Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

Crumbling Infrastructure

Fallen rock, Stony Brook SP, NY

This is one of my favorite spots at Stony Brook.  Near the southern end of the gorge, close to the campground area, it’s one of the quieter places you’ll find here.  Most people don’t get this far, since the “best” waterfalls and small rapids are downstream.  But if you want to get a close look at nature’s continuing struggle between water and rock, this is a pretty good spot.

If you look near the center of the image, you’ll see a large hunk of shale sticking out of the middle of the stream.  That piece of rock wasn’t there during my last visit here.  At some point over the last year or so, the area underneath this piece was eroded enough to allow it to collapse into the stream.  Eventually, of course, it will be worn down and swept away.

The stream bed is well polished here.  When the water level is low, as it was on this day, the bottom almost looks like etched marble.  You can’t really see it, but the water also makes a very sharp left turn here as it heads toward the first large waterfall.  It almost looks manmade (it’s not).  Like electricity, water always seeks the easiest path that gravity will allow.  Soft rock erodes first, leaving the harder stuff behind.

Here in New York’s Finger Lakes region, that means gorges that look like this.  On the Colorado Plateau, it means places that sometimes look like Bryce Canyon, with its amazing collection of orange, yellow, and red hoodoos.  And of course some really interesting arches.

Which is one way of saying that we’ll be off again this week, heading into the big sky country of Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona.  A big “adventure” before facing the cold, dreary winter of the northeast.  We’re even going to do a little rafting on the Colorado River (just east of the Grand Canyon).  I’ve always wanted a chance to look up at some of those cliffs.  They’re interesting (and spooky sometimes) from above.  But I’ve never seen them from below.

Another chance, perhaps, to see nature’s “crumbling infrastructure”.


9 Responses to “Crumbling Infrastructure”

  1. ken bello

    It’s been a long time since I’ve been here and now I want to go back. This area is a great location for photographers. The “crumbling infrastructure” is actually natures way of being constantly “under construction”, more like rebuilding (over a looooong period of time). Time is on nature’s side, anyway.

  2. ken bello

    I forgot to add to my comment a reminder for you to have a nice time out West and bring back lots of great photos (like you need me to remind you).

    • Paul Maxim

      No pressure, right Ken? Like it is for most people, much of the “pressure” to find and capture “great photos” is internal – I can get pretty tense when faced with new places and new photographic challenges. It’s difficult sometimes to just relax and let things flow on their own. Then I see images that others have captured in the same places and the pressure just gets worse. Sometimes I think we’d do better (as photographers) if we could somehow live in a vacuum and not see what the “competition” has done.

      Yes, I know it’s not supposed to be a competitive sport. But in many respects, it is.

  3. c4minor

    Paul, this is wonderful. To me, it conveys a sense of ‘being there’ which I sadly never have. Yet. I adore your b/w works but you do have a way with colors, too… Have a great and safe trip (I envy you). 🙂

  4. Earl

    Have a wonderful trip, Paul. This image is wonderful…lots to be learned from observing flowing water and the constant changes it evokes.

    • Paul Maxim

      Thanks, Earl. I am forever fascinated by the interaction of water and rock. Irresistable force and (somewhat) immovable object. But as I’ve said before, the water always wins. It’s very patient. And very flexible. Must be a lesson for us mortals in there somewhere……

  5. Don Cooper

    Have a great trip, will be looking forward to the images. I will be back in NY the end of the month for awhile then back down here for winter and then back to NY in April.


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