Summer Cascade

Buttermilk Falls State Park

The last stop on my Ithaca tour was going to be Cascadilla Gorge. This is typically a difficult location for me to get to. If the parking isn’t difficult, there is always a chance put the wrong location into the GPS and end up in the middle of Cornell University. Being so close to the start of the semester, if it hadn’t already started, I didn’t want to chance trying to drive through the university. I got the right directions to the start of the gorge trail but parking is a challenge. After trying to find a spot to park, I gave up and headed to Buttermilk Falls. It is my favorite location.

Going later in the morning to Buttermilk Falls was an exercise in patience, which I don’t always have. The gorge trail was more crowded than I typically want to see, especially with me trying for five to ten second exposures. Don’t get me wrong, most people are great and I don’t have any issues, but Friday seemed to be a gathering of the opposite kind. As I entered the gorge trail and came upon my first location I found a couple swimming, I assume they were swimming, he did seem to be taking a lot of pictures of her… OK, will get that spot on the way back out.

The next obstacle was the two couples who were right behind me. They had a knack for hovering in locations and apparently were oblivious to my tripod and camera. In general, most people see me setup and pause on the trail. I wave them through or pick up and let them enjoy the scene, but these couples didn’t not have that willingness to share the trails. I kept walking ahead as fast as I could before I lost any sense of patience. To be honest, it put a huge damper on my visit to the park. Eventually I started back on the trail and once we passed I felt the weight of frustration lift allowing me to enjoy my remaining time in the gorge.

As with Taughannock creek, Buttermilk creek was a rich chocolate color when the water was deep and collecting in pools. I decided to process this one as a monochrome image to remove the distracting color of the water. The rains definitely provided the creek with plenty of water and this cascade section of the gorge had exactly the look I hope for in my waterfall images.


MLCreations Photography: Buttermilk Falls &emdash; Summer Cascade

Summer Cascade
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 5s, 24mm, f/11, ISO 100


Wells Falls, Ithaca, NY

The second stop on my Friday excursion in Ithaca was Wells Falls, or Businessman’s Lunch Falls, depending on which website you find. When I was in Ithaca in June the parking area at Mulholland Wildflower Preserve was full, returning during a normal workday almost guaranteed I would find a spot. A quick walk across the bridge spanning Six Mile Creek brings you to a fairly easy trail down into the gorge. Although there was plenty of water for the waterfall, the volume was not so great as to prevent me from getting into the middle of the creek for a direct view of the falls.

The abandoned building on the left of the waterfall is the Van Natta’s Pumping station. The pumping station was built on the site of the Van Natta & Jones mill by the Ithaca Light & Water Company in 1893 to provide water to the developing city. The building was abandoned in the 1940’s but it does provide a unique backdrop for the waterfall.

Although the day was quite overcast, the gorge itself has a lot of dark areas and I had to utilize four exposures to capture this scene. Blending the exposures with Skylum’s Aurora HDR is trivial and produced a perfect starting point for post-processing. It is important when working with HDR images to remember to keep the shadows. Your goal should not be to create an image without tonal range, it is to enhance the range, as a flat image is not interesting. After creating the combined image I applied my normal workflow to produce the image below…


MLCreations Photography: Landscapes &emdash; Remnant

Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, {10, 3.2, 0.8 & 1/3s bracket}, 14mm, f/11, ISO 100

Mighty Taughannock

Taughannock Falls State Park

I had a me day on Friday. Well, I suppose they are all me days, maybe it would be better to say I didn’t go to work on Friday. When I scheduled the day off earlier in the week I didn’t have any grand plan, I only knew I wanted to have an extra day for the weekend. By the time Thursday rolled around and friends at work asked if I was doing anything special, I was giving my standard answer; “Going out and finding some pictures.”

The forecast for Friday was overcast or mostly cloudy which could only make it a waterfall day! With the recent rains I figured the creeks would be running high and provide plenty of water for my images. The last time I went to Ithaca I didn’t go to a few of my favorite locations. Friday was the day to correct that. I started at Taughannock Falls State Park.

The rain definitely filled the creek with water, although it was a rich chocolate color, the volume was exactly what I was hoping for to give me the images I like to capture. The clouds in the sky did not obscure the sun totally, acting more like a softbox for a flash. Generally, when I’m walking the gorge trail I have to work at controlling the hot spots created by the sun. Yesterday, my only concern was getting the composition I wanted. The first image from my exploration is the featured waterfall itself… the Mighty Taughannock!


MLCreations Photography: Taughannock Falls &emdash; Mighty Taughannock Falls

Mighty Taughannock Falls
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 9s, 24mm, f/11, ISO 100

Moon Over

Delta Lake

I was at Delta Lake to capture the sunset. It was the moment the sun slipped below the horizon and typically signaled the end of the sunset experience. Most photographers know that the next thirty minutes can generally yield fantastic images as well as sky transitions into the blue hour. I was at the water’s edge waiting to see how the light from the disappearing sun would change the few clouds still scattered through the western sky when I turned to my left and saw the moon rising over the Delta Lake dam. The clouds in the East were still aglow for the sun with the moon sitting high and alone in the sky. Well, you don’t pass up a view like that…


MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; Moon Over

Moon Over
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1/13s, 22mm, f/11, ISO 100