Sunday, March 1, 2015

Eugenia Falls

Eugenia Falls, the third waterfalls I visited this week, is particularly interesting because it has so much history associated with it.  All the waterfalls around here had mills of one sort or another built at them, but Eugenia Falls had a gold rush!  And it is still linked to an operating hydroelectric plant.

This is the typical picture of Eugenia Falls, usually a double stream of water (right now it's ice), falling over nearly 100 feet of the limestone cliff leading down into the Beaver Valley.  This is the closest you can get to have a full view of the falls (unless you're a drone)..

But a telephoto view reveals the frozen double cascade with it's slightly bluish colour.  Above Eugenia Falls is a small hydro dam creating Lake Eugenia, from which water is piped to a small hydro plant further north down the valley.  At this time of year most if not all of the water is siphoned off for the hydro plant; I could neither see nor hear any trace of flowing water here at the actual falls.

But you can get much closer to the falls, though the view is on a sharp angle, and you can't really see the second column of ice which is right down the cliff underneath you.

I liked this view even though it's partly obscured, because of the curled old cedar branches, and the increasingly blue colour of the ice.

Close-up, although taken through a screen of bare branches, the ice is amazing.

The gold rush at Eugenia Falls exploded in 1852, attracting many from some distance away - but it was very short-lived, as after 3 weeks they realized it was just pyrite or fool's gold, and all the fortune-seekers dispersed.

I've spent months trying to replace my dead computer, and making sure I had copies of all my pictures to transfer.  I've finally done it; this is my first post from the new computer and workstation.

Linking to:

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Walter's Falls

Continuing my quest for winter waterfalls, we stopped at Walter's Falls the other day on our way home from Owen Sound.  The falls was frozen solid!  No need for a tripod here to capture the falling water; we could not see any, although we could certainly hear the roar of the water falling behind the frozen curtain.

The entire front face of the waterfall was ice, .  It's quite a tall waterfall, dropping about 40 feet into the valley below, but the configuration of the valley is such that it's impossible to get a front view of the falls without hiking down into the valley below.  And the falls faces north, so it's almost always in shadow.

But you can look right over the edge and see where the water falls, or in this case, to a pool where the water emerges from under the ice before heading downstream.

The ice of the frozen falls looked quite blue in the afternoon light if you photographed it by itself in the shadow.

All of this is easy viewing because the Walter's Falls Inn is right beside the falls, and it has provided a viewing platform right out to the edge of the falls, built on part of the old sawmill's foundation.

In spite of the frozen falls, looking downstream you can see quite a few spots where the water in the creek below is open.  At this point it's tumbling downstream over the boulders quite quickly.  And can you see me taking the picture?

A wider view shows the valley, bordered by cliffs.  We did get down there last fall, but the spray from the falls was so extensive that we could not get close enough for a picture.  That's one of my goals for the coming summer - I may need to wear a raincoat!

Looking in the opposite direction you can see the flume from the small millpond upstream, one of the old mill buildings, and the foundations of the original sawmill, which stood between us and that building.  It burned in 1984, and a more modern facility was built on the edge of the village.  There was originally a sawmill, a woolen mill, and a feedmill.  The woolen mill is gone, but just upstream in the middle of the village is the feedmill, still operating on water power!

I posted about Walter's Falls last fall, and followed that up with a post about the still-operating water-powered feedmill just upstream if you want the seasonal comparison.

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Ordinary Things - Ice, Shadows, Skies and a Duck!

I like it when I have an exciting destination for my photography expeditions (like Hogg's Falls featured in the last two posts), but along the way I see lots of other 'ordinary things' that attract my camera.  In part I have the memes established by other creative bloggers to thank for opening my eyes to these.  So here are a few of the 'ordinary things' I've seen the past few days.

Many of the edges of the Boyne River were decorated with bands of ephemeral ice just above the waterfalls.  I'm sure that this edge of ice comes and goes, or at least changes, every day, but it's pattern intrigued me.

And as I left the waterfall heading back up the valley to the car, the sun was shining down through the woods on the west slope, creating an interesting pattern of sunlight and shadow on the snow between the trees.

Today I drove to Lake Eugenia to check and see if the river was open at all yet.  It wasn't (it runs right through this picture), but the sky was beautiful.  The dark spots are stumps; this is a lake created by a hydro dam, and they drain it in the fall to be ready for the spring run-off - so all the old stumps show up over the winter.

And I saw a duck, down in the Beaver River at the bottom of Bowle's Hill.  Can you even see it?  I've seen so little bird life the past month of frigid arctic conditions I'd almost given up.

And I did get one closer shot before it flew - it's a Common Goldeneye, marked by the white sides and that small white patch below it's eye.

And those are some of the 'ordinary things' I've seen this week.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

More of Hogg's Falls

Not only did I get out in the cold and walk in to Hogg's Falls yesterday, but I took my tripod too.  I've been very lazy about doing that, but for certain sorts of waterfall shots, it's a necessity.

