pine swamp

Ice on a beaver dam at Pine Swamp

Ice on beaver dam (closeup)

Pine Swamp, West Cornwall, Connecticut. Dave and I hiked up to our favorite beaver ecosystem on the Appalachian trail near here.

All of these images were taken while walking across a beaver dam downstream of the main pond (which looks abandoned). The last two images in this post are an overview, up and downstream from the dam. The ice images are from the waterline where the water has changed height and refrozen numerous times.

The first two images are the same formation at different distances.

All of these were taken with the Ricoh GR and while I had the RAW files, all of these are the high contrast JPEGs processed in the camera. All I did in Lightroom was a bit of cropping and a bit of unblocking of some shadows.

Ice on beaver dam

Ice on beaver dam

Ice on beaver dam

Ice on beaver dam

Looking upstream from beaver dam

Looking downstream from beaver dam

Pine Swamp Ice

Pine Swamp Ice

Pine Swamp, West Cornwall, Connecticut. Dave and I snowshoed up to our favorite beaver sanctuary on the Appalachian trail near here.

This was an interesting day to shoot ice: the ice patterns were plentiful but getting to them was treacherous in places. At one point I was standing on what looked like a solid shelf of snow and ice and the next minute I was in up to my waist with water up to my knees. I pulled my legs out fast enough so that my gaiters saved me but it was a real wake up call, getting wet out there on a 15F day can lead to serious problems.

That aside, it was a great day to be out.

Pine Swamp Ice

Pine Swamp Ice

Pine Swamp Ice

Pine Swamp Ice

Pine Swamp Ice

Pine Swamp Ice

Pine Swamp

Coyote tracks

Coyote tracks

Pine Swamp, West Cornwall, Connecticut. Dave and I snowshoed up to our favorite beaver sanctuary on the Appalachian trail near here.

On the way there we passed a number of places where a group of coyotes had “marked” trees (urine stains in the snow) and scratched to cover tracks. The low light made their tracks stand out and it was a bit unnerving to see so many of them in one place.

Pine Swamp beaver pond

Pine Swamp beaver pond

Pine Swamp beaver pond

The pond was frozen although in shooting ice (another batch of mages coming soon) I fell through the crusted snow and got a bit wet. Thank god for gaiters.

Lichen

Lichen

On the way back I figured I’d given shooting lichen another shot (pun intended) with the Ricoh GR’s high contrast filter and the results were more interesting than the years of lichen shots I’ve been making. I think I see my next series coming. I liken lichen, especially in high contrast.

Ice crystals on Pine Swamp

Pine Swamp snow, ice, bubbles

Pine Swamp, West Cornwall, Connecticut. Loren and I snowshoed up to Pine Swamp to see if the beavers had been active and check out the landscape. This hike on the Appalachian Trail involves going through a narrow chimney which, under normal circumstances is quite easy but with snowshoes on is awkward. We made it, just and circumnavigated the pond, crossing the now well frozen beaver dams going out and coming back.

The ice crystals were magnificent and different from what I’d seen here before but it was quite cold with a breeze which put the wind chill below zero. I never took off my glove liners (under mittens) but even then, I didn’t do as much shooting as I wanted to; one has to keep moving on a day like this. Shooting under these conditions puts camera ergonomics front and center. Fumbling with a lens cap or with tough to use controls could cause real problems. While the Ricoh GR can hunt for focus when there isn’t a lot of contrast, I’m continuing to find its controls a delight to use with gloves on.

Pine Swamp ice

Pine Swamp snow, ice, bubbles

Pine Swamp ice

Pine Swamp, early winter

Dave crossing an upstream beaver dam

Dave crossing an upstream beaver dam

West Cornwall, Connecticut. A hike up the Appalachian Trail to Pine Swamp is good any time of year but winter is the best. Yesterday was extremely cold but there wasn’t much wind so we were fine as long as we kept moving.

Another aspect of the Ricoh GR that I like is that its controls can be used with thin glover liners on. I suffer from Raynaud syndrome (cold hands) and so taking mittens or gloves off to use a camera in extreme cold can be a serious problem for me. Being able to use a camera’s controls with thin, neoprene glove liners keeps my hands covered all the time. I keep opened and hot chemical hand warmers in a pocket in case I need them but yesterday with the glove liners on I had no need and was able to pull my mittens off and take pictures at will.

