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.
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.
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. We were about to turn around as it was extremely cold when we saw an ice flow from a seep in the ground ahead so we kept going.
It’s tough to know if formations like this will have interesting ice formations to shoot but on close inspection, this flow, which was about 15 feet wide and close to 100 feet long was a gold mine.
I took over 200 images in the 45 minutes we spent there and I could have spent the rest of the day there had it not been extremely cold. It’s taken me a while to get through the images and this set is the first group, there are many more from different areas of the flow.
This group were all taken in a four foot square section that had an unusual formation in it which you can see in the first shot in the group. All shots after the first were taken either within the formation or just off frame left or right. It was absolutely in credible, I could have spent all day in this one spot.
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.
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.
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.
Race Brook Falls Trail, Southwest Massachusetts. Dave and I are the “maintainers” of this blue trail connecting Rt. 41 to the Appalachian Trail and we have to hike it regularly to make sure it’s clear. It’s about 2 miles of steep switchbacks from the parking lot to the AT intersection. This was our first hike this spring and I was surprised to find some decent ice to take pictures of on Race Brook and in puddles off to the side of the trail.
Bear Mountain, Salisbury, Connecticut. Dave and I hiked up Bear Mountain and this is the view north into Massachusetts to Mt. Race and Mt. Everett. The Appalachian Trail runs from the left edge of this image over the tops of those two mountains to the left side of this image (we’ve hiked that section dozens of times).
We could see the ice on the trees from the road on the drive up so we wanted to do this hike to get some shots of the ice which can be pretty fantastic.
Turned out it was a great day to be out, not too cold and while the snow was deep and drifted in places it wasn’t too tough to walk in without snowshoes.
Mt. Frissell and Round Top from Bear Mountain
This is on the south ridge of Bear Mountain looking west into New York state. The top of Mt. Frissell is actually in Massachusetts but the south shoulder of it is the highest “point” in Connecticut. Bear Mountain, which we’re on is the highest “peak” (so to speak).
Dave photographing ice on a pitch pine
We spent a lot of time attempting to photograph the ice on various trees. The pitch pines were the most interesting although there was ice everywhere.
Pitch pine ice
You can see which way the wind was blowing by how the ice is deposited on the needles.
Ice on a leaf bud
Here, again, you can see how the wind was blowing as the freezing rain/snow was coming down.
Another example showing the ice on the downwind side of branches.
On the Appalachian Trail between Hubbard Brook and Rt. 7 near Sheffield, Massachusetts.
This was the finest collection of ice patterns I’d ever seen in my many years of looking for and shooting them. This was a shallow swamp right on the trail with a small crumbling bridge/boardwalk running through it.
On either side of the boardwalk was a different collection of ice patterns. I went nuts shooting, then Dave found the ice bubbles and yelled out.
We could have spent much of the day at this spot and if I’d had, say, a full frame camera like the Sony RX1 or any easy to use camera I’d have shot even more.
As it was, going from the 100 or so images I took down to the nine I’m posting here has taken me weeks of comparing.
West Cornwall, Connecticut. This part of the Carse Brook swamp is an abandoned beaver pond that ha the brook running through the middle of it. Where Dave is standing on grass used to be under water when the beaver pond was active.
This is a depression in the old bottom of the Carse Brook beaver pond where water collected and froze. There are hundreds of these throughout this abandoned beaver pond, each with its own shape and crystal structure in the ice.
This is a closer shot of the ice formed in the depression in the bottom of this abandoned beaver pond.
West Cornwall, Connecticut. We decided to check out the Carse Brook swamp just south of where we park for our hike to Pine Swamp beaver pond on the Appalachian Trail.
To our delight it was loaded with great ice formations and in the hour we spent there I took close to a hundred pictures.
These are the first three images I’ve processed and printed and I’m very happy with them. They have a Japanese print feel to them and they look great printed large (15″ squares). I’ll frame one of them tomorrow and get it up on the wall in our dining room so we can live with it for a while but my wife loves them as much as I do so I think I’ve done good.