I've always wanted to be an artist. When I was five, I was the world's greatest designer - specializing in ballgowns paired with big red clown noses. When I was 10, I was an esteemed actress - the part? Grace Fully, village milkmaid (perhaps you saw me, every weekend, all summer long at the New York Renaissance Faire); after that it was landscape architect and then a four-year stint as a vocal major in the world's most famous high school where my days were spent singing but my evenings were spent searching for some creative force inside of me. For as long as I can remember, I've attempted to tap into some remnant of childhood creativity and express it; and, despite a passable talent in all my artistic pursuits (big red clown noses notwithstanding, my dresses were impressive for a five-year-old), nothing has ever been... it. That is until I began writing for The Compass and The Trailhead and needed to take photos to show you all of my wonderful adventures and somehow I found my outlet.
It is easy to take a beautiful snapshot in the Adirondacks. The mountains may be crowned with gold, red and purple leaves, capped in crisp white snow, or covered in a blanket of mossy evergreen and wildflowers, it may be autumn, winter, spring or summer; no matter the weather, no matter the time of year, the Adirondacks provide budding, inexperienced amateurs and professionals alike a spectacular canvas. As you drive through the mountains a majestic drama unfolds before you; a performance that started 600 million years ago, when rocky peaks started to rise from the Earth. And for me, capturing it is like preserving a moment of its history and this moment of my own life within it. I've heard about Ausable Chasm for as long as I've lived in the Adirondacks and have had it on my list of places I need to see (but haven't, for whatever reason) the entire time. When I heard about Tom Semeraro's photo tours of Ausable Chasm (perfectly timed with my new found passion for photography) I jumped at the uncommon opportunity for an incredible sightseeing adventure.
When you think of majestic America, there are only a few places that immediately come to mind as being indescribably majestic, invoking the sense of dreamlike awe that stays with you long after you wake; the Grand Canyon, the Redwood National and State Park, the Firefall at Yosemite National Park and just six hours from New York City is Ausable Chasm. Hailing from the city that never sleeps, I've seen my fair share of towering monoliths and marvels, and I've spent 20 years of my life looking out at the Palisades from the opposite shore; however, the steep and narrow cleft of Ausable Chasm and the river running through it is something unique; as though someone created the Grand Canyon just for you, so that you could explore it to the fullest. And the best way to explore it to the fullest (in this city girl's hard to impress opinion) is by venturing in with your own photo tour guide. As a licensed guide, a guided tour, hike or snowshoe with Tom is one of the only ways you can venture inside the chasm itself and with years of education and experience as a photographer and instructor, Tom is available to introduce you to "the art of image capture and creation" and provide photography instruction on your equipment. Exploring with chasm with Tom turned out to be the perfect avenue into this natural wonder. For those new to photography, his training and experience gives him the ability to understand your equipment and to help you understand it as well, and, like all great teachers and conductors, his earnest passion for the Adirondacks and generosity of spirit keeps Ausable Chasm the star of the show, allowing you to experience fully this remarkable place. If you are an experienced photographer, his rich knowledge of the landscape allows him to show you areas you may not have found on your own.
No matter what time of year, no matter what the weather, no matter the amount of foliage, it's a photographer's dream setting - spectacular 365 days a year. Like everything under the influence of time, what may be here today may be gone tomorrow. After a hurricane or flooding (as the chasm has occasionally seen), large areas can be washed away in an instant, or, as I saw on my trip a particularly dry summer can mean you can venture into areas on foot that ordinarily would have been under feet of water. For those looking to catch time in a bottle, every opportunity is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Epic waterfalls, enormous rock formations you can reach out and touch; 500 million years of history in the palm of your hand and Tom's soft-spoken and generous guidance will allow you to take full advantage of your all-access pass and document every remarkable moment - here and in all of your future adventures.