Upon this rock

Large boulder with the back side of Sterling Mountain in the middle ground and Stowe ski area in the back ground with storm clouds. Mount Mansfield State Forest. Smugglers Notch, Vermont.


Yesterday I had the intention of hiking into this area to do some waterfall shooting but with the low water levels I switched to my second option and hiked up to the location in this image. This area is on the back side of Mount Mansfield which faces into the Smugglers Notch valley and  the camera position is right in the middle of a rather large rock slide area.  I only come up here once or twice a year as it is one of the more dangerous locations that I use and getting here requires about a 25 minute hike up a 45 degree slope with lots of loose rock and dense forest.

The risk is well worth the reward as you get a 180 degree view of the Smugglers Notch valley, Sterling Mountain, Mount Mansfield and the Stowe area beyond. I had the idea of getting some long exposures here with the beautiful storm clouds around but the sun coming in and out and the contrast of the valley floor made exposures quite difficult to lock down. I made some HDR brackets but decided in the end to have some fun, Pulling out my speedlight to do some off camera flash work.

The boulder in the right side of the image is huge! I could only get a small portion in the frame but this bad boy is large and in charge, Sitting precariously on the slope held back by some other boulders and loose rock underneath. I love how it has this point on the end pointing to the other mountains in the distance. I really wanted this boulder to pop out a little from the frame and I knew with my flash I could make the background drop out a little and darken it. The boulder was quite dark and I wanted to give it just a bit of illumination to make it stand out,  fortunately I had my 16 foot off camera shoe cord with me to make the shot! I shot fifty frames before I got the combination of clouds and dark background that I was looking for.

Image Data: ISO 100. 17mm. F11 @ 1/100. 16 foot off camera shoe cord and a Canon 430 ex 2 speedlight set to manual and full power.


11 thoughts on “Upon this rock

  1. Wow what a view. This is an incredible shot. You’re actually bringing back some memories. I did a hike up in these mountains many, many years ago and hiked up to Sterling Pond. Is that in the same general area?

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