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Kirk Gittings
15-Aug-2014, 12:21
I am heading to the Catskills for a week next week at an artist residency at the Catwalk Institute. I am part of a collaboration working on a documentary project in Pittsfield Mass. and while the week is very full, I will have some down time. I am not at all familiar with the area and any close by suggestions would be appreciated. Catwalk is at 4 Rte 385 Catskill, NY for a geographic reference. I have never been in this part of the country before.

Bob Mann
15-Aug-2014, 12:28
Any of the Hudson River Estates (there must be over a dozen), Old Rhinebeck Areodrome, West Point & Bear Mountain, and Storm King Art Center come to mind (not all are tripod friendly).

arthur berger
15-Aug-2014, 12:54
Kirk: Just south of Catskill is Saugerties, N.Y., and there is a very nice lighthouse located on a nature trail, right on the Hudson river. I am not a lighthouse photographer, but I did a few nice photographs off the trail. It is an easy walk from the car parking lot. Google Saugerties lighthouse for directions. Check out Bill Clifts book on the Hudson for some other ideas of places.
And have a great time.
Arthur

Michael Mutmansky
15-Aug-2014, 13:22
Bob mentions Storm King Art Center...

I haven't been there, but I know some of the work there. I would think that should be a very fertile ground for some personal work and reflection time. I recommend looking up this video for a documentary on Andy Goldsworthy:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0307385/

Quite an inspirational video, and there is a bit of a photography angle to it as well (he photographs his installations, especially since some are ephemeral in nature).

Going to Storm King has been high on my list to do, but I haven't had the chance yet.


---Michael

hoffner
15-Aug-2014, 13:37
A lot of private land there (inaccessible inside) but the best time is, of course, the Fall.

Greg Miller
15-Aug-2014, 14:29
I am heading to the Catskills for a week next week at an artist residency at the Catwalk Institute. I am part of a collaboration working on a documentary project in Pittsfield Mass. and while the week is very full, I will have some down time. I am not at all familiar with the area and any close by suggestions would be appreciated. Catwalk is at 4 Rte 385 Catskill, NY for a geographic reference. I have never been in this part of the country before.

Catskill, despite the name, is on the Hudson River, and not actually in the Catskill Mountains (the mountains aren't too far away but they aren't exactly right there either). I know the area pretty well, and might be inclined to play tour guide if the timing is right (PM me if interested - a phone call might be good at any rate just to narrow down the best places for you). Hudson, NY, which is directly across the river is an interesting revitalized art town with some interesting architecture. Catskill itself has some interesting architecture too. There are some reasonably accessible river side shooting spots on both sides of the river. The best views in/of the mountains tend to be atop the mountains themselves which is a fair commitment of time and energy; but there are a few roadside scenic spots. You might also consider spending time that the Center for Photography at Woodstock. I can introduce you to the director as I teach there on occasion - you would probably enjoy meeting him.

Greg Miller
15-Aug-2014, 14:32
Looks like next week's weather looks conducive to morning fog, which will happen on the Hudson River, and in the hollows and ponds in the mountains. If you don't mind an early start to the day, there should be a lot of good atmosphere going on.

Greg Miller
15-Aug-2014, 14:56
Bob mentions Storm King Art Center...

I haven't been there, but I know some of the work there. I would think that should be a very fertile ground for some personal work and reflection time. I recommend looking up this video for a documentary on Andy Goldsworthy:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0307385/

Storm King is very restrictive about photography. Many of the artists on display there have a "no photography" clause in their contract. Anyone who goes there with a tripod and a big camera will get hassled. It's a beautiful place and can be a full day destination. But it is also almost 1.5 hour driving time from Catskill.

Quite an inspirational video, and there is a bit of a photography angle to it as well (he photographs his installations, especially since some are ephemeral in nature).

Going to Storm King has been high on my list to do, but I haven't had the chance yet.


---Michael

Greg Miller
15-Aug-2014, 14:58
Oh. I just thought of this, but I can also probably get you a private tour of the Vanderbilt Mansion or the FDR home if you are with me.

Sal Santamaura
15-Aug-2014, 15:35
...I have never been in this part of the country before.


Catskill, despite the name, is on the Hudson River, and not actually in the Catskill Mountains (the mountains aren't too far away but they aren't exactly right there either)...Since Kirk has never been in this part of the country before, he should be made aware that things called "mountains" in the northeastern US don't really resemble "mountains" in the western US. He might find these new landforms visually interesting, but could perhaps instead react as though they're mere foliage-covered "foothills." I make this observation as someone who was born and raised in the northeast, has lived in the west for 36 years and is planning to move back to those northeast "mountains" soon. :D


...interesting architecture. Catskill itself has some interesting architecture too...I'm betting it's the architecture you and others mentioned that will capture Kirk's attention. I hope he enjoys his explorations.

Greg Miller
15-Aug-2014, 15:46
Since Kirk has never been in this part of the country before, he should be made aware that things called "mountains" in the northeastern US don't really resemble "mountains" in the western US. He might find these new landforms visually interesting, but could perhaps instead react as though they're mere foliage-covered "foothills." I make this observation as someone who was born and raised in the northeast, has lived in the west for 36 years and is planning to move back to those northeast "mountains" soon. :D

Now don't go making mountains out of mole hills! ;)

Peter Lewin
15-Aug-2014, 18:44
Catskill is also about a one hour drive from Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield. Mass. which Kirk may find interesting, and unless it has changed, is tripod friendly outside the buildings.

David Schaller
15-Aug-2014, 19:17
http://www.olana.org/visit_directions.php

You'll be near here in Catskill. Very nice grounds and view. Hudson, NY is good for food. I'm near Pittsfield and can give you more recommendations.
Dave

Randy Moe
15-Aug-2014, 19:23
Sounds great, you do get around Kirk!

Kirk Gittings
15-Aug-2014, 19:45
Its true Randy-seems like as I get older many opportunities come up like never before.

Thanks all. I have no idea what I am looking for to shoot. This is like a different planet than what I am used to. Seems like I live in Arrakis compared to the Hudson River area.

Kirk Gittings
15-Aug-2014, 19:46
Sorry I wrote Catsills without my reading glasses on.......

wager123
18-Aug-2014, 17:08
Get in touch with Dan Burkhollder in palenvilla .I am sure he can give you some great ideas. Danburkholder.com
Mitch

Kirk Gittings
19-Aug-2014, 12:07
I now Dan a bit and that is an excellent idea. Thanks.

Lenny Eiger
19-Aug-2014, 14:01
I second Olana, what a place!. The other place that is interesting there is the Shawangunks. It's a climbing area, with 300 foot cliffs, a few miles West of New Paltz. There are a lot of hikes and you can actually climb to the top the easy way for spectacular views of the Hudson River Valley.

Lenny

mmerig
19-Aug-2014, 15:18
The Catskills were my old stomping grounds as a kid, and I still visit them now and then, so my memory is occasionally refreshed.

Anyway, it sounds like you have the cultural subjects covered. Compared to the western USA, the northeast forests and mountains are very "closed in", so someone used to the wide open western landscapes might take a little time to adjust. It tends to be humid and hazy, so long-distance shots could be more difficult.

A potentially fun subject would be the smaller streams and adjacent forest settings there. Also, the area was heavily farmed in the 18th century, and there are still many old stone fences (low walls of stacked stones) in now-forested areas. A map showing state lands will help focus your travels away from private lands which are often posted*. There are some pockets of "Appalachia" type communities in the hills too. Watch out for deer in the evenings while driving -- there are tons of them and hard to see in the thick trees until they are on the road (many of which are very narrow).

The NW part of the Catskills is generally less crowded.

Have fun!

*
"As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."
But on the other side it didn't say nothing,
That side was made for you and me."

Woody Guthrie

Peter Langham
20-Aug-2014, 10:53
My old stomping grounds as well. Good advise so far. The streams are definitely a good idea. Check out the Palenville gorge. Also if possible go to Opus 40. Whether you photograph there or not it is amazing.

Louie Powell
21-Aug-2014, 05:03
I live nearby. Several good suggestions in other posts. This is an area with a lot of history, nature and artistic opportunities.

Don't overlook Woodstock, NY. Quaint little town that still reflects the laid-back atmosphere that prevailed at the time of the famed Woodstock festival. Three very good photography galleries in that town - Photosensualis specializes in nudes, BMG offers a series of visiting artists with a wide range of styles, and the Catskill Center for Photography is a workshop located bang-on in the center of the town and a gallery with rotating shows.

Pittsfield is a nice old town, but for my taste there's not a lot there. A few miles south is Stockbridge, a town made famous by Norman Rockwell. The Rockwell Museum is nearby and is a must for visual artists. Another great spot in Stockbridge is Chesterwood, the home of sculptor Daniel Chester French. Great Barrington and Lenox are also great little towns (if you like music, Tanglewood is a must). And I would be remiss if I didn't mention that late August is the height of the tourist season here in the Saratoga Springs area - the Philadelphia Orchestra and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center are in residence and the ponys are running at the racecourse (you will actually be here for the Travers Stakes - the summer equivalent of the Kentucky Derby).

Williamstown is north of Pittsfield and is the home of the Clark Museum. Recently reopened after a major remodel, it is an architectural gem, and the art work is stunning. And in nearby North Adams is the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. This is an old mill that has been repurposed as a gallery for unusually large art works. The art is often mind-bending, but for me, the beautiful old buildings are the real attraction.

Bennington VT is less than half and hour away from Pittsfield. Actually, Bennington is sort of blaah, but Manchester is a short drive north of there and is a delightful little town. I especially like the Epoch Gallery - a cooperative gallery featuring the work of Vermont artists and crafts people. Not far from there is Weston, VT, home of the overrated Vermont Country Store. But next door to the store is a gallery featuring the work of photographer Nobushi Fuji'i. He became famous as a large-format photographer for a Japanese architectural magazine, but the work he shows in his Weston gallery (and also in Epoch in Manchester) are very sensitive digital color images of nature and the landscape.

There are two other significant photographic galleries a few hours from Pittsfield - Vermont Center for Photography in Brattleboro, VT, and The Valley Photographic Center in Springfield, VT. Hudson, NY (mentioned by others) has a lot of galleries, one of which (Carrie Haddad) specializes in photography.

And about those nasty comments about mountains in the East - many years ago I took a workshop with landscape photographer David Haas - David worked exclusively in large format, and only in the East. His view was that it's not correct to say that the landscape in the West is better - or worse - than the landscape in the East. But they are different. The landscape in the East isn't Wagnerian - it doesn't scream drama like the landscape in the West. Instead, it is intimate and requires thoughtful exploration.

Sal Santamaura
21-Aug-2014, 08:01
Since Kirk has never been in this part of the country before, he should be made aware that things called "mountains" in the northeastern US don't really resemble "mountains" in the western US. He might find these new landforms visually interesting, but could perhaps instead react as though they're mere foliage-covered "foothills." I make this observation as someone who was born and raised in the northeast, has lived in the west for 36 years and is planning to move back to those northeast "mountains" soon. :D ...


...Compared to the western USA, the northeast forests and mountains are very "closed in", so someone used to the wide open western landscapes might take a little time to adjust. It tends to be humid and hazy, so long-distance shots could be more difficult.

A potentially fun subject would be the smaller streams and adjacent forest settings there...


...And about those nasty comments about mountains in the East...Nasty? Really? If you're being sarcastic or humorous, an emoticon would be helpful. Otherwise, I see nothing nasty about those comments.


...many years ago I took a workshop with landscape photographer David Haas - David worked exclusively in large format, and only in the East. His view was that it's not correct to say that the landscape in the West is better - or worse - than the landscape in the East. But they are different. The landscape in the East isn't Wagnerian - it doesn't scream drama like the landscape in the West. Instead, it is intimate and requires thoughtful exploration.I didn't see where anyone described one region's landscape as better/worse than the other's. What we posted is completely compatible with Haas' view as you described it.

mmerig
21-Aug-2014, 08:55
Sorry if my comments indicated that the eastern mountains are nasty; I did not mean to. David Hass' explanation conveys what I meant very well.

Even a hazy-day vista has its own beauty.

Sal Santamaura
21-Aug-2014, 09:05
Sorry if my comments indicated that the eastern mountains are nasty...Louie's post said that our comments were nasty, not the eastern mountains.

mmerig
21-Aug-2014, 09:20
Whoops -- taken literally, (and I usually do this), I agree it is the comments that were supposedly nasty, although what follows the reference to comments is more about the mountains themselves, and my reaction included the latter reference as well.

With written syntax aside, it should be interesting to see what Kirk sees out there, if he wants to share any of his images when he gets back.

Mark Sampson
21-Aug-2014, 18:52
Kirk, I wish you the best of luck in the humid East. And, as a native of NY State, I'd love to see any of the photographs from your trip. I can easily remember my first trip to the mountain west, almost 20 years ago, and how different the light was 'out there'. And so I'm enjoying the thought of your experience in reverse.

Harold_4074
24-Aug-2014, 08:38
Sorry I wrote Catsills without my reading glasses on.......

But I'm glad you did. All this time I thought the ledge below the kitchen window where the cat sleeps was a "window sill". It's amazing what you can learn from this forum!
:)

Randy Moe
24-Aug-2014, 10:02
Lol

paulr
24-Aug-2014, 14:02
Since Kirk has never been in this part of the country before, he should be made aware that things called "mountains" in the northeastern US don't really resemble "mountains" in the western US.

This is true for sure, but is often compensated for by the things called "trails" in the northeast, which out west are called climber's trails, game trails, dry creek beds, rock piles, or cliffs. Maybe less so in the Catskills than in the Adirondacks and the White Mountains.

Kirk Gittings
24-Aug-2014, 17:40
Thanks all. The documentary project in Pittsfield was all but totally consuming. So I did zero photography of my own, but did do some valuable scouting based on people's suggestions. I have been invited back to do some of my personal work. I did meet up with Robert Lyon, a member here who runs the very successful limited residency MFA program at Hartford. Great guy with a fascinating history. And I did manage to get over to see Burkholder's fine show. I almost managed a meetup with him but the schedule got to tight.

All and all a great trip and I will be coming back.