The elements come into focus, revealing Ludlowville Falls, near Lansing, New York. On the eastern side of Cayuga Lake, Salmon Creek plunges 35 feet over this limestone shelf. Pioneers constructed a grist mill at this site.
Here we see The Fang hanging over the entrance to The Cave. There is falling water overall, but especially the center section (can you see it?). The weight of accumulated ice fractured a portion of the frozen cascade.
Flowing water eroded away until this durable limestone strata. The majority of sedimentary rock is shale, only 6% is limestone. Throughout the Finger Lakes and elsewhere, this is why when flowing water exposed the edge of a limestone strata, the underlying, soft shales are worn away to reveal a waterfall, ever deepening. Eventually, the support of the limestone washes away to form this ledge. Here it is an ephemeral cave behind a curtain of ice.
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.