Posted by: kerryl29 | June 2, 2016

A Waterfall Appetizer

I returned from my waterfall photo excursion on Wednesday, May 25 (a day earlier than planned) and just began to go through the routine of postprocessing the images the night before last (May 31).  It will take me some time to work though all of the photographs, but I thought I’d provide a small taste of what I saw and worked with during my time in northeast Pennsylvania and western New York.

Onondaga Falls, Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania

Onondaga Falls, Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania

The weather I experienced was a bit of a mixed bag.  I had only two completely overcast days, unfortunately–my second full day at Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania and my final full day in the western Finger Lakes region of New York (and the last few hours of the latter day was overtaken by rain).  But more than half of the remaining days were a mix of clouds and sun, which allowed me to photograph, off and on, throughout the day.  The last two days of the trip–which were spent in or near Letchworth State Park in New York–were completely clear, all day long, and since the forecast called for more of the same going forward, I bugged out a day early.

Eagle Cliff Falls, Havana Glen, Schuyler County, New York

Eagle Cliff Falls, Havana Glen, Schuyler County, New York

Clear skies are pretty much death to waterfall photography.  On my last day at Letchworth, I was able to photograph from dawn until about 7 AM, after which time my subject matter was effectively unshootable.  I had to essentially suspend photography activities until nearly 7 PM that day and, since I’d experienced the same phenomenon the day before and had completely scouted the entire park by then (as well as another nearby state park), I spun my wheels for hours.  I wasn’t looking forward to dealing with that frustration again the next day, so I saved myself a few dollars and headed home the following morning.

Lower Falls, Enfield Glen, Robert H. Treman State Park, New York

Lower Falls, Enfield Glen, Robert H. Treman State Park, New York

Lest I leave the impression that the trip wasn’t successful, I ended up photographing everything I originally had on my agenda, and then some.  The areas I photographed in both states were beautiful–and I suspect that they’d be even more impressive at peak color in the fall (though the water flow likely wouldn’t be quite as strong).

Taughannock Creek, Taughannock Falls State Park, New York

Taughannock Creek, Taughannock Falls State Park, New York

While the vast majority of the subject matter falls under the category of waterfalls and/or streams, there were some exceptions, as I’ll demonstrate when I begin to post the daily chronology of the trip.  That will have to wait until I’ve been able to complete at least one full day’s worth of image postprocessing, and I expect to have that done by some time early next week.

Cascadilla Gorge, Tompkins County, New York

Cascadilla Gorge, Tompkins County, New York

In the meantime I hope you enjoy the figurative appetite stimulant that is represented by this entry and will stick around for the main course, beginning with my next post from Ricketts Glen.

Middle Falls, Letchworth State Park, New York

Middle Falls, Letchworth State Park, New York



  1. Your photos are amazing!! I hope to see them more ✨

    • Thanks very much. If you’re of the mind, there will be many more images from this trip posted in the coming weeks.

  2. Beautiful photos Kerry. I’ve passed through these areas on my way elsewhere. Next time I plan to take a couple of days to experience some of the beauty first hand. Thanks!

    • Thanks, Mike. I think you’d find a stop in the region well worth your while–there’s plenty of hiking to be done, that’s for certain.

  3. You are the waterfall master. This does indeed whet the appetite for more.

    • Thanks, Ellen. There’s plenty more where that came from. 🙂

  4. The photos are beautiful, and it was interesting to me to hear you say that cloudy conditions are best for photographing waterfalls. After I thought about it for a while, it began to make sense, as well as making your photos even more impressive. I was in a cemetery filled with wildflowers yesterday, trying to photograph under cloudy skies, and learned what a variety of unhappy images can be obtained under such conditions!

    Apart from that, it’s such a delight to see this gorgeous water: clear and clean, as well as pretty. I’m accustomed to seeking out prairies and wildlife preserves in the Brazos River flood plain, and just now it’s a mess of muddy water and closed roads.It never resembles anything like the areas you show here, even under the best of circumstances, but right now it’s ghastly.

    I’ll certainly be looking forward to the other photos you have to share.

    • Thanks!

      And thanks for mentioning the matter of weather conditions and subject matter. I’ve been photographing for so long now that I have a tendency to take the issue of ideal light/subject matter for granted at times, and I really shouldn’t do that. I will sometimes return from a photo trip only to be greeted by someone–a non-photographer–saying something along the lines of: “I see you had great weather on your trip; blue skies every day!” On the first full day at Ricketts Glen, I had my camera mounted on the tripod, ready to make an image, and I was just standing there. A couple wandered by and asked if I was “waiting for the sun.” I said, no, I was “waiting for a cloud to block the sun.”

      This is a good topic for further explication; I’ll prepare an entry on the subject which I’ll post in the relatively near future, to break up the boredom of the chronological tale of the trip.

      Thanks again for mentioning the issue of light.

  5. Very much enjoy following your photography and commentary. I’m also curious as to the Downsides of clear sky shooting, I’m guessing high contrast and reflections. Marty

    • Thanks, Marty. Re clear skies…you’ve largely got it. There are, in my view, both technical and aesthetic reasons to avoid shooting wooded settings (including, but not limited to, waterfalls and creeks) on clear days. This really is a topic I should have covered in greater depth long ago.

  6. I love the immense delight of nature hugging me, feeling me with hopes, regenerating my strength. The water looks so delightful.That place seems therapeutic, here’s what i’ll do in my next life.

    • Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

  7. Beautiful waterfall photos. Could have one printed on the wall.

    • Thanks!

      BTW, if your serious about a print, drop me an e-mail: kerry AT lightscapesphotography DOT com

  8. Such a variety of water formations as it falls and eddies–like water to do that, I know! The first includes a little whirlpool?…fascinating shot. The lighting comments were interesting–I don’t get up at the crack of dawn to take pictures or monitor the weather is the same way. Your camera’s eye captured those fascinating variations so well–a pleasure.

    • Thanks!

      The swirl in the first image…that’s the result of along exposure (6-8 seconds, if I recall correctly). I could see the underpinnings of the swirl with the naked eye, but I knew I’d have to leave the shutter open for some time in order for it to appear as you see it in the photograph. There were a number of instances on this trip where I was able to produce a similar effect.

  9. Great work, Kerry. Always and education for many of us.

    • Thanks very much!

  10. Wonderful waterfalls. I love them.

  11. Gorgeous waterfall, must be a blast photographing 🙂

    • Thanks very much…and, yes, it is. 🙂

  12. Thank you for another wonderfully illustrated lesson on how photography is done right!

  13. These are stunning Kerry; your water photos have always been some of my favorites, so I look forward to seeing more! PA is beautiful, isn’t it?

    • Thanks, Lynn.

      PA is filled with visual delights. Though I’d dipped my toe, figuratively speaking, in the water of western Pennsylvania for a few days five-odd years ago, this was my first foray into the eastern part of the state with my camera. Hopefully it won’t be my last.

  14. […] in points, to directly fall on the scenes I was trying to photograph.  As I mentioned in the introductory post to this series, I generally disdain photographing waterfalls and creeks in direct sun, so my choices were to […]

  15. Simply stunning

  16. […] world, and why not?  They’re attractive and you can find them all over the place.  I devoted an entire photo trip to waterfalls a couple of years ago, so I’ve put my money where my mouth is.  But there are a number of […]

  17. […] what became Waterfall Spring of 2016–a photo trip of about 10 days that May–I split my time between Ricketts Glen […]

  18. […] ride, in the form of an intangible piece of gear.  If my mindset is that I’m going to photograph waterfalls or tropical beaches or classic desert scenes…what am I going to overlook at those locations […]

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