View Full Version : locations between Buffalo, NY and Philadelphia, PA

27-Jul-2010, 05:14
Hi all, I have to go up to Buffalo in a few weeks and will be heading back to NJ after a few days. I am looking for locations to shoot between Buffalo and Philadelphia as I have set aside a few days just for shooting. Long hikes and mountain climbing are not desired. Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks, Rob Rielly (ArtFlic)

David de Gruyl
27-Jul-2010, 05:56
Well, small detour to Niagra falls (<20 miles, if I remember correctly).

Ithaca has gorges. In town, so no hiking.

Caves and coal mines abound in that region (especially the PA part). I don't know your level of patience with that sort of thing, though.

If you follow the Erie canal, or go around the fingerlakes, there are tons of small towns if that is your sort of thing. Also, old locks and new locks.

Frank Petronio
27-Jul-2010, 07:02
Not knowing your taste it is hard but for easily accessible stunning landscape (that I haven't really covered myself) I think the Niagara River Gorge between Buffalo and Niagara Falls and up to Lewiston is spectacular. The Canadian side is cleaner and nicer but that is not always a good thing. There are also interesting industrial ruins along the river, and lovely ruined and some still functional grain elevators to the South of Buffalo's downtown.

In Buffalo, Allentown is a fun neighborhood to walk and eat/drink in. Nice architecture. There is also Forest Lawn Cemetery, which for a creepy cemetery is pretty damn nice. Elmwood Avenue is the college row sort of street, Delaware Ave is the old money, just drive North from downtown to Hertel, where there is an art film theater and some interesting storefronts. Heading out through the ghettos on Main Street East is nice too. Don't worry, it is less violent than Philly, people in Bflo have mostly given up years ago and it is live and let whither ;-)

About 20 miles South of Bflo is an abandoned State Park called Bennett Beach, on Lake Erie. If you squint it looks like Southern California, with sand dunes and abandoned concrete structures. It's unkept, which means it is cleaner than a State Park, and you can have bonfires and drink beer and even run around naked if nobody else minds.

Going along Lake Erie or Ontario is always nice.

If you like small towns and roadside oddities then drive out of Buffalo on Route 5 to Seneca Falls and turn South on 96 to go through Aurora to Ithaca, then on to Binghamton and home through Scranton... PA is rich with locations but I don't know them yet.

Rochester is to the North but it has the George Eastman House and a few shopping malls and the remains of Eastman Kodak (which has no tourist benefit except for the eternal flame over George's grave on Lake Avenue.)

Canandaigua is a nice tourist town with jacked prices and cute candle shops.

Waterloo and Seneca Falls are busted old towns with wonderful junk shops and collapsing architecture. Be sure to have a beer at the "Mens Rights Hall of Fame" in Seneca Falls, across from that accursed Lesbionic Hillary Clintonesque Woman's Rights National Park.

Ithaca is hippy college town in a spectacular location (in Summer) with waterfalls and gorges. The Finger Lakes make you wonder why people fuss over the dry hills of Napa, in NY the wine region is lush and verdant and nowhere nearly as expensive. The wine is mediocre but the farms produce wonderful organic veggies, free range critters, good restaurants and food.

Nathan Potter
27-Jul-2010, 07:43
As Frank says, the gorges around Ithaca are particularly spectacular, if that is your inclination. Of course better at peak fall color.

Watkins Glen State Park.
Taughannock Falls State Park. Highest falls in NY state
Robert H. Treman State Park. Nice gorge.
Havana Glen, Montour Falls. Right by the road.
Stonybrook State Park at Dansville. Nice gorge trail with WPA built stone bridges.

These gorges are generally black shale and deeply shaded so exposure is very tricky. If using B&W you'll have to consider some serious N+ development procedures.
Look up details of the sites on google.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Mark Sampson
27-Jul-2010, 08:09
Along route 6 across northern PA you'll find "Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon" near Wellsboro; there are two state parks w/overlooks. Northern PA is mostly low mountains and pine forests with farmland in between. I often travel north-south down Route 15; from Williamsport south to Harrisburg it follows the Susquehanna river valley, which has potential for landscape work. I just haven't stopped often enough to find the best places.

Louie Powell
27-Jul-2010, 08:46
Long hikes and mountain climbing are not desired.

I presume that to mean that you aren't a roots and rocks photographer, and would prefer non-landscape subjects.

Some thoughts:

1. The Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown - great vintage buildings, a beautiful old white church, even some hops vines (and there's a fabulous local brewery to visit if you get thirsty).

2. Union Station in Utica - this grand old train station was constructed using marble columns recycled from the original Grand Central Station in NYC. That original station was torn down when the railroads were electrified and Park Avenue was elevated - and the 'modern' Grand Central Terminal was constructed in the early 20th century.

3. Wineries in the Finger Lakes. Great for tasting as well as photography.

4. The George Eastman House in Rochester - while you are in the neighborhood, see one of the greatest photography museums in the world.

5. The remains of the Rochester subway - an underground train system that was constructed in the early 20th century, and then abandoned after only a few years of operation.

6. Empire State Plaza in Albany - an architectural jewel (or monstrosity, depending on your point of view) and where all the tax money goes in New York.

7. Bard College in Annandale, NY. The main campus itself is OK, but the real photographic attraction is the Geary-designed concert hall.

R Mann
27-Jul-2010, 11:19
If you are into railroad "stuff" - Steamtown National Park in Scraton might be worth a stop.

27-Jul-2010, 22:36
Thanks for all of the replies I should have specified more exactly what kind of photography I prefer. First of all, I shoot only B & W, color is of no interest to me. I do like landscapes, rocks, and trees as long as I don't have to trek to far. My first preference, however, is old buildings and structures, the more ruinous the better. Shooting in the touristy places is not preferred, however, I do if it is not too bad. A few months ago I shot in some of Utah's parks and on at least a half-dozen occasions people wanted to take pictures of my 4 x 5 as they had never seen one before. It seems that every time I set up a small crowd gathers assuming, (incorrectly), that I actually know what I am doing. I am sure that many of you have had similar experiences. So out of the way is better, but sometimes you have to hit a populated area since the subjects are more interesting. In any case, I now have some spots to check into. I did Niagra Falls, both sides, last year and it is just too loaded with tourists, so I will not be heading in that direction. The Erie Canal locks and a number of the other places sound interesting so I will google them and check them out. Many thanks to all who responded. Any further suggestions are most welcome. Regards, Rob Rielly

Frank Petronio
28-Jul-2010, 04:47
Lockport and Seneca Falls both have large, deep "locks" along the Canal. Brockport, has an older, shabby downtown from the Canal era.

Of course Buffalo has the most industrial ruins outside of Detroit (aka Mecca, haha).

Clifton Springs, to the East of Rochester, is another small town with amazing architecture, a large old spa still functioning.

Binghamton I don't know very well yet but it is pretty busted up and seems to have lots of old failed businesses.

Dansville, by Stoney Brook SP, South of Rochester, has a huge old resort spa on the hill over town, you may have to confront a squatter but it would be good to shoot.

Tintype Bob
30-Jul-2010, 10:20
Kaaterskill falls and Catskill mountain area is wonderfull, many places to get great shots and east access

I lived there for many years


Scott Davis
30-Jul-2010, 10:43
Depending on your route, it's most likely out of your way but Altoona, Pennsylvania has large swaths of downtown that are quite bombed out, and tons of old railroad infrastructure with potential. Over in to the nice part of town, there's Blair Mansion, which is an interesting Greek Revival home. Coming back East along the PA Turnpike or on the scenic route along Route 30, you pass through (or at least near) my old hometown of Chambersburg, which is rather picturesque and pleasant, with some great Civil War (and a bit of pre-Civil War) architecture (the town was torched by the Confederates once, and held for ransom two more times during the course of the war).