Here the images from the second half of my Finger Lakes fall shoot yesterday. These images are from Watkins Glen. This maybe the most beautiful two miles of trails anywhere in the world. Even the paths and stairs blend into the environment beautifully. I don't mind when they are in the photograph. I had the perfect combination of freshly fallen leaves still with color, some nice vibrant green and gold leaves still on the trees and wet conditions that helped bring out the most detail and color. Rainy at Watkins Glen is even better than sunny. In sunny conditions gorge is very contrasty and it is hard to manage the light and the exposure. On a day like yesterday with clouds and rain I could skip the polarizing filter there was no need for it and the low light levels guaranteed long exposures. Below are some must haves for photographing a place like Watkins Glen.
- Have extra shoes and socks in the car... your feet will get wet and there is nothing worse than driving home with cold wet feet.
- Be patient. There will always be people walking or running on the trails. You will have to wait for people to clear out of your way to get the shot as the trails go right thru and under some of the falls.
- Bring a tripod! You will be shooting long exposures (generally 1-8 seconds at iso 100 on a wet cloudy day)
- Consider skipping the camera bag. I have been to Watkins Glen a few times and am not sure why I carry my backpack full of gear. It always ends up I shoot the whole day with my widest zoom lens (and maybe my fisheye) on the camera mounted to the tripod. Wide angles are best to show off the curves in the gorge walls.
- Bring plenty of lens cleaning cloths and keep them as dry as possible in a plastic baggie. On the dryest of days you will get droplets and mist on your lens.
So put on your hiking shoes and grab your walking stick and get out there and enjoy this wonderful place. if you can not get there in person I hope these photos will help you feel some of the magic of the place.
Watkins Glen is surely the most famous of the Finger Lakes Glens.... but there are hundreds of them it is a great area to get out and explore.
Keep Makin' Art!