Autumn in the Finger Lakes


Autumn in the Finger Lakes is a photographers dream. There are few areas in the world that can boast the spectacular colors and scenery of our region.


When the sun is out, white fluffy clouds in the air and a riot of orange, red and yellow blanketing the hill sides, there can be no doubt that the Finger Lakes is the jewel of the state.


A couple of quick tips for the photographers:

  1. Use the “Mountain” or “Landscape” setting on your camera. This ensures that your pictures will be in sharp focus from front to back.

  2. Use a tripod. Because the camera is set to “Mountain” the shutter tends to be open a little longer; holding by hand may show up in your picture as looking blurry or out of focus.

  3. Use a polarizer filter. If you don’t have a polarizer filter use a pair of non-prescription polarized sunglasses. Place one of the lenses in front of the camera lens and rotate them to “pop” the clouds and give the fall colors a full richness.

  • No tripod? That’s OK, set your camera on a rock, a fence post, or [as I carry around for times like this] a beanbag.

  • Learn how to set your camera to wait a couple of seconds [delay] before it takes the picture so that you don’t get jiggle in your picture from your finger pushing down the shutter button.

Here are a few places to go in the western end of the finger lakes region to get those fabulous fall foliage pictures.

  • Letchworth State Park. Sunrise and sunset images of the gorge with mist from the river and the vibrant color of the foliage are some of the iconic images of the park.

  • Stony Brook State Park. Hiking the gorge and waterfall after waterfall framed with autumn colors, make this park a top destination for autumn.

  • Harriet Hollister Spencer Recreation Area [6775 Canadice Hill Rd, Springwater, NY 14560]. This 1,550-acre state recreation area with a breathtaking view of Honeoye Lake and the Rochester skyline in the distance.

  • Bristol Mountain Fall Festival: View the fall foliage, participate in game competitions, sample craft booths, unique foods, and more. Be sure to take the chair lift, or hike, up the mountain for a great view of the fall colors. Bristol Mountain's Fall Festival takes place the second Sunday in October near Canandaigua at the base of Bristol Mountain Winter Resort.

  • Grimes Creek at Grimes Glen: Don’t forget to bring your rain boots for a mile-long walk in Grimes Creek at Grimes Glen, a small park in Naples that features three waterfalls

  • High Tor State Wildlife Management Area: For the more adventurous, head to the High Tor State Wildlife Management Area, which includes 6,800 acres of state land

  • Ontario County Park at Gannett Hill: A portion of the Finger Lakes Trail runs through this park. Not to be missed is one of the highest points in Ontario County located in the scenic Bristol Hills. At an elevation of 2,256 feet above sea level, you'll enjoy expansive views to the East; view portions of Ontario County and the hills behind Seneca and Cayuga Lakes. The must see spot in the park includes a spectacular panorama, changing with every season. The locals call this vantage point "The Jump-Off"

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