Picture Perfect: Photographers Share Century-Long Love Affair with Presque Isle
It's impossible to know how many pictures of Presque Isle State Park have been taken over the years, but it's safe bet to call it one of the most photographed spots in the region.
"What is there not to photograph?" said Brian Berchtold, of Erie. "Landscapes, wildlife, events going on; it's just innumerable."
For Berchtold and countless other shutterbugs, Presque Isle's the perfect place to find all sorts of picture taking opportunities.
The veteran photographer and unofficial park ambassador spends most of his days taking snapshots of the park's wildlife - from the occasional owls' nest to some mischievous minks.
"There was a mink den under the pier," said Berchtold. "They would periodically come out on the North Pier, run up and down, grabbing fish from the fishermen."
"It goes on and on, from a half-hour before the sun comes up, until 9 at night when they shut the park down," said Berchtold.
For John Scott, snapping shots of Presque Isle's been a high-flying, family affair. He and his dad - the late Craig "Bus" Scott - snapped thousands of aerial pics of the park over the past 80 years or so.
"He started out with these old surplus Army Navy cameras," said Scott. "And he'd take people up for rides, and when he was up there, he got some pictures."
He did it all with a bit of daredevil flare.
"He hand held these cameras, take the door off the plane and lay down to get a shot," said Scott. "He almost fell out one time. They grabbed him by the sea of his pants."
Whether it's the gorgeous views from above or all the beautiful backdrops a ground level, it's safe to say Presque Isle's ready for her close up.
Paul Gibbens spends a lot of his time documenting the ever-changing park through time-lapse photography with stunning results.
"Time lapse is special to me because a lot of people don't realize how things change on the park and how quickly they can change," said Gibbens.
"I like to show the park in a light most people don't see," said Gibbens. "A lot of people come down and say, 'Oh, there's a boat,' or 'There's a kayak.' I try to find an angle that no one else has ever shot before."
Much of photographer Rob Frank's focus is on all the couples and families that want Presque Isle as their backdrop.
He said the variety of options is what makes it such a special picture place.
"There's so many different things you can do on Presque Isle - between sunsets, midday, up on the beachhead, the path, the woods," said Frank. "It's very versatile. And when it comes to engagements, weddings, families, there's a lot of opportunity in one small space."
Whether it's people, nature or a bit of both, these park picture takers say it's really all about spreading the love of this very special place.
"I love sharing the park," said Berchtold. "If it's through my photography, that's a great way to go about doing it."
Watch Erie News Now's "Presque Isle Centennial Celebration" special Friday, May 28 at 7 p.m. only on WICU.