by Paul Schmitt
Growing up in Kentucky, my childhood memories include the road trips past tobacco barns displaying the black and white message SEE ROCK CITY. It was a tourist attraction at Lookout Mountain just outside Chattanooga, Tennessee. The sign continued SEE 7 STATES. Never did see that Rock City, but on several occasions, I’ve driven just a little north of Salamanca, New York to see what I think is a more amazing Rock City. I did that again this early October.
Driving north on US 219 from Salamanca, take a left on Hungry Hollow Road where shortly after the pavement ends, you’ll see the sign post for New York’s Rock City.
Had the opportunity for a day trip into New York City yesterday to do some shopping at B&H PhotoVideo. With time to spare before returning to the plane, my wife and I walked thru Central Park, visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art and found a nice deli on Madison Avenue for coffee and a terrific apricot danish. We arrived a little early for the bus back to the plane. So, we found a shady place in the plaza at the south end of Central Park near the Plaza Hotel. To that point, I had seen nothing that appealed to me for photographs. But, sitting there, I became drawn to the reflections on the glass building facades. With my little Canon G9 camera, I explored the possibilities.
For those wanting to photograph Bald Eagles or waterfowl, the winter of 2012 has been frustrating. The mild winter has failed to push the birds south or to concentrate them. For me, it has also been hampering my need to test a new camera body. So, earlier this week, my patient spouse agreed to a two-day visit to the Delaware River around Lackawaxen. We saw Bald Eagles but never close enough for any interesting images. We met some nice people and stayed in a delightful B&B in Lackawaxen, the Roebling Inn on the Delaware.
So, on the second day I camped at the Lackawaxen boat launch, camera ready and waited for the resident Bald Eagle pair to swoop down to the river. They were up on the mountain side in a roost tree. Waited until noon. Never happened. We headed home with a stop at the Mongaup blind. Waiting inside for eagles, I heard a faint “pip-pip” and found a lone Northern Cardinal just outside the blind. Try finding a small bird in a 400 mm lens at the closest focus possible! After 10 minutes, hunger overrode any vain hope for eagles. It was 3 days later that I recalled the Cardinal image.
So, was the trip fruitless? Not really, just not as fruitful as hoped. We had a nice time together including an evening by the fireplace reading peacefully. The breakfast was wonderful. The other photographers I met were a source of good intelligence for future trips. I did get useful practice on birds-in-flight, just not frame filling.
As I write this, the wind outside is blowing wickedly and there is a meager cover of snow. Like a frustrated skier, I am hoping this weather will bring reports of concentrated birds. My experience fits into the old saying “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. I will keep trying.
So Hello CNP members. This is your new blog. Hopefully you received an email telling you about its existence and the log in information if you are a member current with your dues. You are invited to become a blogger and write about where you’ve been, what you’ve seen, show your recent photos, offer advice on deals you have found, equipment you like, or even let members know you have equipment to sell or trade. Anything you feel might be of interest to members. So share your nature photo news with us all, and enjoy this forum. Also feel free to leave comments on things others post. It’s easy. Be sure and sign your posts at the end so we know who the author is.