Views of Cayuga Lake

by William Warmus


Above: Cayuga lake Saturday morning around 8:30 AM March 6, 2004

A very dark day, thus the soft focus. Lots of activity on the lake: clouds rising like steam because the air is so warm and our lake so cold; a few geese migrating. At Myers Point, about two miles distant extending its "C" shaped claw into the lake, the Lansing fire department can be seen testing its fire hoses....that's the diagonal water spout just below the geese. The white dome of the art library at Cornell is visible at left center on the hill slope, about 10 miles distant.

If you could zoom in to Cornell, you'd see some of its fine 19th century towers: this shot (just below) taken from the new nano-technology building's third floor.


Above: Flying into Ithaca airport, May 8, 2002. Cornell University at base of the lake.

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For current conditions on the lake from a Cornell University Buoy:

Cayuga Lake

Length   38 miles

Maximum Depth   435 feet

Shoreline   95 miles

Above: Cayuga Rainbow: 8PM Friday July 8, 2005

Looking south over Cayuga Lake to Ithaca in the hazy twilight distance. There were two fawns running in the field above the lake but my lens was not wide angle enough to capture them, plus it might have made the scene too Disneyesque? There is a second faint rainbow to the right of the main one.

Above: Cayuga Maelstrom: 4-7-05

Spring is the time of year when the atmosphere above Cayuga lake and the surrounding ridges is roiled by whirlwinds of dense fog and rain clouds.

This shot was taken about 7PM on April 7, 2005 looking south of west across Cayuga Lake. The last light of the setting sun is illuminating the interior of the whirling cloud structure, and the entire cloud front was moving down the Lake (to the left in the photo) at maybe ten miles an hour. The scale is substantial: its about 1 mile across the lake and the clouds are several thousand feet tall.


Cayuga Lake can be quite dramatic early mornings in winter: here are two images shot on December 9, 2002 between about 8 AM and 8:40 AM as the sun rose above the hills, looking south on the lake towards Ithaca, ten miles distant at base of the lake. The overnight low temperature and subsequent warming as the sun comes up have created what I call an "ice cloud" over the lake (first image below) and then, illuminated from within by the orange glow of the sunrise, it begins to drift and disperse (second image below).  The scale is mammoth: the cloud is at least 2000 feet tall.



Above: 9-30-05

Autumn weather blew hard into the Cayuga Basin this week, but after the morning thunderstorms the air cleared. This is a view from near Cornell's Lake Source Cooling plant on East Shore Drive at the base of the lake, looking north, with wind driven waves.

Below images:  9-17-05 Myers Annual Bonfire

Each and every September people turn out for the bonfire at Myers Point on Cayuga lake.

Tons of scrap wood and other gear are piled at the tip of the point and burned in a giant conflagration visible for miles around. The event is associated with the veterans of foreign wars and has a memorial as well as a celebratory atmosphere.

Last night was hazy above the lake, so the whole atmosphere of the lower Cayuga basin glowed. Two photos below show the fire at night; the final shot is of the waning fire this morning, distorting the Myers lighthouse on the foggy lake.


October 20, 1999: autumn on Cayuga lake. View from a bluff 10 miles north of Ithaca (above)

Low clouds cast a shadow on the lake, but an opening puts Ithaca college in sunlight.

August 25, 2001 on Cayuga Lake, about 5PM. Myers Point in the foreground. You are looking south toward Ithaca.

The lighthouse at Myers is at the top of the C shaped harbor, and below is the view from Myers park:

August 11, 2001. Telephoto view from Myers Pointnear the lighthouse looking south toward Ithaca. Cayuga Lake two days AFTER our 99 degree heat wave. Cornell is on slope at left.

View taken off route 34 (East Shore Drive) just north of Ithaca, looking north. July 2001.

Cornell University lake source cooling station is across road from this location.

This is from a high bluff ten miles north of Ithaca on May 29, 2002 at 5:40 AM.

Sometimes the clouds collect themselves just above the lake and we seem to live in the

South Pacific rather than in upstate New York. Myers Point is visible at dead center.



Below: Deer herd on slope above Cayuga lake in February, 2006. Lake just visible upper left.


May 8, 2002 aerial view of Cornell University and Cayuga lake. The Johnson Museum is at dead center,

the bell tower is to the left of the museum. The white dome to the right of the museum is the art library.

Another shot flying into Ithaca airport, May 2002. Cayuga lake at top,

Ithaca at center.


The view from our studio on January 1, 2001.

Fresh snow and storm clouds surround Cayuga Lake


Fall view, October 14, 2000.

The view on September 6, 2000.  Fog clouds gather above Cayuga lake at 7AM. 


August 5, 2000. Dozens of sailboats dot Cayuga Lake. Formed during the last ice age, Cayuga is about 40 miles long (you are seeing the lower quarter of it) and is at the lowest altitude of all the finger lakes (about 384 feet above sea level). People claim that this improves the sailing because winds tend to collect in the Cayuga basin. The bottom of the lake at its greatest depth is around 34 feet below sea level. Ithaca is visible ten miles distant at center, with Cornell University on the slope at the left.

July 21, 2000. O.K. It is a corny image. But as this is a catalog of the moods of the Lake through all the seasons, we should be allowed one rainbow, shouldn't we? 



Cayuga  Lake in early December, 1999. Ithaca ten miles distant at center; Myers Point is the semi-circle in the Lake just below center.

The view from our studio, 3:30 PM December 24, 1999: A snowstorm moves across  the base of  Cayuga Lake, obscuring Ithaca ten miles distant at center but silhouetting Cornell University on the slope to the left.


January 5, 2000

December 29, 1999. When the air temperature drops below about 15 degrees and Cayuga lake remains unfrozen, clouds of fog form above the water. This image, made at sunrise, shows the fog as it begins to burn off under the weak warmth of the winter sun.

This is a view looking west from the east side of Cayuga lake at sunset in early January, 2000. The lake at this point is more than 400 feet deep.

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