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OK, So, It rained…..

Indeed in did.  Last week I was complaining about how dry it was in central New England.  Things are a bit better now since the tropical pump passed through.  We had a couple of days of stormy weather.  (Click on the images for a better view.)

The rain did make for some dramatic and very welcome water flows, not just for photographers, but for the entire ecosystem.  This particular branch of the Swift River at Gate 30 was frighteningly low last week.  Yesterday, you wouldn’t want to step in it.  I’d estimate that the water passing by, at very high speed, was about eighteen inches deep.  That’s about right in my experience.  September should be our wettest month.

If everything looks deeply saturated, that’s the effect of the water on the leaves and rocks.  It’s quite beautiful.  In the image above, the saturation was accentuated just a bit with a circular polarizing filter on camera that takes the glare out of the water.  But nearly everything looks beautiful in this light even without a polarizer.

But the water level in the Quabbin Reservoir is still low.  Here’s the Swift River flowing from the spillway.

The spillway “spills” water the good citizens of Boston don’t need.  We checked our library to see if the flow in September was comparably low in previous years.  Indeed, that appears to be the case. However, the actual spillway, from which the water “spills” appears to be maybe three or four feet lower this year than previous years.  You can’t refill a body of water that big quickly, so in essence, our situation remains the same.

Oh well, perhaps we’ll get some snow soon!  Till next time……

Technical note:  Images 2 (a panorama composed of about seven shots), 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 above were all shot with a new Nikon Lens, the 28 – 300 mm. super zoom.  Normally you shouldn’t expect much from a lens like this.  Every lens design represents a set of compromises and here, the compromise is weight and cost (to some extent, it’s still expensive).  In my efforts to develop a nature photo kit of cameras and lenses I could take on very long hikes, for me, 3 miles and up, I wanted to give this lens a try.  In essence, I’d have to say that Nikon has done a good job here.  You can’t see these things on a computer screen, but these images are pretty sharp and quite printable.  However, this lens is a slow lens, f 5.6 at 300 mm.  That means you’ve got to really crank up the ISO if you want to work without a tripod.  So my advice would be to make sure you’ve got a camera that can handle such an assignment, or, use a tripod.  I used a Nikon D3s, shooting at between 800 and 2000 iso in this case.  I normally shoot with a tripod, but it was raining at times and I was trying to work fast. (Clearly the first shot would have benefited from a tripod and slower shutter speed, but that was taken during a torrential downpour.  Shot 6 obviously was taken on a tripod as I was trying to blur the water movement and a tripod is the only way to do so.)  The bottom line:  this is a good lens.  It won’t replace your best lenses, but if you need to hike some serious distances, your back will thank you.

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