The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts tagged ‘Allegany State Park’

Sunday Outing with our Granddaughters

On Sunday we spent the afternoon with our granddaughters, taking them on an outing to Allegany State Park near Salamanca, NY.

We picked up the girls at their house between noon and 12:30 pm and drove to Allegany State Park, entering the park via the Red House Area. Our first stop was at the new Red House Area nature boardwalk.

I first learned about the boardwalk via a YouTube video, captured by Paul Crawford, a few months before the boardwalk was completed. Paul Crawford is the volunteer Administrator, Photographer and Videographer for the Allegany State Park Facebook page.

What a wonderful new feature of Allegany State Park!

Red House Nature Boardwalk

Harper and Juniper took our photograph, once we reached the overlook at the end of the boardwalk.

Juniper took this photograph of Bob, Harper and me.
Good job, Juniper!

Harper took this photograph of Bob, Juniper and me.
Good job, Harper!

In Paul’s video he mentioned a duck blind at the end of the middle section of the boardwalk.

Duck Blind

The boardwalk was nice but will be nicer later in the year, when the plants surrounding the boardwalk spring to life. I am sure there will be lots of waterfowl to see later too. We didn’t see any birds, turtles or waterfowl.

When we left the nature boardwalk, we planned to go to the Quaker Run swimming beach playground. We were very disappointed to find the road to the beach closed. I had talked up the playground to Harper and Juniper, and they were looking forward to playing there.  I hope that the road to the swimming beach opens up much earlier than summer so that we have the opportunity to visit the playground sooner, rather than later!

The girls quickly got over their disappointment, though, when we found another playground on the way home.

Our day outing with Harper and Juniper was wonderful.  All four of us had a GREAT time!



Thanksgiving Day Drive

I begin this blog post with information that will seem as though it doesn’t apply to the subject at hand.  This information does apply, though, as you will soon find out.

For some time now I have contemplated the purchase of a point-and-shoot camera for everyday photography, especially while riding the motorcycle, bicycling and taking pictures of our granddaughters. After much contemplation, I narrowed my camera choice to one of two cameras: the Olympus Stylus Tough TG-4 and the no-longer-manufactured Olympus Stylus XZ-2.  Among my considerations in the purchase of a new camera included the following:

  • camera reviews (some of which compared the TG-4 and the XZ-2);
  • a recommendation by a photography friend; and
  • the back and forth conversation with myself as to how important having GPS and WiFi capabilities, being waterproof and being shockproof were to me (all TG-4 features).

After careful consideration, I hit the buy button this past Sunday for an Olympus XZ-2 camera.  I chose image quality and advanced shooting capabilities over the TG-4 features. My new camera arrived on Tuesday.

Today we went for a drive to and through Allegany State Park, located near Salamanca, New York. We made three stops in the park.  We stopped at Quaker Lake, alongside Red House Lake and at the Thomas L. Kelly covered bridge.

Quaker Lake
Bob stepped into Quaker Lake to see if his boots were really waterproof (they are).

Red House Lake

We have driven through Alleghany State Park many times over the years.  We stopped at this point along Red House Lake for the first time.  You can see the Red House Administration Building across the lake.

Thomas L. Kelly Covered Bridge

I have photographed the Thomas L. Kelly covered bridge many times.  This picture, however, is from a different perspective than pictures I have taken in the past.

I think we would have made more stops had I remembered to insert a memory card into my camera before leaving home. I am thankful that my new camera, which I took to familiarize myself with its use, has internal memory. The internal memory stored five JPEG images.  Oh, yes, now you can see why I began writing this blog post by telling you about my new camera purchase.

On our way back home from Allegany State Park, we stopped at Bent Run Falls for a short hike. Bent Run Falls is located about 15 miles from our home.  Bob purchased two walking sticks earlier this year.  Those walking sticks were a great help on the hike as the entire hillside was littered with wet leaves, wet boulders and wet tree roots.  Here are the last two images that were stored on my camera’s internal memory.

Bob at Bent Run Falls

Bob at Bent Run Falls

I am very happy with my new camera purchase.  I may use my iPhone camera less and this new camera more.  My Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera may see less use for a while too!  I hope not to leave home without a memory card the next time. As soon as we returned home, I placed a spare memory card in my camera pouch!

