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.

Image 01


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″.

Image 09


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.

Image 02


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.

Image 03



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 barn that was.

The barn that was.


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.

Image 06


The early morning light on this deserted place of former life led me to see these trunks in a dark way.

The hanging tree.

The hanging tree.


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.)

Image 12


Moving on, another forgotten farm included this left-behind, peeling canoe.  How many happy times was this enjoyed on the Delaware?

Image 10


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 invasion of the vines.

The invasion of the vines.


The pig barn stands although the doors and windows are memories as are the pigs.

Image 11



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.]

25 Responses to “FALLS AND FALLEN FARMS”

  1. eajackson Says:

    Always interesting to see what other people captured on our trips. Yours are always extra special. Written description increases the interest and beauty. Well done. Now if you would only include your wonderful singing at dinner………………..

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thanks, Beth. Always enjoy your company and your work when I see it now and then. Also thanks for the image of my meditation. I told my friend, Barbara, that I thought someone had photographed me while I was napping. Her reply, “That’s not hard to do.” As to the singing … maybe one of these days.

  2. Kathleen Says:

    Ralph you amaze me!! Your images are stunning and your description of the Falls and Farms made me wish I had been there.

  3. Nancy Deal Says:

    Love it all….Nancy Deal

  4. Jenn Says:

    Makes me want to walk that mile in — tho’ I wouldn’t say I’m willing to caddy. Thanks for posting.

  5. Jay Says:

    Ralph……..terrific photographs! In this crazy world of ours it always gives me a sense of peace and tranquility to see your latest work……soon you’ll be sending some new pieces of the shore; it’s that time.

  6. Pat Worley Says:

    Dear Ralph,

    What a beautiful chronology of our trip to the Delaware Water Gap. You always bring the pictures to life with your stories.

    I agree with Beth. It would be wonderful to share your song with others. But I do feel honored to have heard you sing on our field trips. The ” Photographer’s Lament” sums up our spirit as photographers perfectly! I look forward to hearing you sing again on our next trip together.

  7. Skip Vandegrift Says:

    You never disappoint. I also like the beauty of silky water in motion, but to depict the energy, will use the fast exposures. You have both the eye and the voice for composition.

  8. Bob Williams Says:

    Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed both pictures and commentary. See. You on LBI when we can discuss backpacks.



    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thanks, Bob. Glad you came through your procedure. Looking forward to the reunion. Don’t know if you’re still a Dewar’s guy but I just restocked in the event…

  9. denisebushphoto Says:

    Great work Ralph! My favorite is ‘Invasion of the Vines’ … you held onto the details inside and out very nicely!

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thanks, D. That’s a favorite of mine as well, and I suspected you’d like that. Disappointed you didn’t pick the meditating photographer. Packing for tomorrow and looking forward to it. I plan to work my way up Platt Clove Road to Tannersville and then westward, circling around to get back to Round Top from the west..

  10. MikeP Says:

    Boy do I know how you feel… when they say just up and over that ridge … my butt puckers just thinking of all the gear I am not going to use but had to carry up anyway. Was just wondering… I thought the reason why everything stopped was because the bedrock engineers made a mistake and found out the layers would not hold the damn (dam) walls???? I just could not imagine the pain after moving my family to then find out it was all for nothing!!!! Oh … I love my afternoon thinking sessions also. 🙂

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Yes, Mike, we heard that story as well from our guide but I didn’t come across a reference to it in my subsequent online research. All I found was that the bi-state commission killed it and killed it again. As a conservative I cannot but view it as another example of “We’re from the Federal government and we’re here to help you.”

  11. Bonnie Says:

    Beautiful photographs and wonderful commentaries! I really enjoy seeing your work.

  12. Nellie Sheridan Wilson Statue Says:

    I know you are far away, but if ever you come to Ohio..please visit the rockmill in Fairfield County, Ohio. Its a rustic old mill with amazing scenery. Also, Perry County Ohio is rich in scenery and amazing outcroppings and architecture! Love the blog!

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