foliage

Letchworth State Park, The Grand Canyon of the East. Images 43-48

View from Inspiration Point   View of Letchworth Upper Falls from Inspiration Point

Upper Falls, Letchworth Park   Upper Falls, Letchworth Park

Letchworth Gorge from Scenic Overlook  Great Bend from Scenic Overlook

Great Bend, Letchworth  Great Bend, Letchworth Gorge

Scenic Overlook in Autumn  Scenic Overlook of Letchworth Gorge

Letchworth Upper Falls View  Letchworth Upper Falls View

Letchworth State Park is another Upstate New York gem.  Letchworth, known as “The Grand Canyon of the East”, spans from Mt. Morris at its north end and carves it’s way through Western New York into the Souther Tier, almost to the Pennsylvania border.  It is a Glacial Gorge that contains the Genesee River as it travels north to Lake Ontario.  It is amazingly beautiful anytime of year, but it is it’s most spectacular in autumn.  The photographs above were taken in early to mid october of this year. Letchworth is usually at it’s peak foliage in mid to late october, but I did not want to risk it.  Weather here can be fickle and the time the color is at peak may likely also be very wet and cold.  This day was mild and sunny and we couldn’t resist the chance to get down to Letchworth and recreate a family photo we had taken 6 years ago.

The entire park is loaded with gorgeous scenery, but the spot we are enamored with is called “Inspiration Point”.  Once you see it, you are not surprised as to why it was named that.  A breathtaking view of the upper falls greets you as you walk up to the overlook from the parking lot.  6 years ago, when my youngest was just over a year old, we drove down to Letchworth to get a family photo that we used as our Christmas card.  As this fall was approaching, I was walking down my stairs at home and passed the framed photo of my 2 boys from that day.  I was struck by how little they were in the photograph and did some quick math, realizing that it had been six years since we had been to letchworth and taken that photo as well as the one of all 4 of us sitting on the low rock wall at inspiration point with the fall foliage and upper falls as the backdrop.

A week or 2 later, my birthday weekend, we took the opportunity to update it.  The weather was perfect!  We packed a lunch and drove down.  We found the exact spot and took our family shot as well as shots of the boys alone.  We sat on the grass in the clearing behind Inspiration Point and enjoyed our lunch, then I took the shots of the falls you see above.  We got back in the car and drove back towards the park entrance, stopping at the Great Bend Overlook to get some more shots.  As we were getting back in the car to leave, we looked out at the open meadow and there was a crew setting up 2 hot air balloons.  We stayed and watched the process until the balloons took off and disappeared from view.  We had been to Letchworth for dinner at the Glen Iris Inn a couple years ago and saw the same hot air balloons as the travelled down the gorge right over the Upper Falls.  What a sight!

When we got home, I immediately uploaded the images from my camera and went right to editing, but realized that they really didn’t need much, the bright sun and bright colors came out great!  Now we have a beautiful, updated shot for this year’s Christmas card.   If you are in the area and like to take landscape shots, don’t miss Letchworth State Park.

You can find more of my Letchworth images, as well as all my work, at the below websites.

http://www.justin-connor.instaprints.com

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor

http://www.viewbug.com/member/justinconnor

http://www.judd-connor.fineartamerica.com

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Downtown Rochester: New High Falls Pictures taken recently and Shots of the Bridge from Corn Hill Landing. Images 36-42.

High Falls and RainbowHigh Falls, Rochester, October 2014

Downtown RochesterDowntown Rochester from Corn Hill Landing

Rochester High FallsHigh Falls, Rochester, October 2014

Rochester, MonochromeDowntown Rochester, in Black and White

Rochester High Falls in AutumnHigh Falls, October 2014

Corn Hill View Corn Hill View

Genesee BreweryGenesee Brewery

I recently went into the city for a “Photowalk” with a bunch of other photographers (from which I will soon blog about and put up some interesting shots) and on the way home, had the chance to get a few shots of Downtown Rochester.  I have posted a recent blog about Rochester, NY with some shots from High Falls taken about 3 years ago.  I wanted to get some updated shots of the falls using some new “Neutral Density” filters that I just purchased.  Neutral Density filters allow you to take long exposure shots in bright light without getting any overexposure.  I also stopped at Corn Hill Landing and took some shots of Downtown Rochester from the opposite side.  And, of course, had to get some shots of the Genesee Brewery!!  Enjoy!!!

http://www.justin-connor.instaprints.com

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor

http://www.judd-connor.fineartamerica.com

http://www.viewbug.com/member/justinconnor

One Image, Four Ways; Fun with Editing: Images 19, 20, 21, and 22

Here Comes The Rain AgainOriginal IPhoto Version

Black and White RainBlack and White IPhoto Version

Antique RainAntiqued IPhoto Version

Dark RainIPhone PhotoStudio Version

I can tend to be a purist at heart.  I usually do not spend much time editing my photographs.  A little bit of Enhancement here, a tad of Boost here, maybe juicing the contrast or the color a smidge here and there.  I generally use IPhoto, but I have a couple of Apps on the IPhone as well that I occasionally use to tweak my photos before posting them.  I have spent a fair amount of time monkeying around with all the different options, but I find it overwhelming and I am usually not pleased with the results.  At this point, I generally just use Enhance and Boost and find that that is all it needs.

I scroll through Instagram and 500px and ViewBug and you can always tell the person who spent forever editing their pictures; and they usually don’t look real.  I like my photographs to look REAL.  (usually)…..  My favorite of the 4 pictures above is the 4th one, which is the one with the most post production.

That being said, if you look through any of my galleries, you will see that most of my pictures are very natural and realistic looking.  I find that to be what Photography is all about in my heart; capturing the beauty of reality.  Let me know what you think of these pictures and which is your favorite.

-Justin

http://www.justin-connor.instaprints.com

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor

http://www.judd-connor.fineartamerica.com

http://www.viewbug.com/member/justinconnor

Stony Brook Park; Difference Between Summer and Fall; Images 13-16

Stony Brook in Fall 1           Stony Brook in Summer 1

Stony Brook in Fall                                                                        Stony Brook in Summer

 

Stony Brook in Fall 2           Stony Brook in Summer 2

Stony Brook in Fall                                                                        Stony Brook in Summer

 

Stony Brook State Park is right of Route 390 in Dansville, NY.  From Rochester, NY it is only about 45 minutes; an easy drive.  It is a great park with very accessible waterfalls.  Many of the waterfalls in Ithaca are only to be seen, not touched.  You have to look at them from a path.  Don’t get me wrong; the Ithaca Waterfalls are amazing and so much fun to shoot, but nothing compares to being allowed to climb right down into the creek or stream or brook, walking along against the current, and getting some amazing shots.  You can get an amazing perspective from there.

 

I remember hiking at Stony Brook as a child and loving every minute of it.  Recently, I took my wife and my 2 sons there to reacquaint myself with the Park and it’s beautiful scenery.  We first went down in the fall, getting the above shots with the amazing colors and fallen leaves.  We enjoyed the hike, but it was a bit too cold to actually get down in the water!  There is a great playground right at the entrance to the park, which was much more of an attraction for the boys than hiking the gorge and waiting for Dad to take all the pictures he wants to take.  The swimming area was, of course, closed after labor day, so it was interesting to see the brook un dammed.  you could really see the different depths of the swimming area with the water running freely.  We decided that day that we had to come back during the summer months and take a dip!!

 

We returned the following summer and dove in!  Well, not really.  We slowly got into the water, little by little, because it was freaking freezing!!!   We played around in the swimming area for a bit and then decided to hike the trail, this time spending most of the time walking in the water or right at the water’s edge, instead of on the path.  This was much more enjoyable for the boys and offered a different view of the falls.  I was able to set up the tripod much lower for some of the shots I have not included in this blog (I will post some at another time).  I even got some shots from under the stone shelf of one of the smaller falls.  I enjoyed walking through the pools and getting up close and personal with the largest of the falls; getting my picture taken by my wife with by back against the stone face of the cliff with the falls crashing over my shoulders and back!

 

Take a look at the above pictures and let me know which you like better, the fall shots or the summer shots.  If you get a chance to check out Stony Brook, I highly recommend it!!!  I will try to post a few of my other Stony Brook images in the near future, but if you cannot wait, you can visit my sites below to see some more!!!

