Images from the Film Archives — 1994
Just west of New Paltz, NY, The Shawangunks form a ridge line that overlooks part of the Hudson Valley. What makes them unique is the white quartzose rock that show many of the glacial markings carved during the last Ice Age over 10,000 years ago. Two of the gems of the area are the historic Mohonk Mountain House, and Minnewaska State Park. The park sits atop the ridge with a beautiful deep lake, and Awosting Falls as an added attraction. I visited the area a few times hiking and exploring, and again in the fall of 1994, found myself in Minnewaska for a late afternoon.
The problem faced in trying to get the shot above was two-fold. There was a band of clouds that looked to snuff out the side-lighting, and more importantly, the park closed before sunset. The closing necessitated parking the car outside the gate, and hiking uphill along the road to the lake to remain inside after the official closing! And it was not a short trek up the road.
I scouted almost completely around the lake, rock hopping along the ridge overlooking it and the Catskill Mountains far in the distance, until I finally came across a composition that nearly slapped me in the face. The line of glowing red huckleberries in a depression of the white rock led directly to a young pine seemingly growing right out of the rock, which overlooked the lake and the landscape beyond. I would have liked to position the tripod a bit further to the right to have the pine right in the notch of the tree line on the far side of the lake, but had run out of real estate. As it was, I was right on the very edge of a drop-off that probably wouldn’t have killed me, but I didn’t want to press my luck either. I remember rotating the polarizer on the lens and watched as the scene came alive in the viewfinder, and having to shade the front of the lens from the sun to avoid any glare since the clouds luckily held off blocking it. But the sum did drop behind the clouds a short time after, ending any more photography that afternoon.
After exposing the film in the usual brackets (1/2-stop on either side of “normal”), I then expanded the brackets to ensure I had a useable exposure, and then packed up to begin to make my way back to the car. But first, I had to gingerly pass the park ranger’s residence before I could reach the road, and enjoyed the downhill hike, satisfied that I may have gotten something special. But I wouldn’t know for sure until the film was process about a week or so later.