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The 5 Best Places to Photograph the Fall Foliage in NJ and NY

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Hawk’s Nest, Upper Delaware River, NY. Photo credit: Krysti Sabins

Fall Photographs by my studio manager, Krysti Sabins

I love the outdoors, and the fall is my favorite time of year to get out and photograph the luminescent fall foliage before it disappears. The real question is, where to go?

The hot, dry summer will probably dampen the brilliance of our foliage this year, but you know there are going to be those brilliant days with cool, crisp bright blue skies, surrounding the yellows, reds and golds of the leaves. Keep track of the foliage as it changes with this guide and start planning your fall foliage photography visits before the season ends!

 

Here are my Top 5 Spots to photograph fall foliage in the New York, New Jersey metropolitan area:

1. Harriman State Park, NY

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Harriman State Park, NY.  Photo credit: Krysti Sabins

If you are looking for a place within our area to escape the everyday hustle and bustle, Harriman State Park is the spot for you. This park boasts 31 lakes and reservoirs and 200 miles of hiking trails. The very first section of the Appalachian Trail was laid out here in Harriman.  There are streams and boulders and vistas.

 

2. The Delaware Water Gap, NJ

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Upper Delaware River. Photo credit: Krysti Sabins

The Delaware Water Gap is a dramatic place to observe the leaves turning as you walk along its pristine paths and a multitude of water features. With the Appalachian Trail running right through it, the Gap has plenty of hiking opportunities and expansive views of the Delaware River Valley.

 

3. The Catskills, NY

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View from Slide Mountain, Catskills, NY. Photo credit: Krysti Sabins

The Catskills cover a wide area in mid-upstate New York. This region has a ton of activities for outdoor enthusiasts and cultural aficionados alike. I love the far southeastern edge, which is not very far from New Jersey.  A great place to start is the Escarpment Trail at North South Lake, near the town of Haines Falls.

 

4. Hacklebarney State Park, NJ

Hacklebarney State Park, Long Valley, NJ. Photo credit: Krysti Sabins

Hacklebarney State Park is a  “465-acre natural area offer breathtaking views of the Black River, which lies deep within a shaded hemlock ravine.” Riddled with well-maintained hiking trails, picnic spots, and flowing river waters, Hacklebarney is a prime location to soak in the sights and sounds of autumn. Plus, there are great apple cider donuts at the Hacklebarney Farms Cider Mill, just outside the Park entrance.

 

5. The Shawangunks, NY

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Bonticou Crag, Mohonk Preserve, NY. Photo credit: Krysti Sabins

The Shawangunks, or Gunks, are an area in New York filled with natural beauty and unparalleled sights. The Gunks’ “dramatic landscape is fashioned of miles of white cliffs and ledges, clear mountaintop lakes, deep oak forests, and sparse ridge top barrens of bonsai-shaped pitch pines.” In other words, this area should absolutely be on your to-visit list this fall.  Stop at the Mohonk Preserve visitor center, on Route 44, to get a map, permit and advice on where to hike.

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Fall foliage in the Catskills of NY.  Photo credit: Krysti Sabins

See more of Krysti’s photographs and hiking videos at Unboring Exploring

Summer Portrait Tips: Shooting in the Shade

The summer is one of the best times for outdoor portraits. The days are longer, everyone is more relaxed, and families are coming together for vacations, reunions and get-togethers alike. If you were looking to hone your photography skills this season, begin by trying out this great tip for better portraits!

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Avoid photographing subjects in direct sunlight! Sunlight is great for flowers, but creates harsh, often unflattering shadows on faces, known as ‘Raccoon Eyes’. Instead, seek out shade where your subjects are lit from behind or entirely in shade. Expose for your subjects skin tones by walking up close and taking a reading off of one of the faces. For the best results, use a white sheet of paper, or a board or even a newspaper as a reflector in front of the subjects….this bounces light on to the faces, and opens up the shadows a bit.

So there you have it – a useful tip to get you started on the right foot for photographing portraits this summer…happy shooting!

Moma, shmoma

I spent a rainy day at the Museum of Modern Art this week. Known as MOMA, it is the preeminent gallery of what’s new in the World of Art.  BTW, here’s a tip: if it is raining, do NOT go to any NYC museum…everyone has the same idea. It was so crowded I thought it was a national holiday. I could hardly see the artwork.

However, I still had a blast since I had my Fuji X100 camera with me. I did get to enjoy the Jackson Pollock exhibition.DSCF5201

 

And an exhibit on sculpture from the Museum’s collection.

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But most memorable was the performance art that was happening in various locales around the museum. It was called “Plastic” and consisted of dancers dressed in grey, lying on the floor of the rotunda or on the main staircase, moving so slowly they looked like they were oozing, as museum-goers went about their visit.

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Where’s Waldo? Can you find me in front of the Port Authority Terminal?
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Reconnoitering Mt. Rainier

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My summer vacation took me to the Pacific Northwest this past month.  Getting to visit my son who recently moved to Seattle was the impetus for the trip, but being a lover of the outdoors, one of the highlights was exploring the wilds of Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park.

Mount Rainier looms over the relatively flat terrain only 50 miles southeast of Seattle.
On any clear day, the 14,410 foot mountain is visible from the city.  It is also an active volcano that last erupted approximately 150 years ago, and is supposedly due to erupt again…

 

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What makes Mt. Rainer NP so fascinating is its unbelievable diversity of ecosystems. Since the park has a 12,800 foot elevation gain from the lowland entrance to the summit, the vegetation as well as the scenery changes with every step. Above you can see me amongst subalpine firs and wildflower fields with towering pinnacles taking up the rear. Also note my trés chic New York-New Jersey Trail Conference baseball hat, adding a bit of the East Coast style to the West Coast vibe.

 

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Speaking of wildflowers, these funny fellows are known as Western Anemone aka Hippie Sticks, Pasque Flower, and Towhead Baby, though I prefer Cousin It, considering their remarkable resemblance to the classic Addam’s Family character.

 

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Not only were the flowers and mountain scenery stunning, but the forests were enchanting. These primordial woods give you the feeling of walking through time, to a place untouched by humans.  Hiking through this old growth forest, I was struck by the age, height and beauty of the 300 year old trees, many over 20 stories tall such as Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock, and Western Red Cedar.

I would go back at the drop of my NYNJTC baseball hat…

Valentine’s Gift Certificates

Cards, roses, chocolate hearts? How about something that will LAST this Valentine’s Day: a professional photography session of you and your honey! Purchase a gift certificate today and present your sweetheart with a gift she’ll never forget!

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Call the studio today to purchase your certificate in time for February 14th!  Click here for more info.

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Capture your family!

One second they’re babies, the next minute, they’re off to college.   Time just slips away!

In just an hour, we can stop time and create a portrait that will last a lifetime.

Call the studio at 973-783-1065.

 

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” I was concerned how my daughters would react, but Phil’s light touch made our portrait session playful and the girls all had a blast.  I love the portraits!”

– Amy Traynor, Maplewood, New Jersey

 

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“Our family portrait turned out beautifully and I couldn’t believe how much fun we had doing it!”

– Jenny Callejas, Springfield, New Jersey

Call by December 24 to book a portrait session and get a FREE 8×10 frame!

The Holidays are a great time to schedule a family portrait session.  With kids home from school and families coming together, there’s no better time to capture the moment!

Click here to see more Family Portraits!

Call today to reserve an appointment before time runs out.

973-783-1065