At Home with Tech

It’s time to maximize the potential of all your gadgets.

Tag: fall foliage

Take your Camera on your Next Drive and Turn Off your GPS App

Spending an extra hour on a road less traveled will often reveal new imagery for you to capture with your camera.

My GPS navigation apps have been pointing the way while I drive for years. Whether I’m using Waze, Google Maps, Apple Maps or my ancient Garmin, technology has been mapping my ‘fastest’ routes to my destinations. Of course, I sometimes wonder if the AI algorithms are actually sending me the longer way. That’s why I often run two apps simultaneously to see if I can generate directional consensus.

Yes, it feels imperfect, but it usually gets the job done for this city boy, who grew up in the easy-to-navigate box grid of Manhattan’s Upper East Side. (Complicated navigation challenges on the road have always been solved by my wife.)

The Value of Adding an Extra Hour to your Trip
I usually prioritize the shortest travel time when I’m in the car, but if you turn off your navigation app and take a little more time on the road less traveled, you might be pleasantly surprised by what you come across. I know this is not a revolutionary idea, but I’ve found that applying it for an hour or so on drives you’ve previously taken can expose you to new scenery, while not dramatically sacrificing your planned arrival time.

No, you’re not going off the grid for the day. You’re just taking the other route your GPS has shunned, possibly due to just a few extra driving minutes.

Taking my Time Driving through Connecticut
I recently applied this visual exploration strategy on a drive back from northwestern Connecticut with the hopes of finding some quintessential New England fall scenery to photograph.

I was not disappointed.

Kent Falls
Connecticut Fall Vista Timelapse
Bulls Bridge

Something New is Just Around the Corner
If you’re in search of new imagery to capture but don’t have a whole day to explore, turning off your GPS app for an hour or so while driving and sticking to local roads can offer the perfect solution.

Why It’s Time to Focus on the Details

What I discovered on my hike with my family led me to realize how to better handle the stress so many of us are feeling these days…

“You can’t see the forest for the trees.” That’s what someone might tell you when you don’t see the big picture. But I think much of today’s global outlook is so daunting that it might make sense to take a little pleasure in the smaller details you could be missing while COVID-19 dominates our collective.

This past weekend, my family and I took a hike through Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Pound Ridge, New York. There’s nothing like taking a brisk walk on a fall day during foliage season. Unfortunately, we found the forested terrain past its peak colors, and disappointingly, many of the leaves were already on the ground.

But that’s not my headline. That’s because I decided to take another look and focus in on the detail.  I pulled out my Panasonic Lumix LX10 camera and adjusted it to manual focus. And then it was time to get close. Really close.

You know what? There was plenty of color. Everywhere. It was usually hidden amongst the muted browns. But it was there. Color was everywhere in a forest of browning foliage decay. And so I started snapping away.

Winter is coming, and this could be an especially tough one. But that doesn’t have to be the only outlook. I think in stressful times like these, it’s especially important not to lose track of some of the happier details that may matter more than you know.

And discovering warm color in the middle of a cold forest on a gray day is one way to keep a balanced perspective… so you can also continue to see the forest for the trees.

At Home with Apples

If you enjoy apple picking and apple cider donuts, you may be interested in what happened during our weekend adventure to Rogers Orchards.

A lot of advice out there talks about spending time outdoors to help manage the everyday stresses caused by the pandemic. If apple picking has previously been part of your annual routine, I think you should move that trip to the front of the line for your next weekend activity. It’s a great way to reconnect yourself to the ‘normal.’ Just be sure to wear your mask and maintain social distancing.

Visiting Rogers Orchards
This past weekend, my family and I visited Rogers Orchards in Southington, CT. We picked apples to our hearts’ content under the bright, warm sun of a cool October day.  The apple orchard was about a two-minute drive down the road from its 336 Long Bottom Road farm store and bakery.

I’ve found that taking pictures of apple trees is similar to picking apples. It’s mostly about the experience. What you bring home isn’t always as amazing as you hope for, but you always feel like the effort was worth it. 

While you’re out there, don’t forget to focus on the colors of fall foliage. That’s always a good bet.

Timelapse of Tree during Fall

Look for the Views
Plus, there’s a good chance that your immersion into nature will reveal an unexpected surprise…

Timelapse of Shuttle Meadow Reservoir

I shot this timelapse of the Shuttle Meadow Reservoir at the edge of the apple orchard with my DJI Osmo Pocket camera. 

Before heading back, we stopped by Sunset Rock State Park to do a short nature walk around part of Crescent Lake. The views were gorgeous.

It was the perfect fall day. Normality restored.

At Home with Pumpkins?
If you’re lucky, you don’t always have to drive an hour away to recenter yourself and rediscover the gifts of nature. Sometimes it’s growing right outside your window.

This surprisingly huge Lester pumpkin materialized after its host vine burst outside of the confines of our garden. I think it’s on track to be ready in time for Halloween!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Now, it’s time to eat the rest of our apple cider donuts from Rogers Orchards.

Did I forget to mention the donuts?


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