Sunday, December 4, 2016

UNW: Middlesex Fells

The November 2016 Urban Nature Walk was a short hike in the Middlesex Fells; a reservation just north of Boston.   It's a massive forested area and several reservoirs and ponds and plenty of paths.  Todays walk was in the South East area of the Fells.

Given this was a November walk, I knew I wasn't going to find any more trees full of autumn color.   However, the brown leaves on the forest floor provided a nice canvas, as did all the glacial rocks and their texture.   I ended up with many great shots, and several opportunities for black & white images.

Rock outcropping

The above photo is a good representation of the Fells - forest with lots of rocks.  (Well, that kind of describes New England, doesn't it??).   Even with the bare trees, there is plenty of color on the ground and rocks - with a nice blue sky to top it off!

A Pool of Trees
A small body of water provides an interesting view of the forest trees against the sky

Of course, it wouldn't be a nature walk without some interesting mushrooms spotted.    This was an interesting specimen.  It looked huge sticking out on the small trunked tree.  Some nice color and texture on top, with lots of gill action underneath.

Fells-09 Fells-08
Mushroom, top and bottom

Unfortunately, the view of Boston from a high point in the Fells wasn't that good that morning - lots of haze over the city.

Boston, as seen from Boojum Rock in the Fells.

However, it was clear in the park, giving a crisp view and bold colors over one of the reservoirs.

Fells Reservoir (MWRA)

There were several spots of color to be found on the banks of the reservoir

One bush still had delightfully red leaves.   

Sunlit reeds on the shore

While I did fine some brilliant colors on today's walk, you don't need great brilliant colors in order to have a great photograph.   I took advantage of the many textures and lighting conditions and converted several images into Black & White, with great success.  

Below, we see a collection of trees that provided an average color photograph.   But as a Black and White image, your focus is now focused on the trees and the texture, and the warm tone bring an emotional feel to the image.

A small copse of trees

Likewise, Black and white can transform an ordinary forest floor of fallen leaves into artwork.

Leaves on the forest floor

The same can apply to the rock outcroppings.  Glaciers left some nice granite throughout the park, as well as scouring them as the glaciers receded.  While many rocks were grey to begin with, Black & White allowed me to highlight the textures, turning a rock face into a landscape.

Rock face; Conversion to Black and White highlighting the striations.

A blue tint makes this look like the surface of another planet...

Visit the Urban Nature Walk facebook page for more information on the group - the monthly walks are open to all!

All my photos from the walk can be found in this Flickr album.    There you'll find many more color and black and white photos from the Fells walk.   This trip made me realize how close the Fells reservation is to the MBTA orange line - I'll definitely be returning and exploring in the Fells next year!

Evergreen, softened

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