Category Archives: Hiking

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.

Mt. Race, south ridge

Mt. Race, south ridge

Southwest Massachusetts.

Dave, Loren, and Dave and I hiked up onto Mt. Race yesterday in great conditions. Not quite enough snow for snowshoes but we used micro spikes. 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.

We just got another foot of snow so we’ll be back up in this area soon, with snowshoes. Oh boy.

Finding and Shooting ice

Finding and shooting ice

Race Brook Falls trail, Southwest Massachusetts.

Loren and I hiked up the Race Brook Falls trail (that I maintain for Berkshire AMC) and while there was plenty of ice it was mostly covered by a thin layer of snow.

It was a great hike and I didn’t think I’d be taking any pictures when I spotted a thin ribbon of water feeding Race Brook that looked to have some ice in it. On closer inspection there were some nice patterns created as different water levels froze.

This is what it looks like when you find an interesting ice patch. How you photograph it (close, far, etc.) and how you process the images comes later.

For those who care, I have on Kahtoola Micro Spikes which are essential when walking on slippery ground and are much easier to deal with than crampons. They’re easy to put on and work extremely well, better than “Yak Tracks” by far.

More ice on Schaghticoke Ridge

Ice growing in loose dirt on the Appalachian Triail

Ice growing in loose dirt on the Appalachian Triail

On a very cold day a few weeks ago we took a hike up the Appalachian Trail on Schaghticoke Ridge just south of Kent, Connecticut.

This is a collection of ice formations that were either in the same flow in different places or on the trail leading up to the flow. The variety was amazing and had I spent more time there I’m sure I would have found even more although my fingers would have become so numb I wouldn’t have been able to use the camera.

Small crevasse with feather ice

Small crevasse with feather ice

Feather ice

Feather ice

Large ice crystals in stepped ice fall

Large ice crystals in stepped ice fall

Large ice crystals in stepped ice fall

Large ice crystals in stepped ice fall

Large ice crystals in stepped ice fall

Large ice crystals in stepped ice fall

Thayer Brook foam

Foam and leaves

Thayer Brook, Schaghticoke Ridge, Appalachian Trail, Kent, Connecticut.

I hiked south on the AT to Thayer Brook to look for ice but it wasn’t quite cold enough, all I found was foam. Foam is interesting too so like they say, when you’ve got lemons make lemon aid (shoot foam).

The giant tulip trees are right by the brook so I had to take a shot at them too, they’re irresistible.

Foam and leaf

Foam layers

Tulip trees

Return to Sage’s Ravine

Dave at the narrows

Dave at the narrows

Appalachian Trail, Sage’s Ravine, Connecticut/Massachusetts border.

These images are from our return to Sage’s Ravine to shoot more ice. It was a bit colder on this day but as long as we kept moving and didn’t spend too much time in one place shooting we were fine. I never took my glove liners off the entire hike and was easily able to work the Ricoh GR, my hands never got cold.

Ice cave

Ice cave

Two waterfalls on Sage's Brook

Two waterfalls on Sage’s Brook

Ice fall down a cliff in Sage's Ravine

Ice fall down a cliff in Sage’s Ravine

Ice patterns on the way to Sage’s Ravine

Ice covering leaves

Ice covering leaves

Appalachian Trail, Sage’s Ravine, Connecticut/Massachusetts border.

A few more ice shots from our hike into Sage’s Ravine the other day. These were from the trail north of Bear Mountain.

Ice patterns in a rut

Ice patterns in a rut

Ice patterns in a rut

Growing ice crystals in a stream

Growing ice crystals in a stream

High contrast needle ice

High contrast needle ice

Appalachian Trail, Sage’s Ravine, Connecticut/Massachusetts border.

Dave and I hiked into Sage’s Ravine again and took a lot more landscape images but on the way there I noticed some needle ice (an ice crystal formation that grows in loose dirt) growing in a rut in the trail. I took these images with the Ricoh GR in both RAW and high contrast black and white JPEG expecting to toss the JPEGs and process the RAWs but wow, the JPEGs look like paintings. The ice looks like brush strokes. These were the keepers, the RAWs don’t work nearly as well.

High contrast needle ice

High contrast needle ice

Snowshoeing up Mt. Everett

Mt. Everett across Guilder Pond

Mt. Everett across Guilder Pond

Mt. Everett Reservation, Southwest Massachusetts. We had one good day of snow and snowshoeing before the current thaw hit and Dave and I snowshoed up Mt. Everett as our first snowshoe of the year. It was an incredible day: perfect snow, not too deep for unbroken snowshoeing (we broke the trail) and the light was amazing.

Mt. Everett used to have a fire tower on top and so, has an access road much of the way up which runs parallel to the Appalachian Trail. We snowshoed up the road as far as we could, then took the AT to the top.

This is a very nice hike to do any time of year (mountain laurel in July are killer good here), not very difficult but great landscape to photograph and enough of a hike to get one’s heart beating. The view on top is unremarkable and the last shot in this series is looking east through frozen trees to Twin Lakes near Salisbury, Connecticut.

