Cape Cod has many salt marshes. Centuries ago, these grasslands witnessed grazing cattle and salt production. Although the marshes have since receded, those that remain can make darn good photographic subjects.
I travel to Cape Cod regularly for photography. One of the marshes I visit frequently is Nauset Marsh in Eastham, Massachusetts. There are several access points to this large marsh, but Fort Hill is among my favorites.
Marshes are not always easy to photograph. Aside from cordgrass and the sporadic rock, it can often be difficult to find a compelling foreground. For this reason, I strive to visit marshes on days having some potential for drama in the sky.
I made this image at sunrise on a cloudy day, down the path from Fort Hill. I awoke early at the motel to be on location at dawn. The morning forecast called for cloudy, but I decided to proceed to the marsh anyway — just in case.
I pulled into the parking area at Fort Hill forty-five minutes before sunrise, and the sky was already ablaze with color. I may have beat a record running down the trail to reach the marsh — it was among the most colorful skies I had seen on the Cape.
Fort Hill is accessible from Route 6 in Eastham. Take Grovernor Prance Road to Fort Hill Road and park at the very end of the road. While it’s possible to shoot from the top of the hill, I recommend taking the marked trail down to the marsh.
Fort Hill is best at dawn and sunrise. By the third week in October, the cordgrass turns a golden color that reflects vividly in early morning light.