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Watkins Glen - Last Open Day of The Year
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Watkins Glen - Last Open Day of The Year

by Gerald Janauer on November 13, 2009

My wife and I had been planning a trip to Watkins Glen for several weeks now, especially because I know that the Glen (as well as the Gorges in Ithaca which is also nearby) close in fall for the rest of the winter season.  This last Sunday we finally got a chance to go, on a beautiful fall day with 65 degree weather.  I was fairly certain that the park would still be open, and indeed we found that it was on arrival.  What I had not expected, however, was that we would get this lucky.  The park closed for the season this Monday, November 9th.  We got in on the last chance!  Entering the Glen is strictly forbidden in the winter time due to often dangerous conditions when snow and ice are present.

The specific reason for my interest in going to Watkins Glen was a photograph that I had taken several years ago.  The image was captured hand held with a 6 MP Nikon D100 DSLR camera.  While excellent for its time, my current equipment should yield a better large format print.  Also, since I had not used a tripod for the original image I had introduced some camera shake into my image.  The camera shake had proven to be the biggest problem with my previous picture, and the picture was only printable up to 8″x10″ withe reasonable quality.  Since I am rather picky about my print quality I figured it would be fun to reproduce a better version of the earlier image.  I took my Sigma 12-24 lens and my Nikon 18-200 VR into the Glen, along with my Nikon D300.

Here is an image from our hike up the Glen, one of many beautiful series of cascades in the park.

Watkins Glen Cascades

Watkins Glen Cascades

A bit further up the stream, we arrived at one of several waterfalls.

Watkins Glen Waterfall

Watkins Glen Waterfall

And then, we finally arrived at the spot where I intended to re-make my previous image.  The shot below is a single exposure image of a bracketed exposure series.  The image was processed in Nikon Capture NX 1.4 and sized in Adobe Photoshop CS.  A fairly large amount of lightening has been done to the shadow areas of the image.  In it’s current form I suspect that the image would not print much larger than 12″x18″ due to graininess caused by shadow noise.   An HDR overlay of the bracketed images might improve the result.

Watkins Glen Veil of Water on the Trail

Watkins Glen Veil of Water on the Trail

On the way back we returned most of the way on the Indian Trail, then crossed over to the South Rim Trail and then back into the Gorge.  All in all, a great outing on a perfect fall day!  This was exact same outing that one of our Houses at The Family Foundation School did with some young people just a few weeks ago.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim McGlynn 11.15.09 at 11:23 pm

Really the Grand Canyon of Upstate. These are quite magical! The shale layers in all there historical perspective.

Mike Farrell 11.17.09 at 9:56 pm

Impressive shots of this natural wonder. Hard to believe that this park is as accessible to the general public as it is. Nice job capturing the beauty of this park on the last day of the season. Are you happier with the image than with the shots that were taken years earlier?

Gerald Janauer 11.17.09 at 10:04 pm

Thanks for the comments guys. Glad to hear from both of you! Yes, the rock layers are really interesting, and the entirety of rock formation screams geological history! In terms of my images, I am mostly happy with them. I need to find the time to do some more extensive processing (I would like to try a high dynamic range image (HDR), and have not yet had the time to attempt this. I will also need to see the images in print. I will consider the images better if they prints at 13x 19 in. or larger. My preferred print size for my landscape images is as big as my printer will print at home - about 17 x 25 inches.

Gerald

Guy Van Hooveld 12.06.09 at 6:46 am

The first one is just incredible, wall hanging stuff…

congrats !

Guy

Barbara Thorbjörnsson 12.28.09 at 8:55 pm

I have stood right where this shot was taken 2 times. You did a beautiful job of capturing it.
The composition is really good.

Gerald Janauer 01.02.10 at 12:31 pm

Hi Barb,
Thanks for stopping by! Hope all is well with you and you have had a good start to the New Year.

Gerald

S. Rayo 02.16.10 at 11:14 am

Hi Gerald: I absolutely loved the pics. You have now inspired me to take a trip to Watkins Glen to see this beauty for myself. Always looking for interesting things to do with the family. Those pictures would make great wallpaper. Thanks for sharing them.

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