Autumn Evening Hike, turning home

through Devil’s Kitchen to Lucifer Falls

In this third part, we continue hiking Treman gorge, approaching Lucifer Falls, viewing another waterfall further downstream and returning to the trailhead.

 Tiny Trumpet, unknown

I have never achieved a satisfactory capture of the waterfall in the Devil’s Kitchen, a place where the creek flow is diverted south by a projecting ridge. Less than 100 feet later the easterly direction is regained where the water plummets over Lucifer Falls.

The annual in fall of rock in Devil’s Kitchen uproots and crushes plants growing there. There is scant soil, the roots of this shiny purple trumpet bloom took hold in a microscopic crack. The plant is so thin, the flower so tiny it is lucky my gaze found it.

Click link for my fine art print “After the Rain: Showy Lady Slippers.”

After searching all my plant identification references, this plan is unknown to me.  Please help with identification. The bloom is 1/4 inch long.

Not far away, these asters grow from a slightly wider crack.  Pam pointed them out to me. I was drawn by the striking color difference of the heads growing from a single stalk.

Click link for my fine art print “Purple Asters.”

As trail winds around the ridge a stone wall rises on the right and for good reason.  The stream shortly reaches the brink of Lucifer Falls, 115 feet high.  Gorge walls fall away, the trail steepens.  Here is the view from the trail next to the brink.

At hand, on the right, a growth of ferns has survived many seasons.  Flowering plants are, in geological time (across billions of years), a relatively recent development compared to these non-flowering ferns.  The first flowering plants appears 120 million years ago compared to the first ferns, 360 million years ago.  Oddly enough, the spread of flowering plants affected evolution of ferns, an increase of fern speciation in parallel to the rise of flower plants.

While descending the stairs next to the falls brink, look to the right to see this ecosystem, a result of water seeping from the sedimentary rock stratification.

Here you can see how, at lower flow levels, the inactive sections of the fall lip become a garden.  In our climate, the entire brink is active for rare and brief intervals during spring thaws.  Note how, closer to the active brink, the grasses give way to mosses.  Where grasses grow the brink is almost never active.

The trail wall is a lighter color than the cliff, this is how you can see, on the right, the steep trail descent.

Pam and I turned around here.  This is some work I did August 2014 of a notable fall downstream from Lucifer.  I used the 24 mm Canon lens here, cropping the image.  My goal was to include the stair, for interest, with sunlight on the upper stairs; the water in shade.

Click link for my fine art print “Woodland Falls.”

Myrtle borders the trail as it rises from the gorge entrance.

Tree trunks fallen from the gorge walls are left to decay, restoring the soil.  The trunks are covered by moss among a thick growth of myrtle and a few ferns.

To finish, here is an image that may broaden your understanding of sunflowers. These smaller, ornamental sunflowers are, at first, difficult to place. Look carefully at the center, composed of many tiny flowers (florets). In crop sunflowers each of these becomes a seed. In this image, shiny beetles are feasting.

The End of this Evening Hike in Treman Gorge

Click me for more postings of Autumnal Beauty

Copyright 2017 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Autumn Evening Hike Part 2 of 3

Water runs through it

 Portrait of Mill Falls

In part 2 of this series, we return to the starting point. Siting of a water mill requires immediate access to the potential energy of falling water, something called “head.” Upper Treman Park was once a prosperous hamlet with the mill as the kernel. Today, the head that drove the mill is a lovely cascade behind the substantial and intact mill building. Easy walking distance from parking, this is a well known park feature.

Here are three versions of a portrait of Mill Falls using different lenses for varying effects. All were taken in the same season and approximate time of day, being early evening.

Click link for “Mill Waterfall at low flow”, a fine art print from my gallery.

This is the uncropped image used in part 1 of this series. I found the secondary cascade a distraction. Exposure of the secondary is difficult to balance against the primary and more shaded primary.

Click link for “Mill Waterfall Primary Low Flow” fine art print.

Stone Span

Let’s return to where part 1 left off, the stone bridge across the eastern side of the gorge entrance gallery.

This segmental arch is an illusion, the beautiful stone work is the facing of the concrete structure that carries to load of the stone, itself and visitors.

Want more? Click the link for my Online Gallery

My composition emphasizes the mass of rock wall above the bench and into which it is placed.  The limestone slabs are from a different source, they are not built from the material removed from the cliff.

Seeds and Flowers

A dandelion on steroids.  If you can help with identification of this plant, please post a comment.

Click the link for my “Ad Astra” fine art print, in my gallery.

Click the link for my “Purple Asters” fine art print, in my gallery.

Look Back!!

Many first time visitors do not look back to appreciate these scene.  When we give advice, our recommendation is to return on the same gorge trail.  The different viewpoints make for a fresh experience.

Mr. Toad

Want more? Click the link for my Online Gallery

The are like people, sitting there.  Kenneth Graham’s genius, in writing “Wind in the Willows”, was to recognize the likable characteristics of the toad.  I find myself concerned about their survival, although they must survive.  Earlier in the season they are pea sized.  I resist an inclination to move them to what may be a more promising location, preferably with a stone house and chrome brilliant motor car.

