Mt. Everett

Storm over Mt. Race

Storm over Mt. Race

Appalachian Trail, between Sheffield and Great Barrington, Massachusetts. This storm had just passed (and soaked) us as we were hiking south on the AT toward Sheffield. The sun came out over us and we came to a viewpoint where we could look across the valley at (right to left, north to south) Mt. Everett, Mt. Race, and Bear Mountain in Connecticut. If we hung out a bit longer I’d have maybe caught some lightning but in fact, another cell came over us and we got soaked again. Had to put the cameras away and put rain cover on pack.

None of my weather apps (including Dark Sky) peeped at me, all of them said it was clear. So much for technology.

I was glad to get some nice images of this amazing storm as it traveled down the valley.

Note: here’s an image of the same ridge in good weather with labels on the various mountains from 2010 when I last did this section of the Appalachian Trail. Appalachian Trail, southern Massachusetts.

Snowshoeing up Mt. Everett

Mt. Everett across Guilder Pond

Mt. Everett across Guilder Pond

Mt. Everett Reservation, Southwest Massachusetts. We had one good day of snow and snowshoeing before the current thaw hit and Dave and I snowshoed up Mt. Everett as our first snowshoe of the year. It was an incredible day: perfect snow, not too deep for unbroken snowshoeing (we broke the trail) and the light was amazing.

Mt. Everett used to have a fire tower on top and so, has an access road much of the way up which runs parallel to the Appalachian Trail. We snowshoed up the road as far as we could, then took the AT to the top.

This is a very nice hike to do any time of year (mountain laurel in July are killer good here), not very difficult but great landscape to photograph and enough of a hike to get one’s heart beating. The view on top is unremarkable and the last shot in this series is looking east through frozen trees to Twin Lakes near Salisbury, Connecticut.

As I post this it’s raining, warm, and almost all the snow is melted. While snow can be a pain at times (driving home from JFK the other day was a horror), a day of snowshoeing like this is one of the greatest forms of hiking there is.

My wish for the new year is many more days like this and wherever you are, I hope you have them too.

Guilder Pond

Guilder Pond

Guilder Pond

Guilder Pond

Frozen hemlock

Frozen hemlock

Going up Mt. Everett

Going up Mt. Everett

Frozen trees on Mt. Everett

Frozen trees on Mt. Everett

Frozen grass

Frozen grass

Frozen trees on Mt. Everett

Frozen trees on Mt. Everett

Dave breaking the path up Mt. Everett

Dave breaking the path up Mt. Everett

Dave near the top of Mt. Everett

Dave near the top of Mt. Everett

Frozen trees on Mt. Everett

Frozen trees on Mt. Everett

View from top of Mt. Everett

View from the top of Mt. Everett

Mt. Race panorama

Mt. Race panorama

Standing on the very summit of Mt. Race in Massachusetts I decided to try the panorama feature of my iPhone.

To the north we have Dave and Cathy with Mt. Everett behind them and panning east then panning south we have Gary and Bonnie (my younger stepdaughter) with Bear Mountain behind them. The pan was a full 180 degrees.

The image isn’t great but this is a lot of fun and the iPhone makes it quite easy. More experimentation is in order.

Mountain laurel

Mountain Laurel

Race Brook Falls Trail, Southwest Massachusetts. The blooming of mountain laurel in late June is one of the yearly attractions hiking along the Appalachian Trail in New England.

On this hike I climbed the Race Brook Falls Trail (the trail I oversee) and then south up Mt. Race on the AT and then back to the col and north up Mt. Everett, then back down the falls trail. The white mountain laurel were on Race, the pink on Everett (further north by a mile). The bloom is working its way north.

By the way, I’m having a bit of a rough time with the AF on the Ricoh GR, maybe time to read the manual.

Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel

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.

Water droplets on leaf

Water droplets on leaf

Descending Mt. Everett in southwest Massachusetts we saw a leaf on the trail that was shimmering in the bright sunlight. On close inspection it was full of water droplets. Unfortunately the leaf was bowed which meant that even stopped down macro images were likely to be out of focus on the edges. What an amazing property of water to hold together through surface tension in a droplet.

Dave shooting on Guilder Pond

Dave shooting on Guilder Pond

Mt. Everett Reservation, Massachusetts. We hiked up Everett and then around Guilder Pond and I caught Dave out on a cliff shooting an island in the pond. Everett isn’t a hard hike although it’s the second highest point in Massachusetts. Guilder Pond is a jewell that makes the entire hike worthwhile.

Mountain Laurel on Guilder Pond

Mountain Laurel on Guilder Pond

Mt. Everett, Massachusetts. I took my wife Anne on a walk around Guilder Pond on the shoulder of Mt. Everett before the mountain laurel went by. I took my Canon 5D and a few lenses because the walk was short. Glad I did, the flowers were in perfect bloom and the light was great.

The tension between ease of use, low weight, and speed on a hike and wanting to get better images is meaningful. I usually hike with a Canon S90 and it suits me.

I don’t like to take much time to shoot when on a serious hike and when on a serious shoot I like to take all the time I want to get a single image. So, maybe best to keep the two kinds of tools separate. I’m not looking for a single camera that will do it all, but I’d consider something like the Fuji X100 if I thought it wouldn’t get in the way of fast hiking.

It remains an interesting conundrum and one that I’m enjoying considering as I continue to hike with my S90 and occasionally bring the 5D on short photo walks when no one will mind me taking my time in shooting.

Appalachian Trail, southern Massachusetts

Appalachian Trail, southern Massachusetts

East of Sheffield, MA. I’m standing on a ridge on the Appalachian trail in southern Massachusetts. From this vantage point you can see across the valley to the southern Berkshires. The AT crosses the valley from where I am to that ridge just out of frame on the right, then descends into Connecticut after going over Jug End, Mt. Everett, Mr. Race, and through Sage’s Ravine where it crosses the border at the foot of Bear Mountain.

We’ve hiked every inch of the trail on that ridge in every season dozens of times and it’s some of the best hiking in Southern New England. We’re now pushing up into central Massachusetts to connect up with Mt. Greylock which we’ve hiked many times as well.

The hike we did here, which started at Rt. 7 in Sheffield and will end at Rt. 23 in Great Barrington was fantastic and highly recommended if you’re in this area.

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