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Posts tagged ‘weather’

Winter in the Forest

It isn’t over yet.

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Let us hope that spring arrives soon, when it is supposed to arrive.

Ice Out in Elm Park

In spite of the fact that once again we are confronted with a winter weather advisory in mid-April, there is fresh snow on the ground, and driving is likely to be somewhat dangerous, I wanted to post about ice out in Elm Park.  Elm Park has been the subject of many posts here because it is an iconic aspect of Worcester, Massachusetts and one of my favorite places to photograph.  The Park was established in the 1800’s as part of a movement to ease the challenges of urban life, much were, and in some ways still are, considerable.  Elm Park was not designed by Olmsted but his firm did work on it later and the landscape still reflects his wonderful perspective.  The Park flows.  There is a natural circle around two large interconnecting ponds for the walker and park bench resident.  The city is everywhere beyond its borders, clearly visible, but you are not in the city if you cling to the ponds, not really.

These ponds always ice up during the winter as the water isn’t moving and they aren’t that big.  This winter was no exception.  What was different was that the Park was almost hostile to visitors with terrifically high snow banks everywhere.  These then started to give way to ice of course as the temperatures warmed.  We made our way back there first perhaps three weeks ago.  You could hardly walk around the side walks that border the Park without taking your life in your own hands, the ice was so slippery.  One week ago, things were better, but not great.  This week, all was good.  The circle path was clear and the ice, was out.  The ponds could resume their rightful place in creating the contemplative mood that the Park’s creators had envisioned.

There were two kinds of parks established during the late 1800’s.  Many parks of course were created for exercise and recreation.  Some, were created for contemplation.  Elm Park fits in that later group.  No ball fields here.  (Central Park in New York is mostly contemplative, but it is so big it could handle both tasks, though they are largely kept separate.)  In my view, water, and the reflections the water creates, are as essential to the contemplative process as is people watching. Our first view of ice out.

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As I said, the city is right there, but psychologically distant.

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The Myra Kraft Bridge, under construction.

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So ice is out in Elm Park, thankfully.  Actually, we shouldn’t complain about the weather around here.  All that snow has left our Reservoirs full.  Folks from California and Brazil probably would not take kindly to complaints about two much moisture.

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Positive Energy in the Winter

There is a fair amount of negativity in the photographic world these days. Basically, it’s gotten to be much harder to earn a living.  Naturally that gets on people’s nerves resulting on occasion in a Lord of the Flys atmosphere. Luckily, I make my living in another field, but that doesn’t make me immune to the problem.  I was thinking about all that today and it occurred to me that I was perhaps over generalizing. There are great people, with positive energy, doing great things.

I began to list in my mind those who put positive energy into the culture and who I had the good fortune to meet along the way.  Right near the top of the list was commercial photographer, videographer and teacher Brian Tetrault.   I had the pleasure of studying multimedia under Brian at the Center for Digital Imaging Arts a few years back and I’m still consulting with him on some video work that hopefully you’ll see here some day, when he’s helped me make it presentable.  Any budding photographers or multimedia folks who are interested in learning more about their craft should take any opportunity to study with Brian.  Creative Directors should also take note of his work as well, because creative he is.

All of us in New England just endured two straight days of snow.  Some of us whinned (not me of course) and some of us made some good things happen. Ever think about how those icicles on your back window got to be so impressively large?  Here’s how Brian spent day two….  Enjoy.

Sorry to those of you trying to view this on a mobil device.  I don’t seem to be able to make that happen.  Not sure why but I’ll keep looking into it. Meanwhile, have a look on your computer when you get a chance.

OK, So, It rained…..

Indeed in did.  Last week I was complaining about how dry it was in central New England.  Things are a bit better now since the tropical pump passed through.  We had a couple of days of stormy weather.  (Click on the images for a better view.)

The rain did make for some dramatic and very welcome water flows, not just for photographers, but for the entire ecosystem.  This particular branch of the Swift River at Gate 30 was frighteningly low last week.  Yesterday, you wouldn’t want to step in it.  I’d estimate that the water passing by, at very high speed, was about eighteen inches deep.  That’s about right in my experience.  September should be our wettest month.

If everything looks deeply saturated, that’s the effect of the water on the leaves and rocks.  It’s quite beautiful.  In the image above, the saturation was accentuated just a bit with a circular polarizing filter on camera that takes the glare out of the water.  But nearly everything looks beautiful in this light even without a polarizer.

But the water level in the Quabbin Reservoir is still low.  Here’s the Swift River flowing from the spillway.

The spillway “spills” water the good citizens of Boston don’t need.  We checked our library to see if the flow in September was comparably low in previous years.  Indeed, that appears to be the case. However, the actual spillway, from which the water “spills” appears to be maybe three or four feet lower this year than previous years.  You can’t refill a body of water that big quickly, so in essence, our situation remains the same.

Oh well, perhaps we’ll get some snow soon!  Till next time……

Technical note:  Images 2 (a panorama composed of about seven shots), 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 above were all shot with a new Nikon Lens, the 28 – 300 mm. super zoom.  Normally you shouldn’t expect much from a lens like this.  Every lens design represents a set of compromises and here, the compromise is weight and cost (to some extent, it’s still expensive).  In my efforts to develop a nature photo kit of cameras and lenses I could take on very long hikes, for me, 3 miles and up, I wanted to give this lens a try.  In essence, I’d have to say that Nikon has done a good job here.  You can’t see these things on a computer screen, but these images are pretty sharp and quite printable.  However, this lens is a slow lens, f 5.6 at 300 mm.  That means you’ve got to really crank up the ISO if you want to work without a tripod.  So my advice would be to make sure you’ve got a camera that can handle such an assignment, or, use a tripod.  I used a Nikon D3s, shooting at between 800 and 2000 iso in this case.  I normally shoot with a tripod, but it was raining at times and I was trying to work fast. (Clearly the first shot would have benefited from a tripod and slower shutter speed, but that was taken during a torrential downpour.  Shot 6 obviously was taken on a tripod as I was trying to blur the water movement and a tripod is the only way to do so.)  The bottom line:  this is a good lens.  It won’t replace your best lenses, but if you need to hike some serious distances, your back will thank you.