Copyright 2017 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Autumn Evening Hike Part 1 of 3

It started with running water…..

Over the weekend the handle of our 60 year old Delta brand kitchen faucet broke off, since we moved here I rebuilt it once and replaced the stainless steel sphere, the central control of the mechanism.  The stem of the sphere must have been faulty because it snapped. Monday, I visited Lowes and the sphere was not in stock.  Just wanting to fix the faucet, I skipped the usual vetting of a new product and grabbed the exact same Delta faucet which was, just like the sphere that broke, made in China.  The next step up in (questionable) quality was three times the price.

Running Water

Yesterday I installed a new faucet in the kitchen sink, a straightforward and unpleasant task that took most of the day.  Late afternoon, while resting up, I brought up the idea of a hike and Pam reminded me we had another clear September day.  Last week, I headed out to capture the Mill Creek waterfall of upper Treman Park at the perfect time of day.  It was a day such as this, warm, a cloudless sky, minimal breeze.

Mill Falls
Pam reminded me this evening I was trying to capture the Mill Waterfall of Upper Treman Park at the perfect moment when the sunlight glazes the pools.

I need to get in place a bit earlier.  Previously, I used a 24 mm wide angle lens and, today, mounted the EF 70-300mm f/4 – 5.6L USM lens on the Canon EOS 1DS MarkIII.  Did not have time to sort through the ND filters, so left the UV on.  The waterfall is in a glen, shaded from direct light at this time of day, sun low in the west.  Given the low light, to save time, I decided to set ISO to a low value (125), set lens to the widest angle (70 mm), and frame the shot using the heavy Manfrotto tripod with ball head.

Needed to crop the image for the above result, still not perfect.  I am seeking to full the entire pool in that glow.

Want more? Click the link for my Online Gallery
Mo's Bench
Towards the end of her life, my Mom waited for us on this bench while we walked. She enjoyed the sound of the creek, watching and chatting with passerbys. There some out of focus goldenrod right foreground. I frames the shot to catch the flowers and crop out a tree trunk.

Hiking the Gorge Trail

Instead of putting the gear away, I carried that heavy setup on the hike.  The strap around the neck is a lot of stress if it hangs.  With the gear cradled in the crook of my arm it is bearable.

Foot Bridge
The creek is spanned at several points by these stone footbridges, the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps, as are all the gorge trails. This bridge was restored last year. It leads to a marvelous grove of Sycamores.

Needless to say, the pace was sedate.  Pam spent most of the time walking ahead and refusing to be in any shots.  These past weeks, rainfall was light, so the creek is low.  This low flow is a necessary element to a perfect waterfall image.

Golden Rod
A single stem of goldenrod, ther are hundreds of species of this relative of the aster.
Want more? Click the link for my Online Gallery

I get some great macro shots with that lens.  With just the UV filter, it is quite fast.

Ferns, Lichen, Gorge Wall
The gorge wall rises to the right of the path.
Foot of the Gorge Wall
Very little of the gorge walls do not support thick growth of mosses, lichen, ferns, flowering plants of all kinds. I don’t know offhand the name of the cnetral plant growing from the base of the wall.

In the Gallery

Creek Pool
Shaped by whirlpools during high flow, the curves recall flowing water.

A memorable feature of upper Treman Park is the dramatic gorge entrance.  When the glaciers melted, 10,000+ years ago, enough water flowed through this watercourse to wear away several hundred feed of sedimentary rock to form a gallery, or hall, with towering, crumbling, walls on either side.

This evening the light was low, the water seemed dead in that it was clear and did not glisten or ripple.  I used these conditions in the above shot to emphasize the structure this pool.  Located at the foot of a waterfall, at high water, the falls fill channel and this pool is carved by river stones carried in the current.  At lower water, the pool is exposed.

Eons of Layers
Millions of years in rock strata.
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Foot Bridge
Spanning the eastern side of the gallery entrance of the gorge.

The footbridge, above, is most often photographed from the western side of a long gallery formed by the gorge carved by the creek.  This is a shot that explores the fine stonework.

Continued……..

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Night Blooming Cereus VII

reaction to cold temperature

For the final post of this series on Cereus blooms, of the four buds two failed to fully open after the weather turned cold in late September/Early October. Here is the failed bloom from the same opening bud featured in the last Cereus posting.

Click me for another Cereus flower post.

References

Wikipedia, “Epiphyllum, “Epiphyllum oxypetalum,”epiphyte.”

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Lucifer Falls on an Autumn Evening

celebrate Halloween on Lucifer Falls

A reader’s comment to this blog, thank you “Urban Liaisons” prompted me to explore the word, Lucifer. “Lucifer”, in Christian tradition, refers to the devil as it was in a time of glory before the fall from grace. The original, ancient meaning of Lucifer is the planet Venus as it rises just before the sun at dawn.  In this sense, the name refers to the bright beauty of the spot.  The effect is heightened at midday when the hiker passes from the relative gloom of Devils Kitchen to the full light and sweep of the waterfall chasm.

