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The Ice is Breaking Up

Spring does seem to be fighting it’s way into our lives, thankfully.  It was still quite chilly at the Quabbin (Reservoir, source of Boston’s drinking water) today.  I’m finishing up my series of studies of the Winsor Dam, Goodnough Dike and the other man-made structures that hold back in the water in preparation for a magazine submission.  On the way in, we stopped by the Spillway, the structures that allow excess water to flow into the Swift River as it leaves the Quabbin Watershed. This area is still fairly iced up.  The ice at the Reservoir was 15 inches thick as of the middle of March.


It is beginning to break up though, which offers this fascinating abstract visual presentation, one that speaks, at least to me, of the need for such a great engineering structure to reach balance with the nature that surrounds it.


Just a week or so ago when we were here, in the distance, you could see an animal’s remains on the ice, surrounded by turkey vultures, right out here.  One of the coyote’s tricks is to chase a deer onto the ice.  That trick is going to fall out of favor any day now.  I thought we had explored most of the terrain around Winsor Dam, but we had never taken the “Heart Trail” that cuts through the woods, down to the ground below the Dam.  The difference in perspective is so interesting, and the few trees that dot the landscape before the Dam seem miniaturized by scale.


I have learned a great deal by focusing almost solely on these structures for the last several months.  I had thought for years that I had developed the ability to see what most don’t, which is a common trait among photographers.  I now understand the value of repetition, of going back.  I hadn’t really been seeing that much at all.  I’ve also come to understand that, as so many experienced photographers will tell you, images, good ones, really are everywhere.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Despite your protestation, James, I am sure you see more than many upon a first visit. The thing is, there is so much to see and from so many perspectives that new views are always available as well as different light and conditions. Like you, I choose to revisit locations often and each year more spots are added to the list. I revisited a gate Friday and, finding conditions in the sky not what I wished, wandered around and found a nice water feature that is now going to see me periodically through the year.
    It has been a while since there was anything spilling over the spillway. I love the final image.

    April 6, 2014
  2. Thanks Steve. Getting the right light/weather at the Quabbin is certainly a challenge. Sometimes when I leave Worcester for a shoot out there thinking the weather will be one way, it is often something quite different once I get there. Very much a crap shoot. Understanding that now, I actually am going more often again, but feeling less discouraged if the sky is boring. Just a price of doing business.

    Yes, the spillway has not been spilling. Definitely it is missed. I am surprised because we have had quite a bit of rain. The Reservoir is fairly full though obviously not full enough to over flow. I wonder if this has to do with the MWRA moving less water from the Ware River into the Reservoir.

    April 13, 2014
    • The MWRA could be affecting the water levels, but I think the volume had a long way to go. The last few years I have walked much farther out on the shores than one would expect. Much of that is now back under water and I am sure many spots I stood upon last year are under quite a bit now. But it has been a long time since there was more than a trickle in the Spillway.

      April 13, 2014

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