Landscapes and Riverscapes

of the Delaware River Valley

Portfolio Two


Late day in June, the sun streams in from the west, skirting the mountains and fusing in an emerald glow on the far bank. The old Delaware River Viaduct is a dramatic location from which to photograph the Delaware Water Gap. The train tracks were taken up years ago. A world unto itself, people walk it, make it their own, calling it ‘the wonderland.’


The burning bush turn into a land of vibrant color. Pinkish winged euonymus, shadowed in the river valley, at lower elevation where the sun crests the surrounding hills later. The condensation forms over night in the river valley due to temperature inversion, blanketing everything in a fog to be burnished off by mid-morning sun.


From the cliff’s edge of the Delaware River Valley, the sun crests in the east and gently reaches the valley wall. Night’s condensation moves silently a thousand feet below, unshrouding the tops of the tallest trees. With the air warming, the mist speeds up and over the cliff, a westward rushing apparition.


Once a farmer’s field, a terra cotta silo just out of view, the maples have grown large, standing sentinel as a family, in honor to the family that once farmed this field. Morning’s ephermal mists are barely evaporated, and the day is starting anew.


It was a perfect autumn day. The wind pushed through the trees, the leaves see-sawed downward and alit on the river’s surface, drawn along by the current. A long foreground arch of stones. Unlike a digital photograph, film, a tactile object, holds a moment in time.


Upstream from Indian Ladders Falls, torrents of water in the caverns and pools slowly etch their way further into the bedrock. Trees hold to any available outcropping on the steep walls. Dappled sunlight reaches through the evergreen canopy, while a cool mist blows into the top pool area before the stream cascades over the trellised falls.


Above the most intimate, steep-walled caverns upstream from Raymondskill Falls, a pool swirls gently. Once covered by glaciers, the layers of bedrock tilted up and angled center, the trees seeming to bow in agreement toward the stepped cleft pouring into the pool.


At autumn day’s end, the sun floods upriver, aligning perfectly with the river’s broad course. Decades earlier, a proposed earthen dam at Tocks Island would have submersed all in view. The light’s progress saturates the autumn leaves, cast in copper, before evening descends.


A distant moon is visible above the reaching clouds as the last of the day’s sun streams in from down river. At first glance the river’s glassy surface seems perfectly still, and no sound belies it’s weighty movement. Like time itself, however, it is always passing before us, or under us, like an LP under a record player’s needle.


The seeming cacaphony of a natural scene can be balanced by a photographer. The strength of this variegated rock wall is a cut away of the mountain, the geometric patterns of trees, some moved downstream and stripped of bark by spring’s thaw. At bottom left, water, like time, pours out of the composition.


On a fresh and vibrant autumn morning, sun brightly burning off the night-collected fog, Raymondskill Falls, with greater total vertical drop than mighty Niagra. Left of the first drop, the intricately carved rock shaped by eons of natural forces.


Downstream from the mighty Raymondskill Falls, made more dramatic by the intimate caverns, upper pools, and exhuberant heights of the falls themselves, the more serene outwash plays in a peaceful progress, forgetful of recent tumult. Yet there is strong drama in the large rocks around which the water flows, portrayed silky smooth by a long exposure, as the sunrise makes its way around the corner of the far bend in the stream.