A Touch of the Dramatic

On Sunday, June 5th, we drove through Allegany State Park near Salamanca, NY on our way home from a shopping trip to BJs Wholesale Club in Allegany, NY.  During our drive we stopped at Stone Tower and at Red House Lake.  I experimented with my camera’s Dramatic Tone Art Filter.  The resulting photographs are works of art. My camera did the hard work, i.e. processing the image which resulted from the use of the filter. All I did was compose the picture (which takes some talent I guess ;)), and crop and sharpen the picture.

I obtained the following information pertaining to the Dramatic Tone Art Filter from “Simply Robin”.

“Art Filters were first introduced in Olympus E-30, allowing users to instantly process their photographs into a selection of available creative effects, such as Pinhole and grainy film effects. While many professional photographers initially frowned upon such redundant installation of bells and whistles to a seemingly mid-level DSLR from Olympus, the Art Filters did win the hearts of many. [T]he popularity of the Art Filter has grown, and been included in all Olympus newer cameras, DSLR system, PEN series and even the compact cameras (called magic filters). It was not so much of what the effects produced since they can be easily manipulated and reproduced by many other means through post-processing software. What really worked was the user experience while shooting in Art Filters, firstly you can instantly view the effect in real time as you compose the shots in live view before even making that shutter button click, and secondly, you can obtain the results straight out of camera.”

Mr. Wong’s article was posted in January 2011. At that time a new art filter was added on the Olympus E-5. That new art filter was the Dramatic Tone Art Filter. My current camera is the Olympus OM-D E-M1, and the dramatic tone art filter is available on that camera.

Continuing with Mr. Wong’s description of the Dramatic Tone Art Filter, Mr. Wong says that the filter “is simply an in-camera pseudo-HDR processing capability, to convert the ordinary looking image into a fake rendition of a HDR shot.”

“If you have dabbled into the world of HDR (high dynamic range) photography, you would have realized that this Dramatic Tone Art Filter is no magic at all, it is simply a very quick processing to drastically lift up the details in the shadow region, while toning down significantly the brightness in the highlight region. Basically what the filter is trying to do is to balance up the dark and bright areas, but at a very extreme margin that the image will most likely turn out looking very unnatural. The lighting balance has been heavily manipulated, and the colour saturation has also been boosted, along with the overall contrast of the image. The overall outcome is a very punchy, strong, vividly surreal looking image.”

Because “Dramatic Tone is actually a pseudo HDR simulating process, it will … benefit you in areas where you require high dynamic range, or the situations when you would actually do HDR photography.” Mr. Wong finds “Dramatic Tone to be useful in the following shooting conditions:

1) Areas with high contrast of shadow and light.

2) Backlit situation. Boy, you will be surprised by what the Dramatic Tone can do in backlit situation.

3) Heavy textures. The Dramatic Tone will put more emphasis on textured subjects, such as the cloud formation in the sky, the rough surface of a brick wall, or the mixture of pimply formation and blackheads of a human face.

4) Areas with flat lighting. If you want to change the flat looking image, the Dramatic Tone can open up a new dimension, and recreate the scene as if the lighting has been changed somehow.”

Mr. Wong wrote that “Dramatic Tone is not an Art Filter to be used in ALL shooting conditions, and should be adopted wisely. The following are the conditions that the Dramatic Tone should be avoided:

1) If you want a natural looking image. If the lighting already has a lot of impact, or producing a very pleasing outcome, you might want to stay away from Dramatic Tone and just stick with the natural, good lighting conditions. Dramatic Tone can either improve your shot, or completely ruin it.

2) People photography. Somehow… Dramatic Tone can be a disaster to any form of human photography. The skin tone will become uneven with heavy traces of shadows all over the skin, and the colours come out really odd and looks like plastic.

3) High ISO shooting. As highlighted earlier, the Dramatic Tone is a processing from the original image file into a pseudo-HDR image, and through my experimentations, I found even at ISO400, the noise level can be quite unacceptably visible and annoying, with heavy smudging and smearing of fine details. I suspect an additional noise-filtering has kicked in. Shoot the Dramatic Tone only at ISO100-200 for best results, obtaining minimal noise and maximum details/sharpness.”

Mr. Wong stated in his article that he “personally would shoot … images in RAW, and apply the Dramatic Tone Art Filter later while … [at] home processing … images.” I assume Mr. Wong is referring to the use of Olympus Viewer software, which provides the capability to apply filters on RAW images.

According to Mr. Wong, “while you are engaging the Dramatic Tone:

1) The settings such as White Balance, Saturation, Contrast, Gradation and Sharpness can be fully tweaked and fine-tuned up to your hearts content, as if you are shooting a normal scene. Do take note that the White Balance setting affects the outcome of the Dramatic Tone significantly.

2) You can use B&W or Sepia with the Dramatic Tone, to create really wonderful looking images.

3) All the basic camera settings can be used … you can … use all the full PASM modes (Programme, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual) together hand in hand with Dramatic Tone. Having full control of Aperture and Shutter speed can create even more creative output, such as slow motion movement of the waterfall, or the fast moving panning shots.

4) If the original output of the Dramatic Tone comes out too harsh for your liking, you can always do a little brush up in your post-processing to tweak the image to your preference. I personally would tone down the saturation a notch or two, and reduce the heavy contrast by a little, while lifting up overall brightness.”

Here are some of the photographs that I took at Allegany State Park, while using the Dramatic Tone Art Filter.

LJG22431 4x6Stone Tower

LJG22427 4x6
View towards Red House Lake
from inside Stone Tower

I climbed the stone stairway to the top of Stone Tower.

LJG22428 4x6View towards Red House Lake
from top of Stone Tower

LJG22430 4x6View in opposite direction from Red House Lake
from top of Stone Tower

LJG22436 4x6Red House Lake bridge

I have several art filters on my camera. The Dramatic Tone Art Filter is my favorite.

We departed Allegany State Park at 3:00 pm.  Little did we know that a little more than an hour, after we returned home. that our weather would take a dramatic turn!

Friday Afternoon Drive: Allegany State Park

Bob and I went for a drive Friday afternoon.  We drove to Allegany State Park via Bradford, PA.  Our first stop was at Willow Dale Duck Pond.  Our second stop was at Marilla Reservoir.

From Marilla Reservoir we drove into Bradford, stopping at Country Fair. We went to the bathroom and picked up a couple snacks and water to drink. From Bradford we drove to Allegany State Park, entering the park via Interstate Parkway to ASP Route 2. We followed ASP 2 to France Brook Road.  The unpaved France Book Road runs from ASP Route 2, about 5 miles south of Red House Lake, to ASP Route 1 near Bay State Road.

One view from France Brook Road

We turned right onto ASP Route 1 and stopped at the Program Site 62 sign for Bridal Falls.  It’s a short (~.25 mile) hike to Bridal Falls from the roadside parking area.

Bridal Falls


Leaving Bridal Falls, we continued our drive on ASP Route 1 to Red House Lake.  We passed by the Tudor-style Red House Administration Building and parked alongside the lake near the arched bridge.  The bridge crosses over the Red House Lake Dam.  We hiked on a trail that went around the spillway.  It was our first time on this trail.

Red House Brook

We discovered that there were 30-meter and 50-meter ski jumps at Allegany State Park.
We passed by the ski jump on our way around the spillway.
I didn’t realize it was a ski jump at the time.
I’ll be sure to take a picture next time we are in the area!

We climbed back up to ASP Route 1 from the spillway area.  Part way across the arched bridge are steps that lead down to the creek bed.  We walked a short distance down the steps to an overlook of the Red House Lake dam.

Red House Lake dam

Red House Lake

This was our last stop on our Friday afternoon drive.  From Allegany State Park we drove back home.  It was a beautiful afternoon for a drive.

Late Winter Sunday Drive

Bob and I went for a Sunday drive late this morning to early afternoon. We were out and about for 3-4 hours. It was a beautiful day for a drive. The sun was out; the sky was blue to partly cloudy; and the temperature felt more like Spring than Winter.

Our first stop was at the Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store in Jamestown, NY. I purchased 2-32 oz. bags of Poly-Fil Poly-Pellets Stuffing Beads for use in a camera bean bag.  I paid $11.86 for these beads, after coupons deducted $9.00 from the total cost. A little later in the day I ordered from Amazon a large-sized, black Grizzly Camera Bean Bag. The cost for this bean bag was $17.95, after using a $15.00 gift card that I earned from Bing Rewards. Bing Rewards lets you earn credits for searching on Bing or trying new features from Bing or other Microsoft products and services. Bing Rewards credits can be redeemed for a variety of gift cards and other rewards.  I save my Bing Rewards credits for Amazon gift cards!  My Camera Bean Bag is scheduled for delivery on Wednesday.

