Fronds with Icicle

Fern Generations

Spent and green fern frond with moss and icicles formed during an early April frost.

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Fern generations are here with the spent fronds from earlier years, pale green survivors of this season.

These shots were hand held. I used a Sony Alpha 700 dslr with a variable “zoom” lens, great for framing compositions.

Robert H. Treman New York State Park.

Click for macro slideshow.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Ascent

Andrew Wyeth effect

Here the Rim Trail climbs out of the flats beneath the Cliff Stairs, away from Enfield Creek, onto the upper slopes of the gorge.

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Early spring snow highlights the path, threading between hemlocks. The American realistic painter Andrew Wyeth comes to mind with I see the mottled texture of this light snow. He captured some of this in landscape paintings such as “Snow Flurries.”

Here is more of this effect……

These shots were hand held. I used a Sony Alpha 700 dslr with a variable “zoom” lens, great for framing compositions.

Robert H. Treman New York State Park.

Click for a slideshow of this Fertile Flats sequence.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Periwinkle

Source of life-saving drug

A broad, fertile flat between gorge walls supports a dense growth of invasive creeping myrtle. Springtime there is a sprinkling of small blue flowers, this may be the source of another name, periwinkle, or lesser periwinkle.

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Periwinkle is an evergreen and in early times vinca vine (another name we call it, from the scientific name Vinca Minor) was planted in graveyards and cemeteries. The isolated growth of vinca vine in this section of the gorge maybe from such a planting on a lost grave.

Today, the park practices leaving fallen trees in place, here they are covered in years of moss, a memory of headstones. Lesser Perriwinkle is significant for the living as the source of vincamine, from the leaves. A synthetic form of this compound is a potent vasodilator, a therapeutic treatment for stroke and other brain disorders.

These shots were hand held. I used a Sony Alpha 700 dslr with a variable “zoom” lens, great for framing compositions.

Robert H. Treman New York State Park.

Source: Wikipedia, “Vinca Minor.”

Click for a slideshow of this Fertile Flats sequence.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Ephemeral

Amphibian haven, breeding place

Melting snow, spring rains, gather in hollows of the forest floor to form ephemeral pools important for the development of amphibian life.

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Also named vernal pools, from the Latin word for spring or the time of the equinox. The pools are ephemeral in the sense of being temporary, disappearing in the warmer, dryer late spring and summer months, a characteristic important for amphibian live in being devoid of predatory fish.

Here the pool forms on a flat beneath the walls of Enfield Gorge. Here is another photograph featuring the ephemeral winter theme, “The Cave.”

These shots were hand held. I used a Sony Alpha 700 dslr with a variable “zoom” lens, great for framing compositions.

Robert H. Treman New York State Park.

Sources: Wikipedia, “Vernal Pool” and Merriam Webster online.

Click for a slideshow of a few photographs published recently.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Sense of Scale

Humans dwarfed by the eons

Lack of reference leads to a confused impression of this torrent of water. An adult human, standing on the lower rock ledges, will be dwarfed by the surroundings.

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Lucifer Falls at moderate spring flood. The Gorge Trail is closed for the winter due to the danger of falling rock. The water volume can sweep an unwary hiker quickly over the brink.

The potential for fatalities is increased by black ice on the smooth slate walkways along the torrent. Can you spot the barrier blocking access to the path? I am at a secure perch at the falls overlook on the Rim Trail, opened at this season.

These shots were hand held. I used a Sony Alpha 700 dslr with a variable “zoom” lens, great for framing compositions.

Robert H. Treman New York State Park.

Click for a slideshow of this Waterfall of the Old Mill sequence

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Gully vs. Ravine

I love the early spring light filtering through the hemlocks.

Rim trail traverses gullies. These creases in the gorge walls were formed by small streams flowing to Enfield Creek.

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Some passages require a wade, others have elaborate walkways with bridges. I initially wanted to call these ravines. Upon researching the term discovered while ravines are formed by erosion, the scale here is much smaller. I could rename Enfield Gorge, to Enfield Ravine.

These shots were hand held. I used a Sony Alpha 700 dslr with a variable “zoom” lens, great for framing compositions.

Robert H. Treman New York State Park.

Click for a slideshow of this Waterfall of the Old Mill sequence

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Frozen Fall Creek III

Across the years into a future

Gratitude for miracles witnessed is my emotion for this series, “Frozen Fall Creek.” Eleven winters after Pam and I walked Fall Creek as a solid walking path, the stream flows without ice most years. My son, whose family now lives in the house, and his wife recalling walking the creek a few years ago, not in the past few years.

Weather records support our recollections and observations: here is an analysis of Ithaca January temperatures. The years 2009 through 2019 show a warming trend in daily temperatures for both minimum and maximum.

Analysis

Excel I used to plot minimum and maximum temperatures (farenheit) for the 31 days of each January for eleven years 2009 – 2019. Click on the images of this post for a larger version.

Click any image for a larger view.

Forecast

Pam and I moved to Ithaca 2011 and missed our Fall Creek winter walks, miss them even more now our weekend excursions are only memories. Here are January minimum/maximum average daily temperature projections from 2020 through 2044 based on the trend established from the 2009 through 2019 series. The trend is the solid color, projection the faded color.

Reading from the chart, if the current trend continues by January 2044 the average maximum daily temperature will be 47 degrees compared to 29 for 2009. In other words, the temperature never rose above freezing in the year 2009. By 2044 temperatures will be above freezing every day, on average, with daily minimums averaging 21 degrees.

From what I read, we can expect these warming trends to accerate within our lifetimes. My son named small mid-creek hummocks “islands” with numbers. Here is a view of his Second Island in late summer. What will Second Island be in 2044 late summer?

Late Summer 2018, second island

Memories

Reader of posts I and II of this series have commented about snow shadows. Here are the shadows produced from snow fallen on the vegetation of the last photograph: soft mounds to contrast with tree trunk shadows.

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Winter 2009, second island

I prefer the composition of the following photograph. What do you think?

Play of winter shadows

A combination of contrasting shadow forms.

Low Winter Sun
Click me for the first post of this series, “Frozen Fall Creek I.”
Click me for “Fall Creek Winter,” another stunning scene.
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills