It’s kind of like an addiction for photographers; always yearning for more, never seeming to get enough of it. Last weekend in Bennington County I was fortunate to find myself in two beautiful places for both the evening and morning sweet light.
I booked my overnight trip to Bennington sort of at the last minute at the point where I had enough visibility on the weekend weather forecast; a mix of sun and clouds with a chance of isolated thunderstorms. Perfect.
Saturday morning brings crystal clear skies though, so I don’t rush. Instead, I leave Randolph mid afternoon so I can arrive by late afternoon, check into my room, and then spend the early evening exploring some of the outer towns of my intended route. I planned to rise early Sunday morning to photograph Bennington before the streets are crowded with vehicles and pedestrians, and then work my way back north, hopefully completing the southwest corner of the state.
I decide to head first to Readsboro, and then to visit Searsburg and Woodford on my way back to Bennington . As I drive east on route 9 though, I can see that this will be a challenge; there’s just not a lot to photograph along the way. So when I arrive in Readsboro, I’m thrilled to find a real town center; quaint and rustic with the kind of energy I love in some of these old Vermont towns. I hear multiple conversations carrying from front porches and dinner tables as I move about the town on foot, the clanging of silverware from the restaurant on the corner of Main Street, and the roaring engine of a souped up truck as a few of the town’s youth tear down an otherwise empty main street. The air is thick, hazy and warm, and as I peer through my lens, every scene has a warm soft glow from the sweet light that blankets the whole town.
As I pass by the Readsboro Inn, I’m stopped by the owner, who is seated at one of the outside tables on the deck. She asks me what I’m photographing. I tell her my story and we chat for a few moments. She sends me up to the King Hill road outside of town which offers beautiful views of the reservoir, farms and gardens. As I drive up the road, I see the rooftops of a sprawling farm emerge above a grassy knoll. The sweet light illuminates the gable ends of the barns. I stop the car and head into the field where I spend the remaining light of the day capturing various views and angles of the farm. This is what it’s really all about.
I awake on Sunday morning shortly after 5:00 to what seems like a cloudy morning, so I don’t rush through my first cup of coffee. As I start for more coffee, a glance out the small window in the back of my room reveals more of a blue glow from the sky. I forgo my second cup, gather my equipment and maps and head out to downtown Bennington.
Since I’ve visited pretty much every town within an hour radius of where I live, at this stage in my journey it’s really only on overnight trips that can experience beautiful morning light I find in Bennington. I take full advantage of it this morning as I race through the empty downtown streets trying to capture everything I can. I then head over to Old Bennington and am thankful to be in such a beautiful place again for the best light of the day. As the highlights intensify and the shadows darken, I finish up my work at the Old First Church. It’s only 7:00am at this stage, but the best light is gone and it’s on to more towns and struggling with back lighting and harsh shadows. While I’m loving this project and all of its challenges, I have to admit that I am looking forward to having the luxury of always being able to choose the lighting conditions in which I shoot