I am fortunate to live in a place that is spectacularly beautiful for much of the year. A popular vacation spot in the Finger Lakes region of New York, Ithaca is located in an area that was carved by glaciers millions of years ago. I’ll forgo delving too far into the geological history of the region here; suffice it to say that the same features that make “Ithaca is Gorges” t-shirts a perennial bestseller are also the cause of the 150 or so waterfalls in Tompkins County.
Not surprisingly, these waterfalls are a very popular subject for both local and visiting photographers. Flickr has several groups dedicated to local waterfalls, including Ithaca is Gorges, Waterfalls of New York State, and Waterfalls of the Finger Lakes of New York State; many of these photos are masterfully shot, showing smooth, silky water in a beautiful rainforest setting.
Yesterday morning I woke up at 5 AM to go meet Deb and Scott at Taughannock Falls State Park, a local park that boasts one of the highest waterfalls east of the Rockies, for an early morning photo session. Scott drove down from Syracuse with his wife, Merrie, to shoot Taughannock as part of a project that he’s been working on (even though the falls were more like Taughannock Trickle after a long, dry summer.) We had fun walking around the park, taking pictures and talking about photography (among other things), followed by lunch at the Glenwood Pines. All in all a really nice summer outing.
The thing about Taughannock is that it’s just about impossible to capture its immensity in a photograph – it’s just one of those places you have to experience. Although the word “awesome” is overused in everyday English, it certainly applies to this place. So much so that while my pictures of it turned out nicely – especially the HDR versions – I was underwhelmed by them when I came home and loaded them up.
With the dwindling number of summer weekends, I felt almost obligated to get back outside last night and take advantage of the weather. So hubby and I headed over to Freese Road, where he took the dog for a hike around the gorge while I looked to see what I might see around the garden plots. People rent these plots for $18 / year; in most cases the gardens are started with good intentions but are overtaken by weeds by the end of the summer.
In wandering through the maze of garden plots, I came across some very tall (4′) Queen Anne’s Lace, and decided to take a look from below. Against the hazy sky, they looked like fireworks to me – and so of course they became a photographic subject.
It’s funny that a picture of a common weed gives me more of a thrill than one of a majestic waterfall.
But it’s that feeling that I’ve captured something unique that keeps me going.