I had a very tough time doing this with the Sony RX100 with its flush mounted controls and this is one of the reasons I don’t own that camera anymore.

It was a great day to be out hiking, the snow wasn’t so deep we needed snow shoes and there wasn’t enough ice to require micro-spikes. I only fell once on snow covered oak leaves. The ice on the pond wasn’t thick enough to walk on yet but if it was and we walked out to the beaver lodge my guess is we’d have heard the beaver family yacking it up inside.

Beaver dam downstream of main pond

Beaver dam downstream of main pond

Oak and clouds

Oak and clouds

Icicle and lichen (RAW)

Icicle and lichen (RAW)

Icicle and lichen (high contrast jpeg)

Icicle and lichen (high contrast jpeg)

Ice, snow, water, and sun at Pine Swamp

Ice, snow, water, and sun at Pine Swamp

West Cornwall, Connecticut. We went back to the Pine Swamp beaver ecosystem again last weekend and this time travelled farther downstream from the main pond and beaver lodge.

This image was shot four dams below the main pond and lodge.

Beavers need to create waterways so they can venture away from their lodges to get food and this ecosystem has numerous dams and waterways upstream and downstream of the main pond. Great for both the beaver and us as it’s more interesting swampland to explore.

Snow, rock, reflection at Pine Swamp

This image was shot upstream two dams from the main pond and lodge.

More from Pine Swamp

Dave and Loren crossing beaver dam, Pine Swamp

Dave and Loren crossing beaver dam, Pine Swamp

West Cornwall, Connecticut. We did a short hike back up to the Pine Swamp beaver ecosystem yesterday in about 6″ of snow. Great fun. The water wasn’t frozen over enough to walk across so we had to carefully walk on the tops of a few of the beaver dams (there are at least 10 in this ecosystem).

This hike, while not all the long or tough remains one of our favorites because the destination is so interesting in any season.

I’m still digging the image quality of the Sony RX100 (less its ergonomics) and my solution to the metal body making my hands cold is a thin pair of SmartWool glove liners that I leave on under my mittens. I can turn it on/off and push the shutter button with the gloves on which really saves my hands.

Ice pattern

Lots of wonderful ice patterns in the frozen pieces of Pine Swamp and the extra resolution on the Sony RX100 reveals some great details.

Stick, swamp, ice, snow

It hasn’t been consistently cold enough for the entire swamp to freeze over so there are some nice spots with a mix of water, ice and snow which looked quite photogenic.

Broken ice with bubbles

Reflection in Pine Swamp Beaver Pond

Reflection in Pine Swamp Beaver Pond

Originally posted April 10, 2012 (note the trees with no leaves)

On the Appalachian Trail near West Cornwall, Connecticut. We visit this beaver pond often and it’s surrounded by trees* so when the sky is right the reflections are great.

*Beavers choose waterways to dam that have a ready supply of food (tree bark) and building materials (branches) nearby. It’s absolutely amazing how much they can change a landscape in such a short amount of time, building lodges, dams, and food supplies so that generations can live in one place, continuously improving it.

Reflection in Pine Swamp Beaver Pond

Reflection in Pine Swamp Beaver Pond

On the Appalachian Trail near West Cornwall, Connecticut. We visit this beaver pond often and it’s surrounded by trees* so when the sky is right the reflections are great.

*Beavers choose waterways to dam that have a ready supply of food (tree bark) and building materials (branches) nearby. It’s absolutely amazing how much they can change a landscape in such a short amount of time, building lodges, dams, and food supplies so that generations can live in one place, continuously improving it.

Reflection in Pine Swamp

Reflection in Pine Swamp

West Cornwall, Connecticut. We returned to the Pine Swamp Beaver Pond and there’s a lot of new beaver activity there. This tree/sky reflection was shot in the outflow from the third dam downstream of the main beaver pond. There are at least five dams downstream of the lodge and probably as many as five upstream. Beavers are the most amazing and productive animals.