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.

Morning Escape

Pixley Falls State Park

I probably should not call it an escape since it did occur on the weekend but after my Friday afternoon escape it felt right. I did escape the dull routine of the weekend which is always a good thing. It definitely was a good Saturday morning.

Pixley Falls State Park is only a few minutes north of Rome. The challenge is arriving at the appropriate time to capture an image. The waterfall faces south which places it always in direct sunlight and the high hills will cast shadows the closer you arrive to sunrise or sunset. The other issue with this park is the ability of other visitors to get close to the falls and leave the photographer without a uninterrupted view.

Luckily for me, the temperature was still on the chilly side and sun was high enough for the shadows to be clear of the falls. I ran around the park for forty minutes grabbing my images and was on my why out when the people started to arrive. When I am close to the falls, I like capturing this one in the portrait orientation. This allows me to include the rocks in the foreground which are dappled with sunlight coming through the trees. It was a good morning to escape the couch…

Morning Escape
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 0.4s, 12mm, f/16, ISO 100

Falling Down

Chittenango Falls State Park

Although the gorge trail was closed at the park, I wanted to capture the intensity of the waterfall which precipitated the reason for the closure. I worked my way over to the eastern side of the park in the hopes a view would present itself. I had to let go of my usual behavior when capturing images in order to capture as much of the waterfall as possible through the trees.

This isn’t the most water I have ever seen at this park but it is enough to feel the power of the water as it cascades down into the gorge. I still want to straighten this image out but I’m forcing myself to leave it alone. I better post this before I change my mind…

Falling Down
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 0.3s, 12mm, f/11, ISO 200

Pixley Spring

Pixley Falls State Park

I wasn’t in the work mode yesterday so I decided to take the day off. No plans, wasn’t “feeling it” I guess. The weather was not supposed to be all that great (it lived up to the expectations), but I thought there might be a chance for me to get out for a few pictures. I spent most of the morning curled up in my chair with a book.

In the afternoon Mother Nature kept teasing me with glimpses of the sun and at one point I swear I saw a patch of blue sky. Around 1:30pm it looked like the rain might hold off for a little while so I drove up to Pixley Falls State Park to explore. It is a twenty minute drive to the park and I was doubting my decision the whole way. I knew the main falls would have too much water for a good image but I was hoping the tributaries would offer up a few opportunities.


Spring Rush
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1/5s, 32mm, f/16, ISO 100


There was a lot of mist coming off the waterfall directly at my normal location for an image. I was able to get a look of the volume of water from a vantage point downstream. No clear view but this does convey the ferocity of the water during the spring runoff.

Luckily, the side tributaries did have what I was looking to capture. Normally, during the summer and autumn months there is barely more than a trickle. It was good to see some water working its way down the cascades. I need to continue exploring this park, especially as the winter landscape migrates toward spring…


Spring Run
Olympus E-M1 Mark III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 0.6s, 19mm, f/16, ISO 100