Kancamagus Scenic Byway

December 06, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

One of the great drives in the United States, and designated a National Scenic Byway by the U.S. Department of Transportation is named the “Kancamagus Scenic Byway”, or the Kanc as locals refer to it.  On your map it might simply be called NH112. The eastern portion of NH112 runs 32 miles through the White Mountains from Lincoln to Conway and is the section of 112 known as the Kancamagus Highway. This wonderful road opened in 1959 when two stretches of road were connected, and was paved in 1964. This two lane highway attracts people from all over, especially in the Fall when the trees are in full color. The Kanc runs through the White Mountain National Forest and follows the Swift River valley.  If you are a camper, then you'll love the fact that there are six White Mountain National Forest campgrounds right on the KSB, (Kancamagus Scenic Byway). They all have bathrooms, drinking water,open fireplace, and picnic tables available. They are as follows; Hancock Campground, Big Rock Campground, Passaconaway Campground, Jigger Johnson Campground, Blackberry Crossing Campground, and Covered Bridge Campground. In addition, you can find lots of off KSB campgrounds available. Dogs are allowed on leaches at all times, and no alcohol is allowed.

Sabbaday Falls, Rocky Gorge, Lower Falls and Champney Falls are the most popular of the waterfalls along the KSB. Rest assured that there are many more, most with no names and waiting for you to discover them. If you are smart, you'll dress for hiking. This means a pair of good hiking boots and sensable clothing. This short blog is aimed in the direction of photography. My recommendations work for me and by no means are the only way to approach this subjectmatter. I prefer to travel as light as possible without leaving necessary equipment behind. I always take a tripod on these types of hikes. I will be using small aperature settings and longer shutter speeds most of the time. My wireless timer and remote control is a must for me. Once I've framed my shot, hands free shooting lessens movement with slow shutter speeds. I also carry a B&W 6 stop solid Neutral Density filter. This allows me to use shutter speeds of ½ second or slower. I also pack a circular polarizer. I do not use filters much these days, except for the two above mentioned ones. Most of the time I pack my gear into a photographers vest and leave the bag in my truck. The two lenses I love most and rely upon are Nikons, the 18mm to 105, and the 70 to 300mm. In addition I have a macro lens for closeup work if I see something I want to capture. Make sure you have a sturdy camera strap attached, and looped around your neck to check falls.

Pay some attention to the clothing and personal items you choose. With me, no matter the temperature I always wear long pants to cut down on scratches and insect bites. Even in the deep shade I consider a hat necessary. It keeps all kinds of things out of your hair. Obviously, dress for the season, with comfort and flexiblity in mind. Bring drinking water also, you will need it. I stay away from soda and any other drink that does not quench my thirst. Another item I do not go into the woods without is a Leatherman multi-tool. It has almost any gadget that I might need unexpectedly.

The choices that I make as far as what comes with me on a hike are based upon comfort, appropriatness, flexiblity, and necessitity. For me, I want my attention focused on looking around me and keeping my mind on what will eventually wind up in the viewfinder. I have spent too much time in the past managing stuff, and missing a composition that was in front of me. I travel light because I want to spend time looking around at all the colors, textures, and compositions. I stop frequently, and take in the sights and sounds around me. One composition I make a point to look for is an open spot near water, with perhaps a branch or boulder that I can place in the foreground. It takes looking and moving around for the photo to take shape. I move the tripod frequently and check the viewfinder making sure to look all around the edges of the frame for unwanted elements. As stated earlier, small aperatures, and slow shutter speeds my choice here.

There is a difference between a hike involving a group of friends or family, and one with photography as its main purpose. Both are rewarding, but require different enviorments. Time spent with the people you love on a nature trail is valueable and will be remembered long after your trip is over. Solitude in a forest with the purpose of capturing a landscape for your home is also a rewarding, and time well spent. There are plenty of photographs to be captured in all seasons if you are motivated.


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