Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Dead tree trunks and limbs at Watkins Glen

with 10 comments

Here’s a view taken at 1/15 of a second showing a waterfall in Watkins Glen State Park in New York’s Finger Lakes region on July 30th. The photographer in me was happy that the dead tree trunk had lodged where you see it in spite of the force of the falling water.

Smaller and whiter dead tree limbs also attracted me.

They played off the rock strata in the gorge and contrasted with the living plants around them.

Even before I’d seen any water at Watkins Glen, falling or otherwise, the shadows on a broken but still standing tree trunk along the trail from the parking lot to the gorge caught my attention:

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 13, 2019 at 4:39 AM

10 Responses

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  1. The tree trunk adds another nice angle to the picture. It might have been contributed to your shot by a beaver-artist, there are some living upstream. The glen vegetation looks very luxuriant.

    Robert Parker

    September 13, 2019 at 5:34 AM

    • Though I wondered about that tree trunk and other similar ones that I saw in the gorge, I never considered beavers. From what I was told, upstate New York got a good amount of rain in the months before our visit, and that presumably made the vegetation so luxuriant. In fact at the end of our visit to Watkins Glen we hurried back to the car with rain already coming down.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 13, 2019 at 5:58 AM

  2. I’m especially taken with the second photo. The way the slender limb emphasizes the horizontal lines of the rock layers is really attractive. It looks like a piece of wall-mounted art.

    It may amuse you that I looked and looked and still couldn’t find the tree trunk in the first photo. I finally decided you must mean that diagonal thingie at the bottom. I’d call that a limb rather than a trunk, but size can be hard to determine. To be honest, I saw it first as a piece of metal railing — perhaps nudged out of place by an overeager selfie-taker.


    September 13, 2019 at 7:33 AM

    • We could say that one person’s trunk is another person’s limb. Admittedly, I know nothing about the kinds of trees that grow there, and the typical sizes of their members. The one in the first picture seemed big enough to me to be a disembodied trunk rather than a branch. Its color and irregularities precluded my seeing it as a railing.

      The full version of the second picture included more above and more below. I cropped to emphasize the way the branch mimics the horizontality of the strata.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 13, 2019 at 8:33 AM

  3. On the photo of the waterfall over a giant log, you selected just the right shutter speed to indicate the flow of water. A log jam is always a fascinating place to take pictures, Steve.

    Peter Klopp

    September 13, 2019 at 8:51 AM

    • As you’ve been seeing, I mostly go for high shutter speeds, but once in a while I try a slower shutter speed just to see how things come out. I’ll have a picture next week with three tree limbs at the base of a waterfall in Watkins Glen.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 13, 2019 at 9:25 AM

  4. The placement of that fallen branch is perfect to add a little extra splash to the falls. I often find them with trapped leaves that create a nice rooster tail.

    Steve Gingold

    September 17, 2019 at 5:03 AM

    • I don’t recall hearing it referred to as a rooster tail but it is something extra to crow about.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 17, 2019 at 8:26 AM

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