by Alison Perry
A cold, clear winter day might make your teeth chatter, but it can also make for great landscape photography including scenes like this, which I don’t come across everyday. On a visit to New Paltz, NY, earlier this month in search of an open vista with mountains as back drop, I found the right scene but it was on private land. It had a definite western feel with a flat top distant ridge supplied by the Shawangunk Mountains, a low lying stream winding through the foreground and a giant of an old decaying tree to help break up the horizontal space. One of its large branches had broken off and fallen to the ground beside it. (Possibly a Sugar Maple or other type of oak, it would be nice to know more about indigenous trees in my home state of New York.)
Unfortunately my distance from the subject and max telephoto range was a 135 mm lens so I was unable to focus sharply on the tree and blur the distant mountains. I would have preferred this along with a cloud driven day for extra visual excitement, but I’ll go back again when there are clouds and snow and I’ll take along a longer focal length lens. That will do the trick.
Both ‘€œShawangunk’€ and ‘€œShongum’€ are popular usages among locals native to the region, according to Wikipedia. The ‘€œGunks’€ is also a widely used endearment which has been in use at least since the mid-19th century. In a letter dated August and postmarked August 8, 1838, Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole corresponding with painter A.B. Durand writes, ‘€œDo let me hear from you when you get among the Gunks. I hope you will find every thing there your heart can wish.’€ The Shawangunks, particularly around Lake Mohonk, were the subject 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 AlisonPerryArt.com