Searching Autumn

Pixley Falls State Park

Saturday morning was a beautiful start to the weekend. I hurried through my normal weekend chores and by the time the clouds cleared I was ready to search for autumn colors. I decided against any down state excursions as I think I have another week before the colors will be near peak. I headed north out of Rome with Pixley Falls in my sights.

The drive to the park was only slightly encouraging. There appeared to be more bare trees than colorful leaves. I was fairly confident I hadn’t missed peak time but I was definitely thinking I messed up my planning. I drove on hoping I would be able to find a few interesting images even if they would be leaves in the streams.

I was happy to see the water in the river at an optimal level. I wanted a waterfall that would show definition in a long exposure but not so much water as to be a blur of white. Also, the river down stream of the falls was walkable. I could get out into the middle and capture a few different views. OK, my mood was improving.

Fall Down
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 0.3s, 12mm, f/11, ISO 100

I liked the angle for my first image. I rarely get a chance to view the falls from the left. I only wished I had a little more autumn color in to show off. It was time to explore additional possibilities.

There was a section of the river that was full of fallen leaves and large, calm pools of water. Reflection time! I was so excited I almost tripped on a rock as I worked my way to my vantage point. Slow down, the waterfall isn’t going anywhere. I kept thinking I needed to hurry because at any moment additional visitors to the park could find their way down to the falls and wander into my scene. I found the view I wanted! Whew! No people…

Follow Me Down
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 0.5s, 17mm, f/11, ISO 100

There must be more views. I worked my way further down stream hoping to find colorful leaves I could worked into the foreground. A spot from the trail about a dozen feet above the river was promising but after capturing a few images I realized the best view was below me. I walked back toward the falls, and then worked my way into the riverbed. Luckily it was any easy trek to the spot I wanted. I set up again for a good reflection using a few branches to frame the scene. Damn I love reflections in the water…

Leaves Fall
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 0.6s, 16mm, f/11, ISO 100

OK. Back to the waterfall. I think there is one more image I want. Pixley Falls looks good in profile. The sun would be behind me lighting the entire scene. I can work in more of the trees and maybe get some of that autumn color I wanted. I’ve captured this view a lot over the years. I never get tired of it.

Pixley Autumn
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 0.4s, 12mm, f/11, ISO 100

Only a Peek

Chittenango Falls State Park

On my way back home from Delphi Falls I couldn’t resist stopping at Chittenango Falls. It was late morning, the sun was high and the park was going to have quite a few other explorers. I still stopped.

The sun was not ideal. The gorge is still in shadow but the sky and top of the waterfall are in full sunlight. A few clouds would have helped me out but there was nothing but blue sky. About halfway down the trail to the bottom of the gorge you can spot the waterfall through the trees. I generally grab an image from this vantage point. Depending on the volume of flow in the falls you can get great definition of the water as it cascades down. Yep! This one is good.

At the bottom of the gorge I captured a few different views but those images will need some attention. I ended up having to bracket the exposures to capture the range of light. One or two are going to be keepers. It wasn’t a long visit at the park as my other go to locations for images along the creek were in full sunlight. Nothing but bright highlights! I would be back, especially when the leaves change. No reason to get frustrated trying to deal with the sun.

Oh, right, the peek at the falls I mentioned earlier.

Only a Peek
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 2s, 15mm, f/11, ISO 200

Delphi Falls

Delphi Falls County Park

Sunday was my adventure day. It didn’t turn out to be the adventure I thought it would be but it was still an adventure. My original intent was to hit the parks around Ithaca, NY but sometime Saturday night I saw an image from Delphi Falls County Park and it changed my entire day. I have never been to Delphi Falls and when I realized it was not very far from home a new adventure began.

My day started at Bellamy Harbor in Rome to capture the sunrise. There were not many clouds in the sky but I did get some great fog on the water of the canal. I would have explored more except I did not think the little, nasty mosquitos would be awake so early in the morning. Damn! I’ll have a few images from the sunrise in a later post. It still was a great way to get the day started.

Later in the morning I headed out to Delphi Falls. I had a good idea how to get there but I let the GPS plot its route which took me on a few roads I have never been on before. It was a lazy Sunday morning with warm sunshine streaming in through the car windows, I was in no hurry so I enjoyed the exploration provided by the GPS. You can see a name on a map but when you arrive at the “town” of Delphi Falls and realize it is a small collection of houses along a small country road you start to wonder if this drive was going to be worth it.

