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Autumn Falls

So, I've been extremely remiss in keeping the blog updated, it's actually a little embarrassing how long it has been! It's been a very busy Summer on my end-- great, fun, relaxing, and busy. I hope you had a nice one on your side of the screen too. It was a warm one here in the Northeast, well deserved and appreciated after a Winter that overstayed its snowy welcome.  

Now, though perhaps betrayed by the occasional warm, humid, or dare I say, "hot" day, Summer has passed and my favorite season begins. The leaves begin to turn their beautiful hues of yellow, orange, and red and the air has a fresh crispness to it, and alas, the much loved or detested onslaught of pumpkin-flavored EVERYTHING!.  Woooooooo!!!  Not actually a fan of the pumpkin madness, but love the short season that brings it. It IS short, right? I mean, it's three months long on the calendar, but the "season" feels like it's only about half that. Once the leaves all lose their color, drop, and we all bemoan raking, it seems like Autumn is over. Strictly speaking, it runs right up to, what, late December? December 22! Holy schnikes! That's not Autumn, that's Christmastime! I mean, according to the stores in the mall it's Christmas time on Oct 15. Crazy.  I think they need to start and finish seasons on the first day of the month. Spring, March through June. Summer, June through August. Autumn, September through November, and at last, Winter, December through February. That's my two cents. 

ANYWAY!!! I digress (it's my blog and I will ramble if I want to).  Last year, Heather and I married in October and spent our honeymoon in beautiful Lake Placid, NY. Little did we know that Lake Placid all but shuts down the day after Columbus Day, so we ended up having the town almost to ourselves. Not really THAT empty, but very far from crowded. The only day we had to wait for a table was Friday night, when the town starts to fill up again. I highly recommend visiting. Tons of quaint shops, restaurants, Olympic history, and the natural beauty of the region is breathtaking.  

We made it a point to visit the High Gorge Falls while there, just a a short drive out of the village of Lake Placid. We arrived late, and luckily just missed a gigantic tour group (bus trip) that were boarding their bus as we walked into the visitor station. Like the town itself, we had the falls nearly to ourselves! 

The falls are really something else, as is the complex network of catwalks and bridges set up for tourists to traverse them. Heather, with her acute fear of heights, was a real champ in the park, though there were some paths she just wouldn't take.

No, that fallen tree wasn't one of them. I mean, no, she didn't cross it, but that wasn't want I was talking about. You will be able to see my vantage point for this photo in the next photo. I was on a small landing at the bottom of a long steep flight os stairs that just hung over the falls from the wall of the gorge. (Click on the images to see larger versions). 

In the following image, look for the small platform on the top right, that's the spot. Perspective makes it difficult to really feel t he proximity to the falls, but I had to keep wiping the spray off my lens, and hoping I didn't drop anything into the deep gorge below.

Thanks for stopping in, having a read, and checking out my photos. I hope you enjoyed them. For those wondering about summer photos, don't worry, there are plenty of those coming, and long Winter months ahead that will require warm thoughts! For now, let's enjoy Autumn, and all it has to offer in it's brief stay! 

I'm going to have a non-pumpkin-flavored coffee now.

Darren

Winter's End

It has been a particularly long Winter this year in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I LIKE Winter! A lot! I like the cold, I like the snow, I like the crisp air. But even for me, weeks of sub freezing temperatures, no sun, and nights in the single digits, and negatives... well, I'm happy to see the calendar draw us closer to the warmer months.

Spring's around the corner, right?  This past Friday, on the first official day of Spring, it snowed.

There's a field not far from my house, I pass it every now and then when we visit my in-law's farm.  On Friday night I pulled over on the side of the road, in the slushy mess that was Winter's (hopeful) last hurrah. Even though it is on the side of a very busy road, aside from a few cars that passed as I was getting out of my car, the road was quiet and still and not another car passed the whole time I was there... or I just didn't notice them. I set up the tripod and took a few shots of the field and tree line and hopped back in my car and drove home. I felt a little like the voice in Robert Frost's poem...

