Race Brook Falls Trail

Birch leaves with water droplets

Birch leaves with water droplets

Race Brook Falls Trail, Sheffield, Massachusetts.

I got word that the campsite on one of the trails I maintain needed attention so I hiked up there yesterday to check it out. The weather was mixed and by the time I got up to the campsite it was raining hard. It didn’t last and I was able to get my work done.

On the way down I got interested in the water droplets that had formed on the various leaves on the ground (of which there were many). All of these images are primarily of birch leaves with some oaks and occasional maples behind them.

Birch leaves with water droplets

I was using a new Ricoh GR II which I got because the price has come down considerably. But, I noticed that the movement of the lens during auto focus created a grinding noise. When I got home I listened to this noise and it was disturbing considering my two original GRs don’t make a noise like this when the lens extends during power up or down or during AF.

I returned the camera to B&H and will be in New York on Tuesday so will go to the store and listen to the GR II there. If the noise is in all copies, I’ll buy it again. If not, I’m concerned that quality control on this camera may be an issue.

I do like the images it made though and that’s what counts in the end.

Birch leaves with water droplets

Hobblebush on fire

Hobblebush on fire

Race Brook Falls Trail. Southwest Massachusetts.

We did a day of clipping and maintenance on this trail and given that my hands were full with tools photography took a back seat.

On the way down it was easier to take some pictures and the sun was lower and so, it was top-lighting the hobblebush leaves, some of which have started to turn (ugh). Mid-August seems to be a tipping point for some plants and early fall is in the air. Dang, we were just getting into summer.

Race Brook above the falls

Race Brook above the falls

Race Brook Falls Trail, Southwest Massachusetts.

This was our first hike on this trail in a long while without snowshoes or micro spikes. There were patches of ice in places but it was easily traversed without slipping.

Race Brook was running high because of the snow melt which is just the way I like it.

These two shots were taken on Race Brook above the upper waterfall which is about one hundred yards behind me.

I’ve taken many images along this part of the brook when the water is high because it has just enough drop to create interesting micro-rapids and an occasional small waterfall.

The Ricoh GR wide angle lens attachment helped create a more dramatic landscape by capturing the forest on either side of the brook.

Race Brook above the falls

Race Brook Falls with snow

Race Brook Falls with snow

Race Brook Falls Trail. Southwest Massachusetts.

We hiked up the Race Brook Falls Trail (the trail I maintain for the Berkshire AMC) yesterday and it was a beautiful day for hiking and for photography.

The trail had a few inches of snow on it at the bottom and about six inches up on top. We used micro spikes but didn’t need snow shoes. We stayed relatively dry even with mountain laurel loaded with snow impeding the trail.

I took pictures with both the Ricoh GR and the Sony RX100 III and while the GR files almost universally had more information in them, they needed both exposure and white balance adjustments in Lightroom. Once that was done there was no comparison between the two, the GR files almost universally showed more detail, sharpness and have a nicer look to them. This is fascinating to me: the Sony focuses better in low light, seems to expose more accurately, and has a more pleasant automatic white balance but in the end, a larger sensor makes a very big difference. There may be other factors but there is no doubt about it, the GR is a very strong camera.

Water patterns and reflections on Race Brook

Water patterns and reflections

Race Brook Falls Trail. Southwest Massachusetts.

We hiked up Mt. Race yesterday via the Race Brook Falls Trail (the trail I maintain for the Berkshire AMC) and it was a beautiful day for photography.

On our way down I got closer to the falls to inspect the dead tree and in fact the branches were cut off by someone. Bad news.

But, while standing under that tree, I noticed that the water was making some fantastic patterns as it ran between the two rocks I was straddling. So, out came the camera and I began to shoot.

The issue with shooting these kinds of water patterns is that no matter what the shutter speed you need to check to make sure you’re getting close to the shot you want. Water is a very malleable thing and as the flow changes so do the ripples, the light, and the shadows and other contrasty pattern making elements.

I took over 50 images of this small area and this is just one I liked. I’ll go through the others and see if I can find other patterns from within the few minutes I was shooting.

Race Brook Falls with trimmed tree

Race Brook Falls with trimmed tree

Race Brook Falls Trail. Southwest Massachusetts.

We hiked up Mt. Race yesterday via the Race Brook Falls Trail (the trail I maintain for the Berkshire AMC) and it was a beautiful day for photography.

The falls looked great: just enough water to show the falls but not so much that it would be difficult to shoot without blown highlights.

Dave noticed that the dead pine tree that fell down in front of the falls had had its limbs cut off closer to the trunk. Amazingly, on earlier hikes I’ve heard from photographers with big iron camera gear set up here to shoot the falls that they wanted that tree removed.

Let me repeat that: a few landscape photographers who lugged big DSLR gear and tripods up here to shoot these falls wanted me to remove that tree because they didn’t like the way it looked in their shot.

I’ve always smiled politely and told them that we don’t change the landscape for photographers and that I speak not just as the person who maintains this trail, but as a person who does a considerably amount of photography on it.

My guess is someone decided to take matters into their own hands and cut the branches. Next they’ll cut the trunk and try to pull it out of the way.


Foam and reflection on Race Brook

Foam and reflection on Race Brook

Race Brook Falls Trail. Southwest Massachusetts.

We hiked up Mt. Race yesterday via the Race Brook Falls Trail (the trail I maintain for the Berkshire AMC) and it was a beautiful day for photography.

Race Brook was running slowly enough so that there were foam patterns in a few of the pools. This was the largest of them and I took many images of it from many angles, catching both the foam pattern and the trees on the far bank reflected.

Canon G7X on Race Brook Falls Trail

Mini waterfall on Race Brook

Mini waterfall on Race Brook

Race Brook Falls Trail, southwest Massachusetts.

Loren and I took a hike up this trail today to inspect for downed limbs and trees after the high winds the last few days. It was also an opportunity for me to try out the new Canon G7X which I got to replace the Sony RX100 III which I recently sold.

These are three untouched JPEGs straight out of the camera. All I did was crop them square. Impressive.

The Sony RX100 takes remarkable images but it’s physical ergonomics are a problem for me: flush mounted buttons, a control-by-wire front control wheel and very slow operation.

The Canon G7X is essentially the same camera done by Canon. Very similar size and shape, same 1″ sensor, nice flip up LCD for ground level shots, front control wheel with clicks (a bit too loud actually), much faster operation, better physical controls and a better menu system.

It feels much like a bigger, more capable Canon S90/95/100/110/120, etc.

I noticed that in high ISO JPEGS (no RAW converter yet) there is some smearing and this was true of the Sony RX100 (all models) as well.

It takes a while to get to know a new camera and for me the jury is still out on this one. I definitely like it better than the Sony RX100 but nothing compares with my Ricoh GR so I need to keep this camera long enough to sort that out.

Chestnut oak leaves

Chestnut oak leaves

Chestnut oak leaf

Chestnut oak leaves

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.