Tripod holes, part 6

tourists at Watkins Glen, New York
N 42.374306° W 76.876282° Google Earth Placemark

Now, this one you not only can get to without a lot of effort, if you do an image search on “Watkins Glen,” you’ll likely find more than a few images taken from almost exactly this spot. Or as close to it as I can determine, anyway – while I’m familiar enough with the area to know where the bridge in the image is, it’s not something that I’ve been able to spot while skimming all the various years of images from Google Earth.

[You did know that you can change the year of the image in Google Earth, right? Just look in the lower left corner of the photo window for a year in a little box, and click on it – this will open up a timeline slider with all of the images of that location. Many are really low resolution, and most are no older than the early 1990s, but a few locations can go much older than that; Niagara Falls is the oldest that I’ve found in my casual perusing, so feel free to see if you can get older than that someplace.]

Anyway, as intimated some minutes ago, this is Watkins Glen, New York, specifically Watkins Glen State Park, or at least a tiny portion thereof. It’s a really cool river gorge formed after the glaciers scoured over central NY and the rainwater suddenly had a new basin to fill, in this case Seneca Lake (though it wouldn’t bear that name for a couple years – 10,000 or more – afterward.) The walking paths up along the river aren’t too strenuous at all, courtesy of the bedrock in the area making natural levels throughout, but it’s pretty narrow compared to how deep it is, thus why it’s so hard to find specific details: they’re shrouded in the shadows and trees surrounding the gorge. This also means that even brilliantly sunny days (like the one shown here) won’t be too harsh light within the gorge, and generally pretty comfortable temperatures even in high summer.

But this is one of those scenic locations that can demonstrate a common trait for photographers: you’ll usually see much better photos from someone else. A lot of such places are best in very specific conditions, which may not at all be the conditions that you have while visiting, so it’s not just the locations that provide the great images, but the weather and time of day and time of year and specific vantage and so on. Some photographers visit the same places over and over trying for the right combinations before they nail that one breathtaking shot, and just looking at mine above, it’s easy to see that only at certain short times of the day does the light fall into the gorge, and foliage is a key factor, and of course how many people are around. So the locations are a start, but rarely ever the only factor in great images.

[By the way, if you click on that link above for Watkins Glen State Park, both images used on that page are the exact same location that I’m showing here, just framed differently: the lowest part of the cascade here is the ‘single’ cascade in their header photo, while I wasn’t back far enough to show the stone steps leading towards this bridge that they framed out. Then further down their page you see something very similar to this. Notice, however, that they gave no credit to the photographer(s)…]

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