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

A Bit More About Coolranny Townland

A shining Star

Saint Mary’s “Star of the Sea” Church. Culraney, Cushendun, Co Antrim, BT44 0PU. Diocese of Down and Connor.

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Part of Cushendun Parish, this church on Torr Road served the people of Loughan Cottages.

See this post for a description of wildflowers flowering here in the month of June.

The rest of the Coolranny information placard. I used the information about wildlife on a previous post.

I have yet to correct the horizon of this view.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

A Bit About Coolranny Townland

Neat and tidy

2014, the count of townlands on and around the island of Ireland was 61,098 with most of Irish Gaelic origin predating the Norman invasion, first recorded in 12 century church records. The names have a pride of place reflected in the beauty of the namestones along Torr Road.

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As you saw last post, the 82 acres of Coolranny forms a slice of land running from a ridge to Loughan Bay off the North Channel of the Irish Sea across from Scotland.

See this post for a description of wildflowers flowering here in the month of June.

A spic and span cottage on Torr Road, maybe the rectory for the Saint Mary’s Star of the Sea church.

I took three shots an information placard. Here’s the first.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

On Torr Road

Facing Views

Land and sea between Torcorr Townland and Torr Head was the theme of yesterday’s post, continued today.

A grand view presents itself throughout the roll down Torcorr into Coolranny townland. Loughan is a shallow bay along the North Channel of the Irish Sea, a rocky sand beach is accessible via a slope more shallow than the cliffs on either side. This access is a reason for the tiny rural community on the slope above, now a site of ruined cottages, abandoned during the emigration from Ireland, a flight continuing into the Twentieth Century.

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See this post for a description of wildflowers flowering here in the month of June.

This photograph from the bottom of the Torr Road hill takes in Coolranny Townland. a slice of land running from the ridge to Loughan Bay. We see a number of hawthorne trees in flower, yellow flowering Whin Bush, houses and the Roman Catholic church Saint Mary’s Star of the Sea.

The photograph of the header, taken by Pam, is from either Coolranny or Loughan Townland, looking across a sheep pasture, the North Channel of the Irish Sea toward the Mull of Kintyre, Scotland just twelve miles distant.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills