The summer sky reflected at the falls

June 26th, 2014     0 comments     permalink

The evening sun of summer lights the falls

June 9: The sun is still high in the sky at 6:15pm when this shot was taken. It lights the gently falling water at just the right angle so the background is dark while the falling water has a jewel-like quality with lots of internal sparkle.

A large boulder bounces water forming the tube you see here below the crest. Conditions have to be just right for this to happen; the right amount of flow determined by the right amount of rain on previous days. By summer’s end, there will be days when the falls barely fall at all. August will be dryer than it is in June and only a trickle will tumble into South Ore Creek.

I post this head-on photo to contrast with the next ones I’ll post that are brimming with reflected color. From this angle, only the clear, blue sky is reflected. From vantage points to the upper and lower left of this photo, the view is dramatically different.

Painted in reflections, winter is swept away

April 10th, 2014     0 comments     permalink

The increased flow over the dam smooths the surface so reflections become elongated ribbons of captured light

Water leaves the millpond at a good clip as the deep earth thaws. It’s been gradual this year and flooding has been avoided. Thick sheets of smooth ripples tumble over the dam painted in elongated reflections. Hundreds of times I’ve photographed this scene from both sides of the dam, and the images are always unique. The light changes from day to day; season to season. From the east side, cool colors dominate when a clear blue sky is the backdrop. From the west, warm colors fill the frame thanks to the sunlit aging brick facade of the Old Town Hall.

Reflections of the sunlight facade of the Old Town Hall twine with the blue of the railings surrounding the dam


April 14th, 2011     0 comments     permalink

It could be a scan of my aging skin by an Electron Microscope like this ant head. It has that monochromatic look even though it’s a “full color” image, but its focus isn’t as precise. It’s actually the reflection of an overcast sky in quickly moving water just before it tumbles over the Brighton millpond dam. The diagonal lines on the left show the direction the current is pulling the water. The ripples on the right are caused by a stiff breeze.

Textures: splashes and ripples

March 31st, 2011     0 comments     permalink

While the landscape bores me because it’s still dormant in winter’s sleep, I’m glad I’ve got the Brighton dam to amuse my eye. There are almost daily changes in how the water looks based upon the time of day, color of the sky and the cubic yards of water that are rushing to leave the millpond. The water level of the pond is very high now so water at the dam is about 10″ thick as it goes over the top. The surface texture is rippled like glass blocks used in architecture. Clay and silt lightly tints the swiftly moving water now.

Eddies, Currents and Chaos

March 27th, 2011     0 comments     permalink

How can anything as placid as tiny swirls in the millpond be considered chaos? The water entering the millpond from Ore Creek is at the year’s high point (probably) so the eddies are more apparent. It’s mesmerizing to watch them form, move and morph into new spirals and waves especially at twilight when the sky turns pink. I think students would enjoy mathematics more if they were exposed to fluid dynamics and chaos theory earlier in their lives. They are fascinating fields with endless possibilities.

Submerged Earth Tones

February 16th, 2011     0 comments     permalink

You’ll enjoy the above image more if you click it to see the larger version. The subdued colors of the rocks and sand below Brighton Falls are woven with surface reflections which give this image a painterly quality. The two images below are the same scene zoomed outward. The irregular edges of the ice above the water contrasts with the earth tones below the surface.

Rebuilding of the Ice Tunnel

January 8th, 2011     0 comments     permalink

Like the Itsy Bitsy Spider who begins again in the children’s song, following the thaw, splashes from the rushing water begin to create the ice tunnel at the millpond dam again. Ice adheres to the rocks when it can and the continuing splashings smooth the ice as it grows. Note the “lobster claw” shape of the ice in these two pictures. I have no idea what natural forces created it.

The Color of Water: Winter Edition

January 7th, 2011     0 comments     permalink

During the end-of-the-year thaw, water rushed over the dam. While the falls doesn’t look much different than it did in late November, I was surprised that algae was still bright green and thriving in the just-above-freezing water. It illustrates how, if at all possible, every niche in nature is filled.

