Denali Diaries…Onward & Eastward

After leaving Pittsburgh we headed to Niagara Falls which neither Frank nor I had ever seen.  It proved to be everything and more than I had hoped for.  I tried to go with no previous notions of the photos I wanted.  Some will be the typical tourist view ( we did all the tourist things and loved them) and others hopefully not so typical.  In any case, I bring my own perspective to any given location and situation and I believe I accomplished that with my vision and creative interpretation of Niagara Falls.


Fireworks welcomed us from the Rainbow Bridge crossing from the US into Canada.  Niagara Falls, Canada Skyline.

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Typical tourist view of the Maid of the Mist approaching drenchingly close to the falls.  I chose a slow shutter speed to emphasize the spray and turbulent water.

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View from the Maid of the Mist looking at American Falls.  We were blessed with beautiful weather and a double rainbow.

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We enjoyed a tour of Cave of the Winds which brought us along a series of boardwalks and stairs right to the edge of the falls.


After getting off the Maid of the Mist we climbed a trail to the base of the falls.  This is a view of the walk and tourists in their colorful ponchos from the Canada side.

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Aptly named the Hurricane Deck, the pounding of the falling water and the scream of the wind feels like being in the heart of a hurricane.  An up close view of the falls is also a guarantee to get wet.  Colorful ponchos are provided at each attraction helping to keep dry and adding a splash of color while the wearers added scale to photographs.

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My love affair with water was re-ignited at Niagara Falls and poor Frank patiently waited while I set up a photograph, clicked the shutter, collected my tripod, took a couple of steps and exclaimed, “oh, look!”, set my tripod down and began photographing again.  Thanks honey, I feel that your sacrifice was worth it.

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View of Horseshoe Falls from “Journey Behind the Falls” tour on the Canada side.  I felt that this photo alone made it worth the price of admission.


Light, water, a telephoto lens and a slow shutter speed are some of my favorite ingredients for photographing blur motions.


I play with various shutter speeds to find the effect I like and then let the shutter fly capturing various splashes and streaks in the warer.


Twilight and first spotlights on the falls.  The light, a slow shutter speed and the spray help to capture the surreal feeling I got when photographing the changing light of day to evening.


I love finding just the right shutter speed and compostition to capture the fluid motion of water.  Niagara Falls certainly provides a waterfall lover with ample opportunity to find as many compositions as they have time to explore.  And explore we did.  And yet, I feel that we barely scratched the surface.


The falls are lit every night from basically dusk until midnight (check for actual times).  To see them fully you must cross over to the Canada side.  Well worth the walk.  Great exercise, great photo opps along the way.  The colors keep changing.


Canada boasts a structure much like the Space Needle in Seattle, the Skylon Tower was built in 1964-65.

We had originally thought about heading to Maine and following the fall colors down the coast and our timing was perfect for color but, alas, campgrounds were closing down leaving us with no options to stay so, we looked at the map and decided to head south east to Watkins Glen, NY.  Learning to go with the flow has been one of our goals on this adventure and by doing so, we have discovered new locations that we never would have seen otherwise and Watkins Glen was one such treat.  Running through town is a 2 mile hike with 19 waterfalls.


There were photos to be made around every corner, look up, look down, zoom out, zoom in, change lenses, add a nd or polarizing filter.  It was like being a kid in a candy store.  Talk about a waterfall lovers paradise.


I was drawn to the water carved rocks dotted with colorful leaves as a beautiful setting for my compositions.


Little nooks and crannies, intimate compositions were made more dramatic with the textured rock through which the water flowed.


Light reflected off the canyon walls bounced into the water lighting it with the warmth of the afternoon sun.


Waterfalls stair-stepped their way through the deep canyon, pooling into basins before finding an outlet and falling into the next pool.


Leaves caught in the whirlpool swirled round and round creating a dancelike motion all their own.


With last light peeking into the canyon just far enough to cast a glow on the water, I stepped behind the falls and shot up at the ledge where they cascaded from.  From wide angle compositions including the canyon walls and passing tourists to more intimate compositions where water is the sole subject, I found Watkins Glen to be a fairie land to feast my lenses upon.

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Following the water theme, and looking for locations to explore we backtracked to Letchworth SP in New York.  There we spent several days exploring the surrounding landscape and waterfalls as well as simply sitting back, relaxing and enjoying our new lifestyle.

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There are three falls originally named Upper, Lower and Middle Falls.  We followed the trails and explored them all.


Including zooming in for intimate details.


Capturing soft patterns as the flowing water cascades down the rocks.


And beautiful patterns of shadow and light reflecting colors in the water.


Keeping with the theme of water and looking for new locations to explore we headed back into Pennsylvania and the Pocono Mountains.  In no rush to be anywhere soon we booked a full week and spent our time both exploring and relaxing.  Nearby Bushkill Falls is a privately owned land with waterfalls


They have spent many years and dollars into an effort to make the trails to the falls accessible with boardwalks and stairways leading to spectacular views.



Turns out we were only a short bus ride from New York City so, we had to make a quick overnight visit to the city.


We had both been there several times so we were in no rush to hit the tourist spots so much as we just wanted to wander around the city absorbing the energy and vibes.  We stopped at John Lennon’s memorial in Central Park and took a few minutes to imagine…


We then stopped by the Dakota Hotel to pay our respects.


While in Central Park we got caught up in the magical world of imagination and fun with stops at the carousel.


And at the Alice in Wonderland statue.


We were even “treated” to a sighting of the Naked Cowboy with his endorsement of Trump on his rump.


It was a beautiful day with many people out enjoying themselves.


I popped in to St Patrick’s Cathedral to snap a few pics.  It is such an overwhelming architectural wonder.


A vertical pano emphasizes the height of the columns and the pattern on the ceiling.


We took the subway to the 911 Memorial.


It was very sobering to see all the names engraved on the memorial.  A beautiful building and memorial have been built in their honor.


It was time to head eastward to the coast.  Two months, 5600 miles and 15 states afters leaving Portland we arrived on the east coast at Cape Hatteras.  Ah, to be able to walk the long beaches, wade in the water, feel the sand between my toes, camera in hand.  I’m in my happy place.  Stay tuned for more posts to the Denali Diaries

For now, we be road trippin’!