Race Brook

Oak leaf in lava foam

Oak leaf in lava foam

Race Brook Falls Trail, Southwest Massachusetts.

This eddy current of foam was right at the bottom of the trail at the first Race Brook crossing, just after a small bit of turbulence. It was the most amazing piece of foam I’ve ever seen and I took numerous pictures as the leaf spun around, caught in the the eddy current.

Even though this image was done with the Ricoh GR’s high contrast black and white filter, this foam really did look like lava, it was unusual and fascinating and if we hadn’t been on our way further up the trail I’d have stood there for a lot longer watching it change form.

Ice on Race Brook

Ice on Race Brook

Race Brook Falls Trail, Southwest Massachusetts.

Loren and I hiked up the Race Brook Falls Trail to the Appalachian Trail intersection and were going to continue up Mt. Race but the ice on the trail was intimidating. Enough ice to slip, not enough to put on micro spikes. So, we turned around and I took a few pictures of large ice crystals growing in slow spots on Race Brook on the way back down.

Ice on Race Brook

Ice on Race Brook

Ice on Race Brook

Ice on Race Brook

Race Brook reflection

Race Brook reflection

Race Brook Falls Trail, Southwest Massachusetts. Dave and I hiked up Mt. Race to say hi to some volunteer trail workers working on the trail we maintain. I shot some clouds, some trail work documentation, and a few Race Brook reflections. The interesting thing about these reflection is shutter speed: one wants to keep things sharp (fast) but there’s something about the sheeting and blur that comes with slower shutter speeds. My solution: shoot a lot, changing exposure, hope a few turn out. I like this one.

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

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.

Fall leaves in Race Brook

Fall leaves in Race Brook

Race Brook Falls Trail, Southwest Massachusetts. Beautiful day for a hike up the Race Brook falls trail to the Appalachian Trail, then south over Mt. Race. The leaves in Race Brook looked better than the same leaves hanging on trees.

Fall leaves in Race Brook in sunlight

On the way back the sun was low enough so the trees were casting shadows in the brook which meant that there were small pockets of sunlight which made the leaves stand out a bit more.

Race Brook turbulence and reflection

Race Brook turbulence and reflection

Race Brook Falls Trail, Massachusetts. This was taken at a place where the brook drops about six inches on the right of this frame. The turbulence and vortexes caused by the drop on the right affected the water both on the drop and to the left of it thus affecting the reflection of the trees on the far bank.

Race Brook turbulence and reflection overview

This is the larger context the previous image came from. I took the previous image first (kneeling next to the water) and then stood up and took this one to show context lost in the closeup.

Ripple-ice on Race Brook

Ripple-ice on Race Brook

Race Brook Falls, Massachusetts. On the way down from Mt. Race Loren and I noticed a great reflection in the new ice on Race Brook. To the left in this frame the brook makes a small drop over some rocks making ripples that are freezing in this pool. I’m beginning to see how these wonderful ice patterns form and it’s going to help me look for spots where I can shoot more.

Fall reflected in Race Brook

Fall refelected in Race Brook

Race Brook Falls, Massachusetts. Dave and I took a late afternoon hike up Race Brook Falls to Mt. Race and the afternoon light was much better for photography than our usual morning hike, sun overhead situation. We’ve had such a dry summer this is the first time since spring that we’ve seen this much water in Race Brook and the fall colors and sky reflected in it caught both of our eyes.

Fall refelected in Race Brook