Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Ithaca Falls

with 45 comments

When we visited Ithaca, New York, on July 31, we found that
people there are fortunate to have Ithaca Falls right in town.
How obliging of the dead tree trunk to interpose itself,
and of f/14 to get everything sharp from front to back.
Below is a view showing the top of the waterfall.

Why didn’t I include the top of the falls in the first picture?
Because from that angle I would’ve had to show some white sky
and I really don’t like white sky in a landscape photograph.

Speaking of including: I guess I’d better not leave out a couple of pictures showing
the seemingly ubiquitous rock strata in New York’s gorge and waterfall country,
including on the south bank of Fall Creek within sight of the scenic falls.

In the last picture I yet again imagine I’m looking at the ruins of an ancient building.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 1, 2019 at 4:37 AM

45 Responses

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  1. Fine set!


    September 1, 2019 at 4:57 AM

  2. how lucky to have the beautiful falls –


    September 1, 2019 at 5:12 AM

  3. I have also visited this waterfall. We have many in central PA where I grew up, but we usually had to hike to them.

    automatic gardener

    September 1, 2019 at 8:20 AM

  4. Beautiful pictures. I don’t like white sky in pictures either, which is a pity as we have a lot of it in northern England.


    September 1, 2019 at 9:36 AM

    • Now that you mention it, I’ve often seen white skies in pictures from northern Europe. Some (or many) landscape photographers complain that a plain blue sky is boring, but I’ll take that any day over a white or light gray sky.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 1, 2019 at 10:27 AM

      • When I’m in Mississippi I feel like I spend hours just gazing up, trying to let all that blue sink in.


        September 3, 2019 at 8:19 AM

        • I can understand that, given how gloomy northern Europe is for so much of the year. Do you have friends in Mississippi? We drove across that state’s Gulf coast on our way back to Austin a month ago.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 3, 2019 at 12:54 PM

          • I do – my sweetheart is from there. I wouldn’t say it’s gloomy, but that comes with being born here. If my eyes were used to blue Texan skies I would probably concur!


            September 5, 2019 at 10:00 AM

            • Now that you mention it, I seem to remember that connection to Mississippi.
              As you say, when it comes to climate, a lot depends on what you’re used to.

              Steve Schwartzman

              September 5, 2019 at 10:23 AM

  5. “How obliging of the dead tree trunk to interpose itself,” – very true!


    September 1, 2019 at 10:18 AM

    • I counted myself lucky to have the fallen tree trunk where it was. Nature photographers often look for something in the foreground to play off against the grander view in the background.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 1, 2019 at 10:39 AM

  6. We have a view of Ithaca Falls from our home on West Hill. You picked a great time of year to tour the Finger Lakes, Steve.


    September 1, 2019 at 11:57 AM

    • How fortunate you are in being able to see Ithaca Falls from your home. I gather that the falls in the area were looking good during our visit due to good rains in the previous months.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 1, 2019 at 1:09 PM

      • The falls look great 24/7. I learned this year a primary souce of creek water is flow from the sedimentary rock, so it takes an extended drought to dry up the local creeks. Never seen that happen.


        September 24, 2019 at 7:36 AM

  7. It’s pretty cool having a waterfall right in town like that. It took a while, but they have cleaned up the contamination from the old days when that was an industrial site. They made Ithaca shotguns there for years, among other things, and the gun factory left a lot of lead behind. But the city has really cleaned up the area and it’s pretty neat isn’t it!

    Robert Parker

    September 1, 2019 at 1:43 PM

    • This is the first I’ve heard about the history of industrial pollution at the site, which I never would have suspected. I became the unknowing beneficiary of the cleanup.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 1, 2019 at 3:00 PM

      • They made very high-quality shotguns, for hunting, and I think for the army during both world wars

        Robert Parker

        September 1, 2019 at 4:17 PM

  8. Pretty textures and patterns, Steve.

    Jane Lurie

    September 1, 2019 at 2:34 PM

  9. I like it very much when you provide some useful technical detail like aperture opening, shutter speed etc.
    It tells me how you were able to obtain certain effects in your photos, Steve.

    Peter Klopp

    September 1, 2019 at 4:06 PM

  10. I don’t remember seeing that the few times we visited Ithaca. It’s gorgeous! And I really liked seeing that strata.

    However, I do have a funny story for you. We were eating breakfast out and a girl had on a T-shirt and we were trying to read the back but her hair was in the way. She finally shifted and I made out “LETC. . .PARK”. Yep. We went over to talk to her and sure enough, it was Letchworth State Park. Her and her sister couldn’t stop laughing that someone in Richmond, Virginia, knew about Letchworth. So we had fun for a few minutes talking to them.

    It’s a small world sometimes!



    September 1, 2019 at 8:02 PM

    • I wonder if visitors to Ithaca get called to well-known places nearby like Watkins Glen or Taughannock Falls and fail to visit the falls right in town. That could be what happened to you.

      Good story. It’s fun when you’re in one place, like Richmond, and catch a reference to a faraway place, like Letchworth State Park. Of course, sometimes people haven’t even been to the places that their T-shirts celebrate.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 1, 2019 at 10:06 PM

      • In their case, they’d been to a family reunion at Letchworth. But yeah, we’d wondered if they’d actually been there which is why we stopped to talk to them.


        September 1, 2019 at 10:17 PM

        • You never know what you’ll find out by talking to people. When we were at Ithaca Falls a visiting family asked if I’d take a picture of them all together. I got into a conversation with one of them afterwards and he told me they were staying in Union Springs. That’s the little town 45 minutes up the lake where I’d lived for the first half of 1971.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 1, 2019 at 10:26 PM

  11. Wonderful photographs! Keep up the great work!

    Lane Erickson

    September 1, 2019 at 9:02 PM

    • I’ll gladly keep it up. There are still so many places to visit, and there’s always plenty to see at home, too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 1, 2019 at 10:08 PM

  12. How wonderful to have these beautiful falls right in one’s town. And, with imagination and an obliging mist, the dead trunk could be seen as the Loch Ness monster of Ithaca Falls.


    September 2, 2019 at 6:15 AM

  13. I like the way the lines of the stray log echo the lines of the rock in the falls. If water were flowing over the log, the appearance wouldn’t be so different from that of the falls.

    My favorite photo’s the third. The distinctive rock band just below the center of the image looks like a link bracelet that’s been put on display at a fine jeweler’s shop.


    September 3, 2019 at 7:36 AM

    • The water and the terrain dictated where I stood to take the first picture. If I’d had my choice, I’d have gotten lower and lined up the fallen tree with main part of the waterfall. Still, as things turned out, the curve of the trunk continued nicely into to the dark rocks beyond it.

      The distinctive band of rock that you mentioned endears the third picture to me, too. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a picture of strata like that, so I’m happy to have taken one.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 3, 2019 at 11:28 AM

  14. Love that bit of deadfall in the first image and all make good visions.

    Steve Gingold

    September 4, 2019 at 2:55 PM

    • That’s a good word, deadfall. I don’t believe I’ve ever said or written it till right now. As for the actual object, I saw it as we approached the falls and knew I’d have to incorporate it into some of my pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 4, 2019 at 3:04 PM

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