Watkins Glen

Autumn at Watkins Glen

Autumn at Watkins Glen

The colors of fall in Watkins Glen State Park

Just a short hike up the gorge from the image in my last post I found this scene. Glen Creek is channeled through a narrow crevice in the rocks creating a narrow funnel effect. The first image captures a wider view showing the flow of the water into a pool after it has flowed through the crevice. I like how the long exposure shows a bit of a whirlpool in the first pool and the flow is still evident in the second pool. I also like the way the subtle colors of fall are captured at the top of the frame. As in the other images I’ve previously posted the fallen leaves caught on the ledges of the gorge add even more visual interest.

The image below is taken just a few yards further up the trail. It isolates the chute yet still including a few of the trees hanging over the edge of the gorge above. I really like both images. They both convey the beauty of the scene well while emphasizing different elements of it. I hope you enjoy both as well.

The Chute

Glen Creek carves a narrow channel through the sedimentary rock of Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen State Park

Watkins Glen State Park

Well, this is the main attraction for Watkins Glen State Park – at least in my mind. Although there are a series of beautiful waterfalls, this one is iconic. I had hiked up the gorge for several hundred yards stopping along the way to take some shots. I had seen this image in several places and I wanted to capture it for myself. My hope was that I could arrive early enough to avoid waiting for a long time for people to clear the bridge and the stairs as they viewed the scene. In addition, I hoped that I could get a bit of fall color in the scene just to add some visual interest. I was able to accomplish both by timing the date and time of my arrival.

The shot itself isn’t so complicated. I shot at f/13 in order to have a fairly wide depth of field. In this case everything from about ten feet in front of my lens to infinity would be in focus. I blended together two shots of somewhat lengthy exposures (4/10 second and 1.6 seconds) in order to capture a reasonably wide latitude of dynamic range. The result is an image that is very much exactly like what I saw in the field. Once again, the conditions were nearly perfect. High overcast skies created a nice even light on the scene. There was almost no wind which kept the trees motionless. Fortunately, there had been a good bit of rain in the area which created a nice level of flow in Glen Creek. Relatively few people visiting the park in the first hour after sunrise gave me lots of time to work the scene.

If you can’t tell, I’m quite pleased with this image. I think it represents the park and the falls well. I hope you enjoy it too.

The Flow

The Flow

Glen Creek falls over a series of cascades in beautiful Watkins Glen State Park

This is another view of the cascade that I discussed in the last post. Once again, the high overcast created some beautiful conditions to shoot. This is a pretty long exposure (4 seconds) which gives the water a silky feel and shows some of the movement of leaves and other debris in the stream. By shooting at ISO 100 I was able to choose from a range of apertures to yield the look and feel I was after. This shot is at f/11 which gives sufficient depth of field to allow a sharp image all the way through the frame. It’s a simple image but the fallen leaves blanketing the layered rock makes a nice background for Glen Creek as it meanders through the scene. Enjoy.


Watkins Glen Cascades

Watkins Glen Cascades

A series of cascades in New York’s Watkins Glen State Park

One of the locations that was high on my list for my New York trip was Watkins Glen State Park. I must admit I had heard of the race track in Watkins Glen before I knew of the state park. But, as I did my research for the New York trip I saw some photos from the state parks that made me realize that I had to add them to my “must visit” list.

The beautiful sunset from the previous night heralded a front moving through that would bring cloudy, rainy conditions for the next day. While most people would begrudge those conditions I looked forward to them – especially for shooting waterfalls. I wanted to arrive at the park as early as possible so that I could avoid people in my images as much as possible. I was out the door an hour before sunrise and near the park when the sun attempted to appear. There was a very gradual change in color in the sky, a rainbow for a brief moment, and then the clouds covered those openings to a small bit of blue sky. For the rest of the morning I had great conditions to shoot. High overcast clouds acted like a giant soft box diffusing gorgeous light over the canyon. I had near perfect conditions to shoot in for almost four hours. It was a photographer’s paradise.

I arrived at the park before anyone else. I made the short hike into the glen and started to explore up and down the glen looking for images. This shot gives you some idea of the geology of the glen. Glen Creek has carved through layers of shale, limestone, and sandstone to create a gorge surrounded by deciduous trees. In the fall when the leaves have covered the gorge floor, the scenery is gorgeous (pardon the pun).

This image is a 2.5 second exposure from a tripod set up just off the main gorge trail. I love how the reflected light has created a glow in the gorge. The leaves add a bit of color and contrast to the already beautiful rock formations. The fall foliage adds further interest to the scene. Of course the star is Glen Creek as it cascades through the glen and into this beautiful circular pool. I’ve got plenty more to post from the area. So, stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy.