Nockamixon State Park

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[Click to view larger]

As I mentioned in my Ralph Stover State Park post last week, I went on a weekend trip south to Doylestown over a year ago and somehow never got around to sharing the photos.  Which is strange, since some of them – and especially some of the ones in this post – are my favorites for the year.  It seems that every time I sat down to write about them, I ended up with writer’s block.

So without any further delay, here are the shots from my sunrise visit to Nockamixon State Park which is, if you want the short version, a very cool place!

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Nockamixon is based around a large lake (not surprisingly named Lake Nockamixon), located in Bucks County, PA.  It is a man-made lake, retained by a large dam at the eastern end, and its outflow runs through Ralph Stover State Park before emptying into the Delaware River.

When I say “large lake,” I mean truly large – enough so that it has it’s own marina and a wide variety of sail and power boats docked there.  I actually began my visit by the marina at sunrise, accompanied only by a couple of fishermen and a seagull.

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The marina made a great foreground subject against the sunrise, with thanks to the fishermen for heading out on the water just as I was in place to appreciate it.

Without doubt, this was one of the best sunrises I’ve seen in a long time, and the combination of colors and clouds reflecting on the lake’s glassy waters was simply stunning.  Better yet, the photos really captured the moment.

(It’s a funny thing about photography; sometimes you see these lovely scenes and try to capture them, then when you get home you find out that your photos just don’t do the real thing justice.  Other times, all the little bits come together and you find you’ve captured the essence of it.  I haven’t quite figured out what the magic formula for that is.)

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One of Nockamixon’s perks is an artificial peninsula that juts out into the lake next to the maria, probably as a combination observation point and breakwater.  I was able to enjoy several great views out over the lake from it, and better yet found that it held a number of yellow flowers, in full bloom.

No idea what they are, but they were the perfect touch of warmth to anchor the photos against a blue westward sky and lake.

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As I mentioned, the lake – and the park surrounding it – is quite large and there are several access points and boat launches.  I visited two on the north shore, the marina and a second farther west, although to be fair I was only at the second for a moment, as a sort of drive-by scouting pass.  I did head around the lake’s eastern boundary to reach the dam, which is located at the southeast corner and is visible from across its spillway and outflow creek.

There are a couple of good pull-offs on the road that parallels this feature, and from the worn-in paths through the trees, it’s clear that it’s a popular attraction.  And for good reason, as the lake’s overflow slips over a concrete dam head before it cascades down a rock face in a wide, bridal veil-shaped waterfall.  The vantage point is a little static, and the trees and safety fence get in the way in a bit, but I managed a couple of shots, including a panorama.

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Unfortunately I only had one morning to visit the park, but I have a definite desire to return again.  For starters, it’s a lake that is just begging to be kayaked.  It is also, based on what I’ve read online, a prime birding location, especially during the spring migration and breeding period.  Looking at birding reports, it seems that the very peninsula I was enjoying that morning can be one of the better spots for bird watching.  So that’d be cool, a return visit with some combination birding and paddling.

Brent Pennington is a freelance photographer and the driving force behind The Roving Photographer. When he\’s not working with portraiture or promotional clients, he’s usually in the field, hiking, or kayaking in pursuit of nature and wildlife shots.

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1 Comment

  1. Marie Pennington

    Absolutely beautiful!

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