Mt. Race

Sun rays on Twin Lakes

Sun rays on Twin Lakes

South ridge of Mt. Race, Massachusetts.

I took a hike along this great ridge to inspect a section of the Appalachian Trail that I maintain. Not much work to do this day but the views were terrific. This is looking southeast back into Salisbury, Connecticut and Twin Lakes.

As I got out onto the exposed part of the ridge the sun was breaking out and the sun rays looked like they might make a nice image. It’s tough to process sun rays in a way that doesn’t kill the rest of the image. I tried using Apple’s Photos but Lightroom did a much better job so this is processed with it.

Mt. Race, south ridge

Mt. Race, south ridge

Looking north, 2014

Appalachian Trail, southwest Massachusetts.

Loren, Dave and I hiked down into Sage’s Ravine, then up onto the south ridge of Mt. Race in about four inches of snow. This is a section of the AT I maintain so we cut some downed branches blocking the trail and made a list of work we need to do in the spring.

Loren is pointing toward Sheffield, Massachusetts down in the valley where there is no snow.

No snowshoes or spikes needed and it was a perfect day. This is looking north up toward the top of Race and you can see where this picture is taken from if you check out this similar shot from last year looking the opposite way down the trail. The last white bump on the ridge is where we are in the above photograph.

Mt. Race, south ridge

Looking south, 2013

Dave even has on the same bright orange knit hat so you can’t miss him.

Pitch pine on Mt. Race

Pitch pine on Mt. Race

Appalachian Trail, Mt. Race, Southwest Massachusetts. The high spots between Salisbury, Connecticut and Sheffield, Massachusetts along the AT have outcroppings of these beautiful, small trees. They look great in summer (very green) and look great in winter coated with ice.

Lately I’ve been trimming the ones that are growing into the trail as it goes over Mt. Race. Makes me feel like a Japanese bonsai sculptor.

Lichen on Mt. Race

Lichen on Mt. Race

Appalachian Trail, Mt. Race, Southwest Massachusetts. Hiked up Mt. Race and on my way down noticed that the muggy weather was making the lichen “bloom.”

The foot traffic on the Appalachian Trail wipes out lichen but any rock outcropping that’s a bit off trail that isn’t walked on much tends to be loaded.

Most of my shots in this day’s collection didn’t work out very well: even stopped down, one has to be pretty square with the surface in order to get edge to edge focus and when I’m tired my ability to do this diminishes. Also, while a viewfinder is useful for some kinds of photography, doing this stuff at ground level would be very tough on one’s knees. In all honesty, the older I get the more I rely on a camera’s autofocus as I can’t see focus edge to edge anymore, not without glasses which I don’t carry on hikes.

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.

Gary on the south ridge of Mt. Race

Gary on the south ridge of Mt. Race

Appalachian Trail, Mt. Race, southwest Massachusetts. My good friend Gary Sharp is visiting and we hiked up Mt. Race to the southern ledges for the view. Amazing day, not too hot, no bug, slight breeze although the big rain we had the night before made the trail muddy and slippery in places giving us “old men” pause while hiking.

Lots of thru-hikers on the trail (people doing the entire AT) as well as day hikers. This is one of the most popular hikes in Massachusetts so it gets a lot of use.

This was also my first outing with the new Sony RX100 III. I’ve had and sold the first two versions of this camera and this one seems to have solved a number of things I didn’t care for about it. I still won’t use it in cold weather as its metal body and flush mounted controls make it tough to use but on a day like this its a joy to use.

Race Brook Falls

Race Brook Falls

Race Brook Falls Trail, Southwest Massachusetts. A short but intense storm came through yesterday (we were in New York and got soaked while walking) so I thought I’d better check the trail for blow downs. Everything was fine although the water crossings were tough with the extra water from the storm.

Uneventful hike except for the amount of mud on the Appalachian trail. Poor thru hikers have to wade through it with heavy packs. Ugh.

Mt. Race, south ridge (again)

Mt. Race, South Ridge (again)

Southwest Massachusetts.

Dave, Cathy, Nora and I snowshoed up onto Mt. Race, the same hike we did last week (sans snowshoes). We had over a foot of new snow since and the going was tough. Cathy led and broke trail the entire way (thank god).

This is looking south down the Appalachian Trail toward the Connecticut border and Bear Mountain (just off frame to the right). You can just sort of make out Twin Lakes and Salisbury, Connecticut in the back-left of the frame.

Another fantastic day: great conditions, great company, great time.

Race Brook reflections

Reflections in Race Brook

Race Brook Falls Trail, Southwest Massachusetts. Anne and I hiked up to Mt. Race via Race Brook falls today and it was extremely hot and buggy. I took these reflection shots along the way as we stopped for water and to put on more bug spray.

I remain extremely happy with the Ricoh GR although I don’t really use it the way many other people who like it do. This camera is the ultimate street photographer’s camera in that it operates very fast and its controls are easily adjusted on the fly. I bought it because I wanted a simple camera with a big sensor so that I could shoot mostly daylight shots like this but have enough resolution to crop and still have enough image for a fine art print. For my purposes this camera is perfect. I rarely zoomed my Canon S100 longer than it’s 24mm widest angle setting, nor my Sony RX100 off of its 28mm widest setting. So, a fixed 28mm f/2.8 lens is fine for me.

Ripples and reflections in Race Brook