A Day at a Lake: Exploring the Hidden Gems of a Common Subject

By F.M. Kearney

There was nothing particularly special about it, and it was completely hidden from view. In order to reach it, you had to walk to the rear of the property and go down a short trail leading to a clearing. The only reason I knew about it was because I Googled the location beforehand. It was just a small lake… so small it didn’t even have a name. Nevertheless, I couldn’t wait to explore it.

Several years ago, my wife and I went on a short, weekend getaway to The Poconos. We stayed at a vacation resort in the town of Bushkill, PA. The resort was best known for its golf course, but I was only interested in one thing… the lake.

8:06 a.m.

Lone deer in the Delaware River © F. M. Kearney
Lone deer in the Delaware River © F. M. Kearney

I wanted to start the day by catching the sun rising over the lake, but the skies were overcast and the lake looked rather drab. Luckily, behind the lake was the Delaware River and the flat lighting was perfect for river scenes. Walking along the bank, I found a clearing through the brush that perfectly framed the tranquil image above. If you look closely, you can see a deer on the other side of the river that stopped for a quick drink. Unfortunately, he quenched his thirst and scampered off before I could switch to a longer lens.

9:08 a.m.

Small patch of daisies near lake © F. M. Kearney
Small patch of daisies near lake © F. M. Kearney
Close up of daisies using extension tubes © F. M. Kearney
Close up of daisies using extension tubes © F. M. Kearney

After about an hour of shooting along the river, I tried turning my attention to the lake. But, in a small clearing, I found a tiny patch of daisies that looked promising. I shot a series of group shots and some tight close-ups (above) with the aid of extension tubes. The tubes are small enough for me to carry them in my bag at all times – regardless of whatever I’m planning on shooting. Although I had no idea flowers would be present, I was happy I wasn’t limited in my compositional options. Luckily, since flowers don’t run off like deer, I had all the time in the world to capture as many angles I desired. The soft, flat lighting was perfect for these images as well.

9:50 a.m.

Views around the lake© F. M. Kearney
Views around the lake© F. M. Kearney

A couple of hours after I arrived, I finally got around to shooting what I had originally intended. The lake was small enough to easily circumnavigate in less than a half hour at a leisurely pace. However, there was such an abundance of interesting foreground elements that I spent most of the day shooting this location. The photos above are just a couple of the scenic photo ops offered by this forgotten little lake.

Small inlet between lake and Delaware River © F. M. Kearney
Small inlet between lake and Delaware River © F. M. Kearney

In addition to the lake itself, there were a few inlets leading to the nearby Delaware River. These inlets provided even more great photo ops. I applied a Gaussian blur technique to the image above in order to impart a romantic quality to the decorative, leafy canopy.

8:07 p.m.

Sunset over lake © F. M. Kearney
Sunset over lake © F. M. Kearney

It was early afternoon by the time I completed my trek around the lake. I returned at the end of the day to shoot the sunset (above). The skies had cleared just enough to put on quite a stunning display.

Whenever I’m shooting in a new area, I always seek out bodies of water. Be they large or small, they never fail to produce exceptional imagery in any type of lighting or weather condition. Since there’s usually nearby plants and/or flowers, they too, add to the overall scenery. I spent the entire day at this lake. A location doesn’t necessarily have to be large and well known in order to provide great images. In some cases, it may not even initially look that picturesque. But, taking the time to properly explore the location will often yield surprising results. Just before dark, I took one final photo (below) of this little lake with no name.

Final photo after sunset © F. M. Kearney
Final photo after sunset © F. M. Kearney

F. M. Kearney began his photography career as a photojournalist for New York City newspapers. His focus soon shifted to capturing the beauty of the natural world. As an award-winning nature photographer, Kearney’s images have been widely published. A slight  departure from photography, his recently published horror novel, “They Only Come Out at Night,” about supernatural happenings in the New York City subway (partially inspired by his travels as a photojournalist), is available on Amazon. To see more of Kearney’s work, visit http://www.starlitecollection.com.