So I set my tripod up carefully at the edge of the cliff (it's farther back than you think, because it's a zoom lens), set the camera to shutter priority, and chose a slow speed of about 1/4 second.  This was a good speed to get that beautiful curtainy effect with the falling water.

During the summer, you can climb down a short cliff using the rocky ledges as steps, and get a photo from right out in front of the falls.  But in the winter such climbing is definitely not something I'd try, so I had to be happy with these pictures from above.

I didn't fiddle around with exposures and filters on these shots, just set it up and took several shots before my fingers froze totally!  But I"m very pleased with the results.

I snowshoed back the short distance to the car, taking a few more shots of the river above the falls, and then headed down the Lower Valley Road as the river tumbled over boulders in the woods beside the road.

At two points you get to see it again, where it passes under the road and back again.  This view looks downstream, and that big white curve in the foreground is the edge of a huge culvert the river flows through.

And this is the next road crossing, showing the ice shelves that often develop along the edges of the water, looking upstream.

Does this qualify as a fence?  I've noticed the snow piled on top of the guardrail posts here every time I've driven by in the winter.

 In the hopes this is accepted as a 'fence', 
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hogg's Falls

Inspired by Linda, of Linda's Lens, who posted about her hike into Wahclella Falls in Oregon, I decided it was time to get out and visit some of our waterfalls regardless of the cold.  After all, it had warmed up to only -14°C, with a windchill of only -25°C or so!

Mind you, we've had a great deal more snow than they've had in Oregon this year, and with the bitter cold, it has all stayed with us.  This was therefore a snowshoe walk, albeit a short one down the stream to the falls.

Hogg's Falls is on a tributary of the Beaver River known as the Boyne, and at this point is flowing through a fairly deep ravine, with a particularly steep slope on the western side.  In spite of recent bitter cold temperatures, a central portion of the stream is open because the water is tumbling downhill of shallow rapids fairly quickly.

Just above the falls you come to a remnant of the old hydro dam; two cement slabs, one now leaning heavily, are all that remain of William Hogg's efforts to generate hydro here a century or so ago.

Just above the falls the boulders in the stream, and a fallen tree were decorated with white (like everything else in the vicinity).  Getting close enough for photographs in the winter has to be balanced with staying safe.  With snowy slopes, and ice shelves out over the water that can crack, you need to stay carefully on dry land!

And then I got to the falls, flowing as strongly as ever.  It's a straight drop of about 6 metres over the rock of the Niagara Escarpment, down into a deeper gorge below.

 I successfully shot a few photos before my fingers froze entirely, and I'll have some winter shots to compare to other seasons.

The stream plunges on down the ravine, following the valley for two or three more miles before joining the Beaver River, which flows over the nearby Eugenia Falls.  Together they flow all the way to Georgian Bay.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Allan Park Earth Station

About 30 miles southwest of the valley, near the town of Hanover, sits a large cluster of satellite receiver dishes.  We pass them in the distance every time we drive that direction, but late last fall I had time so I drove up the sideroad to see what they were.

I had always assumed that these had some military connection, but in fact they were one of the Telesat tracking stations, a pioneering commercial satellite venture.

I turned in at the sign, and though the gate was closed, was able to take a few pictures of the setup.  This tracking station is known as the Allan Park Earth Station.

There were easily 20 satellite dishes, and I learned later that this is one of the main tracking stations for a fleet of 14 commercial satellites around the world.  Although today people think of Canada's contribution to the space program as the Canadarm, Telesat was in fact a much earlier pioneer.  In the 60's it operated the Telstar satellite which provided the first intercontinenal TV broadcast, and Anik 1 launched in 1972 was the first commercially operated domestic satellite in a geostationary orbit in the world.

I guess it was a natural for Canada to get into satellite broadcasting systems early, as we have such a large country with such scattered communities.  Today Telesat has moved beyond TV to Internet, becoming the first in the world to offer Internet access over satellite in 1996.

Now Telesat operates satellites for other countries, and provides satellite-based communication systems all over the world, including some in the U.S., with 16 other global tracking stations to help.  Since they are one of the biggest satellite operators in the world, if you're watching satellite TV, or using satellite Internet, there's a good chance your signal is being tracked through the Allan Park Earth Station.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

A Few More Barns

I'm planning some different posts for the next 2-3 weeks, but for today I have pictures of a few more barns around the valley.  It was one of those beautiful sunny but very cold days, so several shots from the car window, or from hopping outside and back quickly to avoid frozen fingers!

This is part of a large modern beef operation, with newer additions to what is probably the old bank barn in the back, and a fence that was casting a nice shadow.

I just thought the sun was shining so nicely on the south side of this barn, but it didn't appear to be in use, at least not for cattle.

Again there's an older gambrel-roofed barn in the back, but a large newer addition on the front.  I think this is a beef operation, and I liked the shadows on the snow close to the road..

And here's evidence of a barn long gone.  Yes, that tree is growing inside the silo, and it's been standing like this for as many years as I remember.

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The Barn Collective