This January 2005 morning dawned cold, the risen sun low to the south of a forested esker ridge, as I suited up for this long planned for photograph. A Sony DSC-F828, a UV filter and tripod were all I needed to capture this. That camera model has a integrated flex lens. I needed to stabilize the lens to achieve this image clarity, depth and sharpness.
The shimmering gloss was achieved by waiting until the sun was above the ridge, shining light shafts through the trees, lighting the water obliquely.
As late as January the stream carries enough heat to create a fog or mist as the air chills after sunset. This causes twigs to frost up to create those white stick figures on the far bank. Snowfall from the previous day clings to trees.
Fall Creek freezes from the bottom up. First the water smoothed boulders accumulate a glaucous ice coat. Slowly moving water freezes from the edges, in stages, the middle stage an ornate filagree. The stream narrows downstream where the surface ice first joins. As the year progresses through February the creek gradually recedes under the ice, replaced by an ice road.
What is an esker ridge? As the last glaciers melted 10,000+ years ago, the channels carrying meltwater and sediment, under the glaciers, deposited these winding ridged hills. One of the outcomes was the channel of Fall Creek was altered to flow through the field of eskers among which, in the 19th century, a dam and water mill were created. It made barrels and furniture. My former home, in this photograph, was converted from the workshop of that mill.
This day, as our hill turns to snow globe, I remember this early morning, March 2007, on the edge of spring.
As winter changed to spring I noticed the first greening of the limbs and, each November, the eerie form of the limbs revealed. I call the tree an “elm” though I am not certain. There are other lone survivor elms nearby, the leaves are right for an elm. Some elm species/specimens have the same shape.
Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills
On our roundabout return from Finger Lakes National Forest we turned off Rt 79 at Mecklenburg onto county route 6 that becomes McIntyre Road in this stretch between two right angle curves. We turned off at the western curve with this fine autumn overlook toward Buck Hill.
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