waterfalls

Taughannock Falls, Trumansburg, NY. Images 77 – 80.

Taughannock Falls 1     Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls 2     Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls 3     Taughannock Falls

Taughannock In Winter     Taughannock in Winter

As you have probably already surmised, I have a thing for Waterfalls.  It started as a youngster.  I would go to my older brothers and parents soccer games at the Densmore Soccer Fields in East Irondequoit and instead of watching the games, I would go down onto the woods just past the fields and find the creek, following it to the small, but impressive falls.  It was about 15 feet high and, depending on the season and recent snow melt or rainfall could be pretty full and loud or barely a trickle.  My brother and I would mostly just throw rocks at the falls, but there was something about it that I couldn’t resist.

Naturally, as I began to get into Photography, I began to shoot waterfalls anytime I came across them.  When I lived in Sonoma, CA, I used to take days off from my job as a Physical Therapist in the late winter and spring just to take hikes in the hills and shoot all the various waterfalls; ranging from tiny, trickling tributaries to colossal, cascading cataracts.  I found tons of them in Sonoma and Marin counties including my favorites, Mt. Tamalpais State Park in Marin County and Sugarloaf State Park in Sonoma County.  At that time, I was shooting film and i have all those shots still in film negatives and have not converted them to a digital format yet, so I cannot share them, but I have some of them on my walls at home.  Beautiful shots in Black and White as well as great color images with green, mossy rocks and fallen tree trunks.

When my wife and I took a trip to Hawaii, we drove the Road to Hana, on the island of Maui and stopped at every possible waterfall to take pictures.  W hiked through the rainforest to get to secluded waterfall, watching thrill seekers jump off the cliffs into the frigid pools below.  We hiked along the Seven Sacred Pools at the end of the Road to Hana.  People were lounging in the pools and diving into the water.  It was amazing, watching the water fall from pool to pool, eventually terminating in the crashing surf of the Pacific Ocean.

The long exposure shots are the best shots in my opinion.  The high speed shots that stop the motion are OK, but all the character of the falls are lost and get do not get the dimension that the motion conveys.  to take these shots you need 3 things; Low Light, a Timer or Remote, and a Tripod.  My shots are taken anywhere between 1/2 second to 2 second exposures.  This what gives the water a soft motion look.  To do this, you have to have a tripod and use a shutter remote or timer.  The low light helps because if you use long exposure times in bright light, you get an overexposed image.  I tend to go out either early in the morning or late in the evening and try to go on gray and overcast days.  If you cannot rely on the weather to cooperate, you can get Neutral Density Filters that will significantly decrease the amount of light through the lens so you can do long exposures in bright day light.  I recently used a ND Filter on my picture of Rochester High Falls in bright daylight.

Taughannock Falls is one of my favorite Falls to shoot.  It is located in the town of Trumansburg, NY, just outside Ithaca.  I have taken shots of this waterfall at all times of day and in all seasons.  It never loses it’s beauty or majesty.  It is 215 feet high.  That is 21 stories tall.  I love how in the winter, the spray freezes all over the walls of the gorge, covering the rock in a white blanket.  I have not explored it yet, but the the town of Trumansburg looks to be a cute, quaint little village with interesting shops and restaurants.  It is just outside of Ithaca, NY and I stop to take a shot (much to my wife and kid’s dismay) EVERY time we go to visit her family.  If you are in the area, i suggest you stop at the Scenic Overlook and take some pics, you won’t regret it.

To see more of Taughannock Falls, and all my other waterfall pics, visit the below sites!!

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

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor

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

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

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Black and White: My First Love. Images 70-76

Downward Spiral     Downward Spiral, Genesee Lighthouse, Rochester, NY

Genesee Lighthouse, BW     Genesee Lighthouse, BW

Sodus Point Lighthouse, BW     Sodus Point Lighthouse. BW

Watkins Glen, BW     Watkins Glen, BW

Buttermilk Falls, BW     Buttermilk Falls, Ithaca, NY, BW

High Falls, BW     High Falls, Rochester, NY, BW

Close Up Flower, BW      Flower in Close Up, BW

When I began taking my own pictures, it was in High School at West Irondequoit High School, during my Junior Year.  My father was an amateur photographer and I had always wanted to give it a try.  When I saw that my high school offered Photography A, B, C and D as art electives, I jumped at the chance (mostly because I cannot draw for beans).  Of course, back in the old days (1988 to 1990), when I was taking HS Photo classes, it was all on black and white film.  I borrowed my mother’s 35 mm Camera, a Fujica, as I did not have a camera of my own yet (I would get my Canon AE-1 until graduation from HS; a gift from my Dad).

We started the class with learning how the camera worked; F-stops, shutter speed, film speed, focus, different lenses, etc…  (BORING!!!!!).  We learned all the basics as well as how to take the exposed film off the roll in a darkroom or in “the bag” and doing all the processing of the film in the can with all the chemicals.  Then we learned how to make the prints in the darkroom and process all the prints; developer, stop bath, fixer, stop bath.  I found myself spending hours in the darkroom, playing around with different ways to expose the image on the paper.  I would spend extra time after school and during study halls in the darkroom, or walking around the school with my camera, finding subject matter relating to the present project we were working on.  I loved it!

The Black and White Image was beautiful to me.  Stripped down; Basic.  More like an Impression; more artistic than it’s color counterpart.  Sometimes surreal; sometimes dramatic.  I loved playing with contrast to make it more interesting; to get the image to “pop” off the paper.  I was actually disappointed when we switched to color somewhere during Photo D.  I felt like I was losing the art of it all and my photos seemed more pedestrian; just like everyone else’s.  I felt like the color robbed all the creativity.

I have since learned to love the color image just as much as the monochrome image.  For quite a while, just because of ease, i took exclusively color images.  Black and White film was hard to find, and getting the film processed was more expensive.

Then, AHHHHHHHHH; Digital came around!!!   Now every shot I take is both color and black and white.

Take a look at more of my Black and White Images at the below websites.  I have an entire album devoted to Black and White on the Instaprints.com site.

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

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor

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

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

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

Watkin’s Glen; A Finger Lake’s Jewel. Images 28-35

Watkin's Glen 2

Watkin’s Glen 2

Watkin's Glen Pool

Watkin’s Glen Pool

Watkin's Glen 3

Watkin’s Glen 3

Watkin's Glen 4

Watkin’s Glen 4

Watkin's Glen 5

Watkin’s Glen 5

Watkin's Glen 6

Watkin’s Glen 6

Watkin's Glen 7

Watkin’s Glen 7

Watkin's Glen 8

Watkin’s Glen 8

Watkin’s Glen is an amazing spot for photography on the southern tip of Seneca Lake, one of the Finger Lakes in central New York.  Most people know about Watkin’s Glen because of the race track that hosts a NASCAR race every year.  The photographer only has eyes for Watkin’s Glen State Park.  2 miles of stream, dropping 400 feet in 19 waterfalls.  Water is dripping down the walls of the gorge as well as along the stream!  You will climb a TON of stairs, but the exercise is well worth it.  You will walk behind waterfalls and have incredible views from so many different angles.  Every time I go I shoot at least 200 pictures.  The only downfall?  Lots of other people there to see the sights makes it hard to get shots without a tourist in it, so there can be a lot of work to do editing the shots after.   Enjoy the shots above and if you get a chance to go to Watkin’s Glen, go.  You won’t regret it.

I have more shots of Watkin’s Glen on my websites below:

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