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Happy New Year

May your water always flow…..

This coming year the environment will face, potentially, it’s gravest series of threats, ever….the Presidential and Congressional Elections in the United States.  Hopefully, the water will still be flowing next year at this time.  Those of us who care about the environment need to NOT sit this one out.

Happy Holidays

(Don’t eat too much!)  Seriously, enjoy.

A Toast, To a Very Old Friend


The Holidays of course remind us of what is important, who and want matters to us. Nothing lasts forever, no matter its importance.  I’m a big fan of trees, as anyone who read this blog will know. Though I appreciate all trees, I’ve got my favorites. The road from Gate 41 at the Quabbin Reservoir in Petersham, to the water is one of my favorite, very short walks because of one tree in particular.

It may not look like much, particularly in the winter.  But a closer look at its branches gives one a sense of real strength, at least it does so for me.  It’s circumference is way over six feet.  You can’t really tell the age of a tree without examining it’s rings, but this tree is embedded in a stone fence in what was once the community of Storrsville, which was essentially abandoned by it’s occupants well before the Quabbin Reservoir was created in the 1930’s.  I suspect this tree was not only there at the time, but was probably already old.  A tree like this can be well over 150 years old, dating it back to the Civil War era.  A close up view might explain my fondness for this big guy.

In the background you can see Rand Brook and on the other side of the brook is an old mill dating back well into the middle to early 1800’s.  We have seen this tree in all sorts of weather and it is still very much open for business.  Loaded with leaves in the summer.  So of course, it was still loaded with leaves when the October 31 ice and snow storm hit, a storm that wreaked havoc on trees and power lines.  And on our friend here.

Will it survive?  I don’t know.  That’s a big wound.  My guess is that it will survive for at least a few more seasons, but wounds allow for infections.  The Division of Conservation and Recreation who manage the Reservoir typically leave things wild unless fallen limbs block the road.  You could tell that they had in fact sawed and moved off some of what fell.  Beyond that, this wonderful old tree is probably on it’s own.  I propose then a Holiday toast to what matters.  Cheers.

Images that Change the World – Updated

I recently had a wonderful video drawn to my attention by Stephen Gingold, a terrific nature photographer from central/western Massachusetts.  (You can catch up with Stephen’s blog here.)  The video, only about three minutes long, presents the work of Philip Hyde.  Hyde was a student of Ansel Adams and one of the founders of what might now be called the environmental photography movement.  Hyde’s work raised awareness of man’s impact on the environment and provoked a number of critically important conservation initiatives.  As we contemplate the fact that this year humanity resumed increasing the amount of carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere, the fracking of rocks to find natural gas (which will greatly impact the water supply in places like Pennsylvania) and the recent effort in the House of Representatives to link continuing the tax cut for the middle class in the US to the building of an unneeded sludge pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast (those two things have a lot in common now don’t they), Hyde’s memory seems more relevant than ever.  Oh, and he was also an incredibly gifted photographer.

Update:  This blog has proven quite popular which is great, but, typical for me, I neglected to provide you more information about Philip Hyde and his recent exhibit. You can find that at the blog written by his son, This is one of the most interesting and sophisticated blogs on environmental, nature and landscape photography on the web. If this is an interest of yours, check it out.

Thanks for the Thanksgiving Shots

Had a wonderful weekend in Newport, Rhode Island with the family.  Increasingly we like to hit the road for Holidays.  Newport was festive, in a quiet sort of way.  Walking from the hotel to the restaurant we noted the incredible sunset scene over the harbor.  I had the camera, but it was pretty dark.  My wonderful daughter Molly suggested using one of the pier pilings for a camera support.  ISO up to 3200 and here we go.  This is real panorama so you’re going to have to click on it to enjoy.

Thanks Molly!  Newport is known for its mansions, but it’s really about the sea.  I chose to focus on the sea for this visit.  In the Harbor, terrific reflections for abstracts. (The remaining images are smaller panoramas, still worth a click.

Along the eastern Cliff Walk, the Ocean.



Much to be Thankful for….