Almanack Contributor Brendan Wiltse

Brendan Wiltse

Brendan Wiltse is a photographer and scientist living in Lake Placid. He holds a Ph.D. from Queen's University in Canada, but you will often find him roaming the wilderness with his camera and his dog. The goal behind his photography is to connect people with the natural world. Visit his website at www.brendanwiltse.com.


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Early Morning Light on Algonquin

Brendan Wiltse-150725050421This photo was taken just at sunrise from the summit of Wright Peak. I left the Adirondak Loj trailhead at just before 3 am so that I would arrive at the summit well before sunrise. While the sunrise its was beautiful, I found the blue early morning light on the face of Algonquin quite appealing.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sunset From Poke-O-Moonshine

Poke-O-Moonshine
When shooting a sunset don’t feel like you need to stick to shooting directly at the sun. Sometimes the more interesting colors and compositions can be found just to one side or the other. That’s the case with the photo above. The light yellows and purples in the sky would be washed out if shooting directly at the sun and over powered by the sun itself. The varying blue tones in the mountains give the landscape depth. The end result is an image that better conveys the feeling across the landscape at sunset than a more traditional shot would have.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sunrise from Mount Marcy

Mount Marcy
Capturing the sunrise from the summit of a High Peak requires a bit of planning and an early start. I always pay close attention to the weather forecast, as it can be a complete bummer to spend several hours hiking in the middle of the night only to arrive to a socked in summit.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, February 23, 2015

A Beautiful Weekend At Marcy Dam

Marcy DamThis weekend we finally had a break from the frigid temperatures that have been gripping the Adirondacks. It was a great weekend to spend skiing in the Adirondack backcountry. The photo above was taken at Marcy Dam. Taking landscape photos mid-day can be challenging. Often we try to avoid including the sun in a photo because it will wash out the image. Including the sun can often add a very dynamic feel to an image. The trick is to stop down your aperture to get the star burst effect and make sure not to over expose your image.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Are Snowshoes, Microspikes Damaging Alpine Zones?

BW - Algonquin Snowshoe Trail Close(1)The last several years have seen a boom in winter hiking in the Adirondacks.

The Adirondack Mountain Club and Adirondack 46ers both report more people on the trails in the High Peaks Region. Along with this hiking boom there’s been an increasing number of winter traction devices hitting the market. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 10, 2014

An Early Season Ski On The Whiteface Toll Road

BJW_4851Skiing the Whiteface Memorial Highway early in the season is a ritual for many skiers in the Lake Placid region. The toll road was skiable from top to bottom for the first time late last week. This photo was taken Friday evening in the fading light.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Adirondack High Peaks Fall Foliage Report

Mt-Jo-Web
The fall foliage in the High Peaks region is just past peak color. Reds are turning to browns and leaves are starting to fall around Heart Lake. It is still a beautiful time to view fall colors in the area, but the vibrant reds and oranges that were present in the High Peaks last week seem to be fading. Lower elevations and points south may be better if you want to view peak foliage.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fall Foliage At Lake Placid

Lake Placid
Fall foliage will be at or near peak this weekend in the Lake Placid area. John Warren’s Outdoor Conditions Report, which is issued each week, calls for near peak conditions through this weekend in the High Peaks Region. Couple that with favorable weather and it should be a great time to get out to enjoy the fall colors.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Early Fall Foliage From Mount Jo

BJW_4490

The foliage around Heart Lake was showing about 25% color change this past weekend. The bright reds aren’t showing quite yet but spots of color are showing here and there. The next two weeks should be great for viewing fall colors.  Early mornings after cold nights are a good time to see the contrast between frosted peaks and fall colors in the valleys below.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Milky Way Over Johns Brook Lodge

JBL Milky Way 2

The night sky at Johns Brook Lodge on a clear moonless night is always breathtaking. The lodge is a great place to visit if you enjoy staring into the heavens. It is a backcountry lodge outside of Keene Valley, 3.5 miles into the High Peaks Wilderness. There have been numerous renovations to the lodge over recent years, most recently the sleeping accommodations were upgrade with real mattresses and new bunks. The staff are really what makes the place special though, they make great meals and know the valley inside and out. If you are looking for a nice backcountry accommodation it is definitely worth checking out. The view from the porch on a night like this is always a nice bonus as well.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Moonset Over The High Peaks

Moonset Big Slide

I headed up Big Slide this weekend to watch the Perseid meteor shower. The full moon washed out most of the night sky making viewing of the Perseids difficult. I saw a few meteors but was more surprised by the show the moon put on as it set over the high peaks. As the moon dipped behind Algonquin it left a faint red glow on the southern horizon. With the moon set the sky became sufficiently dark to allow for the capture of the stars above. The experience was rather surreal and made for a photograph that looks like a sunset or sunrise, but is actually the result of the moonset.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Milky Way From Adirondak Loj Road

Loj Rd Milky Way

Photographing the Milky Way is both fun and challenging. July and August are the best times of year to view the Milky Way. During these months the bright center of the galaxy is visible in the night sky. While you will see the Milky Way arcing across the sky on a clear dark night, the best direction to look this time of year is to the south.

If you want to photograph the Milky Way make sure your camera is on a tripod and start with these settings: f2.8, 30sec, ISO 6400. Further adjustments may need to be made on your computer, but you should get a good image of the Milky Way, especially in a dark location. Astrophotography images require practice and a bit of knowledge about the night sky and current weather conditions. Regardless of how my photographs turn out it is always a pleasure to spend a few hours staring into the heavens.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

An Adirondack Sunrise From Algonquin Peak

Adirondack Sunrise

Sometimes you just get lucky. Waking up at 2 am to hike Algonquin Peak to watch the sunrise is always a bit of gamble. I’ve done it on several occasions and more than once I arrived on the summit only to find the entire view obscured in clouds. Weather forecasts are only reliable to a certain extent in the mountains. On this particular day the view was clear, except for distance clouds on the eastern horizon. This had the effect of filtering much of the sunlight, allowing one to observe the sun in great detail. I was glad I had brought a short telephoto lens with me this morning as the composition with the hills in the foreground was much more compelling than a wide angle view.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Brendan Wiltse: Silver Lake Mountain

BJW_3902After spending years tromping around the High Peaks and living in the Johns Brook Valley, I take delight in visiting the smaller and often lesser known mountains. Silver Lake Mountain is just north of Taylor Pond (middle of the photograph). At 1.8 miles round-trip it makes a perfect hike to do after work. You don’t see many high peaks, but you do have a good view of Whiteface and the unique combination of big mountains and large bodies of water. Just behind Taylor Pond is Catamount, another great mountain to check out. What is your favorite mountain outside of the high peaks?


Friday, June 20, 2014

Brendan Wiltse: A View Of Avalanche Lake

BJW_3767
As a general rule it is best to avoid taking landscape shots in the middle of the day. The harsh light and lack of contrast across the landscape doesn’t usually make for interesting shots. That said, you need to know when to break the rules as well. This shot of Avalanche Lake was taken mid-day, but the ominous clouds in the distance added a lot of mood to the scene.


Page 1 of 212