Another shot from my fall project. I’ve been following the changing fall colors starting in the Adirondacks and will continue into South Jersey into November. I’ve visited the Adirondacks, shot in the Catskills and this past weekend in Harriman State park. Next weekend I will be somewhere in New Jersey. The colors in Harriman were beautiful this weekend. If you love to shoot or hike check out Harriman before the colors disappear.
This image was taken from an outcrop on Pine Swamp Mountain. It was an adventurous morning getting there but I was able to get to the top as the sun was rising. The hike to the top is easy and its a great view. A little tricky to shoot because finding a composition that works can be tough. I’ve scouted this spot in the past and wasted no time figuring out the composition. As the sun was rising the landscape was getting brighter but I was waiting for the direct light to peak through. The fog in the distance was holding nicely. As the light was breaking through the early morning clouds to my left it began to light up the hill in the scene. Landscape shooting is about patience and waiting. Once the light hit the trees I fired away.
I like the bight colors against the overall darkness of the scene. Would I have like better clouds in the scene? You bet. However, you work with the cards that are dealt. I think the image is a beautiful capture of a stunning morning in a beautiful park.
I was recently in the Adirondacks shooting at Connery Pond. I got up very early and drove down a dirt road that led to the pull out near the trail head. It was pitch black as I was driving through the forest but as I turned the corner I saw beams of light being directed in all directions. Groups of photographers wearing headlamps. I wasn’t alone, I should have known. I knew this was a popular spot but I wasn’t expecting this many people. Once I found a place to park I worked my way through the woods to the pond. I could faintly see the largest group beginning to set up their equipment. Not wanting to be a part of that group I decided to set up shop further down to the left. There was a pretty dense fog covering the entire pond rendering visibility to way less than 100 yards. Knowing there was time before I was going to shoot I struck up a conversation with a woman who informed me that the large group was a camera club from New Jersey. To my left about 40 yards away was a photographer that I follow online,Chris Kayler. He apparently got into an accident with a tractor trailer the day before and rolled his car twice. Totaled it. No hospital for him but a trip to the rental car facility and kept the trip moving. He’s young. The quiet sounds of digital shutters began to take hold as the fog began to lift revealing Whiteface mountain in the distance. It really was beautiful. As the fog completely lifted most of the group had left to go shoot somewhere else. I wandered down to shoot a couple last shots by the trail before leaving. After such a large gathering all morning it was down to me and 2 other people on the other side of the creek. As I was packing up it turns out that one of the two guys left was fellow NYNJTC blogger Dean Cobin and a buddy of his. After catching up we decided to go to another location and continue shooting. It’s a crazy small world.
In a quest to find more hikes that have many photo opportunities I bring you Franklin Parker Preserve. The preserve is a series of sandy paths that intertwine around sections of pine forests, cedar swamps, streams and various bodies of water. The preserve is located in the Pine Barrens just outside of Chatsworth, NJ. For people who have never spent anytime in the Pine Barrens this is a great tune up to understanding the environment. Many people have driven through the Pine Barrens on the way to shore and never really paid attention. The Pine Barrens beauty needs to be experienced first hand. It is unique not only to New Jersey but the nation as a whole.
I’ve hiked in the preserve from both ends. There are 2 parking areas that allow easy access. I find shooting early and late here the most beautiful as the light will bring out the textures on the beautiful pines. The preserve is also set up for bird watching with platforms in the large open spaces. All kinds of birds including Eagles make the preserve their home.
It’s funny how the creative mind works. How can two photographers be in the same beautiful location and see the same elements but have two different visions on the final image. I’m fascinated by that process. It may be as simple as something we saw that triggered the process or maybe something deeper. Perhaps unexplainable or just plain innate. Either way here is our thoughts on shooting in the Catskills around Peekamoose Mountain last weekend.
Larry- What struck me about this spot were the long flowing lines and the x shape that formed between them. I tend to look for graphic shapes in my compositions. This was a natural. The x and lines are very strong compositional elements. They define the foreground and help draw your eye back to the cascades. The larger decision for me was how much of the background to show. I knew the cascading water was very important and the key to finishing the composition. The cascades provide the connection of the water from the foreground to the background. However, I wanted the main focus to be on the x and flowing water so cropping out the trees and the rest of the environment behind the cascades became necessary. Once that decision was made I positioned my camera with an 11-22mm lens low to accentuate that dynamic relationship, switched the camera to live mode and fine tuned the final capture.