Our next destination was Allegany State Park, located near Salamanca NY, where we spent most of our time. We entered the park via the Quaker Run entrance. We made a few stops along Quaker Lake to take pictures of ice fisherman and Canadian Geese.

Ice Fisherman on Quaker Lake

Canadian Geese at Quaker Lake

We stopped at Science Lake and snagged a couple pictures.

Science Lake

Bob took this picture of me standing on top of the Science Lake Dam.

Somewhere along the way between Science Lake and Red House Lake, we stopped to photograph a beaver lodge.

Beaver Lodge

According to the Beaver Solutions website, there are two main types of beaver lodges — the conical lodge and the bank lodge. The most recognized type is the conical shaped dwelling surrounded by water. It is made from sticks, mud and rocks. One of the primary reasons beavers build dams is to surround their lodge with water for protection from predators. The second type of lodge is the bank lodge. It is typically excavated into the bank of a large stream, river, or lake where the water is too deep or fast moving to build the classic conical lodge.  This is a conical beaver lodge.

Our last photo-taking stop at Allegany State Park was at Red House Lake, where we photographed Canadian Geese, and a crow posed for me to take a picture.

Canadian Geese on Red House Lake

Canadian Geese on Red House Lake


A crow, looking out across Red House Lake

We departed Allegany State Park via the Red House entrance.

We returned home along the western side of the Allegheny Reservoir, making one stop at Webbs Ferry.

We discovered a fishing pier. The pier looked like it had been there for a while.

We have visited Webbs Ferry a few times over the years.
Neither of us remembered seeing this fishing pier.

Bob took this picture of me standing on the fishing pier.

Bob walked below the fishing pier.
When the Allegheny Reservoir is full, we think that these rocks
would be covered with water.

This week’s weather looks especially nice.  I hope to spend some time outdoors, enjoying the sunshine!


More Riding

On Sunday, July 5, Bob and I went for a motorcycle ride to the John Luensman Overview Park, located on Thayer Hill Road in Brocton, NY.  The park is located about 45 miles from our house and overlooks Lake Erie.  We had visited the John Luensman Overview Park one time before on June 20th.  It was heavily overcast that day, and we couldn’t see Lake Erie.  We decided then that we would have to make a return trip on a good day.   Unfortunately, on Sunday, when we arrived at the park, we found a hazy view.

We could see Lake Erie, but the view wasn’t as good as it would be on a clear day.  We will have to ride up there another day and try again for a picture perfect view. The John Luensman Overview Park, by the way, reminds me of the Tom Erlandson Overview Park in Frewsburg, NY that we have seen on motorcycle rides with our 2 Scoop CycleTherapy friends.  An Internet search revealed that “many design elements are duplicated here. Or…, perhaps the design elements from here are duplicated there…”

From the Luensman Overview Park we rode to the Allegany State Park for lunch at The Park Restaurant.  The Park Restaurant is located in the Administration Building on the second floor.  The restaurant was renovated last year, and we had not eaten there since its renovation. The restaurant has new decor and a new menu.

The Park Restaurant
the view from our table

Bob ordered a steak salad, and I ordered a fish sandwich with fries. We ordered onion rings, as an appetizer. The service and food were great. Bob said he hadn’t tasted a better steak salad. My fish sandwich and fries were excellent.  The sauce that accompanied the onion rings had a kick and was quite good.

We returned home from Allegany State Park around 4:00 pm.


Chambers on the Road

RV, other Travels and Home Life in Retirement


Travel blog & Strasbourg city guide

Enjoying Life In New Ways

The Frog and PenguINN

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Bicycling the beauty around us

This is a bicycling journal.


Notes on Seeing, Reading & Writing, Living & Loving in The North

Skid and Sandy On The Road

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog


Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

My Mommy's Place

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Viewing nature with Eileen

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Deep Thoughts

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Rambling On

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Talk and Chatter

Reviews, talk, and fun

Senior Moments

The random musings of a fairly active Tennessee retiree

Pics & Pieces

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog



Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog


Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Linda's Peaceful Place

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Life's Funny Like That

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog


Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

I'll give you a piece of my mind

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Hospitality Lane

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Gretchen's Traveling

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

An English Girl Rambles from 2016 to ....

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog