As I mentioned in my essay on my Photography Phunk, part of my cure was to get off the beach and on the road to practice my craft.  I decided to head up along the western side of the Hudson River and see what I could find.  My first stops were on Bear Mountain, a first visit for me and well worthwhile.  I drove to the peak (because it’s there) but diverted to this overlook on Seven Lakes Drive on the way down.   On the left of the panorama is the Bear Mountain Bridge crossing the Hudson River.

Bear Mt._Panorama 6748-52 1024

The panorama was made from five separate images taken using my wide angle lens in a vertical or portrait position.  This had been suggested to me a couple of times over the years and I finally remembered it while at a location.  When combining images into a panorama one almost always loses some of the top and bottom of the images.  Shooting vertically gives more image to start with such that the final panorama still has a lot of the scene.  Because I was shooting downward there was distortion in the synthesized result which I corrected  in Photoshop.


I then headed north to West Point.  To my surprise they would let me drive through but they wanted to search my car first.  It was full of vacation and camera gear and I decided it wasn’t worth the trouble.  “What’s on the flash cards, sir?”  We toured it years ago when we took our boat up the Hudson.  We were allowed to tie up over night at the West Point excursion boat pier but it turned out to be a mixed blessing as the Conrail freight tracks run right past the pier and there was a lot of thundering, pier-shaking traffic all night.

Continuing, then, I drove through Storm King State Park from which the image below of the Hudson was made along Route 218, the Storm King Highway.  The road continues and rises to the flat top of the knob on the left.

Image 01

Thence to Highland, NY.  There I drove down Mile High Road and then along River Road to Mariner’s On The Hudson.  Here, the gulls and I enjoyed this view of two bridges crossing the Hudson.  The farther one is the FDR Mid-Hudson Bridge which carries traffic to Poughkeepsie.  The nearer one is the Walkway Over The Hudson.  This is an abandoned 1.28 mile railroad bridge maintained as a pedestrian park by a non-profit organization, and managed by NYS Parks.

Image 02

I continued north and arrived at Saugerties late in the day.  I had read of waterfalls along the Esopus River as it headed to the Hudson.  I found and photographed them, and a couple of samples will appear in my gallery of this trip.  The next morning I headed northwest on route 32, branching to the west on 23A.  This was familiar territory as Denise Bush has run field trips in this world for many years.  One frequent photo op was always Bastion Falls, a part of the Kaaterskill falls system which also head to the Hudson.  As much as I’ve photographed it I decided that if no one else was there, I would be.  They weren’t and I was.  It was a pleasure to move about without restraint and to try different angles.   Here’s my favorite.

Image 03

My reverie was broken by the voice of a highway department man advising me to move or have my car tarred in place.  Well, what would you have done?  Off then on 23A west to turn south on 42 under the cloud cover which was being caught on the Catskill peaks.  At the turn onto 42 is the village of Lexington where I found an interesting old inn.

Image 04

Our group has photographed the old Cold Spring House in the Catskills many times.  This inn is not nearly as large but it’s architecturally charming.  Note the tiny non-functional balconies, the fretwork topping the porch roof posts, the balustrade supported by the posts, and the brackets and dentil molding supporting the roof.  Considering its age and condition I chose to use Silver Efex’s  Antique Plate to tone the image.

I continued along 42 and turned on to another small village called West Kill which looked interesting.  The sign at the Baptist Church asked where I wanted to be in eternity:  Smoking or non-smoking?  As I continued on this road I passed what I recognized as Smokey’s barn (insider reference)  and realized I was on  Spruceton Road along which the groups had traveled on past field trips.  (More images in the gallery.)   As Spruceton Road dead ends at a one mile trail to Diamond Notch Falls I opted to turn around.  I continued northeast through 1770 Rensaleerville (images in the gallery) with its blue stone slab sidewalks, old mill, and a beautiful 1786 Federal style home in pristine condition.  I settled in for the night at a 40’s style cabin near my morning destination, Ausable Chasm.

Ausable Chasm was formed over thousands of years beginning as the last ice age retreated.  It’s a two mile path thru which the Ausable River moves to Lake Champlain.  The privately owned and maintained facilities (excellent, by the way) are located on Route 9 near Keeseville, NY.   My family went through it sometime in the 60’s.  I had gone back a few years ago but decided I wasn’t up to the physical challenge.  This time I decided to give it a go, and I’m glad I did.