Dean- Since I have been to this locations many times before I had pre-visualized a completely different shot however since this time I would be able to shoot from standing in the water, which normally due to conditions I have not been able to do this new composition entered my mind. From the new angle I saw the potential for beautifully defined flow lines which would be created with a long exposure, couple that with the perfect flow volume for the pour-offs which I also knew from experience would stay completely defined and clear the combination of the two generally makes for a nice image. The scene had great tonality and I was able to completely see this in Black and White in my mind’s eye. I like the way the image turned out probably one of the best of the day, hey every once in awhile you get lucky and it actually all works according to your plan for those who are interested this was a 30 sec. exposure the light was relatively low so it was easily achieved by stopping down to f22 I was using a polarizer to control the glare.
Sycamore and Thunderstorm was made at Four Mile Point off of Route 385 just south of the village of Coxsackie, New York. It was October 2010 and the last of the fall foliage had nearly disappeared leaving the landscape in its pre-winter austerity.
This is my favorite time of year to photograph because the bare trees reveal their skeletal structures and the true beauty of their forms. It was late morning, windy and warm with a hint of rain. I sensed that the conditions might be right to photograph this subject so I packed and drove to Four Mile Point as the calm weather began to intensify into something more powerful. I had attempted to photograph this magnificent river-sculpted sycamore several years before and failed totally. Always in the back of my mind as a great subject, this tree and I were eager for another try. I arrived with my 8×10 inch camera and went to work. The wind began to blow steadily and seemed to be following the tidal movement of the river. Generally, with large format photography, exposures are long and strong winds can cause havoc with foliage and anything that moves. Under most circumstances this would be undesirable, but wind is a natural element and can be used to creative advantage. As I composed this image, dark clouds began to form before me and I heard the rumble of nearby thunder. Thinking that this was a little odd late in October, I decided to wait and watch. Moments passed and the thunder and dark clouds increased. I was now confronted with a powerful, dramatic and very unexpected scene. I adjusted the exposure to last for four seconds. Long enough to allow the movement of wind and river to define themselves but short enough to keep the camera steady in a heavy wind. I made three exposures. Lightning flashed around me and drops began to fall. The sky opened suddenly and without warning the full force of the storm was upon me. Because of the size and amount of equipment needed for this type of photographic work, I could not stow it away from the storm, so I had to stand fast and wait it out. I covered the camera with a large plastic bag, closed my backpack, pulled up my coat hood and braced myself. What followed was an amazing and somewhat unnerving experience. Being so close to the water in this type of storm, I imagined being electrocuted or at least knocked down. As I held onto the tripod-mounted camera to keep it upright, I watched the rain and wind roar violently around me. The ancient sycamore swayed as it probably had a thousand times before. Then, as suddenly as it began, the storm ended. I removed my hood and listened as the fast moving freight-train storm roared on to its northeastern destination. I packed and started out, hopeful that this would be a meaningful image. Today, I print this negative as a very large silver gelatin photograph. The large size helps translate the immense power of river and weather and the calm, steady countenance of this beautiful tree-creature which has experienced more of the raw power of nature than any human being could ever imagine.
Some people hike for exercise, some for solitude and some for the ultimate challenge. Simply put I hike to take pictures. I’m always on the search for hikes that have good photo to hike ratios. What I mean by that is a hike that has great opportunities to shoot in multiple locations without the time and energy to make a long extended hike. With limited time on weekends, hikes in the 2 to 4 mile range fit that requirement. Many parks in the NYNJTC area have extensive trails that allow for people to create their own combinations to fit their objectives. I did such a hike at Harriman State Park this past weekend. I’ve done this loop about five times. It’s not terribly difficult and the photo rewards are numerous. The photo to hike ratio for this hike weighs heavily in favor of photography. Starting behind the Reeves Meadow Center the trail combination is as follows Red-yellow-white-orange- red (see map). It makes an approximate 2 mile loop with some grade changes.
The reason I enjoy this hike are the various creeks and brooks that can be photographed. With enough rain small streams form as they race down the mountain with the ultimate destination of joining the main attraction, Stony Brook Creek. The creek has amazing colorful rocks embedded in the stream itself and along its shores. Pine Meadow Brook emerges midway on the hike. A smaller more delicate stream but offers many cascades. On this loop Cascade of the Slid can be seen. It’s a series of small waterfalls working their way through large boulders as it makes its way down hill. Under wet conditions both streams offer numerous opportunities to shoot and create beautiful images.
Timing is everything here. Weather conditions and time of the year are very important. Fall and spring, especially after some rain like this weekend, brings out the best in the creek. Fall obviously explodes with outstanding color and the springtime is a rejuvenation of intense greens and new blooms. Rhododendrons and Mountain Laurel line the upper portions of this trail and can certainly add to any composition. Water, rocks and blooms when incorporated together in a composition are a recipe for excellent images.