"Whose woods these are, I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
he will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He give his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."

                                                   --Robert Frost

I made one image from that stop on the roadside, on the edge of Winter and Spring. I hope you like it! 

Thanks for checking in!

Darren

Winter Sunset on the Lake

Sunsets... The end of a day. A good day. A long day. A rough day. A trying day. Even a dull day. Something about the setting sun with its myriad of colors and hues in the sky places an exclamation point on the day. Done! Over! Kaput! or... Go! The start of night. Going home. Getting ready to go out on the town. The closing of a daily chapter and the opening of a new one. Will your night be better than your day? More exciting? More peaceful? The setting sun is that natural switch in our daily routine. The bright harshness of the afternoon sun slowly fades into the blue hour of twilight. Things are darker. More still. More mysterious. There's a subtle anticipation. What new adventure will the night bring? Time out with friends, sharing some laughs and drinks?  Dinner with family at home? For some, it's just the start of their shift at work. For others it's the start of the party. For many, it's just time to slow down and settle in. 

How many times have you said, or heard, "it was a beautiful sunset tonight?" How many times have you said it to yourself... wow, look at that sunset? Twice a day we get to see the amazing light of the sun when it is low to the horizon, or below it altogether... and seeing it in the morning, ugh, that's like, effort. That's starting the new chapter of the day when all we want to do is hit the snooze button. 

Lately I have found myself rushing to the lake for the sunsets. Harveys Lake is normally full of activity with the speed boats, jet skis, water skiers, and even folks on the quieter side of lake life, the fishermen, kayakers, paddlers in canoes. People enjoying the lake are out there in all sort of weather. Naturally, the sun of summer has the lake bustling with activity, but even the wet, drizzly, windy days will see activity. Trying to get shots of the lake when it isn't full of people can be challenging... but there are very few folks on it when it is 4 degrees with a windchill of -20.  I say very few, because there will always be the ice skaters and hockey players and ice fishermen who see this as a special time on the lake as well. A time when the lake becomes a very still, and very private place. It can easily be just you, your thoughts, the howling of the wind, and the setting sun. 

I headed out to capture the setting sun over from frozen lake a few times this Winter. The first was during Northeastern Pennsylvania's first real cold snap of the season. It was what most would consider to be brutally cold, the kind of cold where your eyes water instantly and everything just exposed to the wind just hurts, not like it's cold, but like it burns. The lake was frozen over aside from the bubblers kept running around the docks to prevent the ice from destroying them. At that point in the season, early January, we didn't yet have very much snow on the ground, or in this case, on the ice, and the high lake winds scoured much of it off anyway.
 
 

In this photo, the sun has obviously set behind the mountain, but its stunningly warm glow belies the cold and wind. Away from any docks, the ice serves as a foggy mirror of the sky's warm palette. On the opposite lakeshore, houses are still adorned with Christmas lights as they fall into the deepening shadows and soft blues of twilight.

I returned to this same area weeks later in late February. This time out, after seemingly countless snowstorms and the third coldest February on record, the ice was covered completely with a heavy blanket of snow. Snow doesn't have quite the same reflective properties of the ice of course, but it does an amazing job of picking up the deepening shades of the blue hour.

The Christmas lights are gone from the rooflines on the far lakeshore this time, and the snow almost glows blue. Standing on a dock protected by the bubblers, some open water provides a nice reflection of the sky. 

I shuffled back and forth on the dock, trudging through about a foot and half of snow trying to capture the shots that I wanted as the colors of sunset were fading quickly, and as I looked down at my tripod to make an adjustment, I noticed something shining in the water. At first glance I thought it was some trinket a swimmer lost in the summer, a bracelet or necklace, but whenI looked again the illusion of being under water faded and I realized the moon was high above. I quickly switched the camera's orientation to shoot vertically and captured this one last image to include the faint crescent moon before I made my way back to the car (and checked for frostbite).  Spring ins around the corner supposedly... forecast for tomorrow? More snow.

Thanks for stopping by,

Darren