Ricketts Glen State Park, PA

June 1, 2011

A late start to capture some of the later light and Dave Cohen & I were off to Ricketts Glen.  Dave just got his new 100-400mm lens and suggested we take a quick look at Adams Falls.  I figured we’d spend maybe an hour there and still have over an hour to walk up to where the waters meet on the lower Falls Trail, but we stayed in and around Adams for the duration, and loved every minute of it.

I can’t wait to see the compositions Dave captured with his new lens.  A few times during the shoot I lost him.  Even though it is such a relatively small area and Dave was wearing a bright yellow hat, a few times after I got up from a subject he was nowhere to be seen.  Since we took about the same course and had the same destinations, we eventually met up.  Dave was chasing fluttering butterflies, so look for some of those photos on Dave's Views.

Wind was a bit of a challenge all day when trying to capture any landscape, which would naturally include a waving branch of leaves.  Many people like the wavy patterns on the outskirts of the shot, saying it adds a colorful framing to the photo, or the blurring adds a sense of movement when it's within the photo.  Still, I prefer still from corner to corner.  The light down there at that of day is interesting, although it often creates impossible shadows and highlights.  Some excessive post processing made some exposures acceptable for the Internet, but not conducive to quality printing.

The first photo in the gallery was exposed at f/5.6.  I was hoping for a longer exposure than the required 1/60 so the water would have a better silky look, but there was just too much peripheral movement.  I blended the water from a second exposure, but ended up prefering the quick one better.   I couldn’t decide between #20 and its HDR version #21 so I put them both in.  Please let me know you preference if you have one. 

There were certainly a LOT less people enjoying the park compared to my last visit on April the 30th.  We only saw about ten people the whole time we were there, including 4 illegal swimmers in the pool below the falls.

Only one tick hitched a ride on me on this visit, but it was nevertheless a fun-filled day of recording the light.



Seven Tubs Natural Area, PA

June 3, 2011

This was our third attempt at this park this year.  It officially opens on Memorial Day.  We soaked up with tick spray and entered the woods leading to the water rewards.  The first photo is a very difficult exposure poorly executed, but it shows a long stretch of the water from the bridge.  The second one is a crop from the same area.  I cut out parts of the shot that weren’t working, and reduced it to this photo that reminds me of the Statue of Liberty à la Dr. Seuss. 

The way the light penetrates the forest canopy and paints the rocks and water with interesting shadows can be a big plus or a huge headache for the compositions you can get at this time of day.  You’ll notice many “duplicate” photos in this gallery, one being a straight shot, the other an HDR.  Many people familiar with Seven Tubs might claim that photos 11, 12 and 13 were NOT taken in the park, but they were from a second stream that comes in from the north at the bottom of the rock hill slide (#14). 

No ticks were acquired during the making of this gallery. 

Worlds End State Park, PA

June 15, 2011

Because of our day jobs (often a night job for Dave), we were getting an afternoon start, but planned on a finish with a boat ride on Harveys Lake. Plans don't go hand-in-hand with spontaneity, and compliance with rules is never on the agenda when there is a camera in our hands, but we at least made our date wth the sunset.

Dave suggested we go to Worlds End. He was only there once (in his recollection) back in February of this year, and wanted to see how different the park is in spring. Barb loaded us up with fruit and hydration and pointed us in the right direction. Dave warned me that we will NOT be stopping at Adams Falls on the way, and I suggested that if we hurry, we could stop for a bit on our way back to the lake. Spontaneity got the better of that plan.

We entered Worlds End from the south via PA 42 from Eagles Mere. We wasted some time driving to the overlook in the Loyalsock State Forest when, half way to the spot, we came to a Road Closed sign. This road has been closed before, but the sign was posted close to the entrance. Backtracking, we took Shanerburg Road to Loyalsock Canyon Overlook. For the gallery I couldn't decide which photo of 1, 2 or 4 I liked best; each one had something the others didn't. Please give me your opinion. Photos 7 through 11 were taken across the parking lot and uphill to a spot known as the Rock Garden. [I like that. That's how I feel about the rocks. Although they are not "living/breathing" entities, they do "grow" through time. Wonder what a gastrotich would think of humans.]

After a few obligatory mosquito bites in the dark, damp garden we got back in the car and headed to the main park entrance. At least that was the plan as we closed the doors to the car. When we came to the Y of Cold Run and Mineral Spring Roads we decided to backtrack again on Shanerburg where we passed a small waterfall on our way in. We were hoping the light would be better on the return visit, and it was --slightly. We stayed here quite longer than expected, and photos 12 through 28 are what I made as a result. Although I carried nearly all of my lenses, I apparently made some internal decision to use only the 50mm all day. Dave Cohen was smarter, and changed lenses throughout the day. Look for his results at Dave's Views.

We finally made our way to the Day Use Entrance and photographed up and down Loyalsock Creek. We made our way to the bridge for the last few shots before heading to the Grotto for pizza and a cruise on Harveys Lake. Although we had all of the gear on the boat, I only used the Olympus PEN.

Luzerne County, PA

June 22, 2011

Although the Miner's Memorial at Huber Breaker is not technically a park yet, I wanted to include it here with the hope that someday that dream will come true. Dave Cohen and I were too late for the ride to Promised Land State Park so we took Dave's suggestion to see if we could get into the last coal breaker in the area --possibly the last in PA. We stopped at the Earth Conservancy next door for permission to photograph. We were hoping to get inside, but as expected that wasn't going to happen. There was no one in the reception area of the conservancy but soon someone came up from the basement to greet us. He seemed like he was expecting us, and as it turned out he was expecting someone from the Citizen's Voice newspaper. Apparently just that day they got word that the organization that owns the coal breaker was bankrupt and would likely tear down the historical structure soon. The gentleman that met us was obviously upset but graciously let us stand on the knoll of their property to get what we could of this decaying piece of history.

The day was appropriately overcast with another threat of rain. We made the best of our time. Actually we might have made better photos if we concentrated on macros of the rust on the discarded iron that littered the area near us, but it was all about the breaker.

After a disappointing sky and the disappointing news, we left the scene for the newspaper photographer to document. It sure would be great to get in there for some thrilling photos of what time has done to these archaic buildings, just as it would be to have access to the inside of the Hotel Sterling in Wilkes Barre before it's leveled like an exhale in the life of the city.

We settled on a stop at the old train station across from the Stegmaier Brewing Company. As a sign of hope for the future the clouds broke just enough to let in some late afternoon sunshine to dress up our photos with some color.

Hickory Run State Park, PA

June 29, 2011

...Coming soon...