Ausable Chasm: “Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks”

From the History of Clinton and Franklin Counties, New York by Duane Hamilton Hurd, published in 1880, here is an elaborate, beautifully worded description of Ausable Chasm in Ausable, New York:

The town [of Ausable] boasts some of the finest natural scenery to be found in the world – one of the most sublime natural curiosities, the Ausable Chasm, the favorite resort of numerous tourists, being situated in its southeastern section. The Great Ausable River, in its impetuous course to [Lake Champlain], here breaks a passage through the solid Potsdam sandstone, towering many feet above its bed, and follows a rugged and irregular channel for a distance of nearly two miles. At several places the river is compressed to a width of less than 30 feet. The river plunges into the chasm in a succession of beautiful falls of from 60 to 80 feet in height, and struggles through the tortuous channel, foaming and tearing and whirling over its rocky bed as though bent on freeing itself from the thraldom of the gigantic cliffs which overhang it. By means of artificial stairways, galleries, and bridges, erected and owned by a party of Philadelphia gentlemen, and by boats, this stupendous work of nature may be traversed its entire length.

This freak of nature is but one of a system of rents in the earth’s surface that extend over the northern portion of the State…. The walls, that are now from 10 to 15 feet apart, were undoubtedly some time united and solid; projections on the one hand are often faced by corresponding depressions on the other; layers of rock on one side are duplicated on the other. Professor Emmons, State geologist, found here petrified specimens of the lowest or first orders of animal life, and ripple-marks made when the rock was in its plastic state; above these, in successive layers, towers 70 feet of solid rock.

Popular with photographers (see Ausable Chasm on Flickr and Ausable Chasm on SmugMug), the Chasm is also often featured in landscape painting, including the work of Adirondack artist Emmett Pine (see Emmett Pine: The Keeseville Ausable Chasm and Lake Champlain Railroad), and Hudson River School painter Benjamin Champney (see Benjamin Champney: Ausable Chasm).

I took these photos from the bridge over the Ausable River and from the surrounding property. Select any of the images below to begin a slideshow.

Thanks for reading! More soon!

Twisted Trees and Woodlands

The Point Au Roche State Park in northern New York contains a nature preserve with hiking trails, covering about five square miles along the shores of Lake Champlain. The hiking trails take you through distinct landscapes that change dramatically as you walk from the nature center entrance to the lake, and include a marshland (see Frogs on Logs, whose pictures were taken as the frogs soaked up some sunshine in the marsh);  areas full of shrubs and wild vines; a peaceful pine forest with a thick bed of discarded pine needles covering the forest floor; and shoreline trails where the effects of the wind blowing in from Lake Champlain have a unique twisting impact on the trees growing nearby as well as on the remnants of those that have fallen and broken.

I’ve always enjoyed exploring woodlands; there’s nothing quite like entering the shaded quiet of a few acres of pine trees as a hush falls around you. Sometimes I’ll walk the same trails both with and without a camera. Without a camera, I think I get a better sense of the scope and complexity of the woodlands. With it, I tend to look closely at the details: shapes, colors, textures, and contours that — for me — evoke a sense of what that space was like to stand in and observe.

I have several thousand pictures of this area. I pulled out a few, continued my Lightroom experiments and jazzed them up a bit. Enjoy!

Northern New York landscapes (and Lightroom experiments)

Last week, I bought the Lightroom Classic CC Video Book by Tony Northrup to learn more about some of the features of Adobe Lightroom CC that I haven’t used much or didn’t feel like I understood. The book and accompanying video cover a lot of ground, and I’m only through the first quarter or so, but I decided to try using what I learned so far about radial and graduated filters; adjusting hue, saturation, and luminance; adjusting sharpness; and working with noise reduction. The photos below were taken in northern New York during several trips to visit my family and seemed like decent landscape photos to try out some of the techniques. You can select the first image to begin a slideshow.

The videos and book show detailed practical examples of enhancing photos Lightroom. I learned a lot in a few hours, much more than I’ve been able to figure out on my own, and paused the video often to experiment with my own photos. Below are a couple of before and after images for comparison (the last two gallery pictures above). Click the first image and page through all four to see the effects of the adjustments I applied in Lightroom. One thing that fascinates me is that these adjustments helped restore the images so they match how I remember these scenes … or at least how I think I remember them!

Thanks for reading and taking a look.

Bye for now!