Native

Red Pine on the level

Red Pine is a tree native to North America, yet it is called “Norway Pine” in Minnesota. Famously settled by Norsemen, the misnomer may originate with a sense of homesickness in these first settlers. The tall and straight trunks grace the trails of Treman Park, one trail is eponymous.

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I break away from household chores on a week day for exercise, arriving am impressed by the COVID-19 mitigation.

The new one-way trail rules, posted on the Rim Trail sign, means my planned route must change. Today’s COVID-19 strategy is to use the Red Pine trail, a very steep climb, a pine woods ramble, ending with descent to the Gorge Trail suitable for a mountain goat. The rules mean I cannot turn right on the Gorge Trail to form a loop. Instead commitment to the Gorge Trails means a 4 mile loop to the bottom of the park, returning on the Rim Trail. I decide to climb to the top and return.

I take an interesting detour on the way, visiting an archaeological site, fields of strongly scented wild roses, lush ferns.

All these photographs and video are from an IPhone 7, sent to my laptop via ICloud.

I cross a nameless stream to the trail head, follow this stream uphill to where it cuts into the slope where the trail turns sharply and climbs into the pines.

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Here is the experience from the ridge top. The sound of water is Enfield Creek rushing along the cliff face.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Late May, South Rim Trail

Dangerous Practices

Today, I have a companion post to “A Summer Flower and Waterfalls” from a time of Coronavirus (COVID-19) from a walk cut short by inconsiderate people not following New York laws.

All photographs and videos are from an Apple IPhone 7.

Here is a long and close shot of Columbine Flowers thriving on the edge of a gorge cliff.

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With a video of the movement of this wildflower against a backdrop of flowing water over a 100 feet below.

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A scan of the upper gorge with some marvelous clouds.

Continuing onto the forest trail I spotted this Jack-In-The-Pulpit. Here is a photograph and short video.

My walk this day was cut short by joggers, unmasked, on the narrow trail. For each I stepped off to put 6 feet between us. So inconsiderate and unnecessary, selfish.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Spring Outing III

Red Pine on the level

One hundred and fifty feet in a series of steep climbs is the effort expended to reach the relatively level portion of South Rim Trail where the tall Red Pines briefly reign. Here the trees thrive on the northeast facing slope. They grow in this way in one other location, in the upper park, on an eponymous trail.

Encounters with groups of people descending always demanded I step off the trail to allow social distancing. Everyone work a flimsy face covering, although Governor Coumo’s order covers situations where social distancing is not possible. As of you, we do not have the loose masks; but only the N95 or a full respirator (both acquired very early on, our respirators were purchased for spreading lawn chemicals and spray painting).

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Red Pine (Pinus resinosa), also know as Norway Pine, shed pollen prolifically. Some Aprils my boots are covered with it, a dusting of yellow. Not today.

A species easy to spot among the green, an example of a shrub of the genus Gaultheria, though a very small specimen. The common name is wintergreen and I have never found larger specimens in Treman park. It is growing among the mosses on the wall of Enfield Glen South Rim.

The tough wintergreen leaves endue the cold seasons, the name is synonymous with evergreen.

Both shots are handheld, the macro is from a 100 mm “macro” fixed focus lens. ISO 2500, the f-stop to be wide open at 2.8 to gather the sparse light and present the subjects, blurring the immediate background. The overview shot is also a high ISO, 2000, the f-stop 5.8 on a variable focus lens set to 60 mm.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Spring Outing II

Lower Waterfall

This series of posts opens with the ascent to where the wildflowers grow.

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After just a taste of the climb to come, hikers are treated to an view of the Lower Falls of Enfield Creek. I call them the Wedding Cake. Summertime, a dam is erected, the water is deep enough to dive into the very cold creek water, lower than 70 degrees.

The trail is on a beetling crag.

Looking up Enfield Glen above the falls. Up to the trail, keeping distance was no problem. It is nowhere near as crowded as the trail to Taughannock Falls in February.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Spring Outing I

Socially Distanced

Parks are open during Govenor Cuomo’s “New York State on PAUSE.” Still, as a member of the at risk group I was reluctant to visit, unsure of how crowded it will be. On a Monday afternoon, bright with sun, I drove over to Robert H. Treman lower park to check out the situation.

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I carried the Sony in hand and packed in a Canon with macro lens and a Manfrotto travel tripod.

The path to a trail that climbs up the south side of Enfield Glen crosses Enfield Creek via a bridge, wends through cabins……

…..then heads up stairs that can seem to be forever. The green sign with white letters is new. This the South Rim Trail avoids the cliffs that make the Gorge trail so dangerous November through May.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

A Little Water Fall…

…and Gorge Cliffs

Purling of the water beneath this foot high waterfall was enhanced by reducing ISO to 100, tamping down the aperture to f/22 resulting in an shutter speed of 1/10th second. I set the graduated Neutral Density filter to shade the left side.

On the cliffs ahead is where the observation platform is cut into the rock. It has a great view of the waterfall, in some ways the experience of the falls is enhanced, compared to hiking the 3/4 mile path and standing below.

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A marvelous forest grows on talus from the high gorge walls.

A sign on a disused pier warns waders to leave the creek bed. Ahead the gorge walls tower above the creek. Rocks dislodge and crash down unexpectedly, crushing foolish waders. It is appalling to see, in warmer months, people walking below those cliffs gathering the fallen rocks to make delicately balanced cairns.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Big Bend

A tripod and Neutral Density filter

Wednesday, this week, I posted “Winter People Watching” featuring the Sony F828 and candid street photography. Today, is a continuation of a followup, started yesterday, with “End of the Gorge Trail.”

What I love about this place, a unique feature, is the size and different vantage points making it possible to view the same place from different angles. November 2019, readers were shown “The Bend,” a place with Taughannock gorge makes a 90 degree turn, changing from a southeastern to an eastern flow. Here are photographs from spot overlooked by that post.

Here the camera faces away from the sun, the graduated neutral density filter allowing me to capture the cloudless blue sky, a little milky the way it is here February with a hint of spring.

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This little one is studying the information placard with rapt attention, learning how the African continent, pushing against North America, across the eaons, formed the right angle fractures mirrored by this dramatic change in Taughannock Gorge. For the Big Bend photographs I was standing behind them, along the stream bed.

Here is a broader slice of that sky.

Can you see the tiny figures of hikers, dwarfed by the frozen cliff?

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

End of the Gorge Trail

A tripod and Neutral Density filter

Yesterday I posted “Winter People Watching” featuring the Sony F828 and candid street photography. With the Sony F828 in hand, I carried on my shoulder a new camera bag with a new Canon EOS 5D Mark IV dslr camera, mounted with a Canon 24mm f/1.4L II USM lens with a graduated 0.6 Neutral Density filter. On my other shoulder was a Manfrotto BeFree GT carbon fiber tripod.

Saturday, February 22nd was a first outing with the new equipment. I was still learning the camera and, in my inexperience, did not shoot in “raw” format and the jpeg sizing was not the largest. The conditions are never very good within the gorge, either the sun is below the rim and light sparse, or the gradient between the lit and shaded gorge too great, or the sun is almost overhead.

The graduated neutral density filter solves some of this problem for Taughannock Falls, 215 feet high, the highest single drop east of the rockies. The view faces south, in the northern hemispheres, wintertime, this means shooting into the sun. For our late afternoon walk the sun disk was below the west cliff rim, still there is a large gradient between the sky and shaded falls / gorge.

The falls await hikers at the end of the Gorge Trail. I am standing on a bridge over the creek. To the right is a path to an observation platform. At f/22 fstop atop the tripod and low light, this is a longish exposure.

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Standing on the platform, visitors are washed over by the fine mist carried by a wind pushed by the falling water. The mist clings to the gorge walls and freezes. Today, on the bridge, we were dry. I pointed the lens at Taughannock Creek flowing beneath this bring for this second, longish, exposure. The graduated ND filter was not optimal for this shot. It is a circular filter (can be turned 360 degrees), using this I positioned the shading to the left. Of course, for the waterfall, the shading in over the upper, sky, portion.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Winter People Watching

Happy April Fools’ Day

On Saturday afternoon, February 22nd, Pam and I set out for Taughannock Falls State park, 15 minutes away. I had in hand a “prosumer” digital camera, the Sony F828 featuring an integrated zoom lens, from 28 to 200 mm and 8 mpg “raw,” tiff and jpeg images.

I’ve done some great work with this camera. For example the 2003 Homecoming Parade and the award winning Summer Dream: Buttermilk Falls. The swivel is a feature of the Sony F828 that fascinates people, it is possible to change the angle of the body and lens, at one extension the view panel can be seen from above.

Using this feature, I obtained the following series of 28 photographs. Most are candid shots of the hundreds of people who passed us this day as Pam and I walked the 3/4 mile Gorge Trail to the fall’s vantage platform.

Taughannock Gorge is wide enough to be opened throughout the winter. The trails of other public park gorges (Treman, Buttermilk, Fillmore) are close to cliffs, shut down November to reopen late spring, the following year, after the trails are surveyed for dangerous rock overhangs.

With the developing situation with Covid-19 Pam was anxious over the number of people on the trail. There was a steady stream of people, some in large groups, coming and going. We were able to maintain some distance, until I stopped and a group of Ithaca college students walked into us. We are NOT going back to this trail anytime soon. I might walk the Rim trails where 5 or 6 people might pass you on a busy day.

The large groups of young people are for the most part students from Cornell University and Ithaca College. Both colleges are now closed through April, to enforce social distancing to suppress spread of COVID-10. For many of these students, they did not realize it at the time, this was their last outing before campus closure. The seniors will never return. We miss the students.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

April Freeze Slideshow

from the moss

Here is a recapitulation of my latest posts in the form of a slideshow.

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Robert H. Treman New York State Park.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills