Stone Valley Rückenfigur

A poster of Caspar David Friedrich’s “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” hung above my bed in college, and I’ve since then developed a love of Rückenfiguren in images. Building from my last post’s theme of self-portraiture, I thought using myself as the POV for an image in Stone Valley might add the right German Romantic vibe.

Stone Valley Rückenfigur

First to Turn

The first organisms to shift and adapt to a new season have always seemed to me like its harbingers. Here in the North Country, I’m noticing the first buds appearing on the maple trees—several weeks after their sap was harvested to make some delicious New York maple syrup—but back in the autumn, those same trees were the first to display their autumn foliage.

First to Turn

Little Waterfalls in Fall

Earlier this week, I posted an image that used long exposure to contrast textures in a landscape. This image achieves a similar goal, but perhaps with even more drama and structure. The oblique lighting from the blue-hour sky exaggerates the sheets of stone that have been thrust forth from the Earth.

Little Waterfalls in Fall

Shadow River

Flying a drone makes me think a lot about my xyz position in space. Dark stone and glossy water and fuzzy trees seem to occupy orthogonal dimensions: the trees point along the z-axis, the striations in the stone along the y-axis, and the ripples and rapids in the water along the x-axis.

Shadow River

Town by the Dam

In the foothills of the Adirondacks, the Raquette River was dammed for hydroelectric power. The town of Colton, New York sits on the resulting reservoir; the rapids in the foreground are the beginning of Stone Valley, an area of trails that I’ve photographed extensively in the past. The contrast between placid reflections in the reservoir and the dark currents of the river proper stand out during the blue hour.

Town by the Dam

Stone Valley: Rapid Stairs

The rapids of Stone Valley in Colton, New York have a certain stair-like repeating quality to them (at least for the 363-ish days/year during which the dam above keeps its spillway gates closed).

Stone Valley: Rapid Stairs I

Farther along the river, the effect again repeats: stone ledges turn the rushing water into less-metallic slinky.

Stone Valley: Rapid Stairs II

This isn’t a mere trompe-l’œil where a particular angle makes stair-like shapes appear in the stones and moving water. A view shifted by 90º confirms the structure.

Stone Valley: Rapid Stairs III

Exploring

The end of St. Lawrence’s school year means that the hikes through areas like nearby Colton’s Stone Valley will be coming to an end for many graduating seniors.

Exploring I

Living in this Adirondack-ish reality of the region presents opportunities to stand face-to-face with nature.

Exploring II

Quiet contemplation of the future is at the end of the trail.

Exploring III

Pestle Stone Sunset

Summer hiking in nearby Colton’s Stone Valley is rapidly approaching, and with it, opportunities to see some of our odd (to me) local geology. Those enormous hollows are created by the movement of trapped pestle stones in the rapids water; the scattered evening light reveals their depths.

Pestle Stone Sunset