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Return to Woods Hole


Here's yet another shot from my favorite beach in Woods Hole, MA. Almost all of Cape Cod is endless sandy beaches, but this area has shorelines of boulders. At low tide, this beach fully exposes the largest boulder visible in the water here. I came here often as a child, and recall that the area around that boulder was full of huge tidal pools full of crabs, snails, sea urchins, and very rarely small eels.

Warm sunset light on the beach

This was at high-tide, however. A lack of clouds on the western horizon meant some fine orange glow on these rocks. The waves were fairly violent this evening, so I made sure to get a good one in the shot.

This was actually taken back in Thanksgiving of last year, and it's the last time I shot anything. I really need to get back out soon.

- Justin Smith

Site re-design, Finger Lakes images up!


After far too long of a delay, which was partially extended by a hard drive failure, I have finished redesigning the site. Gone is the old neon green on black. At the time being, the site is mostly functional, but I haven't enabled purchasing of images online.

I would now like to introduce my newest set of images, take back in October last year. I took a trip during the fall foliage season to the Finger Lakes area of New York, particularly around the city of Ithaca. This whole area is quite different from any to be found elsewhere in the Northeastern US. Extremely elongated hills, running for tens of miles, are carved with numerous gorges through sedimentary layers. In between the hills are giant lakes, holding some of the deepest fresh water in the country.

A cascade above Buttermilk Falls

First stop on this adventure was Buttermilk Falls State Park. The main waterfall itself was fairly uninteresting due to low water flow. It had been very dry before this. However, the cascades above were still quite beautiful in the low flow. Above the waterfall, the brook cuts through a deep and narrow gorge, much like in many places in this area.

One of many small falls, enhanced by the autumn foliage, above Buttermilk Falls

There is a lot to see here, many views with small waterfalls and cascades like those seen here. After this, it was time to call it a night, with big plans for the following day.

In many areas you can find intricately carved sections like this

In the early morning the next day, we got up at sunrise and made the drive to Watkins Glen State Park, the highlight of the entire trip. If photographing this place is your aim, you will want to get there early, preferably before they technically open. Later this place becomes crowded with many people.

A graceful waterfall named Cavern Cascade

The trail takes you through the narrow winding gorge, with the walls towering high overhead. At times you pass under the rock and even through one or two tunnels. Sometimes the passage widens with a broad shallow brook, while in other places there is barely enough room to fit the walkway as the water roars through a narrow cleft.

The classic Watkins Glen view, showing Rainbow Falls on the left

Later on in the day, we returned to Ithaca to visit several easy-access locations in the city itself, located right between the main downtown area and Cornell University. They are located in deep gorges, however, and you can occasionally forget that you are in the midst of a sizable city within these places. First, there was a stop at Ithaca Falls, a massive waterfall even in low flow conditions.

A closeup of the details at Ithaca Falls

Ithaca Falls is full of small steps creating a wall of mini-waterfalls. It's a good subject for close-up detail, or for shooting the entire falls. After this, we headed less than a mile down the road to a parallel gorge, the Cascadilla Gorge. This gorge has fewer outright waterfalls, tending to have mostly cascades. Some of them are fairly elegant. If you intend to visit here, beware. When I was here the upper half of this gorge was closed.

One of many beautiful cascades in the Cascadilla Gorge

This marked the end of the second day in Ithaca. The next morning, we got up before sunrise and headed north to Taughannock Falls State Park. This one is quite a beast of a waterfall. It's over 200 ft tall, making it one of the tallest in the state. It turned out that I chose the perfect time of the year to be here. The foliage couldn't have been better.

A view of Taughannock Falls before sunrise

There are several ideal places to shoot here. You should definitely stop by the overlook on the rim. It is a breathtaking view of the high-walled gorge and the waterfall. You can also enter the gorge near the outlet of the brook. It is a little bit over a mile of flat hiking, where you can see the brook running over extremely flat rock slabs. The geology here is pretty fascinating, but I won't go into that. This trail will take you near the base of the waterfall.

Taughannock Falls

And that about does it for this trip. I'd love to return here during an autumn where there has been recent rain, as I still do not have a shot of Buttermilk Falls and several other waterfalls I visited. I should also mention that these images are the first on my new Nikon D800. These images and all further images (unless otherwise noted) will be available in print sizes up to 40x60 inches.

The gorge at Taughannock Falls lit up by the sunrise

- Justin Smith

all content copyright Justin Smith 2017