree after I headed down the driveway chasing the images I had in my mind.Thinking about it now, I know the scene appealed to me as I walked out the door or I would not have taken the shot but it was overshadowed by my preconception of exactly what I was going to photograph. This is a trait I struggle against all the time –  It’s very important for me to not to limit myself  and truly recognize what’s right in front of me. Fortunately this time I did.

This entry was posted in Blog Post, Photo Locations.


  1. Scott November 22, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    Love the blog, Tom. Your writing is informing and sharing — a great combination. I think we all know that disappointment of the shot in our head not materializing and the OMG awesome shots we spontaneously take without much thought. Scott

  2. Ed Burrell November 29, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    You have a great eye for photography, Moose. Keep going.

    • Tom November 29, 2011 at 11:41 am #

      Thanks Ed – much appreciated!

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