Image 05

The first mile is a trail cut into the side of the chasm with the occasional bridge to cross over a gap.   Next, one may opt for a bus back to the entrance or elect to take one of the rafts down the rapids.  So, what the hell.  My estate is in order so down I went for a one mile ride.  I’ve been in much worse rapids, and, though I was the old dude in the raft, it was fun.  Small world: one of my co-riders had been a waitress at Braddock’s Tavern in Medford.

Image 06


Early the next morning, after a cholesterol-filled local  breakfast of creamed chipped beef over scrambled eggs I headed for Lake Placid.  This is a favorite destination which I’ve visited four times.  I just wish it were closer.  The past three times I’ve stayed at a motel on Paradox Bay which opens to Lake Placid.  Interestingly, the village of Lake Placid is on Mirror Lake which doesn’t open to Lake Placid.  That’ll win you a beer in some trivia contest.  My principal capture here was another panorama from the 4867′ high  top of Whiteface Mountain.  The parking area is at 4600′ and the rest is via a tunnel to an internal elevator.  On the right below is Lake Placid.

Whiteface Mt. Panorama II 1024


Twilight from the lawn in front of the motel and on Paradox Bay can be lovely.  That’s Whiteface in the background.

Image 07


Another day was spent in driving around the Lake Placid area.  This included a visit to the Wild Center, an excellent natural history museum in nearby Tupper Lake.  The day brought showers but that resulted in this gentle image of a pond adjacent to the Wild Center.

Image 08


There are a few more images from this tour in a gallery.  Please click here to see them.



  1. Bonnie Says:

    It looks like you had a wonderful experience. The photos are very pleasing and the pano is great!

  2. Linda Colgan Says:

    Absolutely exquisite photographs, Ralph! Thanks so much for sharing them with all of us. Linda

  3. bob williams Says:

    Hey Ralph, That was fun! Bob

  4. Skip Vandegrift Says:

    Looks like you had a great and very productive time. Nice job!

  5. Tom and Jeanne Says:

    I can almost feel the water. Beautiful photos, Ralph.

  6. Ralph Baron Says:

    I know what you mean about the freight trains rumbling past the Point at night. Even my room at the Hotel Thayer shook

    Looks like you took my suggestion to shoot in vertical format.

  7. Susan Kain Says:

    Always love your commentaries.

  8. Ken Curtis Says:

    Sounds like you had a wonderful journey and took some great photos. I enjoyed the “ride” with you, at least I could image my being at those places as you described them. I will be heading up to the Adirondack later this month and looking forward to some great photo ops.

  9. denisebushphoto Says:

    Great post on the one of my favorite states as well as my birthplace. I (heart) NY. The post made me even more eager for my Adirondacks trip this fall. My favorties are; from the top of Whiteface and the lily pads in the rain.

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thanks, D. I’ve got the Whiteface pano as wallpaper on my PC, and I’m quite fond of the raindrop scene. While I was there I remembered that you were planning to go up there. I wish I were going back as there are lots of opportunities. I’ll look forward to your images. I’m off to northern Vermont in three weeks…a workshop with Kurt Budliger of the Dreamscapes group (Plant, Rossbach, Budliger and someone out west.

  10. MikeP Says:

    What a great tour of this nearby area… we must have crossed paths at some time this summer. Was in Inlet,NY and will be in Saugerties this weekend. Beautiful perspective of the 2 bridges and the gulls. A feast for the eyes and a workout for my highlighter trying to connect the dots on a map… 🙂

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Yes, when I saw your post about Inlet I checked to see where it was with respect to Lake Placid. Beautiful country. In Saugerties, my shot of the Esopus Falls was taken in town. Follow 9W/32 easterly through town. A bridge crosses the Esopus and there’s a parking lot on the right; walk under the bridge. Just noticed on Maps that there’s a lighthouse further out on the north side of the Esopus. Enjoy.

  11. Stokes Carrigan Says:

    Crikey Ralph the pictures are beautiful and the text is delightful. Please! Never, ever take me off your email list. Stokes

  12. Vince Menzel Says:

    Hi Ralph,

    Great shots, and since I am partial to water, that added to my enjoyment. They make me want to follow in your footprints some day up there – just beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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