Thursday, June 12, 2014

Gorgeous Waterfalls in Western NY!

Fellow API staff instructor Joe LeFevre and I led an intensive 4-day workshop to Letchworth and Stony Brook State Parks in western NY.  Each is quite distinctive, with its own personality, giving us the opportunity to create a variety of images of dramatic gorges, waterfalls and streams.  Letchworth is known as the “Grand Canyon of the East.”  A 550-foot deep gorge has been carved by the Genesee River into a series of imposing switchbacks.  Fresh spring greenery lined the river.  Hawks and turkey vultures rode the thermals above the canyon.  Down in the gorge we got close to Lower and Middle Falls for intimate images.  Afternoon sunlight cast a rainbow on mist rising from Middle’s plunge pool. 

At Stony Brook State Park a half-mile trail follows the brook to First and Second Falls.  There are numerous riffles and small falls along its course.  Colorful slabs of rock decorate the streambed.  We walked into the water and behind some falls for interesting perspectives.  We've learned that different weather and lighting conditions open unique shooting opportunities in these environments.  Bright sunlight added a wonderful luminance and blue-green striations to the waterfalls, something that just doesn’t happen in often-favored bright overcast conditions.

Joe and I also led indoor instructional sessions on the fine art of photographing waterfalls and streams, and the digital workflow for optimizing images of flowing water to their full potential.  We stressed the need for blending multiple exposures for exposure detail, and expanding resolution and depth of field.

We came away very excited about the possibilities for making inspired images of flowing water.  API will continue our series of workshops to areas that give us unprecedented access to photograph waterfalls and streams up close and personal.  Watch for 2015 workshops in Rickett’s Glen State Park, Pennsylvania and/or the Finger Lakes region of New York.  And let us know if you have a preference.  There’s so much to explore in each and Joe and I have so many innovative tips and techniques to share for creating stunning images of these special places!