I got up at 3 AM on the last day of our Vermont trip to chase the light all the way to the edge of the Whites. NOAA forecasts put the leading edge of low clouds banked up against the Presidentials, so I knew that sunrise prospects in VT would be slim that morning. I wasn't sure it was going to set up the way I wanted, but I thought I would watch the clouds from Franconia Notch all the way to Chocorua and make my decision as I went along.
The gamble appeared to be paying off as I reached the Kancamagus Highway and had my first views of morning light and clearing to the east. The clouds were low, so I knew that I would have to be right underneath the edge in order to get the dramatic light I wanted. I drove past the Swift River and Albany Covered Bridges, making note of them and planning a possible retreat if the clouds moved further west at sunrise. This scenario almost played out after I arrived at Chocorua.
This was only my second time here, so I wasn't at all familiar with the vantage point I wanted across Little Lake, having only seen the view from the bridge. I considered the view and watched what appeared to be dramatic light unfolding to the east instead of north, the direction I wanted to shoot. I hopped back in the car, drove 10 minutes up the road, and watched as the clouds re-formed and became favorable again for my original plan.
I hiked down to the lake, but the view was absolutely choked by vegetation. The sunrise was approaching rapidly, and I was desperate to make a move. I noticed the bottom of the river appeared to be nice and sandy, and cursed myself for not bringing my wading boots, which were sitting back in the car. The first pink light began appearing in the clouds, and I knew this was it. I pulled off my boots and socks, rolled up my pant legs, and waded out into the cold water with camera and tripod. This allowed me to shoot an unrestricted view across the lake with perfect reflections.