Platte Clove, Day 4: Feast or Famine

The deluge had ceased. However, in just a few short hours the landscape had changed from drought-like conditions to flooding. (In fact, Route 23A was closed for several hours in the morning due to a mudslide in the vicinity of Bastion falls). The bigger falls I wanted to photograph (e.g. Plattekill and Kaaterskill) had too much water for the kind of image I wanted and some of the smaller waterfalls become unsafe to access. To compound the problem – as often occurs after a storm moves through – the skies were crystal clear.

First thing in the morning I headed down to the base of Plattekill falls. Not only was there too much water going over the falls, but the spray generated within the amphitheater made getting a shot remarkably difficult. However with all the precipitation, the surrounding mosses and vegetation were incredibly vibrant, and I spent some time taking some more intimate landscape shots. Then it was a hike back to the top where I found an interesting view from the crest of the falls. The area where I was standing was in shadow, but the in the amphitheater below the trees were nicely lit. (Note to self, need to come back and do this with peak fall colors!)

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Clover grows amongst the vibrant green mosses at the bottom of Plattekill falls.
Print available for purchase.
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The crest of Plattekill falls.
Print available for purchase.

The next stop was just a few hundred yards down the road to the Devil’s Kitchen area. When I had scouted here a few days earlier, I knew there was a lot of potential for great cascades and waterfalls – if only there was water running. Well I got my wish. I spent a lot of time upstream of the bridge, working as quickly as I could before the sun finally poked through the canopy. I then carefully made my way into the Devil’s Kitchen where water was finally visible cascading over the enormous boulders.

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Cascades abound in Hell’s Hole after a day of rain.
Print available for purchase.
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Two days prior, this area of the Devil’s Kitchen had no discernible water flowing.
Print available for purchase.

My expectations for the afternoon were not particularly high, but I headed to the North-South Campground nonetheless. My first destination was Ashley Falls, just a short hike from the road. There was too much frothy water and direct sunlight to warrant spending much time there; I find it more aesthetically pleasing if there is still some discernible texture in the waterfalls. I continued walking upstream and found upper Ashley falls which, due to the recent rains, was running quite nicely. I spent a fair amount of time here, trying not to fall into a compositional rut. By that I mean, it can be easy to fall into a pattern of setting up for a low, wide shot directly in front of the waterfall. In fact, I spent a lot of time during this trip trying to find different, unique compositions when dealing with waterfalls.

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Upper Ashley falls at the North-South Lake campground.
Print available for purchase.

Late in the afternoon I hiked to Sunset Rock, an iconic overlook of North and South Lake. I took a few compositions and had intended to shoot through sunset, however the temperatures were dropping quickly and I did not feel comfortable navigating back in the dark. Instead, I raced back to North Lake as some clouds lit up from the setting sun, but never had time to compose an image. 0 for 2. I left too early from Sunset Rock to get the image I envisioned and returned too late to get the shot I wanted at North Lake. Lesson learned: stick it out at one location and get the shot!

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The end of a day viewed from iconic Sunset Rock in the North-South Lake campground.
Print available for purchase.

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2 Comments

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  1. That clovers image is out of place among your waterfalls.

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