You learn something new everyday. This morning on the Weather Channel’s Wake Up with Al show, Al did a short piece on the history of Las Vegas. I didn’t know, but should have been able to figure out, that Las Vegas was actually built at an oasis in the desert. Vegas sits in the Mojave Desert. But the town it self was founded where there was water, and plenty of it. The area was green, good for agriculture. In fact that was it’s claim to fame before the rest of the story we all know well. That’s all gone now. The asphalt, reflective buildings, etc. caused the springs to dry up in the 50’s.
Meanwhile in Massachusetts we have, for now, plenty of water. I’ve shown imagery from this location before: Hank’s Meadow at the Quabbin Reservoir. This lovely spot is off the road that runs through the Quabbin Park in Ware and Belchertown, Massachusetts. The Meadow is clearly marked and there is good parking. All you have to do is walk toward the water. It was hot that day, or so we thought. When we came within about 15 feet of the water, the onshore breeze of the Quabbin weather system hit us. The temperature dropped a good ten degrees and suddenly everything was pleasant. All you could hear was the sound of the wind and the waves.
Bad weather actually offers some of the best photographic opportunities. Several weeks ago we were at Hanks’ Meadow in the Quabbin Reservoir Park. It’s a very accessible place, lovely for a picnic. It’s clearly marked if you ride through the park road off Route 9 (Belchertown, Massachusetts, USA) in either direction. Deer and turkeys frequent the place, along with who knows what else. It’s an easy walk down to the Quabbin waters from the Meadow. On this particular day, however, the temperature dropped a good ten degrees in that 100 meter walk. The Quabbin Reservoir has its own weather. Down at the shoreline it was cold and windy, felt like a good old New England nor’easter. (Click the images below for larger views.)
The sky was nice, but it’s interesting to play with the water as you might if photographing ocean waves or rapids in a river. Well these aren’t ocean waves but they are waves nevertheless, so a slow shutter speed made for some interesting results.
Zooming in for a bit of detail:
Detail shots are everywhere of course. In this case, rocks and water were no problem. Other details presented a more difficult challenge. We always like to take note of the small signs of life one encounters everywhere. Along the beach we noted these interesting little yellow wildflowers in great abundance, in spite of the rather rough terrain.
Repeated efforts resulted in one semi-decent close up. Strong wind creates beautiful effects in the water, but really undermines you’re ability to shoot a decent close up of living flowers.
So when all else fails, there are those scenes that reflect the end of life. Every natural site is also an eco-archeological site as well. The history of nature is there if you take notice.
There’s significant controversy in Massachusetts now regarding forest management and threats to the wonderful resource that is our forest. Unfortunately, that threat can come in many forms. I was out today at Hanks Meadow, inside the Quabbin Park. It’s a lovely spot even on a cloudy windy day, but here’s what we saw looking across the Reservoir. This is Pine Needle Scale. An invasive organism that is killing certain types of pine trees throughout the Reservoir Watershed. Where do such hazards come from? Invasive species and diseases represent a growing threat to our natural resources largely because of domestic and international trade and travel. (Just ask the folks in Worcester Massachusetts whose trees were disseminated by the Asian Long Horn Beetle, which is carried in cargo ships in wooden palettes.) More on the hazards of being a tree in upcoming posts. This is a panorama so you’ll have to click on the image to view it properly.
Here’s another image from a different part of the Quabbin Park, near the Spillway.
This thing is quite serious. That is NOT fall foliage.