It was! The park was very small but the path from the parking area brings you right to the base of the lower falls. This one is sixty feet high with nice cascading flow. I was lucky to get the perfect amount of water in the stream. It allowed me to smooth the water enough for a great effect. The upper falls, which is fifty-four feet high did not appear to be accessible via and path I could find. Of course, I didn’t think to bring my drone! What happened? Well, I now know where I’ll be coming back to when the leaves change! And I’ll be bringing the drone…

Seeing how Delphi Falls is south of Cazenovia I was not going to miss the chance to stop at Chittenango Falls State Park on my way back home. It would only be around 11am so I wasn’t exactly positive I would get many good views with the sun being so high in the sky without any clouds. I sopped anyway. You would too, right?

The sun was definitely an issue. The polarizer was almost useless and I needed to shade the front of the lens with my hat. I managed a few images of the namesake falls but my other go to points in the park were in direct sunlight and the glare was overpowering. I cut the visit short knowing I will be back soon for the autumn colors.

I did have a great experience, for me anyway, and a little out of the norm. There was a large family down in the gorge when I arrived. One gentleman had a Fujifilm camera and tripod so we ended up trading viewing spots as we both worked the scene. We chatted a little bit and he joked about following me using my spots. As I was starting to leave the area another of the gentlemen asked me about the glare he was getting with his iPhone. I explained how the sun was causing it as it hit the lens on his phone. I had him compose his view and then I shaded the phone with my hat. He was so excited at how the image turned out and thanked me for the tip. I will admit to walking a little taller on my way up from the gorge.

I ended my adventure day back at Bellamy Harbor. My plan was to capture the full moon rising. If my calculations were correct I would be able to get an image of it rising over the Mill St. bridge. My only concern was the timing. The sun was setting about fifteen minutes before the moon would rise and then I would still need to wait for it to clear the top of the bridge. The sky ended up getting too dark and the moon too bright to achieve the image I wanted. I did end up with a few images of the water tower with the moon. I’m still trying to work out the processing of those images.

Well, time for me to go to Delta Lake for the moonset. I’m hoping I have better luck this morning. Oh yeah, here is Delphi Falls…

Delphi Falls
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1/15s, 16mm, f/11, ISO 100

Follow it Down

Buttermilk Falls State Park

Follow it Down
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1.3s, 18mm, f/11, ISO 200

Listen to the Falls

Buttermilk Falls State Park

Can you hear it? The falling water. I love this park, especially in the early morning. No other hikers on the trail. My and the sounds of the gorge. I could stay here all day. Go ahead, listen, do you hear it… ?

Listen to the Falls
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1.3s, 16mm, f/11, ISO 200

Ithaca Gorges

Buttermilk Falls State Park
Cascadilla Gorge
Ithaca Falls

The weekend redeemed itself on Monday. I wasn’t so sure during the first couple of days if I would be traveling to find a few landscape images. I trusted the forecast for Monday and it was worthy. I enjoyed a beautiful morning in Ithaca exploring a few of its gorges…

My first stop was Buttermilk Falls State Park to walk the gorge trail upstream of the namesake waterfall. I arrived prior to the sun rising very high in the sky which allowed me to grab all my favorite views without having to worry about “hot spots” caused by the sun. This first image is very early along the trail. You can see the sun starting to illuminate the trees in the background.

Morning Light
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 0.8s, 14mm, f/11, ISO 200

My next stop was the Cascadilla Gorge. I haven’t walked the trail along the gorge in quite a few years. I should have known I was going to run into a roadblock when I spied repairs right at the start of the trail. The city had blocked off the trail for additional repairs further in so I was only able to explore about half of the gorge. I did manage a few interesting images aided by the sunlight reaching down into the gorge. I really liked how the leaves glowed in contrast to the darkness of the gorge walls.

End of the Line
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1/13s, 34mm, f/11, ISO 100

My last stop in Ithaca before heading home was to see Ithaca Falls. It is a tough waterfall to photograph in the morning as it will be in shadow with the sun behind it. Based on the water flowing in the other creeks I was hoping to see the falls complete. I was not disappointed. I chose to leave the extra ND filter off and allow a faster shutter speed to highlight the power of the water falling down. Can you hear the roar?

Ithaca Falls
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1/50s, 34mm, f/11, ISO 100

On my way back home I stopped at Tinker Falls near Tully. I was hoping I would find similar water flowing in the creek. I was wrong. There was barely a trickle. I managed a few images but the amount of people walking the trails was disproportional to the more famous trails in Ithaca. I decided I’ll try again after we have had more rain.