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I spent the weekend in the Catskill Mountains, visiting many of the same scenes and locations made famous in the middle of the nineteenth century by the painters of the Hudson River School. Painters such as Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Federic Church, and Albert Bierstadt drew inspiration from this popular region, and their landscape paintings depicteing the beauty of light and color were unlike anything ever seen before. I visited the site of the famous Catskill Mountain House, now a national landmark, and hiked the Escarpment trail to famous landmarks such as Artist Rock and Sunset Rock.
Though I followed my regular practice of scouting locations and hitting the trails well before sunrise, I didn’t have much success creating images that were compelling to me. A combination of cloudless skies, lack of familiarity with the area, and bad timing didn’t provide the conditions that I seek out in a dramatic scene. Usually when this happens, I don’t get discouraged, but rather focus on the “intimate” landscape, and try to capture the small features of nature that we often literally step over without taking notice. On the last morning shoot, I hike to the summit of Plateau Mountain, a very strenuous climb gaining 1600 feet in about 1 mile. Once I caught my breath, I found myself in a beautiful coniferous forest reminiscent of coastal Maine. Focusing on the forest floor, I was inspired by all of the color and texture, and made this image which I felt conveyed the “feel” of this unique area. It reminds me that looking within the landscape can be just as interesting as the grand view, and provides an opportunity to push myself creatively.

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