Standing next to the falls on the Gorge Trail, the stone wall of the Rim Trail Overlook is overpowered by the grandeur of the 300+ foot cliff. The falls photographs were taken from behind the wall.

Occasionally, we have experienced individuals climbing over the wall to stand on the other side. “Why?”

Summertime thick stands of tiger lilies flourish on the cliff face. Can you find the withered leaves?

This session I finally “cracked” the puzzle of the Devil’s Kitchen Waterfall. I posted the results to the online gallery yesterday, for your enjoyment. Click the link to go there.

Click link for my fine art print “Devils Kitchen.”

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Night Blooming Cereus VI

soon to open

Here is a continuation of the previous Cereus posting, the ultimate macros of a bloom on the edge of opening.

Click me for another Cereus flower post.

References

Wikipedia, “Epiphyllum, “Epiphyllum oxypetalum,”epiphyte.”

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Night Blooming Cereus V

evening preparation

Almost bursting open, the third of four flower buds of our Night Blooming Cereus caught one October evening just before opening. The black background is repurposed anit-weed ground cover material.

Here is a series of flash photographs at varying apertures and angles. The white rods are emerging anthers, the pollen-containing tips of long stamens seen in my previous postings of the open flowers.

Click me for another Cereus flower post.

References

Wikipedia, “Epiphyllum, “Epiphyllum oxypetalum,”epiphyte.”

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Night Blooming Cereus III

Source of popular name?

In an earlier posts the popular name of this plant, “Night Blooming Cereus” was introduced as incorrect, still there must be some truth in the name, I believe it is found in the developing flower stalk and bud.

“Cereus” is from the Greek word for candle. Don’t these developing flower stalks, resemble a candle and the bud a flame?

Click image for a larger version.

Here’s the flower from an earlier bloom this season.

Click me for another flower post, “Another Woody Peony.”

References

Wikipedia, “Epiphyllum, “Epiphyllum oxypetalum,”epiphyte.”

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Night Blooming Cereus II

What is this plant?

Epiphyllum oxypetalum, the scientific name for this plant identifies the name “Night Blooming Cereus” as incorrect. The plant is of the genus Epiphyllum, identifying it as an epiphytic organism that grows on the surface of a plant and derives its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, water (in marine environments) or from debris accumulating around it.  

Nor is it in the tribe Cereeae, derived from the Greek and Latin word for “wax”, “torch” or candle. Plants of the Cereeae tribe, including those in the genus Cereus, are cactus with a columnar structure, are are terrestrial, not epiphytic, plants.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum, also know as Dutchman’s pipe cactus, princess of the night, queen of the night, is a species of cactus and one of the most cultivated species in its genus. E. oxypetalum rarely blooms and only at night, and its flowers are reported to wilt before dawn.

The species name oxypetalum is derived from the word, “oxy” meaning sharp, pointed, acute for the characteristic petal shape.

For the bloom photographed here, I can report it was in this condition 7 am, after sunrise, and did not wilt until after noon.

Click me for the next post of this series.

References

Wikipedia, “Epiphyllum, “Epiphyllum oxypetalum,”epiphyte.”

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Night Blooming Cereus I

Photomerge vs. high f-stop

It is possible to puzzled over my choice of an ungainly potted plant acquired over two years ago from the Eddydale farm stand. We popped in for tomatoes, sweet corn and watermelons after a hike along nearby Treman Park, I spotted the plant on display in the front. The cashier suggested we visit the greenhouse to view the parent, currently in bloom. Memory of the blossoms were short lived as we lived with this collection of malformed green lobes sprouting long stalks.

The plant occupied a pool-side water barrel summers, a bedroom corner winters. This year, 2020, flower buds formed late July, one on a lengthening stalk. “Dutchman’s pipe cactus” is a popular name, from the appearance of the flower on the end of a stalk turned up with a terminal curve.

Keeping a watch eye on progress, I noted a swelling on Wednesday, September 23rd morning, more pronounced by evening. First thing Thursday morning the flower was in full glory. I used a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with the Canon EF 70 – 300 mm lens. The variable focal length lens can be used for macros, offering more flexibility compared to the 100 mm macro lens.

For the first three photographs of this series I used the Photoshop feature Photomerge, combining 12 or so image files. For each file the camera was mounted on a Manfrotto BeFree carbon fiber tripod with a ball head. Focus was on manual and, using the screen of the Canon 5D I gradually changed the focus, crisp focus moving between planes. In theory, the Photomerge chooses the best focus for each image producing a perfect result.

As the session progressed the scene brightened and for these last two photographs I used aperture priority at the highest value (36) and autofocus.

Here is a comparison of a merged and high aperture photograph.

Click me for another flower post, “Another Woody Peony.”

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved