Pine Creek Gorge

Pennsylvania Grand Canyon

Twenty miles of rough winding road warned the sign as the Jeep left the blacktop surface at Cedar Run for points north along the west rim of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. The Pine Creek Gorge cuts through the Allegheny Plateau beginning near Ansonia at the northern end to just a few miles north of Jersey Shore at the southern end.

Mile after mile of the Tiadaghton and Tioga forests unfold as the journey continues to the Bradley Wales Picnic Area. Here, there is access to the West Rim Trial. Hiking north, this section contains three remarkable vistas of the nearly 1000 foot deep and nearly one mile wide canyon. The third vista offers a nearly 180 degree view of the gorge, several miles to both the north and south can be seen. Vultures, hawks and eagles have been spotted here. This time only a pair of vultures were riding the thermals rising up from the valley floor. This out and back hike of about seven miles also winds along saddle contours of two mountain streams. The trail intersects with the larger stream at a small falls. The falls coupled with sunlight streaming through fresh glowing green leaves provides ambiance at a logical stopping point. Out of the woods and back in the car a bear is spotted grazing along the road side staying put only long enough for a portrait before darting out of sight into the dark forests lining the roads.

Pennsylvania Grand Canyon

Check out this photo set to see more images from this hike

Wildflower Workshop

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Workshop at Wildflower Reserve

Earlier this spring I conducted a photography workshop with Pete Woods, a naturalist with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Pete was a wealth of knowledge, he simply knew the names of nearly every plant and insect budding within the Wildflower Reserve at Raccoon Creek State Park. His expertise provided the workshop participants with context for their photos of the early spring flowers.

To participate in a future photography workshop with a Conservancy naturalist you’ll need to be a member. You can join here. I hope to see you in the woods soon.

Wildflowers are blooming

Wildflower Preserve

This weekend wildflowers will be blooming at Raccoon Creek State Park’s Wildflower Reserve. Peter Woods, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy County Inventory Ecologist will be on-hand to assist in wildflower identification and I will be leading a photography workshop through the reserve with Peter.

My goal is to meet interesting people, share information and encourage discussion to expand creativity and knowledge about nature photography in the great parks and forests of Pennsylvania.

I will be sharing images, composition and technical ideas to help further creative photographic self-discovery beyond the workshop. We will also explore, discuss and photograph the flora and natural features of the Reserve situated along the ridge of Shafer Rock and below along the banks of the Raccoon Creek. Discussions beyond the day can continue at the workshop’s Flickr group. There you can also see images from a recent walk through the Reserve.

To take part in this workshop, you’ll need to be a member of the WPC. You can find out more information at the WPC website.

The Reserve is located in Beaver County on the Lincoln Highway, US Route 30.


Steve McCurry and My Kodachrome

“Some photographers carry so much gear to prepare for every photographic eventuality that they can’t even move. Not me. I carry one camera, one lens and a bunch of cards in my pocket. I am great at only one thing.”

Steve McCurry, a photographer for National Geographic made this statement during a recent presentation at Malone University, Canton, Ohio. He got me thinking about the way I carry myself as a photographer.

He shared his inspiring images and stories including his most famous photograph ‘Afghan Girl’. He also lamented the end of Kodachrome and discussed his plans for shooting and exhibiting images from the last rolls off of the production line. Kodachrome ceased production in June 2009 and will no longer be processed after December 2010. A documentary will be produced about the end of the film and will feature McCurry’s images. The final Kodachrome images will be exhibited at and donated to the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY.

His talk inspired me to do two things. The first inspiration is to lighten up! I’ll be carrying only one camera while doing my documentary work. I’ve already been minimizing the gear that I carry, but now I will change my mindset and focus on the elements of documentary that I am good at, rather than feeling guilty about missing ‘something’ because I don’t have the right gear. The second inspiration is to live as if it is now or never. Kodachrome is going away. It is now or never. This is my last chance to photograph Pennsylvania’s state parks with Kodachrome. I may be the last person on the planet to do so….

Where have you drawn inspiration from lately and what do you plan to do with it?