Cold and Beautiful

Icy Taughannock Falls

Far be it for me to rub it in. I mean, several of us had planned on going out for a shoot this morning, but everyone else was scared off by the forecast of cold weather. Okay, a very cold, sub-zero cold forecast.

Now there’s a good case to be made by those who opted to say indoors…sleep-in, warm and cuddly…all that stuff. If you’re not prepared for the cold, you shouldn’t be out in it. I have to admit I was thinking that warm was a good idea as I rolled out of bed at 5:30 this morning and read the thermometer which had dropped to -1 degree at that point. But, never let it be said that I’m not a die hard or that I let weather deter me. Maybe I should work for the post office…at least the post office of old.

At any rate, while you guys were pulling the covers up one last time, I was winding my way to Taughannock Falls, watching the nearly full moon slowly slide to the western horizon. Two questions

Sunlit point of the gorge

were on my mind. Would I get to the falls before the moon dropped below the horizon, and if I did would it be in the right position for a picture of the falls. I drove directly to the upper parking lot, a great view of the falls and both questions were answered. Unfortunately, I didn’t get two answers that I liked. The moon was still above the horizon, but not in a position that I could include it in my first shots of the morning.

Those are both questions I could have answered with a little research in advance, but I didn’t do that, of course. Had I done that I would have known that I had until 8:47 am before the moon would disappear (in a cloudless sky) and that the moon would set at 275 degrees, almost due west. A quick check of a topographic map would have told me I could let up on the gas pedal a little… or look for another venue from which to include the moon. A good site to check out this information is Timeanddate.com.

A delicate, though wintery creekside view

As I raced to the falls, I watched the temperature roller coaster between -7 and -1 degrees. It was cold, for sure, but I really wasn’t concerned. While I drove in a fleece vest, my hooded Carhartt jacket, rain pants (as a wind breaker), and mitten/gloves were warm in the backseat. When I stopped for coffee at a delightful little coffee emporium in Homer, NY, Origins Coffee Mania, (be sure to check out their pastries), I opened two LL Bean handwarmers and put them into the finger pockets on my gloves, so they would be warm when I arrived. They say they’re good for 7 hours, but I’ve had them keep warm considerably longer, including today. In fact there were still warm when I got home at about 3 pm.

A couple of the little waterfalls along the creek

After checking out the view from the upper lot (the light wasn’t great) I was driving back down to the main entrance when I noticed a brilliant sky over the lake. So, I decided to divert for a few minutes to take some snaps before I began the 3/4-mile hike back to the falls.

As I hiked along Taughannock Creek it seemed to speak to me, with a constant cacophony of cracking ice punctuated with sharp blasts of ice and rock breaking off the gorge walls that sounded almost like rifle shots. Indeed, along the trail, basketball-size chucks of blue ice dotted the trial, apparently resting after having fallen from the cliffs above.

Mother Nature's etchings in ice

I had the trail and the falls to myself most of the morning. In fact I only saw two others before I began my hike back just after noon. Besides the falls I tried a few frames of reflections off the icy creek, a couple of a gorge point framed behind creekside trees and spotlighted by the late morning sun, and a few more of ice formations and mini-falls along the creek. All-in-all a very enjoyable four or five hours.

As I said, far be it for me to rub it in, but I missed you guys and you missed a great shoot.