winter

Bear Rock Creek

Bear Rock Creek

Southwestern, Massachusetts (The Connecticut border is two miles south/left) in this frame on the Appalachian Trail).

We hiked from this point up onto Mt. Race on the Appalachian Trail to check the section I maintain. Cut one tree that had fallen across the trail but otherwise the trail is in good shape for this time of year. Pockets of ice that us old men have to watch out for but it was a nice hike.

This creek flows from Plantain Pond which is the recreational lake at the YMCA Camp Hi Rock down to Rt. 41. Behind me about 50 yards is a nice waterfall.

There were lots of ice “udders” (stalactites) under rocks and trees but I couldn’t get close enough to photograph them without falling in.

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.

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)

Rock, snow, lichen, reflection

Rock, snow, lichen, reflection

Salisbury, Connecticut. We cross this little “streamlet” on the Undermountain Trail on the way up Bear Mountain.

This small pool is usually crying out to be photographed because it catches great reflections from the trees and rocks around it and I particularly like the reflections, like this one, where the biggest boulder has a layer of snow on it that shows up in the water.

Chicago’s Freezing Fire

Chicago’s Freezing Fire

On Tuesday night, a huge vacant warehouse on Chicago’s South Side went up in flames. Fire department officials said it was the biggest blaze the department has had to battle in years and one-third of all Chicago firefighters were on the scene at one point or another trying to put out the flames. Complicating the scene was the weather — temperatures were well below freezing and the spray from the fire hoses encased everything below in ice, including buildings, vehicles, and some firefighting gear. The warehouse was gutted, but the fire was contained.

Alan Taylor has put together an amazing collection of images of the ice-aftermath of putting out this fire.

Queen Anne’s lace with snow

Snow on Queen Anne's Lace

Washington, Connecticut. At the start of a short winter hike up to the Pinnacle Dave and I got distracted by Queen Anne’s lace with snow cones on them.

Dave photographing Queen Anne's Lace

The flip out LCD on the G11 meant that Dave probably didn’t have to break his back for this shot; he could have swiveled it to allow him to stand up strait and use it like a vertical viewfinder.

Snow on Queen Anne's Lace

Fun experimenting with the G11 meter to best catch the plant and the sun going down.

Snow on Queen Anne's Lace

We stayed out on this field shooting plants a bit too long, the temperature dropped fast as the sun went down and after I took this we headed for home.