I went to Watkins Glen for Labor Day with the goal of taking pictures. Just a quick drive down on Sunday afternoon. The drive down was really gorgeous, if somewhat long, and reminded me of a sort of American version of Tuscany. The highway wound along the side of Seneca Lake, past a multitude of wineries on one side and a wide variety of marinas and lake houses on the other. The view of the blue lake full of white sailboats with the golden light spilling over everything was beautiful and really relaxing, even though I had trouble finding the entrance to the park.
The park was actually quite small compared to what I expected, a series of trails that wound along the sides and top of the narrow gorge. I walked up the main trail for an hour or a bit more and got about two thirds of the length of the park – and that was with a lot of photo breaks. I had to wonder at the way the crowds tapered off the farther from the entrance I got – it seemed like a lot of people must have been missing the prettiest parts of the gorge by giving up too soon, and it really wasn’t that big of a park to be giving up on.
My timing was pretty successful, although I had to turn around after the Rainbow Bridge to walk back out before it got dark. This meant I was there during the evening golden hour, which was what I aimed for (yay) but I quickly realized that this park is much better photographed in the morning golden hour (east-facing) or maybe even in the middle of the day when the gorge would be most fully lit. As it was, I found myself really missing a tripod – almost all my photos were at least a bit blurry, since I should have set my ISO higher. Definitely blurry pictures < maybe grainy pictures.
In spite of the blurriness, I think you can agree that it’s a beautiful location!
I was pleased with myself that I paid a lot more attention to my camera settings than when I went to Letchworth, even if I should have been more aggressive with my ISO. I remembered to check my photos once or twice after I took them (which would have helped at Letchworth) and set my camera on multi-shot mode which let me choose the least-blurry of each when I got home.
I took a lot more, but these were my favorites in quality and composition. I tried putting to use the feedback I’ve been getting from the photography coffee group I’ve been going to Saturday mornings, mostly in terms of developing the RAW photo files, but also in remembering to compose in-camera and not rely on cropping afterwards, and also to try to take multiple versions of a shot. I had some trouble color-balancing them accurately with the mix of golden sunshine and blue shadows in a single picture, so I don’t know if I ended up correct or not. So that was how I spent my Labor Day weekend!