A reader’s comment to this blog, thank you “Urban Liaisons” prompted me to explore the word, Lucifer. “Lucifer”, in Christian tradition, refers to the devil as it was in a time of glory before the fall from grace. The original, ancient meaning of Lucifer is the planet Venus as it rises just before the sun at dawn. In this sense, the name refers to the bright beauty of the spot. The effect is heightened at midday when the hiker passes from the relative gloom of Devils Kitchen to the full light and sweep of the waterfall chasm.
Standing next to the falls on the Gorge Trail, the stone wall of the Rim Trail Overlook is overpowered by the grandeur of the 300+ foot cliff. The falls photographs were taken from behind the wall.
Occasionally, we have experienced individuals climbing over the wall to stand on the other side. “Why?”
Summertime thick stands of tiger lilies flourish on the cliff face. Can you find the withered leaves?
This session I finally “cracked” the puzzle of the Devil’s Kitchen Waterfall. I posted the results to the online gallery yesterday, for your enjoyment. Click the link to go there.
In this third part, we continue hiking Treman gorge, approaching Lucifer Falls, viewing another waterfall further downstream and returning to the trailhead.
Tiny Trumpet, unknown
I have never achieved a satisfactory capture of the waterfall in the Devil’s Kitchen, a place where the creek flow is diverted south by a projecting ridge. Less than 100 feet later the easterly direction is regained where the water plummets over Lucifer Falls.
The annual in fall of rock in Devil’s Kitchen uproots and crushes plants growing there. There is scant soil, the roots of this shiny purple trumpet bloom took hold in a microscopic crack. The plant is so thin, the flower so tiny it is lucky my gaze found it.
As trail winds around the ridge a stone wall rises on the right and for good reason. The stream shortly reaches the brink of Lucifer Falls, 115 feet high. Gorge walls fall away, the trail steepens. Here is the view from the trail next to the brink.
At hand, on the right, a growth of ferns has survived many seasons. Flowering plants are, in geological time (across billions of years), a relatively recent development compared to these non-flowering ferns. The first flowering plants appears 120 million years ago compared to the first ferns, 360 million years ago. Oddly enough, the spread of flowering plants affected evolution of ferns, an increase of fern speciation in parallel to the rise of flower plants.
While descending the stairs next to the falls brink, look to the right to see this ecosystem, a result of water seeping from the sedimentary rock stratification.
Here you can see how, at lower flow levels, the inactive sections of the fall lip become a garden. In our climate, the entire brink is active for rare and brief intervals during spring thaws. Note how, closer to the active brink, the grasses give way to mosses. Where grasses grow the brink is almost never active.
The trail wall is a lighter color than the cliff, this is how you can see, on the right, the steep trail descent.
Pam and I turned around here. This is some work I did August 2014 of a notable fall downstream from Lucifer. I used the 24 mm Canon lens here, cropping the image. My goal was to include the stair, for interest, with sunlight on the upper stairs; the water in shade.
In part 2 of this series, we return to the starting point. Siting of a water mill requires immediate access to the potential energy of falling water, something called “head.” Upper Treman Park was once a prosperous hamlet with the mill as the kernel. Today, the head that drove the mill is a lovely cascade behind the substantial and intact mill building. Easy walking distance from parking, this is a well known park feature.
Here are three versions of a portrait of Mill Falls using different lenses for varying effects. All were taken in the same season and approximate time of day, being early evening.
My composition emphasizes the mass of rock wall above the bench and into which it is placed. The limestone slabs are from a different source, they are not built from the material removed from the cliff.
Seeds and Flowers
A dandelion on steroids. If you can help with identification of this plant, please post a comment.
The are like people, sitting there. Kenneth Graham’s genius, in writing “Wind in the Willows”, was to recognize the likable characteristics of the toad. I find myself concerned about their survival, although they must survive. Earlier in the season they are pea sized. I resist an inclination to move them to what may be a more promising location, preferably with a stone house and chrome brilliant motor car.
Over the weekend the handle of our 60 year old Delta brand kitchen faucet broke off, since we moved here I rebuilt it once and replaced the stainless steel sphere, the central control of the mechanism. The stem of the sphere must have been faulty because it snapped. Monday, I visited Lowes and the sphere was not in stock. Just wanting to fix the faucet, I skipped the usual vetting of a new product and grabbed the exact same Delta faucet which was, just like the sphere that broke, made in China. The next step up in (questionable) quality was three times the price.
