Autumn On The East Coast

A beautiful sunrise unfolds over Harriman State Park. Harriman is located just north of New York City but plays host to some of the best fall color in all of New York State each year. This makes Harriman State Park a popular destination for many photographers from the Tri-State area. Technical Details: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24-70mm F4 IS L
A beautiful sunrise unfolds over Harriman State Park. Harriman is located just north of New York City but plays host to some of the best fall color in all of New York State each year. This makes Harriman State Park a popular destination for many photographers from the Tri-State area. Technical Details: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24-70mm F4 IS L

Having just finished with photographing some of the best fall color in Rocky Mountain National Park that I’ve seen in some years, I’ve headed back to the east coast and New York State to photograph fall color here. As is typically the case when I’m back east my time is split between visiting family and getting out in the field to photograph.

Watkins Glen located in the Southern Tier of New York State is also an amazing location to photograph fall color. Even when the leaves have fallen from the tree's they make a great subject lining the bank of the stream. Technical Details: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24mm TS-E F3.5 L II
Watkins Glen located in the Southern Tier of New York State is also an amazing location to photograph fall color. Even when the leaves have fallen from the tree’s they make a great subject lining the bank of the stream. Technical Details: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24mm TS-E F3.5 L II

Autumn along the east coast is special and I would recommend that photographers who mostly spend time photographing on the west coast at least make one attempt at heading east to photograph the colorful show the trees put on here. I’ll be back in Colorado in a few days with fall being mostly a distant memory and winter knocking on the door. Until then I’m splitting my time photographing Harriman State Park and Bear Mountain State Park and some of the beautiful gorges and waterfalls in the Southern Tier region of upstate New York. So until I can get back out into the field in Rocky here are a few images of the fall color back east.

New York Roundabout

I'm back in Colorado after a fun week of photography back in New York. Beaches, Gorges and bubbling streams made for a worthwhile trip. Here sunrise unfolds over Shinnecock Bay in Southampton, New York. Technical Details: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24-70mm F4 IS L
I’m back in Colorado after a fun week of photography back in New York. Beaches, Gorges and bubbling streams made for a worthwhile trip. Here sunrise unfolds over Shinnecock Bay in Southampton, New York. Technical Details: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24-70mm F4 IS L
I’ve just arrived back from another annual summer whirlwind tour of New York State. Now to be honest, this trip was taken to visit family and to take my daughter to the beach to frolic in the oceans with her cousins, make sand castles and search for sea shells. Being a mountain girl she doesn’t often get to do these things. Luckily for me, my wife and daughter like to sleep in a little late most mornings when on vacation which allows me time to sneak out and photograph for an hour or two before everyone else starts waking for the day at more civil hours.
Tioratti Creek in Harriman State Park rumbles through the moss covered boulders plush with green from recent rains. Technical Details: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24-70mm F4 IS L
Tioratti Creek in Harriman State Park rumbles through the moss covered boulders plush with green from recent rains. Technical Details: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24-70mm F4 IS L

Because my family lives downstate, and my wife’s family lives upstate I get to work my way through some of the very diverse scenery New York State has to offer. One of my favorite locations downstate is Harriman State Park and the area around Bear Mountain State Park. While Bear Mountain State Park has commanding views of the Hudson River and Hudson Valley, Harriman State Park is chock full of beautiful lakes, tree’s and bubbling brooks and streams. This year there has been plenty of moisture of late, so Harriman was green and the brooks and streams where all still running. Harriman State Park is an amazing location with endless possibilities for photographers. I’ll be back again in the fall which is my favorite time of year to photograph Harriman State Park.

After a few days at my Mom’s house north of New York City, it was off to the east end of Long Island for a few days at the beach. I’m lucky enough to have a few relatives who invite us to stay with them each summer so we can spend time out east in Southampton, New York. If it was not for their generosity, I doubt we would have the opportunity to spend time in this beautiful location.The beaches and bay’s around the area are spectacular. Access and parking can be difficult around some of the beaches and waterways but with sunrise around 5:15 AM this time of year one can photograph sunrise long before any of the parking patrol’s go on duty. It’s fun for me to go from shooting 10,000 to 11,000 ft above sea level to shooting at sea level.

