Massachusetts

Ravine

Ravine

West of Great Barrington, Massachusetts on the Appalachian Trail.

We took a hike from Rt. 23 to the Housatonic River on the AT to inspect some trail work that’s been done in the past year.

I’ve always liked this ravine although I’ve never thought to stand on one side and shoot straight across at the other side (duh). I got a number of interesting images like this one, all at 6400 ISO and I like this image well enough so that next time I’ll bring a small tripod and take this picture again at lower ISO. Shooting straight across at a varied landscape like this gives lots of opportunity to get all the little details in focus.

Falling water on Race Brook, again

Falling water on Race Brook, again

Race Brook Falls Trail, Southwest Massachusetts.

I took this picture with the express purpose of redoing this one with more detail and I’m pleased with the result. The Ricoh GR’s high contrast mode is great for some things but not for everything and I prefer a lot more detail on images like this.

The articulated LCD on the Sony RX100 III made this shot a “snap” as it allowed me to get the camera closer to the water (one has to watch out for splash on the lens).

Falling water on Race Brook

Falling water on Race Brook

Race Brook Falls Trail, Southwest Massachusetts. On our hike down from Mt. Race Gary and I stopped along Race Brook for some moving water photography with our Ricoh GRs. It was a lot of fun and we lost track of time which is exactly the right thing to do on a beautiful summer day when conditions are perfect.

I love what the Ricoh GR’s high contrast monochrome mode does with moving water (and ice).

Falling water on Race Brook

Falling water on Race Brook

Falling water on Race Brook

First ice on Race Brook falls

Early ice on Race Brook Falls

Race Brook Falls Trail, Southwest Massachusetts. Given that I’m the maintainer for this trail and I’d not been on it in a few weeks, I thought it time to take a look at it. To my surprise, there was ice on the falls and all along the trail. I had to watch my step as I didn’t bring my Micro spikes and the patches of ice under leaves were treacherous.

I love the look of this place any time of year but the bleakness of late fall/early winter is particularly appealing to me. Couple that with processing in higher contrast monochrome and you have a recipe for interesting photography.

Race Brook above the falls

Race Brook above the falls

Ice teeth on Race Brook

Ice teeth on Race Brook

Trees and sky reflected in Sage’s Brook

Trees and sky reflected in Sage's Ravine Brook

Connecticut/Massachusetts border, Appalachian Trail.

We went on a great hike from Bear Mountain, Connecticut to Mt. Race, Massachusetts, passing through Sage’s Ravine on the way. We’ve done it many times before but it never gets old, it’s a great hike. Nice reflections in the brook in Sage’s Ravine.

Ice on Race Brook

Ice bubbles and metamorphic fragments

Ice bubbles and metamorphic fragments

Race Brook Falls Trail, Southwest Massachusetts. Dave and I are the “maintainers” of this blue trail connecting Rt. 41 to the Appalachian Trail and we have to hike it regularly to make sure it’s clear. It’s about 2 miles of steep switchbacks from the parking lot to the AT intersection. This was our first hike this spring and I was surprised to find some decent ice to take pictures of on Race Brook and in puddles off to the side of the trail.

Metamorphic ice fragments

Metamorphic ice fragments

Metamorphic ice fragments

Metamorphic ice fragments

Frozen foam

Frozen foam

Frozen foam

Ice layers and bubbles

Ice layers and bubbles

Ice layers and bubbles

Ice bubbles and frozen beech leaf

Ice bubbles and frozen beech leaf

Ice abstractions on a solo hike of Race Brook Falls trail

Ice abstraction on Race Brook

Race Brook Falls Trail, Southwest Massachusetts. I took a solo hike to shoot ice and it was about 5 degrees Fahrenheit out. This was a beautiful, still, and extremely cold day and I thought the ice on Race Brook would be good to shoot.

There were no other cars in the small parking area nor had there been any cars in the more popular Bear Mountain parking area when I drove past it so I had this entire section of the Appalachian Trail system to myself. This was both exciting and a bit scary on a very cold winter day.

Race Brook Falls trail is a “blue” trail which is an official side trail connecting up with the Appalachian Trail (white markings) and maintained by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in Massachusetts. The AT goes for 2400 miles from Georgia to Maine and has hundreds of blue access trails along its length.

The trail crosses Race Brook early in the hike and I figured I’d go that far and shoot for a while and maybe skip the rest of the hike if I got what I wanted and it was too cold. I have Raynaud’s syndrome so shooting with the metal bodied RX100 on a very cold day can be problematic for me. I’m using thin gloves (mitten liners) so I never take the liner gloves off, just my mittens, but it can still get cold if I spend too much time shooting in one place.

I stopped and shot ice and I had the overwhelming impression that this was a special day to be out and I had my Microspikes on and was well prepared for a cold hike so I decided to continue up to Race Brook Falls which is beautiful when it’s frozen.

At the falls I had a drink, felt great (all warmed up from the climb) and decided to continue up the trail to the junction where it intersects the Appalachian Trail. Dave and I are actually the official “maintainers” of this section of trail so going to the junction was good to see if any trees were down or maintenance needed to be done. The trail was all clear and a pleasure to walk with the spikes on.

At the junction I felt great, took my pack off, and used my iPhone to call my friend Bill to make him jealous of the hike he was missing. I was also interested to see if the iPhone would work in such extreme cold and it did.

There was one set of footprints on the Appalachian Trail heading south to Mt. Race. They were not new, maybe a few days old. So, I was really alone and it felt eerily great. Very still and quiet, no wind at all. I decided to work my way up toward Mt. Race and if at any point I felt I was getting into dangerous territory I could turn around. The hiking was great and while there are some rock outcroppings that might have stopped me on snowshoes the spikes handled the ice on those well. I found myself on the top of Mt. Race in an hour. I took a few pictures of the distant Catskills to the west and Mt. Everett right next door to the north and Mt. Greylock in the distance.

Then I headed back down, knowing that I had plenty of work to do to safely descend a steep icy trail.

Ice abstraction on Race Brook

Ice abstraction on Race Brook

I took over one hundred images on this hike but these three images which I took at the very first Race Brook crossing were my favorite. I think later in the hike I was simply enjoying being outside and lost interest in looking for ice. It happens.

When I got home and told Anne what I’d done she got mildly irritated that I’d gone out alone but she totally understood my excitement.

Winter hiking is the best if you’re well prepared, and while I like hiking all year round, having the challenge of finding interesting ice to shoot makes it even better.

Snow and trees reflected in Guilder Pond

Snow and trees reflected in Guilder Pond

Mt. Everett Reservation, Massachusetts. On the way up to Mt. Everett on snowshoes we stopped and took a few shots of Guilder Pond. We snowshoed around it and got some more nice images but this one was the best I got that day.

I continue to be both frustrated and amazed with the Sony RX100: It’s a pain to use but the images it makes are spectacular. I solved the cold hands on metal body problem I was having with a pair of very thin neoprene gloves. Amazingly they seem to work okay on the RX100’s tiny controls and shutter button.

Every time I want to return this camera or sell it I look at the images and change my mind. Be patient Richard… Sigh.