Yesterday I installed a new faucet in the kitchen sink, a straightforward and unpleasant task that took most of the day. Late afternoon, while resting up, I brought up the idea of a hike and Pam reminded me we had another clear September day. Last week, I headed out to capture the Mill Creek waterfall of upper Treman Park at the perfect time of day. It was a day such as this, warm, a cloudless sky, minimal breeze.
I need to get in place a bit earlier. Previously, I used a 24 mm wide angle lens and, today, mounted the EF 70-300mm f/4 – 5.6L USM lens on the Canon EOS 1DS MarkIII. Did not have time to sort through the ND filters, so left the UV on. The waterfall is in a glen, shaded from direct light at this time of day, sun low in the west. Given the low light, to save time, I decided to set ISO to a low value (125), set lens to the widest angle (70 mm), and frame the shot using the heavy Manfrotto tripod with ball head.
Needed to crop the image for the above result, still not perfect. I am seeking to full the entire pool in that glow.
Instead of putting the gear away, I carried that heavy setup on the hike. The strap around the neck is a lot of stress if it hangs. With the gear cradled in the crook of my arm it is bearable.
Needless to say, the pace was sedate. Pam spent most of the time walking ahead and refusing to be in any shots. These past weeks, rainfall was light, so the creek is low. This low flow is a necessary element to a perfect waterfall image.
I get some great macro shots with that lens. With just the UV filter, it is quite fast.
In the Gallery
A memorable feature of upper Treman Park is the dramatic gorge entrance. When the glaciers melted, 10,000+ years ago, enough water flowed through this watercourse to wear away several hundred feed of sedimentary rock to form a gallery, or hall, with towering, crumbling, walls on either side.
This evening the light was low, the water seemed dead in that it was clear and did not glisten or ripple. I used these conditions in the above shot to emphasize the structure this pool. Located at the foot of a waterfall, at high water, the falls fill channel and this pool is carved by river stones carried in the current. At lower water, the pool is exposed.
In the nature of fame, today Watkins Glen is the best known of the Finger Lakes State Parks. The International Speedway of that name enhanced and amplified name recognition during the post war years. Founded in 1948, the course used public roads of the town until the inevitable happened, an accident and the death of a seven year old child in a group of sidewalk spectators when a racer lost control.
The glen predates the race by 12,000+ years formed at that time from glaciation using materials from distant eons . Watkins Glen was known as a tourist attraction from the 19th century for the resort hotel on the south gorge rim, acquired and developed by New York State in the first years of the 20th century.
From a gate off “Lovers Lane” a sturdy flight of concrete steps with custom made handrails lead to an observation platform over the gorge. This feature will be known to many future generations……
…….the fine grained concrete is worthy of a Roman wall, the heavy iron handrails were built to specification as flowing curves unlike what is done today: built as modules and accommodated on site.
In the 20th century the fame of Watkins Glen attracted the road race, the popularity of racing enhanced park attendance. Today, the gorge trail of crowded summer weekends. On Tuesday, August 1, 2017 Pam packed a picnic lunch and we made a late start for a weekday visit. The upper entrance is enhanced by mature trees, oak, elm, hemlocks. We had our picnic under these on a moldy smelling picnic table enhanced with a green striped table cloth and fresh coffee.
Pam is my personal photographer. Here is an example of her work.
To give me my due, I did the driving and carried the 30+ pound pack into the gorge.
Pam captured me in position downstream from Rainbow Falls with a Manfrotto tripod with hydrostatic ball head on which is mounted a Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III and Canon EF 24mm f1.4 II USM lens, Tiffen nd 0.9 filter.
It was coming up to 4 pm eastern daylight savings time, the sun still high overhead. I needed to carefully choose a position for a frame in the wide angle lens without hot spots. Here are two results.
The sun was just of the gorge rim, to the right. Rainbow Falls forms from the tributary to Glen Creek cascading over the gorge walls.
Visitors walk under the falls where falling water eroded the soft, underlying stone to form an overhang.
Copyright 2017 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved