by Alison Perry
A cold, clear winter day might make your teeth chatter, but it can also make for good landscape photography if your willing to brave the elements. On an impromptu visit to New Paltz, NY, earlier this month, I searched for an open vista with mountains as back drop and found the right scene, but it was on private land. It had a definite western feel, with a distant flat top ridge and well known point of land in the Shawangunk Mountains. There was also a clear blue stream winding through the low lying pasture land and a giant old decaying Sycamore Tree to help break up the horizontal format. One of its large arching branches had broken off and fallen to the ground beside the stream and was laden with snow.
Sharpness was an important factor overall because I only had a medium distance 135mm telephoto lens with me. I decided to forego blurring the distant mountain, although I would have preferred the blur along with a few clouds for visual excitement, but another opportunity will present itself and I’ll have a longer focal length lens to do the trick!
Both Shawangunk and Shongum are popular usages among locals native in the region. The Gunks was also used by the mid-19th century Hudson River School painters. In a letter dated August and postmarked August 8, 1838, Hudson River School painter, Thomas Cole in correspondance with another HRS painter, A.B. Durand wrote, “Do let me hear from you when you get among the Gunks. I hope you will find everything there your heart can wish.“ The Shawangunks, particularly around Lake Mohonk, were subject matter for several Hudson River School painters.¹
Shot at: 1/125 @ F11 hand held Canon 28mm-135 zoom lens F3.5-5.6.
- Postcard From New York on NyackNewsAndViews
- Shawangunk_Ridge, Wikipedia
- New York State trees at 50States.com
Alison Perry owns a Nyack-based photography business that combines architecture, landscape and formal space and strives to make personal art about time and place. Imagery is for sale through her website. She received BFA in Studio Art from SUNY Purchase and a graduate degree in Library Science from Long Island University. Previously, she worked in journalistic and editorial photography for several different national/regional newspapers in NYC, PA and CA. See examples of her work at alisonperry.photoshelter.com/index