Autumn on the Horizon

By September in northern New York, evenings quickly shed their daytime heat and the sun casts long, deep shadows by the middle of the afternoon. Green, yellow, and gold in the landscape take on a rich saturation, the sky and the clouds look more intense and variable in color, and the first hints of fall reds and oranges start to appear. The photos below were taken between Plattsburgh and Lake Placid early in September a few years ago, the first five nearer to Plattsburgh and the last three nearer to Lake Placid. You can see in the photos what a difference the elevation makes: the Lake Placid region is about 1500 feet higher above sea level and the cooler temperatures encourage more leaves to change color sooner.

This is the first of a series of fall color photographs I’m working on for my Flickr Reboot project; I’m not sure yet how many I will end out recreating, but will certainly post more as my work progresses.

Select the first image to begin a slideshow if you would like to see larger versions. Thanks for reading and taking a look!

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Calm Waters

The Saranac River, in northern New York, runs about 80 miles from its source in the Adirondack Mountains to its termination at Lake Champlain near the city of Plattsburgh. On its route, it passes through the centers of many rural small towns established along the river as nineteenth century industries — lumber mills, blacksmiths, iron works, farming, and apple orchards among them — sprung up in the heavily wooded, rich soils of the entire region. The remnants of early plank roads built along the river to service these communities can still be found in the woodlands near the water, and the river later became a source for electricity generation along much of its length. Several of the original, now abandoned electrical substations are just a short walk from where I grew up, along with modernized substations that still contribute electric power to the area. The river features prominently in the region’s military history, and the Lake Champlain monster — Champy — is believed to occasionally winter in the river.  : )

The river and the villages it flows through are frequent subjects in the landscape images I’m working on for my Flickr Reboot project. I took the photos below near the high school I graduated from, where the river has carved an inlet around a small island a few steps from the road. You can see a wider view of the location in a Google Maps street view here.

Despite its proximity to the highway, this spot is a tiny oasis at the bottom of a hill. Select the first image to begin a slideshow, and if I’ve done my job well, you might just feel a calm summer breeze drifting over you.

Thanks for reading and taking a look!

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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!

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