One of my favorite places in Vermont is Owl’s Head. It is in Groton State Park, and has a parking lot that is a quick 10-minute hike from a summit that offers unobstructed 270º views of endless forests, several peaks, and multiple ponds.

The problem is, since it’s only 10 minutes from one’s car to the lookout, it can be a pretty crowded place.

So what I like to do is go at dawn. But of course that means I have to park outside the closed gate and walk up a long dirt road in the pitch blackness just before twilight, terrorized by the sounds of creaking trees and the skipping of toads across my path…

In early October I headed up Owl’s Head one morning in hopes of a colorful sunrise with a foliage backdrop. The leaves were not yet at peak, but there was definitely good color.

About 15-20 minutes after the sun came up, I had captured some nice western-facing sunrise shots (top of post), and was exploring the eastern-facing lookout when I heard voices and the jingle of a dog’s chain.

Someone was on my mountain.

Ok, ok, I can share, I thought. I was pretty much finished anyway; Golden Hour was passing.

About 15 minutes later, I made a bit of noise (normally, of course, I move like a ninja) so as not to surprise whoever had invaded my mountain, and walked over to the western outlook before heading back down.

The couple and their dog were very friendly, and when I saw the three of them perched on the rock overlook, I asked if I could use them as a foreground, because they made such a great shot. They were nice enough to agree.

Later, when I got back to my car, I left a thank you note and a set of Noteworthy Vermont cards on the couple’s car, in appreciation for them being such good sports (surprisingly, not everyone likes having their picture taken; go figure), but also to let them know I would be happy to send them a copy of their photo if they zapped me an email.

The next day I got one of the best emails ever from Amanda:

I also wanted to thank you for offering up a photograph! You may not have noticed, but just moments before you came over to shoot the foliage, Brian, my partner, proposed… A copy of a photograph to document this moment in our lives would be beyond special, and we’d be forever grateful.

You head out with a camera, and you just never know what you are going to meet.

Amanda, Brian and Phil

Amanda, Brian and Phil the dog.





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