Gelatinous Ice Flows

December 26th, 2010     0 comments     permalink

Just a few feet from the dam, the ice forms in completely different ways. It isn’t crystal clear and it looks like translucent lava. The dusting of snow helps define the surfaces of the frozen floes.

Globes of Ice

December 22nd, 2010     0 comments     permalink

Here are two more close ups of Brighton Falls. These show how the ice slowly builds spherical globes because the water continually washes over them so they remain smooth and clear. While I’m not a fan of winter, at least we have ice and snow altering the landscape in various ways. Without them, we’d have several months where nothing grows or changes under what is often a uniformly gray sky.

Painting with Light: Above the Falls

December 3rd, 2010     1 comment     permalink

I’ve photographed the water going over the millpond dam hundreds of times. Each shot holds some surprises due to light conditions and seasonal changes. Here, I held the camera above the small dam and the flash caught tiny ripples adding a spray of glitter above the dam. All in all, I like the odd composition of this image. It’s balanced and has textural variety. How can the same surface of water hold so many different ripple patterns within about six square feet?

Rescuing a Mediocre Mallard Photograph

November 13th, 2010     2 comments     permalink

As a mallard searched for crumbs at the edge of the millpond, I shot the image to the right. It’s a lousy shot, but I liked the composition and the distribution of colors so I attempted to rescue it with Photoshop. The resulting image is above. By obscuring the duck with applied Photoshop filters and brightening the palette, the image becomes an interesting composition of textures, patterns and color. The oranges and tiny dollop of blue provide points of interest for your eyes.

Tiny Animated Rainbows

October 4th, 2010     0 comments     permalink

Rainbows Flutter on Sunken Weeds

The above photo would have been better as a video. Most of the surface vegetation, the duckweed and algae, has sunk to the bottom now and the water is clearer since less microscopic plants are growing. The plants still surviving in the shallows are coated in a khaki-colored mat of decaying plant debris. On this sunny day, the small surface ripples created dancing rainbows of refracted light on the dull colors at the bottom of the pond. Below is a detail from the top image published at the original resolution so you can see some of the rainbows painting the weeds. Click the above image to see it larger.

Close Up of Rainbows

More Color of Water

October 1st, 2010     2 comments     permalink

Autume Reflections in the Millpond

I was going to wait until tomorrow to publish this. I try to have something fresh on this blog each day. But it’s just too beautiful to keep to myself for 24 hours. It was taken on the same day within seconds of the previous post. Both are actually portions of larger images that have the trees in them. It wasn’t until I looked at them in Photoshop that I found the images had more impact when the trees were removed. The ripples twist and weave the colors in such a lush way. Ah, Autumn.

The Color of Water: Autumn Edition

October 1st, 2010     0 comments     permalink

Reflection of Autumn Trees

Autumn Trees Reflections in Brighton MillpondNope. I didn’t add any of the colors in this image in Photoshop. The setting sun did it for me. I did, however, attempt to remove the bluish cast in the photo that was caused by the ambient light from the clear blue sky. The original image (right) has its own charm, but the above image is closer to what my eye saw that day. We’re still a couple of weeks from the height of autumn color when the maples glow. Click either image to view them larger and explore the intricate patterns reflected in the millpond’s ripples.

Patterns within Patterns

April 9th, 2010     0 comments     permalink

Water 4: Reflections

The Internet is frustrating in that it’s a very low resolution medium. When the above picture came out of my camera, it was 8,900,000 pixels. The larger version of it is 1,300,000 pixels. The version on this page is 290,000 pixels. In other words, there is 30 times more detail in the original than what you can see here. In addition, jpeg compression trashes more detail and adds artifacts doing more damage. Still, I think this image of reflections on a pond has a nice quality; a pointillist style.

Gustav Klimt PortraitThe original reminds me of paintings by Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), an Austrian Symbolist. Below is a detail of the reflections at their original size. Note how there are ripples of plain, flat gray from the dark clouds covering half the sky juxaposed with others brimming with details of the setting sun and branches from shoreline trees. Compare this with Klimt’s “Friedericke Maria Beer-Monti” and “The Kiss.”

Water 4: Reflections (detail)

The Color of Water: Night Edition

March 19th, 2010     0 comments     permalink


Within a matter of days, all of the ice on the millpond has vanished due to temperatures in the 60s. It’s the quickest end of winter I can remember. We didn’t have the usual month of rain, mud, grimy mounds of snow and gray skies. The rapid melt has increased the water going over “Brighton Falls” at the end of the millpond. I posted another photo titled The Color of Water in November, 2009. It was a colorful mid-summer evening shot. This image was taken well after dark on March 16th and has more subtle colors. Algae is already in full bloom from the warmer days and bright sun. That’s the green in this picture. The orange patches are reflections from nearby street lights. The larger version shows much better detail.

A mid-summmer voyage

March 9th, 2010     2 comments     permalink

A Soaked Passenger

A bead of water hitches a midnight ride down Ore Creek on a snow white feather in mid-August 2009. By now, it may be halfway to Niagara Falls if the winds were kind.

Still Stillness / Still Dancing

December 19th, 2009     0 comments     permalink

Submerged, Suspended

A variation on a theme in a different medium. See the previous post with T.S. Eliot’s quote.

When Light Meets Water

December 6th, 2009     2 comments     permalink

When Light Meets Water 1

Click the above image to see a much larger version (680k) which shows the cotton-candy-like spiderweb of colors on the millpond water. The golden yellows are from street lamps, the red is from the neon sign on Ciao Amici’s Restaurant across Main Street, Brighton, Michigan. Below is a 100% detail from the same image to give you an idea of how the original actually looks.

Detail: When Light Meets Water

Homage to Pond Scum

November 28th, 2009     1 comment     permalink


There was a miniature castle with moat built near the log cabin at Palmer Park, Detroit, MI. We lived just blocks away. When I was very young, my dad took my brothers and I there with jars. We collected stagnant water from the moat and brought it home to watch the microscopic creatures scurrying about. Some looked like they were right out of science fiction. One I remember well had a propeller-like tail. Thanks to my dad, I learned to appreciate pond scum. :-)


The exuberant pond scum shown is from the Brighton millpond. It contains parts of leaves, seeds, pollen, duckweed and a myriad of other microscopic organisms that sustain the nearby critters and insects. It probably supports mosquito larva, too, but we won’t bring that up.

The Color of Water

November 18th, 2009     3 comments     permalink

Niagara Falls it isn’t, but most Brighton visitors spend a few seconds staring at it. Long before Franz Mesmer (1734 – 1815), humans enjoyed being mesmerized by such things. I think watching moving water and campfires tickles our primitive frog brain, but that’s a future post. “Brighton Falls” is about five feet tall. The water cascades over crudely sculpted “rocks” and jagged cement chunks. It has a tad more aesthetic appeal than a cement-lined drainage ditch. This 18″ close-up avoids all of that and has some very beautiful things happening in it:

The surface reflections interplay with the greens of the underwater algae and a reflected pine. The reds reflect the old brick building beside the falls; the peacock blues, the clear sky. Download the larger version to see more detail and use as a desktop pattern if you like. It’s 1280×800 pixels.

Tail Flaunting

November 18th, 2009     1 comment     permalink

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology tells us:

“The long tail of a Barn Swallow may indicate the quality of the individual bird. Females prefer to mate with males that have the longest and most symmetrical tails.”

Wikipedia has more interesting facts about them.


Swallows nest under the tridge (a 3-legged bridge, more on that later) on the Brighton millpond. I watch them dance in the air as they fly under my feet. The tridge is about four feet above the surface. If I fiddled with the dials on my Canon Powershot G9, I could probably get a better shot, but I don’t care. This one has its own wonder. It’s a challenge to capture one of these aerobats with a camera that has about a half-second delay between when I press the button and the snap of the shutter. You can download a slightly higher resolution version if you’d like.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with water at Words4It.