The deep gouge in the landscape that is Stone Valley winds off into the post-sunset, on its way to meet the distant tiny tower.
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.
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.
If the weather is just right and recent rain has the Raquette River running high through Stone Valley, a summer hike is just the thing. A geologist would have the technical explanation of the valley’s odd geometry. The hydroelectric dam secretly controls the scene (or the water release, anyway).
The scale of the setting doesn’t really become apparent until you try to spot the tiny people (chemists and physicists, in this case) on the rocks. Bob Ross would be proud.
When the water level rises in Stone Valley, the landscape gets odd, and impossible islands form where there were once minor changes in the landscape.
The water rushes through ferns and tree-roots and creates barriers in the landscape that redefine hiking for the day.
Backing up from grand views of public spaces in modern, urban settings, I present some photographs of small yet appealing shapes from a recent hike. I like the way these stones have carved pillars beneath them where erosion was prevented.
The living things make their own little shapes in Stone Valley, too. The moss hasn’t grown as much in the shadow of the mushroom.