Spillway Falls with Hemlock

hemlock grace and water

The Dry Creek dam is across the upper, eastern, end of Fillmore Glen. Historical records of the dam construction must exist someplace. My opinion is, somewhere in the federal bureaucracy there is a record proving this dam was constructed by Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s. That is when the gorge trails were dramatically improved and it is logical a dam was necessary to control water flow during times of heavy rainfall and the spring thaw, to allow a full appreciation of the gorge beauty. It is a substantial concrete structure with cast iron controls, two spillways: one never, the second always flowing. This day the reservoir is full, frequented by beavers, stocked trout, herons, blue jays, crows, hermit thrush. The reservoir banks are thick with wildflowers of the season. This afternoon I noticed purple flowering raspberries: a past prime bloom or two, ripe fruit growing in the late afternoon shade on the south side of the dam.

Unlike its name, Dry Creek is perennial, fed by a broad drainage of pastures, cornfields and forests. Year round the spillway runs, feeding into the gorge a constant, reliable supply of water for the many waterfalls for which Fillmore Glen State Park is known. The very first waterfall is on the rocks supporting the north side of the dam, formed where water from the spillway flows over these rocks into a deep, east west gorge overhung on the south side by mature hemlock trees.

I first encountered Fillmore Glen in the 1980’s with my young son, Sean. On Sundays he and I walked as far as he tolerated, about half way to the dam site, where the gorge makes a turn to the south, the trail on an unstable clay bank against a crumbling shale cliff. Rediscovering the park in the early 2000’s, along with my interest in photography, I noticed the waterfall just below the dam many times and admired it for how the water caught late afternoon light over the many grace points created by rock crags like a wedding cake. The angle from the dam path is wrong for capturing this effect. Today was a first for me to leave the safety of the dam path to climb into the gorge, on the south gorge wall, for a shot.

Here is a view of the spillway fall on a mid-August afternoon, 2017. My photography kit for this walk with my wife, Pam, was minimal: a Sony Alpha 700 with a variable lens, the flash and a Manfrotto carbon fiber tripod. For this version of the spillway I climbed into the gorge on the south wall, about 40 feet above the creek. A hemlock tree branch fell across the view, incorporated into the composition. These hemlocks are not a biological relative of the Socratic, poisonous, hemlock. The relationship is a similar aroma when the leaves are crushed. The f stop is cranked to 36, ISO set to 100 so slow exposure time to 1.6 second. Post shot processing via Photoshop.

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Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

The Cloigtheach of Glendalough

A fine round stone tower of mica slate and granite

Cloigtheach is the Irish language name for a round stone tower.  The word’s literal meaning is “Bell House.”  This fine example of mica slate and granite is found in the Glendalough valley of County Wicklow, Ireland.

The sun was past noon when we arrived at this glacial valley of the Wicklow mountains.  In the few hours available I shot the tower from numerous angles and chose this because the tower is placed in the larger natural environment, viewed as a singular object apart from the monastic city the tower is placed among.

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Saint Kevin founded a monastic settlement within Glendalough valley almost 1,500 years ago, in the late 6th century A.D. As a religious center the monastery flourished for 600+ years, becoming a monastic city. Destroyed by English forces in 1398, it was disestablished at that time. Still, Glendalough served as a pilgrimage destination through the intervening centuries. The surviving buildings date from the 10th through 12th centuries.

Rebuilding and restoration efforts began 1876, including the roof of this tower using original stones. At 30.48 meters (100 feet) tall the Cloigtheach of Glendalough is the landmark by which the site is known.

Here is my previous Ireland Posting……

Here is my next Ireland posting….

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Glendalough View near Turlough Hill

An exceptional vista on a May afternoon

Head west from the Monastic City at the foot of the valley, climb pass the waterfalls to reach this east facing viewpoint.

I am standing near the path pilgrims from the west of Ireland travelled to the Glendalough holy sites.

Also, at my feet are “sun stones” a white quartz used by the builders of the Newgrange monument of the Boyne River Valley.

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Click link for another Ireland Story “On the Tain Way.”

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills

Thayer Preserve Suite

recapitulation

On Lick Brook, Thayer Preserve, still pools become mirrors at low flow during a dry autumn.

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Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Will

Thayer Preserve: Autumn Still Life 6

still

On Lick Brook, Thayer Preserve, still pools become mirrors at low flow during a dry autumn.

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Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Will

Thayer Preserve: Autumn Still Life 5

maple leaves, mostly

Bedrock on which Lick Creek flows, formed 370 million years ago from sediment of a vast inland sea, is a soothing grey-blue backdrop to autumn leaves.

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Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Will

Thayer Preserve: Autumn Still Life 4

movement

Maple leaves in varying states of decay.

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Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Will

Thayer Preserve: Autumn Still Life 3

on display

Crisp maple leaves among hemlock roots on the bank of Lick Brook, Thayer Preserve

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Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Will

Thayer Preserve: Autumn Still Life 2

Hemlock Roots

Crisp maple leaves among hemlock roots on the bank of Lick Brook, Thayer Preserve

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Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Will

Thayer Preserve: Autumn Still Life 1

color pallet

Crisp maple leaves among hemlock roots on the bank of Lick Brook, Thayer Preserve

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Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Will