Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Watkins Glen State Park, New York
The park has about 20 major waterfalls that you’ll walk over, next to and even behind, so be prepared to get a little wet. Make sure to bring a water-resistant camera bag to keep your gear protected. Packing a fast wide-angle telephoto such as the Tokina AT-X 280 28-80mm ƒ/2.8 and a zoom telephoto like Nikon’s AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-200mm ƒ/2.8G offers a broad range of focal lengths while minimizing the number of lenses you need to carry. The wide-angle will allow you to capture the grandeur of the massive natural amphitheaters. The zoom lets you isolate the subtle nuances or distant cascades. A circular polarizer and a sturdy lightweight tripod such as the Manfrotto 190CXPRO4 are essential when shooting here. The polarizer reduces the glare and reflections from the perpetually water-soaked rocks and helps to bring out the natural colors of the landscape. The tripod makes shooting possible because, as you get deep in the gorge, the towering walls around you block much of the available light, making handheld shots difficult.
The cooler weather and brilliant autumn colors make fall the best time to visit Watkins Glen and the Finger Lakes area. The contrast of bright, colorful leaves against the monochromatic shale stone creates an exciting photographic experience. Early morning is the best time to photograph the park because it’s usually less crowded and can provide the opportunity to get photos without people in them. The park is open year-round; the gorge trail is closed from early November until May.
Contact: New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, (607) 535-4511, www.nysparks.state.ny.us.
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