Eagle Cliff Falls plunges down into Havana Glen. Havana Glen is another example of the variety of subjects to photograph in New York State. Technical Details: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 16-35mm F2.8 L II
Eagle Cliff Falls plunges down into Havana Glen. Havana Glen is another example of the variety of subjects to photograph in New York State. Technical Details: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 16-35mm F2.8 L II

Lastly, we spent the end of the week along New York’s Southern Tier and Finger Lake region with Holly’s family. The Finger Lake region is one of my favorite locations to photograph. The gorges, waterfalls and large lakes are a photographers dream come true. I have not even scratched the surface on exploring this area. With only 2 mornings to photograph I spent my time in Watkins Glen, Havana Glen and around Tughannock Falls north of Ithaca. I’m looking forward to returning to this area this fall to photograph this area amongst the fall foliage.

With our trip back to New York successful and feet planted safely back on Colorado soil, I’m looking forward to getting out and devoting most of my time this summer that of photographing Rocky Mountain National Park and continue to add to my growing portfolio of the park. I’ll be back again this fall, but until then I’m looking forward to getting back into the mountains and breathing the thin air.

2013, It’s A Wrap

Here is my last image taken in 2013. As you may recall, my first image of 2013 was also of the Flatirons freshly coated with new snow. While the clouds disappeared right before first light lit up the Flatirons over Boulder, the pre-dawn light while subdued, helped convey the quiet and calm of this winter morning from Eldorado Springs. Technical Details: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 17mm TS-E F4 L
Here is my last image taken in 2013. As you may recall, my first image of 2013 was also of the Flatirons freshly coated with new snow. While the clouds disappeared right before first light lit up the Flatirons over Boulder, the pre-dawn light while subdued, helped convey the quiet and calm of this winter morning from Eldorado Springs. Technical Details: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 17mm TS-E F4L
2013 is nearly wrapped up. It’s been a very productive year for me and while I mostly concentrated on adding new material to my Rocky Mountain National Park galleries, I was able to add images I’m pleased with to my other galleries as well including visits to Grand Teton National Park, as well as New York both in the summer and fall.

This time of year I enjoy looking at other photographers blogs. It’s become commonplace to post a ‘best of 2013’ review for your year end blog. We all love countdowns and top 10 lists because they are able to condense lots of information into a tiny, easily digestible package.

However, I wont be posting a ‘best of 2013’ this year. While each year I contemplate doing it, I end up talking myself out of it. During the course of the year, I try to post my best images to my blog as often as I can. I try to accompany them with information relative to the locations and experiences and work that went into making the image. I figure for most I’d only be duplicating work found in the archives from this past year.

So in wishing everybody a happy New Year, I just like to thank all my frequent visitors as well as clients who helped make 2013 a success. I’ll end 2013 much the way I started it, with an image of the Boulder Flatirons coated in fresh snow, my last portfolio image of 2013. Here’s to 2014!.

Ten Years In The Making

Beautiful Eagle Cliff Falls in Havana Glen cascades over the rocks and past some beautiful autumn colors. Havana Glen which is located in Montour Falls, New York is only a short distance from the more well known Watkins Glen, but equally as beautiful. Technical Details: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 16-35mm F2.8 L II
Beautiful Eagle Cliff Falls in Havana Glen cascades over the rocks and past some beautiful autumn colors. Havana Glen which is located in Montour Falls, New York is only a short distance from the more well known Watkins Glen, but equally as beautiful. Technical Details: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 16-35mm F2.8 L II
It’s been nearly ten years since I’ve been able to get back east to photograph fall color. It certainly was not from a lack of desire to do so, but sometimes life and schedules get in the way making what was once commonplace, rare.

So finally after nearly a decade and a less than stellar autumn color season here in Colorado, I was able to make the trek back east to New York to photograph the fall colors and visit with family. The visit was shorter than I would have liked, but still a very productive and fun one.

Autumn was in full swing throughout the Hudson Valley and Finger Lakes region while I was back photographing so the timing was just about perfect. For the most part most days were mild but overcast. Perfect weather in my opinion to shoot the colorful fall canopies under nicely diffused light.

Lake Nawahunta in Harriman State Park is a favorite spot of mine. Seeing vibrant reds such as these is a rare treat and something I don't see often out west. Technical Details: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24-105mm F4 IS
Lake Nawahunta in Harriman State Park is a favorite spot of mine. Seeing vibrant reds such as these is a rare treat and something I don’t see often out west. Technical Details: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24-105mm F4 IS

Since it’s be awhile since I had photographed fall back east, I was very much like a kid in a candy store. The vibrant reds, oranges and yellows all looked spectacular along the hillsides and streams I hiked explored and hiked along. Even in New York, autumn seems to slows the bustling pace allowing one to contemplate and enjoy the colorful surroundings.

There’s a different pace to fall in the east as opposed to fall out west. The colors in the east peak more slowly than out west. Barring a nor’easter or hurricane, leaves stay on the trees longer and fall more slowly. In the west the transition from fall to winter is much more pronounced. One day it can be sunny and seventy degrees and the next day there can be a foot of snow, bare tree’s welcoming winters arrival.

I spent most of my time photographing Harriman State Park in the Hudson Valley and the area around Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Like most expeditions there are plenty of places you want to photograph but run out of time to visit.I’ve got scouted out some new areas and have plenty of ideas for my next fall visit, I just hope it’s not ten years in the making.

Few places are more dramatic in fall then Watkins Glen. The numerous waterfalls, fall colors,and rocks covered with colorful autumn leaves make it feel as if there is a new image to be created every few feet. Technical Details: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24-105mm F4 IS
Few places are more dramatic in fall then Watkins Glen. The numerous waterfalls, fall colors,and rocks covered with colorful autumn leaves make it feel as if there is a new image to be created every few feet. Technical Details: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24-105mm F4 IS

Watkins Glen, One From The Backlog

Watkins Glen is one of my personal favorite locations when photographing the Finger Lake regions of New York. Waterfalls abound in the Glen and the possibilities for photographers are endless. Rainbow Falls area is an iconic location in Watkins Glen for obvious reasons. Photographing in Watkins Glen is quite different from the normally arid locations I used to photographing out west. Technical Details: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24-105mm F4 IS L
Watkins Glen is one of my personal favorite locations when photographing the Finger Lake regions of New York. Waterfalls abound in the Glen and the possibilities for photographers are endless. Rainbow Falls area is an iconic location in Watkins Glen for obvious reasons. Photographing in Watkins Glen is quite different from the normally arid locations I used to photographing out west. Technical Details: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24-105mm F4 IS L

Before we get too far along with summer, I’m still working on a backlog of images. Some of these images are from as far back as June. While I don’t find backlogs particularly fun to work through, it’s a good problem to have.

I spent a week in early June visiting family in New York. One of my favorite places for landscape photography when I’m back in New York is Watkins Glen. Some may know of Watkins Glen because of the NASCAR race they hold there each year, but photographers and hikers go because of the spectacular gorge baring the name.

For those unfamiliar with Watkins Glen, Glen Creek drops 400 feet through a narrow rocky gorge. The gorge, which is now as deep as 200 ft in some locations has numerous waterfalls and features which carry on for almost 2 miles. Glen Creek starts just above Watkins Glen in Seneca Lake, one of New York’s famous Finger Lakes.

For a photographers there’s an image around every corner. Compared to the more arid locations I typically photograph out west, Watkins Glen is the exact opposite. Mist and spray from the falls and rocks are everywhere. Combine that with the above average rainfall that had fallen in June and the greens were lush and practically iridescent.

In some ways Watkins Glen is reminiscent of a slot canyon from the southwest only with lots of water and greenery. It can be a challenging place to keep your gear dry but I would certainly recommend it as a must see location for photographers and visitors to the Finger Lake region.

Water, Water Everywhere

I just returned from a week long jaunt to New York State. Compared to my usual stomping grounds in Colorado, water is plentiful. While it rained much of the trip, I was able to capture a few sunrises in between weather systems. Pastel colors light a private dock along the shores of Shinnecock Bay in Southampton, New York. Technical Details: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24-105mm F4 IS L
I just returned from a week long jaunt to New York State. Compared to my usual stomping grounds in Colorado, water is plentiful. While it rained much of the trip, I was able to capture a few sunrises in between weather systems. Pastel colors light a private dock along the shores of Shinnecock Bay in Southampton, New York. Technical Details: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24-105mm F4 IS L
I spent all of last week traveling through and around New York State photographing some of my favorite places in the Empire State. One word comes to mind whenever I leave Colorado and head back east and it’s water.

The contrast between the arid and dry climate of Colorado, compared to the moisture laden areas of the east coast is always striking to me. In New York you are always near, around, in, or over some sort of water it seems. Colorado, not so much.

When I’m out photographing locations in Colorado, I seek out water. Small lakes and bodies of water become destinations for photography because of the impact they bring to landscape photography in a dry climate. When photographing locations in New York, water becomes almost an afterthought. It seems to always be part of the landscape and location.

Neither situation is better or worse. To me they are just part of the makeup of the unique locations and it’s the contrast is climates that continues to make these different destinations so much fun to shoot.

So even though I expect to be photographing lots of bodies of water and water features when I travel through New York, heavy rain helped to keep already green and saturated areas even more vibrant and green than I could have expected.

In fact while an average June typically see about 5.5 inches of rain the entire month, nearly 9 inches of rain fell last week alone. Even with the rain it was a great week of photography and being in a different environment is always a great way to keep the creative juices flowing.

