Rivers & Streams Emerging from Winter

With temperatures frequently rising above 90°F and rain stopping by only occasionally in the form of brief but violent thunderstorms, Southern New England is receiving more than its fair share of summertime this year. And while I’m apt to remind folks that we’ll be whimsically dreaming of these toasty days once we are again plunged into a frigid winter, even I must admit that these scorchers are making my ordinarily active summer shooting routine exceptionally grueling. So perhaps my latest series of fine art prints, all taken during March 2012 as winter transitioned to early Spring, are just what we need to remind us of cooler days.

Falls Brook Stairway, Kent, Connecticut

"Falls Brook Stairway"
Kent Falls State Park, Kent, CT
© 2012 J. G. Coleman

Kent Falls State Park

Arguably Connecticut’s most famous series of waterfalls, Kent Falls is truly a marvel of cascading water and an exquisite museum of natural rock sculptures that have been carved from its marble streambed over the course of millennia. The State of Connecticut began actively pursuing the conversion of the Kent Falls area into a state park beginning in 1915, after a donation of land from the White Memorial Foundation (which, to this day, encompasses its own 4,000-acre preserve in Litchfield).

Falls Brook is tucked tightly into a towering grove of hemlock that, as the Connecticut State Park Commission noted in its 1915 report, were obtained with the “timber undamaged by cutting, which it narrowly escaped.” As can be seen in one of my latest pieces from this park, “Falls Brook Stairway” (right), the view from the foot of Kent Falls reveals a successive series of waterfalls and cascades that emerge from the shadows of conifers and descend powerfully over terraces of time-worn limestone.

Only after reaching the summit of the rocky gorge does the largest waterfall come into view. Here, Falls Brook takes its first leap into the gorge, plunging some 70 feet over sheer-walled cliffs dotted with swaying ferns and grasses and jacketed with moss. You can see these larger falls in some of earlier work from Kent Falls State Park such as “Silken Falls” and “Pristine Cascades”.

To see more of my latest prints from Kent Falls State Park, as well as a selection of my earlier work, visit my Kent Falls State Park Gallery.

Jackson Cove Park

My latest piece from Oxford’s Jackson Cove, “As Winter Melts Away” (below), captures the essence of Connecticut’s wildlands as they transition from the deep-freeze of winter to the Spring revival.

As Winter Melts Away, Oxford, Connecticut

"As Winter Melts Away"
Jackson Cove Park, Oxford, CT
© 2012 J. G. Coleman

Cedar Mill Brook, swollen with meltwater, can be seen frantically spilling over mossy boulders on its way to Lake Zoar. Above the commotion, strings of melting icicles hang like natural jewels from fallen branches and tree trunks. For only a few fleeting minutes, the Sun was marvelously cast through one of these icicles, producing a gleaming star that foreshadows the warmer months to come.

For a larger view of “As Winter Melts Away”, head over to my online galleries.

Enders State Forest

Enders State Forest, a 2,000-acre swath of woodlands in Granby and Barkhamsted, encompasses what is surely one of Connecticut’s least-known natural gems. It is here that Enders Falls can be found, a series of six majestic waterfalls formed as Enders Brook descends jagged ledges of bedrock into a deep, shadowy ravine. Each successive waterfall possesses a distinctly unique character from the last and visitors are apt to lose themselves in studying the myriad plunges, chutes, veils, horsetails and slides.

Ice and Ferns, Granby, Connecticut

"Ice and Ferns"
Enders State Forest, Granby, CT
© 2012 J. G. Coleman

One of my latest print releases from Enders Falls, “Ice and Ferns” (above), captures plumes of water cascading into the gorge during pre-dawn twilight. Icy snow blankets the far wall of the gorge, a testament to the cool micro-climate that endures here even as temperatures begin to rise in anticipation of winter’s departure. Perhaps the most striking feature, though, is the unexpected juxtaposition of lively green ferns dancing in the breeze upon the nearest rock ledge. Known as Christmas Ferns, these resilient evergreens audaciously defy Connecticut’s harsh winters and, it is said, were once incorporated into Christmas decorations in earlier days since they were among the only leafy green plants that could be collected in December.

Late Winter on Fishers Brook, Mansfield, Connecticut

"Late Winter on Fishers Brook"
Mansfield, CT
© 2012 J. G. Coleman

Peculiarly, Enders Falls has never enjoyed the same level of popular acclaim as Kent Falls, despite being arguably just as spectacular. Perhaps its because the trails along Enders Brook aren’t as well-developed as those of Kent Falls, or maybe the terrain is too rugged. It might simply be that Enders Falls, unlike its counterpart to the southwest that goes by “Kent Falls State Park”, is buried within state-owned land whose name cleverly disguises the waterfalls of Granby as no more than a “state forest”. In any case, it would seem that these very qualities which cement the obscurity of Enders Falls also make the experience and sensation of being in this remarkable place even more unexpected and impressive.

Fishers Brook & Koons Nature Preserve

Some of my newest fine art prints come from places in Connecticut that, while surely beautiful, are nonetheless only known to a few locals and exist outside the consciousness of 99.9% of the state’s residents. These can be somewhat challenging places to find, but they also offer the potential for photographing small nooks and crannies within the state that very few have ever seen.

Spruce Brook Twilight, Southbury, Connecticut

"Spruce Brook Twilight"
Koons Nature Preserve, Southbury, CT
© 2012 J. G. Coleman

One of these places is the Koons Nature Preserve, a shaded ravine gurgling with cascades that flows through a quiet, 40-acre parcel of forest in Southbury, Connecticut. My piece, “Spruce Brook Twilight”, features the soothing waters of Spruce Brook as they meanders their way through angular bedrock under the bluish light of the pre-dawn hour.

About 50 miles to the northeast, in Mansfield, one finds the larger watercourse of Fishers Brook. In my piece, “Late Winter on Fishers Brook”, the rock-strewn waters can be seen coursing beneath tight stands of conifers which provided enough shade for remnants of past snows to persist beside the stream.

To see larger versions of the prints above, as well as more of my work from these locations, visit the Koons Nature Preserve gallery or the Fishers Brook gallery on my website.