Any day I can get outside is a good day. Even better if I have a chance to create some photographs. Today I managed to get outside three times.

First I got outside with our dog River. We went for a nice 3 mile hike on the trails that follow the Chemung River near West Elmira. We took a nice leisurely pace, as River decided that she needed to examine and sniff everything.

River waiting patiently on our hike while I take photos.

As usual I took my camera with me. My small Sony Alpha 6000 is perfect for such occasions. I didn’t know if I would actually end up taking photos but I try to always have a camera jus tin case. Fortunately, River’s frequent stops presented many opportunities for me to take photographs.

Trees along the Chemung River.

After my hike with River I went for a nice 5 mile run. I kept it simple and easy. A nice out and back route on our local roads in our neighborhood. I did not take any cameras out on my run so no photos from that jaunt.

The deer in our area have been really active in the later afternoon hours lately. I had photographed them earlier in the season before we had snow on the ground as they came out to graze the grass. I wanted to go see if they would still be out grazing even now that we had snow on the ground.

Previously I had been going to one of my favorite places, Tanglewood Nature Center. And when you have an established pattern of behavior it is always best to follow that trend if you are seeking to photograph the same animals. So, Back to Tanglewood I went.

White-tailed deer at Tanglewood Nature Center.

The deer have been most active in the hour or so before sunset. And there were some deer out and about today as well. I was able to watch them for about an hour. They adapted to my presence and I was able to slowly move closer and closer to capture images.

The bonus of the deer being active near sunset meant once the sun was low in the sky, I could stop photographing the deer and photograph some landscapes. I switched cameras and moved to a location where I could watch the sun set. The sunset wasn’t particularly dramatic today but it is always nice to be outside as the day comes to a close.

Sunset skies at Tanglewood Nature Center.

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I genuinely love living where I do. I think we live in one of the most beautiful regions. There is such a wide variety of experiences to be had and so much diverse nature to experience.

Waterfalls, streams, and rivers of all shape and sizes dot the landscape. Experience forests, fields, and wetlands. See birds, beer and deer among many other wild creatures.

Seneca Lake Sunset – Clute Park – Watkins Glen, NY

Enjoy creature comforts with your friends. Spend time at wineries, breweries, and distilleries. Enjoy the local arts scene. Attend a variety of sporting events.

But it is hard not to make time fore the lakes. Our region is rich in lakes. Seneca Lake is one of the largest and most beautiful lakes in our area.

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As I get to know this natural world around me…..

It wasn’t too long ago that I didn’t know that the Pine Creek Rail Trail existed. One end of the trail, what I would call the beginning because it is closer to me than the other end, is only an hour away from where I live. And yet it was unknown to me for most of my life until recent years.

So glad I learned about this trail. This trail and the area surrounding it has been the source of many great memories for me. I have shared times with friends. There have been opportunities to see more of the worlds beauty. And I have pushed myself to my physical limits. And all of this because of the Pine Creek Rail Trail.

Pine Creek Rail Trail
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When it is wintery cold out it is always nice to find enjoyment in indoors activities. I am fortunate to live in a region that not only is blessed with natural beauty but is also home to fun indoor activities. One of my favorite places to visit is The Corning Museum of Glass.

If you go to the Corning Museum of Glass make sure to check out their live demonstrations. Once you get done there be sure to tour the entire museum and soak in all of the amazing glass art from present day far into the past.

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Its funny how something you were completely unaware of for along time can become one of your favorite things. Growing up we were a fairly outdoorsy and active family. We went camping and visited some state parks. But it is crazy to realize how much you don’t know that you don’t know regarding the wide variety of outdoor experiences that exist.

I didn’t discover that we have this amazing trail system that runs right through the region I live in until well into my adult life. I have always enjoyed getting outside and hiking and enjoying nature, especially as my interest in photography grew. And it is hard to believe that I didn’t even realize there was over 950 miles of trails out there on the Finger Lakes Trail system that I was completely unaware of for way too long.

White blazes painted on the trees indicates you are on the main Finger Lakes Trail

Ever since I first stepped foot on it I have tried to spend more and more time on it. I would love to eventually see the entire main trail at least.

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Taughannock Falls State Park is one of my favorite New York State Parks to photograph. There are a lot of different aspects of this park. It is really easy to overlook something on any given visit. Or you can commit on visit each to an area of the park.

Visitor Center

Don’t overlook making a stop at the visitor center at this state park. The visitor center was completely rebuilt in recent years. It is a really nice facility. And there is plenty of parking there. If you stop at the visitor center you can also access the Rim Trail for the park which passes through the Visitor Center area.

But, the best feature of the visitor center is the view. There is a beautiful viewing area sculpted out of the side of the gorge. There is a series of steps you can walk down to get an even better view and there are benches to rest and relax. This is a great spot to take some photogrpahs. Even in the winter when the steps down might be closed due to inclement weather there is still a really nice view of the gorge below.

This is the spot where you pull out the wide angle lens and create those beautiful scenic vistas like in all your favorite books and magazines. From up here it is possible to capture an image the includes the Taghannock Falls and the gorge that surrounds it.

Taughannock Falls: view from visitor center

Gorge Trail

Taughannock Falls one of the tallest waterfalls, at over 200 feet, in our area. And it awaits you at teh end of a 1 mile stroll. In the area where I live we are fortunate to have some amazing waterfalls. Some of which are right at the base of of the gorge where a park sits. While those waterfalls are great, none of them compare the the magnificence of Taughannaock Falls.

There is not another waterfall I have visited with more bang for your buck. This waterfall is easy to access. Just a 1 mile, almost completely smooth and level, trail to walk down to see the waterfall. Perfect for a casual stroll to take in some sights or for a quick dash to see the highlights and snap some quick photos. This trail is generally accessible year round. So stop by any time of year and check out one of natures wonders.

There are a lot of different ways to approach photographing this majestic waterfall. Sometimes I zoom in and capture the water just as it is starting to fall over the lip of the gorge. Other times I pull back and try to capture an image where the waterfall is in the background and the water falls from the top of the gorge and runs down the stream right towards the front of the image.

Winter at Taughannock: View from the gorge trail

The key is to try and use as slow a shutter speed as you can to try and bring out the motion of the water. The more water that is falling, the faster the shutter speed can be and still capture the effect.

Rim Trail

Don’t sleep on the Rim Trail. The Rim Trail at Taughannock Falls State Park is probably the most overlooked part of the park. If you want to visit the park and want to get away from the crowds this is your best bet.

I love that the Rim Trail at this park is a complete loop of the park. The trail is also one of the less strenuous hikes up and around the gorges in the area. The Rim Trail offers plenty of beautiful scenery that the other parts of the parks do not offer. From the upper parts of the Rim Trail you can see the upper regions of the gorge and see the water flowing along as it progress towards the falls and its eventual terminus in Cayuga Lake.

In addition to its own unique features the Rim Trail will take you to the visitor center for beautiful views of the falls from above. It also connects to the Gorge Trail so you can enjoy a nice hike to the base of the falls if you are so inclined.

So, when you visit Taughannock Falls State Park consider starting on the Rim Trail and using it to connect to all the other scenery and then walk over to the lake for a nice picnic or to just sit and relax.

Taughannock Falls State Park: View from the Rim Trail

Cayuga Lake Access

The park is called Taughannock Falls State Park. That makes it easy to forget about one of the easily overlooked aspects of this park. The main focus of the park is obviously Taughannock Falls, it’s right in the name. But, the question you must ask yourself is where does that water flow?

The water that pours over the ledge at Taughannock Falls eventually makes its way to Cayuga Lake. And all the while this source of water stays within the boundaries of the park. Visitors can follow the water right out tot he lake.

There is an entirely different section of the park with beautiful picnic areas, an beach and enormous trees. And then there is the shoreline it shares with Cayuga Lake.

Taughannock Falls: There is always action out on Cayuga Lake

There are a lot of different ways to approach photographing this area of the park. Study the trees that create large shady areas for relaxation in the summer. Watch the activities taking place out on the lake. Observe the wildlife around you at the park. Create scenic landscapes including interesting compositions.

I like to photograph a variety of different things here. And I like to try and get a few creative shots. I encourage you to go out and take as many photos as you can. Try out a little bit of everything. Find what you enjoy most.

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This post wraps up two years of my contributing daily blog posts here on my website.

I am ending the year with my final daily blog post of 2022.

Two years of daily blog posts

In 2021 I took on the photography challenge of creating new photographs every single day of the year. Then I shared one photograph from each new days batch of photos here on my blog. That was such a huge and interesting challenge. It really opened me up to some new things in my photography.

For 2022 what I wanted to do was share photographs from my archives. I have photographed so many different things over the course of the years. Many of the subjects I photograph my never be seen by anyone. So in 2022 my goal was to share 1 photograph of almost every type of subject where I have a significant number of good photographs.

Stream Flower Through Personious Woods

The future of my blog

My plan for my blog in 2023 is to publish one regularly scheduled blog post every week of the year. So each week there will be at least one blog post from my blog. The topics will likely vary over time. These blog posts will likely come out mid week.

During that time there will be other blog posts that will be more like current events blog posts. These will be blog posts about things I am currently doing. Things like races I am running. Photography projects I am working on. Life events. More things of that nature. The blog posts will likely come out on the weekend.

When I publish a current events blog post it will be in addition to the regularly scheduled blog post for that week. So on weeks where I publish a current event blog post you will have at least two blog posts to read for the week.

Over the past two years the regular daily blog posts have been relatively short. And my more sporadic current update blog posts are pretty long. The goal is to have the weekly blog posts strike a balance. Not too long but not too short either.

If there are topics you are interested in that you would like to see me cover please comment here or reach out to me on social media.

Thank you for joining me on the blog for my last post of 2022.

If you have enjoyed the photography on this website please consider clicking the links below to support the work I do and sign up to receive emails so you don’t miss any of the work I am doing here. Thank you.

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Red Squirrel perched on a tree branch.

Small critters in the woods can be a challenge.

They tend to move around a lot.

You can’t always get close.

You need a long lens.

There often isn’t a lot of light to have a fast shutter speed.

The animals can hide out in shaddows.

There are a lot of obstacles to overcome to achieve a decent photograph of woodland creatures.

Photo details: Nikon D500. Nikon 300mm f/4. Focal length 420. ISO 3200. 1/60 sec. f/5.6.

Thank you for joining me on the blog today.

Find a few more images of animals I have photographed in this gallery.

Red Squirrel

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Eastern Cottontail Rabbits are one of the most adorable little creatures that can be seen pretty regularly if we spend time out and about.

I seem to find Eastern Cottontail Rabbits at the borders of two environments. Particularly where a woodland ends and a field or other grassy area begins.

The Eastern Cottontail Rabbits may use the woods for shelter and staying safe from predators.

Then they emerge into the grassy fields to eat.

If you frequently visit parks with this type of environment you will probably find rabbits.

In places where the rabbits live and there are frequent human visitors the rabbits can be rather tolerant of our presence and allow for some nice up close photography.

Photo details: Nikon D500. Nikon 300mm f/4. Focal length 420mm. ISO 1600. 1/640 sec. f/5.6.

Thank you for joining me on the blog today.

More photos of wildlife can be found in my gallery of Assorted Mammals.

Eastern Cottontail Rabbits

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Eastern Chipmunks are pretty ubiquitous little creatures in the woods.

They are often seen and heard on any hike.

I find Eastern Chipmunks to be quite adorable critters and they make good photography subjects.

But despite their omnipresence the Eastern Chipmunks can be challenging photography subjects.

Eastern Chipmunks do not sit still very long. So as a photographer you have to find them, train your lens on them and take the photo fairly quickly.

You also need a relatively fast shutter speed to capture them crisply especially if they move.

And to get close up as a photographer you may need a longer telephoto lens which will also require a fast shutter speed to avoid camera shake.

And the faster shutter speed can be difficult to achieve because chipmunks often live in the woods and the woods tend to be relatively dark due to the tree canopy.

To capture this image I had to crank up my ISO to 1600. And that still only got me to a 1/250 sec shutter speed.

I was pretty happy with the sharpness of the photo considering the less than ideal 1/250 shutter speed.

The high ISO created some amount of noise/grain in the image. So I leaned into that aspect in Lightroom and used a preset that accentuated the grain/noise look. This also brought out a lot of detail in the Eastern Chipmunk and made it look very sharp.

Photo details: Nikon D300. Nikon 300mm f/4. Focal length 420mm. ISO 1600. 1/250 sec. f/5.6.

Thank you for joining me on the blog today for this close up look at an Eastern Chipmunk.

Check out this image as an Eastern Chipmunk peaks out from a tree.

Eastern Chipmunks

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