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

Kite Encounter

catching the wind

Awhile after encountering the hydrofoil the same north wind powered a large, eight foot wingspan kite high overhead. Cheri Down Park, my meeting point for lunch with Pam, was in sight as I took a detour to talk with the kite flier.

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Seated in a comfortable beach chair, he turned a one foot diameter reel pulling the kite in. Kite flying was a relaxation for this permanent resident. As the kite descended overhead I caught this short video. In retrospect the beauty is ominous, a metaphor for the approaching novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

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Copyright 2020 All Right Reserved Michael Stephen Wills Photograph

Handheld Sailboard

catching the wind

A week after Rough Surf pounded Cocoa Beach a north wind was up, I set out on a long beach walk. Our plan was to meet at Cheri Down Park, Pam driving up with lunch.

After I emerged from under the Cocoa Beach pier, I spotted this sailboarder. At first it was the handheld sail that caught my attention, enough to capture this video. Watching the recording, I see his board is equipped with a hydrofoil. He is about a foot above the water.

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This rider has nothing on the Man O’War, of the post header image. Click this link to visit “Man O’War Beach Walk” on my blog.

Copyright 2020 All Right Reserved Michael Stephen Wills Photograph

Bright Surf, High Tide

Invasion

Morning walks through January 2020 were solitary events, more so on stormy morning such as this, January 23rd. Even the dog walkers stayed home. The surf surged to the dunes. Click me for my posting, “Rough Surf.”

Today’s photographs are a sequence of the surf’s high point. Click me for yesterday’s post including a video.

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The sun broke through between clouds to rake with light the beach scurf and wind scud. In the distance, a steady west gale blows surf onto itself as a white curtain.

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Copyright 2020 All Right Reserved Michael Stephen Wills Photography

Dawn Rough Surf High Tide

beyond belief

At dawn I walked on the beach from North 1st street to South 8th Street Cocoa Beach. Tide was at peak of high, the surf still high from gale winds. Click me for yesterday’s posting, “Rough Surf.”

In the first video, set the effect of a strong west wind pushing surf spray back onto itself, the ocean brightly lit across dunes. I was standing on a boardwalk access from South 8th Street.

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South 8th Street is my turnaround, walking back the squall clouds broke, releasing sunlight for this video.

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Squalls returned, forcing me to hide the DSLR (digital single-lens reflex camera) under my waterproof shell. Then, the squall broken once again, releasing sunlight for this double rainbow.

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Click this link to visit “Man O War Beach Walk” on my blog.

Copyright 2020 All Right Reserved Michael Stephen Wills Photography

Rough Surf

beyond belief

Waves built from onshore wind, fast, steady overnight, through the day from early morning until sunset. Pam and I adapted with a revisit to the Sands Space History Museum, Cape Canaveral just outside the Air Force Station. Click this link for a previous posting, “Cape Canaveral Lighthouse,” first of a series. This post header is a vintage gumball machine from the lobby.

By sunset the waves were roaring. Viewing from the safe distance of our condo porch we spied two surfers incredibly among the waves, taking rides. Waiting and attempting a ride. You can see for yourselves the two tiny dots of humanity, appearing and hidden among the waves. I spot them first and Pam does not believe me, I do not blame her. It is beyond my comprehension people are out there. I cannot recommend the quality of the video from my IPhone, our comments are humorous.

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It is difficult, Pam is astounded when they come into view.

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He rises briefly only to wipe out in this brief video.

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One surfer emerges as his partner persists.

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Click this link to visit “Cocoa Beach Kite Skating” on my blog.

Copyright 2020 All Right Reserved Michael Stephen Wills Photography

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.

Here is a slide show from today and two prior postings. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

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