Every year in autumn, I try my best to go a short distance to somewhere where I can soak in the colours of mother nature at its best. Last year, my wife and I discovered Killarney, Ontario, which you can also discover in my posts here, and here. Yes, we went twice!
This year our luck took us to Letchworth State Park in New York State. Amazingly, this park is just 45min. away from the Peace Bridge, making this location accessible for even Torontonians. And who wouldn’t want to go to a place nicknamed “The Grand Canyon of the East”?
Known for it’s deep gorges, and beautiful landscapes, it’s actually one of the top places in North America to Hot Air Balloon in. While we did not do that this time around, we vowed to come again sometime else to do it.
One early morning, I took it upon myself to wake up at 6am to go to the park and take some sunrise photos. Seeing a number of them all over the internet, I wanted to add my take on this little gem to the net’s collection.
Hopefully you’ll enjoy these photos and they will make you want to go there sometime as well.
The sun rises fairly quickly, so you really don’t have much time to fiddle with your camera. You need to be well prepared beforehand. If you look at the following photos, you’ll see what I mean:
The photo above was taken just prior to the sun peaking out from the horizon. The photo below (and the leading post photo) was taken just a few short seconds later after the sun had risen above the horizon. You can see the dramatic difference in colour between the two.
And here we have a closeup of the sun just as it rose above the horizon.
At the south end of the park, there are three large waterfalls that make for exquisite landscapes. The next three photos are of the Lower falls, Middle falls, and Upper falls of Letchworth State Park.
I didn’t take many photos of the Lower falls as I was in a rush to get to the Upper falls before the sun set. You can see the Lower falls in the backdrop in the center of the photo above.
The Middle falls in all its glory!
The Upper falls—probably the most picturesque of them all—is seen with the railroad bridge towering behind it.
In the photo above, you can see the Middle falls in the foreground and the Upper falls in the background, with the railroad bridge directly behind those falls. It’s a nice view from here.
To get that silky smooth waterfall effect during the day, I rented a 0.9 neutral density filter, which allows me to take long exposures during daylight. In fact I had this filter on for those sunrise photos too, allowing me to take shots with a smaller aperture.
Take a look at more of the silky smooth waterfalls here:
While at Letchworth State Park, there are plenty of autumn colours to see as well. Mixed within the deep gorge, it’s really a sight to see for yourself.
Remember that railroad bridge in the waterfall photos? Well, while you’re strictly prohibited from going up there, it is a well known vantage point to see the park from the highest point in the area (other than from a hot air balloon). It is so high that I was actually a bit scared walking on the bridge as the ground is just metal grates that seem to be haphazardly put together. Despite this, people go there and enjoy the view, much like this one here.
Now, remember I mentioned that Letchworth State Park is one of the best places to hot air balloon in? Well, I only saw one hot air balloon in the air while I was there, thanks to the overcast weather. But the one balloon that I did see, was that of none other than RE/MAX. And that is the photo that I will leave you with for this post on Letchworth State Park.