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Jeffrey Byrnes Photographer Fashion + Portraits + Travel

New England: Travel Photography

The backroads of New England will undoubtedly lead you to some beautiful places. Just the other day I heard someone make a comment, "wow I have been to like 6 different states in 1 day." Clearly this individual is not a true New Englander and hasn't traveled from Maine to Rhode Island in one day, passing through Vermont and New Hampshire with a detour to Connecticut, in one day like some of us do. They were, however, referencing having walked through the state buildings at the Big E. The Big E is a colossal festival of carnies, hungry people without a care in the world for their waistlines, and people looking to drink, buy the same crap thats been there for 25+ years, and do stupid things; such as heckle the hot tub sales people. In one spot you can consume enough food to get diabetes, rip a pair of jeans, and get gout, all while buying hot tubs, crap you see on TV at 1:30 in the morning, and slide down a giant piece of yellow plastic. Sounds fun, right? Well the Big E marks the end of the summer and is a tradition for many New Englanders. It is so well blogged about and photographed that you will not see anything of mine on here. Rather I will show something more scenic.

Greenhouse, Amherst Mass

The low lying light of the sun about to kiss the horizon is a sign that summer is ending. Late August and early September have incredible evenings with light and sunset shows. For those who know how to work a camera, it a spectacular time to get out and make photographs. I personally favor that romantic golden hour light. I can never seem to drag myself out of bed early enough to capture the crack of dawn, so I rely on the evening to make photos. Personally I feel that is the best time, not because I do not want to be up early, but because I feel the light has a different personality. When it illuminates the landscape or a person posing for a shoot, it is more magical than the early morning. Sounds super cliche, I know, but it is the truth. 

I always get sad at the end of the summer. I never really admit this to anyone, but I do. Having grown up in New England I know what comes next, a few weeks of cool evenings, a few days of magnificent foliage, some rainy days, then nearly 5 months of misery. I have never been diagnosed with seasonal affect disorder, but I find that every year I creep closer and closer to needing to spending 4 hours under a heat lamp to keep from being depressed. I spend those cold months thinking of the summer, Cape Cod, and the light. Regardless of how beautiful a winter scene can be, during or after a snow storm, nothing replaces the beauty of a warm afternoon fading into the evening. 

A farm off of 47, Amherst, Mass

New Englanders are spoiled with having 4 seasons. They really are. Some places and people are not as fortunate to have a rotating climate that brings seasonal changes that give meaning to the geographic location they call home. Amherst is located in the western part of Massachusetts. Famous for being a college town, having rolling pastures, farms, one of the first lumber mills in the country (semi truefactual, its very old), and one thing I think it should be famous for, Antonios, the greatest pizza in the world. Amherst, like many other town or cities is an artery that connects directly to the quintessential heart of New England. Anyone who has been to Amherst can tell you that around each corner there will be something worth seeing and enjoying.

When you exit the main routes, 116, Rt 9 and 47, you will find some incredible places. Hiding in plain sight are fields, barns, farms, people on bikes, paths, sun drenched roads that navigate the viewer further into the summer fast closing day. I have seen a lot of New England, spanning from the Coast of Maine to the state capitals of every New England State, to the smallest coastal nooks of Cape Cod, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. I have been in the backwoods of Vermont, hiked the Berkshires, and have had many reckless nights in Boston. When I think of New England, I think of all of these places, but a part of me always wanders to the pastural landscapes; primarily because life is slower, more relaxed, and the light glows much differently than when you're sitting at the open window of Dillion's on Boylston St in Boston seeing how many times you can compliment a girl before she stops to talk to you. 

A tobacco barn, Amherst, Mass

As far as I know there is not a single farmer in my family. My grandmother always had a lush garden when I was growing up, but it wasn't anything to write a novel about. Though, she always had some kick ass cucumbers. Thanks for those memories, grandma. But I have found that when I drive through regions such as Amherst, I am compelled to enjoy them as much as I would any other place at the golden hour. Late in the day light will always be an element in my work, both with portraiture as well as with any travel work I make. Make time to see the world, it is shrinking, metaphorically speaking that is.