Our South Jersey Camera Club recently organized a weekend field trip to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Aside from the great camaraderie we also enjoyed working several scenic locations.
We began with Dingman’s Falls which is up a road west of Dingman’s Ferry on U.S. 209. The road leads to a visitors’ center where the trail to the falls begins. One curmudgeonly observation: Why can’t the destinations be closer to the parking areas? It’s always, “Oh, we’ll park here and then it’s only a mile in.” I pack at least fifteen pounds of camera, lenses, tripod, filters, spare battery, water, and etc. and those one mile hikes seem much longer. On several of the field trips I’ve taken with pros I’ve always suggested caddys.
But, I get there eventually. Our first stop, Dingman’s Falls, seen here, wasn’t showing in its best light. There was too much sun and too bright a sun, causing too much contrast between lighted and shadow area. It then becomes a post-processing challenge which requires software either to resolve multiple images with different exposures, or for judicious post-processing of single images.* Never mind all that, it’s still a dramatic scene.
I first photographed Dingman’s in the summer of 2008. Maybe the lower left was dark then, too, because I focused just on the upper third as shown here. I also chose a 1/4” exposure then, providing the creamy look in contrast to last month’s exposure of 1/64″.
There is something to be said for both of the above images but I seem to gravitate towards the scene-filling milky water.
From Dingman’s we headed up 209 to the Raymondskill Falls area. Without my caddy I didn’t go all the way down to photograph the main falls. There was, however, running water and cascades along the way. I enjoyed sitting on the edge of the embankment and shooting into the water on its way down.
We finished up the late afternoon in the Childs Recreation site which features … guess what … more falls. By now I was somewhat desperate for an interesting falls scene; I spotted this and brought it home.
A late, great dinner at the Apple Valley Family Restaurant in charming Milford finished the day.
The next morning we were out early in search of fallen farms. In the late 50’s Congress initiated a project to dam the Delaware near Tocks Island, north of the Delaware Water Gap. The primary purpose was for flood control but also for power generation and water supply. Over the ensuing years the government acquired a great deal of land on both shores of the Delaware, in part land that would be flooded by backing up the river, and in part for recreational area. The projected 37 mile-long lake project was vigorously opposed by residents and environmental activists and, as a result, by the states’ governors, and it was disapproved in the 70’s and reviewed and rejected again in ’97. In 2002 it was officially de-authorized.
Our day would take us to three of the old farms, alive and productive before Tocks Island but now fading and deteriorating. Here was the first … foreboding and squishy from the previous night’s rain and morning mists. I was drawn first to the remaining wall of the old barn.
The night’s rain and the morning mist gathered as droplets on the rambler rose branches which were just beginning to sprout leaves, the drops capturing the trees beyond them.
The early morning light on this deserted place of former life led me to see these trunks in a dark way.
At this point I felt a compelling need to think about and plan the rest of my shots here. A colleague captured my meditation. (After all, we had started at 6:00.)
Moving on, another forgotten farm included this left-behind, peeling canoe. How many happy times was this enjoyed on the Delaware?
Our final farm visit was to the Zimmerman Farm, the summer home from 1944 of the New York City artist, Marie Zimmerman. The farmland was originally acquired by her father in 1882 and she grew up there, frequently camping and fishing alone. The family home on the property is being maintained and some of the farm buildings remain although they are under siege. (This was another of those spots where we parked and walked “Only about a mile in.”)
The pig barn stands although the doors and windows are memories as are the pigs.
There is a gallery of these and other images from the trip. Click here.
*[A tech note on image processing. Cameras don't produce good (for viewing) images right out of the sensor. Although there are several million pixels worth of detail the camera still has to integrate all their outputs to make some sense of the scene. Most cameras will produce a so-called jpeg image which is the result of applying internal software to the colors and to the brightness and sharpness of the pixels. For point-and-shoots the results are enjoyable and that's good because there isn't any alternative. For Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras, however, one may choose to shoot in the so-called raw mode, or raw plus jpeg. The raw mode captures all the signal from each pixel such that the original image data can be processed by a raw editor in one's PC. The raw file is unchanged by this processing and is always available for re-editing later if desired.]