 

http://www.justin-connor.instaprints.com

 

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor

 

http://www.judd-connor.fineartamerica.com

 

 

Naples, NY in Autumn: A Photographic Perspective: Photos 3 through 8

Early Autumn in the Vineyards of Naples, NY

Early Autumn in the Vineyards of Naples, NY

Pond at Camp Cutler, Naples, NY

Pond at Camp Cutler, Naples, NY

Old Barn on the Road into Naples from Camp Cutler

Old Barn on the Road into Naples from Camp Cutler

Autumn Vines in Naples, NY

Autumn Vines in Naples, NY

Vineyards in the Fall in Naples, NY

Vineyards in the Fall in Naples, NY

Grapes on the Vine in Naples, NY in October

Grapes on the Vine in Naples, NY in October

I love the fall.  My birthday is in October, and it has always been my favorite month.  I love the crisp, cool air; the beautiful color; the apples and cider; the Harvest Ales and Pumpkin Beers.  I lived in Northern California for 9 years and what I missed most was the Autumn.  Autumn in Upstate New York is a Photographer’s Dream.

I have taken tons of Photos all over upstate NY in the fall; Letchworth and Stony Brook and Ithaca are some of my favorite places to take Fall Pictures.  Naples, though, has a special place in my heart.  Because of my 9 years in Northern California, I developed a special regard for viticulture and vineyards and wineries.  The Finger Lakes has several fantastic Wineries and there are countless incredible photo ops throughout the region.

The above pictures were taken in a one month span, mid September to mid October, in and around Naples.  The first photograph was taken during the Grape Festival in the town of Naples.  If you live in upstate NY and have not been to the Naples Grape Festival, you are missing out!!  We went down for the day, to walk the festival and experience the delicacies. Everyone talks about Monica’s Pies.  Don’t get me wrong; Monica makes a great pie, especially the Chicken Pot Pies.  But, we found another pie master in town; Cindy.  Cindy makes and sells her grape pies and cookies out of her home, next to the High School.  They are AMAZING!!!  We got a pie and some cookies and sat down at a nearby playground.  The kids played on the playground and I brought out the camera.  Just past the playground was a huge Winery.  It is now Hazlitt 1852 Vineyard, the maker of Red Cat Cellars Wine, but it is the old historic Widmer Wine Cellar.  it had been a warm september and the leaves on the vines were just barely starting to change color.  The clouds in the distance were dark as a storm was rolling in a ways north of Naples.

The Second Photograph was taken just a short 3 weeks later.  The weather had finally changed; we had the first frost and the leaves were at their peak.  I was at Camp Cutler in the hills above Naples with my oldest son and his Cub Scout Troop on an overnight camping trip.  WE woke up that morning early, and this was our view.  The rain we had the night before was gone; the sky still looked a bit gray and ominous in the distance, but the sun was peaking out and lighting up the hillside behind the pond.  Unfortunately, about an hour later the sun was overtaken by the clouds and it got very cold.  We decided to leave the campout early and ventured back down the hill, towards Naples.

I missed a turn along the way down the hill.  Thankfully.  Had I stayed on the route I had intended, i would have skirted around Naples and missed out on some of my wife’s and my favorite pictures.  As we worked our way down the hill, we passed the barn in the 3rd photograph.  I came to a quick stop after passing it, much to my son’s surprise and dismay.  I think he thought we were going back to the camp where he had been miserable and cold for the last 2 hours!!  I put the car in reverse and raced back about 50 yards.  I grabbed the camera off the passenger seat and jumped to grab some shots; one of which is the 3rd photograph above.

We continued down the road and it turned out that it lead right into the heart of the town of Naples.  We headed north along the main road and I thought about pressing my luck with my 8 year old and stopping for another grape pie.  We passed a small vineyard on the right hand side of the road (Inspire Moore Vineyard) and I knew i had to stop, even though I knew it meant my son would never agree to a 3rd stop for pie (he has no taste for sweets, unlike his father).  This is where I took the 3 remaining photographs above.  The final one, which I have named “Late Harvest” in this blog is a version of my wife’s favorite photo.  Her version (after some tweaking and editing and interesting effects) is called “Her Choice” and is on a 16 x 16 canvas on the wall in my living room, just above the desk that I am sitting at right now as I write this.

I hope you enjoy the photographs and if you are ever in the neighborhood of Naples, NY you should stop and get a pie at Cindy’s…or Monica’s.  Really you can’t go wrong with a grape pie anywhere in Naples!!

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor

http://www.justin-connor.instaprints.com

http://www.judd-connor.fineartamerica.com