I spent some time down in the Delaware Water Gap in late-October, meeting up with a photography friend and his wife whom I don’t get to see often. And not only was it a chance to see someplace new and spend a little time out in the autumn landscape with the camera, but it was also a good reminder that sometimes it’s nice to go shooting with other photogs!
The biggest challenge when heading someplace new is, “where do I go?” Fortunately Google solved that one for us, and amid my searches I came across mention of Minsi Lake, a PA Fish and Boat lake in the hills 15 minutes south of Stroudsburg. We headed out there for sunrise, which right now happens at the blessed time of 7:26 – a time which, for small segments of the year, allows us to enjoy it without getting out of bed at an unholy hour.
(Although considering the festering, criminal activity-ridden shithole that was our hotel for the night, getting out of bed really wasn’t that hard. But I digress…)
We worked the shoreline of Minsi Lake for over an hour, enjoying the mirror-like water, the foliage, the fishermen in their boats. Having missed almost all of autumn last year, I’ve been very happy to have had several opportunities to enjoy it this time around. And overall it’s been a fairly mild, attractive autumn, although far too short.
Later, after a stop at the Shawnee Craft Brewery in Shawnee-on-Delaware – which gives a great tour of their little brewery, complete with samples – we had lunch and took off as a group for New Jersey.
Just across the Water Gap, amid poor signage, is the Mt. Tammany trailhead, where we were lucky enough to find parking spots. On a lovely afternoon the place was overrun with hikers, almost half of which were sporting DSLRs on straps around their necks. And who could blame them? There wouldn’t be many (any) more days like that before winter. (Although at this moment I was again happy to be carrying the E-M5 vs a “traditional” DSLR, as the size and weight savings made hiking that much easier.)
I’m a bit embarrassed to say that we didn’t make it to the top. We reached the final ascent to the summit, a series of switchbacks and rock-scrambles that appeared nearly vertical, and we collectively voted “no” and returned to the first vista a short way back down the trail, where we sat and talked and enjoyed the view until sunset began, then we climbed off the mountain.
My advice? In general, it’s good to meet with photographer friends and go shooting together sometimes. It’s interesting to see how other photogs view a scene, how they respond with their choice of lenses, apertures, and approaches. It’s also just plain nice to have company sometimes.
Specific to this experience, I can tell that you that the Delaware Water Gap is a nice area that I think tends to fly under the radar for most people. It’s definitely worth the visit and there’s plenty of hiking (or just walking) in the area, along with river access and several waterfalls.
We had a couple of nice meals in Stroudsburg, which has a really nice little mainstreet/downtown. But don’t bother staying in East Stroudsburg; the hotel we picked was atrocious and my understanding is that none of others are much better (unless you can drop $300 a night to stay at Shawnee).