As I post this it’s raining, warm, and almost all the snow is melted. While snow can be a pain at times (driving home from JFK the other day was a horror), a day of snowshoeing like this is one of the greatest forms of hiking there is.

My wish for the new year is many more days like this and wherever you are, I hope you have them too.

Guilder Pond

Guilder Pond

Guilder Pond

Guilder Pond

Frozen hemlock

Frozen hemlock

Going up Mt. Everett

Going up Mt. Everett

Frozen trees on Mt. Everett

Frozen trees on Mt. Everett

Frozen grass

Frozen grass

Frozen trees on Mt. Everett

Frozen trees on Mt. Everett

Dave breaking the path up Mt. Everett

Dave breaking the path up Mt. Everett

Dave near the top of Mt. Everett

Dave near the top of Mt. Everett

Frozen trees on Mt. Everett

Frozen trees on Mt. Everett

View from top of Mt. Everett

View from the top of Mt. Everett

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)

First ice on Race Brook falls

Early ice on Race Brook Falls

Race Brook Falls Trail, Southwest Massachusetts. Given that I’m the maintainer for this trail and I’d not been on it in a few weeks, I thought it time to take a look at it. To my surprise, there was ice on the falls and all along the trail. I had to watch my step as I didn’t bring my Micro spikes and the patches of ice under leaves were treacherous.

I love the look of this place any time of year but the bleakness of late fall/early winter is particularly appealing to me. Couple that with processing in higher contrast monochrome and you have a recipe for interesting photography.

Race Brook above the falls

Race Brook above the falls

Ice teeth on Race Brook

Ice teeth on Race Brook

Race Brook Falls trail in high contrast

Race Brook Falls

Race Brook Falls

Race Brook Falls Trail, Southwest Massachusetts. Anne and I took a walk up this trail to the Appalachian Trail intersection. Since I’ve photographed the heck out of this trail in color I figured I’d be bold and just set the Ricoh GR to high contrast B/W without a RAW backup. Oh boy.

These images are straight from the camera via Lightroom with no adjustment or cropping. I’m really enjoying this experiment and it’s giving my photography a much needed kick in the ass.

Race Brook above the falls

Race Brook above the falls

Race Brook pool and reflection

Race Brook pool and reflection

Anne defending the Race Brook Falls trail

Anne descending the Race Brook Falls trail

Looking east from the Race Brook Falls trail

Looking east from the Race Brook Falls trail

High contrast Pine Swamp

High contrast Pine Swamp

West Cornwall, Connecticut. The last time we hiked up to this beaver pond it looked like the beavers had abandoned it but this day there was fresh evidence of beaver activity. The wood ticks were also plentiful and it was a constant struggle to get them off before they found a way to skin. Lyme disease and Ehrlichiosis are serious problems around here so one can’t be too careful.

I decided to try the Ricoh GR’s high contrast black and white filter setting on this landscape and I really liked the way things looked on the LCD screen, was less sure what they might look like on my computer’s screen but the only way to find out was to try.

This is a new way of seeing both urban and forest landscape for me and I know in time I’ll become more comfortable with it but I can see that it’s going to grow on me. Most of the images shot like this I’ve seen in the various Ricoh groups on flicker are urban street photography but I don’t see any reason why one can’t use this kind of filter for landscape.

Experimentation is fun and I’m looking forward to more. The Ricoh GR makes all of this stuff very easy, I continue to be impressed with almost every aspect of that camera, it’s one of the finest compacts I’ve ever used.

High contrast Pine Swamp

High contrast Pine Swamp

Trees on Schaghticoke Ridge

Two oaks on Schaghticoke Ridge

Two oak trees

Schaghticoke Ridge, Appalachian Trial, Kent, Connecticut. The section of the Appalachian Trail between Bull’s Bridge and Rt. 341/Kent is called Schaghticoke Ridge because it goes over Schaghticoke Mountain and skirts the Schaghticoke indian reservation down on the Housatonic River. It’s actually the section of AT that’s closest to my house in Warren; it’s about 20 minutes away. When I’m not hiking the entire ridge (8 miles, two cars) I like to hike in from one end or the other and then double back.

Each end has nice features and the north end, which I did today has some very nice trees including a small grove of large tulip trees that I’ve photographed a lot over the years.

I keep a journal of my hikes and one of the things that I’ve been recording over the years are good photo ops on various hikes. It never changes the gear I take (one small camera) but, for example, I enjoy doing certain hikes along certain ridges with a lot of mountain laurel in late June, early July because the mountain laurel is in bloom then. All of that said, pretty much any hike I do during fall is going to be interesting because of the color change but also because the light is different in fall. Of course, winter is coming and there will be ice… Okay, okay, there’s always something to shoot on a hike, it’s (me) the photographer who has to be ready to do the shooting.

Two tulips on Schaghticoke Ridge

Two tulip trees