Even still it’s good to be back in Colorado and will be even better to get back up into Rocky to see how our snowmelt and thaw out is progressing in our thin dry air.

Thank You, Dad

Sunrise over Longs Peak from Bear Lake, RMNP, Colorado
Another perfect sunrise along the shores of Bear Lake. Lenticular clouds hang over Longs Peak as the first ice of the season forms on the surface of Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. If it was not for the support of my father, I’d probably be doing something other than photographing scenes such as these. Technicial Details: Canon Eos 1Ds III, 24mm TS-E F3.5 L II
It was thirteen years ago today that my father, Thomas passed away at the age of sixty. Dad had turned sixty only two weeks prior, and his passing made for one of the most difficult days for my family and I. Thirteen years later, it’s still difficult to believe sometimes that my father is no longer here.

Time has healed much of the hurt and pain that losing my father has caused but at times such as today, some of it returns. On days like today, I find it’s best to remember all the great times and life lessons I learned from my father. It’s because of my father that I am able to spend mornings, like today in places like Rocky Mountain National Park.

Unfortunately, I was never able to spend anytime with my dad in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was with my dad however, that I first visited the state of Colorado. I had spent the summer of 1996 living in San Francisco with my cousin having just graduated from college. I was looking to land a job and fulfill my dream at the time of living in the city by the bay.

In actuality, I spent more time exploring and photographing around the bay area then I did looking for a job. Needless to say, I quickly depleted my funds and needed to return to New York to again work the job I had held through college. I had driven my Jeep Wrangler cross country by myself on the way out, but my dad agreed to fly out to San Francisco and keep me company on the ride back. I gladly accepted his offer because I did not have enough money at the time to pay for the gas to get back across the country.

My drive back east across the country is one of my most memorable times spent with my dad. Driving hours at a time across California, Nevada, and Utah in the summer heat and without any air conditioning in my Jeep made for some testy moments between father and son. Even so, we pushed on and entered the state of Colorado from the west.

Colorado was like and oasis in comparison to the brutally hot and dry climate of the Great Basin we had just travelled through. The evergreens and the cool high mountain passes were a welcome change from the rocks and heat. We spent three days in Colorado exploring and enjoying the mountains. Those three days in Colorado with my father sealed the deal for me. I was going back to New York, saving up so money and moving out to Boulder as soon as I could.

So even on somber days like today, I can look back and be thankful for the many things my father bestowed in me. My love of travel, photography, and Colorado are all rooted deeply with my dad and his desire to make sure we had every opportunity to do what we loved to do. I was never able to formally thank my father for the opportunities he gave me, but on mornings like today, I try my best. Thank you Dad.

Back From The Beach

Sunrise at Southampton, New York and Dune Beach
Small bitting bugs, sea spray, sand and high humidity, all the elements I dont typically deal with out here in Colorado. Regardless, I was able to capture this beautiful sunrise from Dune Beach in Southampton, New York. If your willing to get up early and head out to the beach, there is a good chance you the eastern end of Long Island will treat you to a sight such as this. Technicial Details: Canon EOS 1Ds III, 17mm TS-E F4
Changing pace can be a good thing. Every once in awhile it’s nice to get out of your set routines, break from the mold a bit and photograph something different. I personally finds it helps the creative process to break from the familiar and get out into different environs.

I spend last week on a whirlwind tour of New York State visiting in-laws and relatives. The trip back east was more about visiting family and catching up with old friends then it was about photography. Of course, there was no way I was going to be able to keep my camera in the bag the entire time.

While spending the end of the week out on the east end of Long Island, I was able to get up early a few mornings and catch sunrise along the beach. While I had a good sunrise this particular morning at Dune Beach in Southampton, the humidity, sand and sea spray where all things I’ve gotten used to not having to deal with here in Colorado. The trip was great, but I’m eager to get back up to Rocky and my more comfortable surroundings.

Ode To An Elm Tree

Sunrise Over The Boulder Flatirons from Doudy Draw
A great sunrise illuminates over the Flatirons of Boulder, Colorado. Winter skies over Colorado's Front Range can bring some impressive color. Combining these colors with an image of a lone Ponderosa Pine tree goes hand and hand for me and my photography. I've had a long running obsession with both photography, and imagery of tree's. Technical Details: Canon Eos 1DsIII, 24mm TS-E F3.5 II L
My never ending obsession with capturing images of tree’s continues onward. I cant exactly tell you why I enjoy photographing the shapes, forms and textures associated with trees, but it’s a never ending quest for me. In fact, my first ever published photo in my High Schools arts publication the ‘Soupstone’ was of a very large American Elm tree that resided in my front yard. This Elm tree was a giant and was located right in the center of my front yard, just 30 yards or so from my bedroom window. The tree framed my bedroom view looking west over the Hudson Valley of New York, a place where I spent many hours of my childhood staring out my window into the world. Other than the fall, when my brother and me would be tasked to rake the Elm’s tree’s leaves for weekends at a time, I held great respect for this tree. The coarse, cork like texture of the bark, the way the trunk split into two large distinct sections, or the way Winter winds howled through the swaying leafless grey branches at sunset all left very distinct memories for me.

