Moss and Migraines

There is always a story. It never seems to be a simple quiet day of photography when I shoot. There is always a bigger lessons to be learned I guess. I was heading out to photograph an area slightly north of Ellenville,NY in the southern Catskills. A beautiful spot that fellow blogger Dean Cobin had taken me to weeks earlier.  My intentions were to shoot the same brook again and explore the area a little further. It’s always interesting to go back to the same spots under different conditions. On this day the stream I wanted to shoot had turned into small ponds because of the fallen leaves, not what I was expecting. Walking was treacherous and I wasn’t prepared to get wet. Mistake numero uno. Having been discouraged I hiked back out and set off to look for a swimming hole named Blue Hole. It was at this point that mistake two kicked in. I didn’t eat and drink enough when I left my house. A headache was coming but I could sense this was heading down a bad road. I was at the intersection of headache and migraine and it was one way on to migraine. Of course mistake three is in now in play immediately. You guessed it….no migraine medicine. I always have some around…..not this day. Now, I had driven all the way up there and I wasn’t letting a migraine slow me down or so I thought. I found the swimming hole I was looking for down a path. Slightly up above the swimming hole is this spot. Amazing moss on the rocks. hairyblogIt looks like flowing hair. However it was on the other side of the creek. At this point the migraine is worsening but I could see the shot. Am I really letting this stop me? To make a long story much  shorter I got the shot, smartened up and got out of there as my condition was getting worse. I drove back to Ellenville and feel asleep in a McDonalds parking lot. I woke up an hour later feeling slightly better, got some food and downed some medicine.

Reflecting back it may not have been the smartest move to continue shooting. I’ve had these problems in the past and it can get a little dicey. My preparedness needs to be much better. Lesson learned. You learn every time you shoot. Maybe it’s not always about photography. There are plenty of other realizations that you come to that weren’t expecting as your shooting. Having said all of that I think the image is successful and I will be going back on a full stomach and a bottle of migraine medicine close by.

©Larry Zink


Harriman Foliage

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._MG_4995blog

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.


©Larry Zink

Small World Department

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. IMG_1425blogNot 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.connery SRGB blog 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.

©Larry Zink


Photo to Hike Ratio 2-Franklin Parker Preserve

_MG_4640blogIn 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.

_MG_4605blogI’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.

©Larry ZInk


1 Spot, 2 photographers, 2 visions

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._MG_4237 Blog LZ 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.

©Larry Zink  Cannon 7d, 11-22mm lens 13sec @ f/13


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.  _MG_9905-deanI 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.

©Dean Cobin Canon 5DMark2, 17-40mm, 30sec @ F/22



Driftwood,Reeds,Sunset,Hudson River 2009-Thomas Teich

Late in the summer of 2009, I made a trip on the Hudson River with my good friend Ellen Kozak, the brilliant and prolific painter of Hudson River light. Ellen paints from the west shore of the Hudson near New Baltimore but hadn’t explored much on the eastern side. So, on a hot summer day we headed down river from the Nutten Hook landing directly across from Coxsackie. Our trip started in the early afternoon as we made our way toward Fordham Bay, an area I love and frequent. The water was warm and the tide low as we hiked the sand beaches that distinguish this beautiful stretch of river. Eventually, arriving at an inlet just north of Fordham Bay, Ellen set up shop on a huge beached log and began to work. I moved further south and spent the afternoon working on several subjects including a beautiful expanse of spatterdock (waterlily), that followed a seemingly endless curve of the river. The eastern shore of the river in this general area is quite wild and untouched, much of it New York State Forest Preserve. One gets the same feelings that early explorers like Henry Hudson might have had; that you are alone in a silent, pristine world.  Driftwood, Reeds, Sunset, Hudson River, 2009, TeichAs usual I was working with my 8×10 camera which limits the distance one can travel and the number of negatives exposed. This restriction becomes a discipline that forces the photographer to choose very carefully his subjects and to wait for the best light and weather. While Ellen worked hard at her painting, the result being one unique work of art, I made three negatives, the last shown here. As the sun moved low in the sky the tide began to rise rapidly; a signal that it was time to go. I headed north toward Ellen’s spot but stopped suddenly as I came upon this scene now dramatically lit and half submerged by the river. I was fascinated by the intricate growth of the reeds and the reflections they cast in the water as well as the rugged beauty of the driftwood. I set up and made my last image looking directly toward the southern outskirts of Coxsackie across the river. Again, I was deeply impressed by the wild, unspoiled character of this stretch of Hudson River. Finally, packed and ready to go, I met Ellen and we began the hike back to Nutten Hook through nearly waist deep water that had been only sand beach hours ago. ©Thomas Teich

Photo to Hike Ratio- Harriman State Park


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.

_MG_3067-BThe 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.

_MG_2993-bTiming 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.

©Larry Zink

Sunday in the Park

I spent a Sunday morning recently shooting in Harriman State Park  with fellow photoblogger Dean Cobin. While we had talked about shooting together in the past on this particular Sunday it was a spur of the moment shoot concocted the night before. So, with some mad social media skills  we arranged a time and location. According to my trusty accu-weather app the forecast wasn’t great…….sunny skies no clouds. Atmospherics always play an important role in the ever allusive epic image whether it’s at Harriman State Park or at Yellowstone National Park. brookExcept for some early morning passing clouds it became a cloudless bright blue sky by early morning as predicted. Undaunted, Dean and I ventured off.  While I’ve  shot at the park numerous times it’s actually Deans backyard having spent much of his formative years there. As we traveled around we went to some of the more off the beaten path sections that he was familiar with.

For a state park so close to New York City Harriman has such a varied landscape for photographers. Lakes, creeks, pine groves, flowers and vistas are all hiding within its boundaries. On this day though, we spent most of the morning shooting all along Tiorati Brook.  To our surprise, especially considering the lack of rain, we found many pools of water that had beautiful reflections along with interesting cascades guiding the water along. Given the light that morning it played out perfectly as the pools became reflective of all the colors and shapes around it. harriman deanThe moss on the rocks was becoming a  beautiful electric green that occurs in the springtime along brooks and creeks.

Life is regenerating again all around us and springtime in Harriman is a wonderful place to be …….especially as a photographer.

©Larry Zink

©Dean Cobin