Back Under the Highway – Blackstone River Photo Essay Part 1
I have visited this spot a number of times and always found it compelling. I’ve decided to take up the Blackstone River as a project, to explore it’s story and its visual presentation. I’m looking forward to the challenge. It’s 48 miles long or so, starts in Worcester Massachusetts, right in the middle of the city, and ends up in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. It’s been called one of the most polluted rivers in the country, which is a artifact of it’s history as the home of the first successful cotton mill, and many many subsequent factories powered by its water. History isn’t the only problem, however. Communities along the River, including evidently Worcester (though someone can correct me if I am wrong) have long used the River as a way to dispose of waste water post treatment. That problem is being addressed at this point, but it took an act of Congress (literally) to get things started. Even though it’s gotten a bit cleaner, you aren’t supposed swim in this river, let alone drink from it. It represents what we have left of our planet. This is about the interaction of humanity and nature. Nature is still there, but it is a contentious situation. We began at the Blackstone River Bike Path in Worcester, walked first back toward the city, and then reversed our tracks and headed toward Millbury. It was a lovely day it turns out, though initially a bit cold. Here are some samples of what we saw.
This is Route 146. The bikeway wraps around the River and under the Highway above. Providing the public an opportunity to access the River here was a great idea. But this is an urban landscape, to be sure.
That does not make it any less appealing, however.
These falls deserved an extra shot for obvious reasons.
Nature has a way of fighting with the footprint of our society, even if it is just through a leak.
I did not offer an Earth Day greeting this year. The crazy and very anti-scientific debate around the environment in Washington may have gotten the better of me. I’ll offer one now to those volunteers who try to keep places like this reasonably inviting. Thank you.
Tech Note: It wasn’t sunny out there but it was fairly bright. Some of the shots taken underneath the highway would have in times past required HDR (High Dynamic Range) technique which involves the merging of several images, bracketed to Over, Normal and Under exposure of the image to capture the full range of tones, The incredible contrast between the shadows under the highway and the bright though cloudy day outside of those shadows used to be practically impossible to photograph in one image. No more. The incredible sensors coming out of Nikon and Sony make it possible with one click. I am amazed. I was ready to do some HDR work and took the images that would have been required for it, but it just wasn’t necessary.