The photograph, I had taken that day in 1990 of this tree with my Dad’s 35mm Minolta 5000i and 35-70mm lens still follows a formula I use today when photographing trees. With Kodak Tri-X black and white film loaded in the camera, I laid down at the base of the tree, opened the zoom lens as wide as it could go to 35mm, and photographed the trunk of the Elm tree rising straight towards the sky, it’s branches moving outward’s from the two distinct sections of the tree. There was something about the synergy of all those branches moving and spiraling outward, and the massive trunk of anchoring the branches that garnered my attention. Again, I had spent many days admiring this tree, but this was one of my first steps in successfully using photography to convey the feeling and reverence I had for this tree.

The recognition of this by my High School photography teacher, the publishing of the photo helped to light an insatiable desire to continue to document and photograph tree’s. Today those tree’s are much more likely to be Ponderosa Pines, Cottonwood’s or Aspen tree’s as opposed to American Elm’s, but the desire to photograph tree’s is still just as strong now as it was that day I wandered out in my front yard with Dad’s camera.

Move Over 2011 A Busy 2012 Ahead

Ponderosa's and Evergreens in fresh snow on Shanahan Ridge
Ponderosa's and Evergreens are buried beneath a fresh dump of snow on Boulder Shanahan Ridge. I plan on spending more time photographing scenes like this one in 2012. Boulder's Open Space and Mountain Park's properties are ripe with potential. Technicial Details: Canon Eos 1Ds III, 16-35mm F2.8 L II
2011 is almost over. It’s been an exciting and eventful year for me for sure. Lot’s of great days spent in the field creating new images, new locations visited and a list that continues to grow longer of new locations I would like to photograph. While I always like to reflect on the past year, I typically find myself eagerly awaiting a new year with new challenges and adventures. I don’t typically make new year’s resolutions. Some would argue that resolutions area really just excuses to delay actual goals. Regardless, making resolutions to begin a new year is not something I typically do. I do however use this time of year to reset the compass so to speak. It’s a good time for me to embark on a new path and to set a ‘to do list’ of items that apply to my photographic aspirations for the year. Below I’ve listed some of the things I would like to accomplish and focus my photography on in 2012.

1. Continue to refine my personal style: This is by far my most important goal for 2012. Every year this is one of my most important goals on my list and I cant stress enough how important to me this goal continues to be. Each day the internet is full of exceptional imagery of iconic locations from heavily travelled and photographed viewpoints. While I enjoy this imagery, I want my work to have a more personal feel that represents my vision in a unique, maturing, and artistic manner. There is a lot of great landscape photography out there and differentiating my work from the masses is very important to me.

2.Stay local, photograph local: I love to travel. The thought of being on the road for months, sleeping out of the back of my truck and traversing the country traveling to remote locals and National Park’s is something I dream about a few times each day. While someday this may be my goal for the year, I’ve found it to be much more rewarding and productive to photograph locations close to home. Rocky Mountain National Park and Boulder County Open Space property will continue to top the list of locations I plan to spend most of my field time in 2012. I find it very rewarding photographing local locations and staying local allows a greater appreciation and understanding of these areas close to home.

3.Less gear lust, more adventure and photography: This goes without saying. In 2011 I was fortunate enough to be able to update a good portion of my landscape photography kit. It’s not that I did not already have an adequate lineup, In fact I had more than what I needed to produce high quality imagery. Even so, I was able to update some of my older Canon lenses to more recent releases. These updated lenses wont improve my photographic vision one iota, but they do produce slightly better results than there older counterparts. The truth is there are many great photographers capturing images with basic camera’s and kits. It’s important to remember that a good carpenter never blames his tools for poor workmanship. Furthermore having to much gear or constantly lusting over gear gets it the way of the end product, creating imagery and art.

Well here’s to having a great 2012. There lots out there to do and photograph and I plan on taking the bull by the horns this year. It’s been a fun first year of blogging and I’ll keep updating as often as I can. Happy New Year to all, and a toast to success in 2012.