I like to think I have an appreciation for all types of artwork, but my favorite has to be photography. This is one of the reasons I am a fan of Dakota Ridge, a fine art photography gallery located in the northern Lehigh Valley locale of Jim Thorpe.

Dakota Ridge is run by photographer Dan Hugos, a friendly man who you'll meet when you first set foot in 9 West Broadway Street, located right across the street from the Mauch Chunk Opera House. He'll gladly let you peruse the various gallery rooms in which the works displayed without a word - the whole purpose behind Dakota Ridge is to provide a location where people can appreciate the art of photography which isn't easy to do if you have someone talking you ear off. But after you've looked, if you want to talk about photography or the picturesque town of Jim Thorpe, he'll be glad to chew the fat for a while.

Last time I visited Dakota Ridge, I was particularly drawn to the work of Matt Dallos, whose featured works in the gallery focused on Pennsylvania forest-scapes. I find that nature shots, particularly of water, are incredibly soothing to me - Slipstream quickly became one of my favorite photos in the entire gallery. Then I saw the quiet majesty Matt captured in his photo of Mount Nittany shrouded in fog (and for which my beloved Penn State Nittany Lions were named for). If only I had the wall space ...

Before I left Dakota Ridge for the day, I noticed some very intriguing photos filled with sparks and fire. They were photos taken of the late, great Bethlehem Steel plant while it was still in operation. The Bethlehem-based photographer, Peter Treiber, even put out a book (which Don did have at the gallery) of these iconic images.

Don's Web site for Dakota Ridge is being updated as I write this, but the basic info like hours still holds true.

Do you have a favorite Lehigh Valley art gallery?