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The Rock House Reservation

I was driving through the Brookfield’s along Rt. 9 on my way to the Quabbin Reservoir, and I couldn’t believe the vibrancy of the foliage. It was finally peaking.  I started to think about great locations for a foliage shoot and my mind immediately went to the Rock House Reservation in West Brookfield.  My current web site home page is a nice image taken from there on a spring day.  But I suspected this would be different.  Parked the car and hiked into the site with a wide angle lens and tripod, and I could see it through the trees and brush.  I wasn’t coming to get the image, the image was coming to get me.  The heart quickens..  (click the image for a better view.)

Rock House Reservation is an aptly named collection of glacial rocks strewn about a lovely site, including a pond, under the management of the Trustees of the Reservations .  A place of worship and camping for Native Americans, the landscape was forged by the movement of glaciers over thousands of years, leaving these “erratics” to pose us questions.  When you spot a location like this, in this kind of light, you should work it.  You don’t go for one kind of shot.  Vary your lens length and your exposure. You’ll start to see things differently.  We move in for some details..

And it suddenly makes one wonder…

Is that big rock gonna catch that little one, and if so, then what???

Just as I was packing up to go another photographer, a nice gentleman from the area, came up from behind.  We chatted for a bit, and he offered that not enough people in the area know this site.  That was too bad we agreed.  A view like this makes you feel glad to be alive.

(Technical note:  The first and fifth images were actually made from three and four image captures, in what is called “high dynamic range” software. Cameras, both digital and film, have a problem.  They can’t see the range of tones that we can with the naked eye.  In a location in which there are very bright highlights and very dark shadows, if you only shoot one image, you’ll have to sacrifice something.  Either the clouds “blow out” or the landscape “goes into the shadows.”  I didn’t see blown out clouds or harsh landscape shadows.  Merging images sequences shot to capture the full range of tones from the seen in programs such as Photomatix allows you to create a more realistic picture of that scene.  Unfortunately these tools can also be used to make an image look ridiculous.  Hopefully I avoided that pitfall here.  These scenes really were that colorful and bright.)

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