Hiking through Stone Valley to capture a vibrant sunset over long-exposure-blurred rapids really only works if the sunset shows up for the party. What I found instead was a more quiet and contemplative view of early autumn in the Adirondacks.
Stone Valley is a hyperreal place at sunset; the effect is a bit different from above but no less magical. The rapids do, I’ll grant, look a bit less steep from up here.
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.
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).
Farther along the river, the effect again repeats: stone ledges turn the rushing water into less-metallic slinky.
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.
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.
Living in this Adirondack-ish reality of the region presents opportunities to stand face-to-face with nature.
Quiet contemplation of the future is at the end of the trail.
An almost-island was hiding in the background of this photograph of Stone Valley. Most of my childhood adventures involved sorties from some kind of tree-based fortress; this formation silhouetted against the setting sun reminded me of those adventures. Or maybe just the fort from a particular film. (Even it’s neither truly secret, nor a fort.)
When chemists study water, the molecular-level view offers a lot to consider. Bulk water takes on two fluid phases and seventeen (depending on who you ask) solid phases, from a physical scientist’s perspective. That’s my normal mindset. Even when I see liquid water in a photography, however, I’m astonished to see wispy white tendrils and glassy surfaces that are all created by reflection and scattering from the same material.
Classic Stone Valley! A few minutes and meters down the trail from Monday’s image, I caught my favorite part of the hike at a great time of day. Previous trips to this this spot turned into rehearsals for navigating slippery rocks. This has turned out to be one of my favorite pieces of nature photography, but there’s more to come next Monday.
Except perhaps in winter, I’ve always hiked when the sun was high in the sky and settled in before sunset. I have always wanted, however, to capture some dramatic nature scenes with a crazy sky, so this weekend I went sunset hunting. This shot, appropriately, is from early in the night. Later in the week, I’ll be showing more of the shots as I hiked on and the sun disappeared.