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Morrissey shares images from the field in latest book

August 30, 2017
By JUSTIN A. LEVINE - Outdoors Writer ( , Lake Placid News

Cranberry Lake-based author, guide and photographer Spencer Morrissey came out with a new book, his fifth, but most likely not his last.

In a departure from his usual format, Morrissey recently released "Bushwhacking Your Way to Great Landscape Photography."

The book, which is printed in stunning full color, gives the reader not just tips on earning wonderful photos, but provides more than enough examples of Morrissey's photography to prove he knows what he's talking about.

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Morrissey is a lifelong Adirondacker, having been raised in Long Lake and now residing in Cranberry Lake. He is more than an avid hiker, though. Morrissey recently made it to the top of his 1,000th named mountain in the Adirondacks while working toward the goal of climbing all the named mountains and hills that reside within the Blue Line.

Most of those mountains lack a trail, so the reader can take Morrissey's word that he knows how to successfully bushwhack - that act of hiking to a place that has no trail and no guidance on how to get there.

Bushwhacking is less a how-to guide and more of a how-I-did-it guide, with Morrissey showing the readers his photos and explaining how he captured them. There is some technical information presented, such as which camera he used along with shutter speed and tidbits like that.

But Morrissey, who has written a handful of guidebooks, tells a short story to go with each photo that will give would-be photographers at least the inspiration to try something new, like getting off the beaten path.

As a practical matter, Morrissey, a contributing writer to Embark magazine which is published by the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and Lake Placid News, often will hike along an existing trail before breaking off to do a bushwhack. One of the most stunning shots in the book is called "Dynamite" and was snapped along the trail on the way to a mountain.

Morrissey explains that he did some post-production work on the shot, making the sky and rippling clouds black and white, which allows the sloping hillside filled with fall color to pop even more. The reflection of the colorful trees in the lake draws the viewer in, and it's a photo the author is especially proud of.

But most of the shots in the book were earned with hard work and dedication. As any landscape photographer knows, anyone can follow a trail and snap a picture that has been captured before. But Morrissey shows that getting off the beaten path will often offer greater rewards.

"I arose at 5 a.m. with it still dark and the house cracking from the bitter cold," he writes of his winter shot of Rainbow Falls. The shot shows billowing mist back-lit by the still rising sun just peaking through some dense foliage. The rounded ice stuck to the jagged rocks presents a rough and tumble landscape that is surprisingly soft looking.

"Cold such as this you can't get used to, you just have to tolerate it as long as you can, and learn of course to take pictures with heavy gloves on," he says of the shot, which he took in minus-20 degree weather. "No tripod here, just the steady shoulder of a hiking companion."

The book is available online at



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