Where Oh Where Did The Waterfall Go

Chittenango Falls State Park

I think I forget this lesson at least once a year. If a park has a website check it out before you drive there. If I had followed that advice I might have saved myself a drive to Chittenango Falls. On the other hand I would have deprived myself of a beautiful afternoon.

I immediately found out the gorge trail was closed. I understand why. The amount of water flowing over the falls was epic. To say I wasn’t a little disappointed would be lying.

I get it. It is for my own safety. There was a lot of water. The roar was intense.

I walked in a direction of the park I have never visited. I was rewarded with a scene I did not know existed. I feel the water in this stream dries up during the summer. I will check it more often now that I know where to look.

Unknown View
Olympus E-M1 MK III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 0.8s, 34mm, f/11, ISO 100

It was a beautiful day. The park was not crowded. I’m already here, might as well explore. There are images to capture.

I stop at the overlook next to the top of the waterfall. Damn. That is a lot of water. And yet, I’m amazed that there are portions of trees clinging to the rocks. I wonder how long they can hold on before they end up at the base of the waterfall, or further downstream.

I head upstream.

The view of Chittenango Creek as it works its way toward the great plunge.

Bring it to the Fall
Olympus E-M1 MK III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1/13s, 12mm, f/11, ISO 200

There are trails on the left side of the creek. There is only a partial trail on the right. I head right. The view at the turn in the creek should be worth a look. I’m hoping there isn’t so much water that I can’t get close enough with the camera.

Going Upstream
Olympus E-M1 MK III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1/8s, 30mm, f/8, ISO 200

I wait here as there is a person with their dog currently standing at the spot I want. I’m in no hurry. The sounds of the water are relaxing. I should sit down. Soak it all in.

Oh look, they moved on. My turn.

There is a larger opening through the trees here. I can capture a wider view.


A couple showed up on the opposite side of the creek. They are out exploring as well. If I wait a few minutes I can include them in the image. I don’t normally include people but for this view they add scale. They don’t stand still. My shutter isn’t fast enough as I prefer to blur the water. Oh well, they will have to be slightly blurry…

Look at that view
Olympus E-M1 MK III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1/6s, 12mm, f/11, ISO 200

Back toward the waterfall. I wonder how far I can go on the opposite side. I would still like to get a view of the falls to show the water. I stop on the bridge to get the opposite view to the one above. The last few feet of creek before it heads into the gorge.

Heading for a Fall
Olympus E-M1 MK III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1/8s, 12mm, f/11, ISO 200

Most of the trail on the right side of the park is closed. Understandable. Again, disappointing, but I get it. So much for a grand view of the waterfall. I can still convey the power. I have to let go of the “iconic” view and find the image. Finish the story…

The top of the 167′ cascade waterfall. Can you hear the roar?

Going Over
Olympus E-M1 MK III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1/10s, 12mm, f/11, ISO 200
The Bridge Down Below
Olympus E-M1 MK III, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1/8s, 21mm, f/11, ISO 200

If you look closely at the second image you can see the pedestrian bridge over the creek below. I typically setup on the right side of that bridge to capture the view of the waterfall. Check out an iconic view when the water isn’t so powerful… Simple Beauty.

I took today off from work. My original plan was to drive to Ithaca and walk a few of the state parks. After my experience at Chittenango Falls I checked out the websites for the parks and found the trails I want to walk are not open yet. There is one park I could visit but I will wait until I can make a day of it.

I’ll still take the day off. I’m betting the views at Pixley Falls are worth a look. I’ll let you know…