Posts Tagged ‘streams and rivers’

There is a very beautiful photo which has etched itself into my memory. It was taken in Iceland and showed a black sand beach and a mirror smooth, blue green sea with snow white icebergs looming up out of the water. There were also smaller stranded icebergs on the sand leading down to the water. Two things made the photo so special; first was the incredible depth of field that made it seem to go on forever.  Second was the height perspective-it looked as if the photographer had his camera sitting right on the sand when he took the photo. I wish I could show it to you but I saw it only for a moment on a nature show on television. It made such an impression on me that I’ve never forgotten it, and over the last few weeks I’ve tried to re-create it here in New Hampshire, with somewhat disappointing results. It takes a fair amount of thought and planning to create the illusion of three dimensions in a flat, two dimensional space, not to mention the often large amount of time it takes to find the scene in the first place, so I’m going to show them-disappointing or not.

1. River View

We don’t see too many icebergs here in New Hampshire but we have plenty of rocks, so I tried to show them looming up out of the water like the icebergs in my remembered photo did. It didn’t really work in this river view-the rocks didn’t loom quite the way I wanted them to, even though the camera was almost sitting in the water. Now that I see the photo I think I had the camera too close to them, even though in reality it seemed much farther away.

 2. Waterfall View

This didn’t work either. I think it would have worked better if the waterfall wasn’t there, or was farther off in the distance. The idea is to have the horizon stretching off into infinity and the waterfall is too close for that. The rocks were looming a little more though. There was a drunken cedar waxwing sitting on one of them, waiting for me to leave so he could eat some more fermented dogwood berries.

 3. Meadow View

Not really what I was after, but getting a little closer as far as depth of field goes.

4. Forest View

In the forest this view seemed to go on and on but there are so many trees that they look more like a wall, rather than converging on a point in the distance as they really were. It’s amazing how the camera can create such a flat scene out of what was a good example of depth perspective. In this case I think if I had raised the camera up off the forest floor a bit it might have worked. It took quite a few tries to find what I thought was the perfect spot, so this one was especially disappointing.

 5. Road View

This view of an abandoned road doesn’t work at all. The scene is so distorted you’d think I used a fisheye lens. Something that doesn’t help here is the fact that, though the yellow line was once in the middle of the road, nature has been growing over one side more than the other. If you want to show the yellow line the scene is now skewed, with more open space on the right side of the line than the left.

6. Trail View

This shot has depth but the light is far too harsh and the only thing looming is an old dry leaf. Again, a long walk and a lot of time and experimentation for something that isn’t even close to what I was trying for.

7. Stream View

Another one with some depth, but again the light was too harsh. I almost fell in getting this one-the rocks I was trying to crouch down on were small and slippery.

 8. Pond View

The pond weeds in the foreground help this one, but it’s not a very interesting scene.

 9. Pond View

This was a hard shot to get. Too bad it isn’t what I was hoping for. The camera should have been lower and even though I knew that at the time there was no way to get it there without either going for a dip or crawling around in a patch of poison ivy.

10. Monadnock View

This shot of Mount Monadnock probably comes closest to what I was trying to do but it’s still not quite there, so I’ll have to keep trying.  I think a large part of the problem is that the landscape views that I’m seeing aren’t really comparable to the iceberg photo. But, because of this experiment if the view I’m looking for ever presents itself I think I’ll at least know what not to do when I try to get a shot of it.

Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer – and often the supreme disappointment.  ~Ansel Adams

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Everywhere I go these days I run into water. Sometimes literally-like absentmindedly finding myself ankle deep in a puddle-but usually I see it rushing down hillsides and across trails, as if its very existence depended on it finding the lowest point in the valley as quickly as possible.

Sm. Waterfall Blurred

Since the days of film cameras I’ve had the opinion that blurred water in a photo simply showed the photographer’s skill in manipulating the camera’s controls, but otherwise served no useful purpose.  I’ve had to revise that opinion recently because in photos of little rivulets like this one the water was so clear that it became almost invisible if it wasn’t blurred.  My opinion has therefore been upgraded to useful, but easily overdone.

 Tree Fungi

These mushrooms grew on a fallen tree near a stream and were as soft as velvet and wiggled like Jell-O, and they reminded me of cookies. (I hadn’t had lunch yet.)

 Tree Fungus Underside

Many bracket fungi are polypores and have pores on their undersides. These had gills and a short, off-center stalk, so they aren’t true bracket fungi and they aren’t polypores. Now I know a few things about what they aren’t, but I haven’t been able to identify them to discover what they are.

Spring Runoff

Way up in the hills small rivulets join forces and become bigger streams that fall down the hillsides. These streams might run for a week, a month, or a few months but few of them run year-round. The water in this photo wasn’t blurred. At least, not intentionally.

 Male Red Maple Blossoms

All along the streams and rivers red maples (Acer rubrum) are blooming. Here the male blossoms are showing pollen. Even though I became an allergy sufferer at age 50 I still love seeing the trees bloom in spring.

 Female Red Maple Flowers

The female flowers of red maple (Acer rubrum) are just opening-waiting for the wind to bring pollen from the male blossoms.


All the water running off the hillsides has to go somewhere, and in this case it causes this small brook to swell and fill its banks. In high summer you can walk across this brook in places while barely wetting your ankles. This is called Beaver Brook after the many beavers that once lived here.


Sometimes when I walk through these forests it is easy to imagine the immense wilderness that faced the first colonists. I wonder how they felt when they first realized that, as far as they knew, this forest stretched on indefinitely.  If I think back even farther I can imagine Native Americans living in a true paradise so alluring that many early colonists “rescued from the savages” didn’t want to return to what their race called civilization.

Beaver Brook Falls

The brook tumbles through a small gorge before spilling over Beaver Brook Falls with a roar. The falls are fairly impressive at this time of year, but they look quite different in July and August.

Turkey Tails

I haven’t seen many turkey tail fungi (Trametes versicolor) over the past winter. I saw a lot of dried out ones with washed out colors, but very few with color like those in the photo. As I’ve said before, these fungi have a lot of secrets and they don’t give them up easily. Every time I see them I’m reminded of how little I really know about them.

Ashuelot River Waves

With all of the water from all of the surrounding hills spilling into it, the Ashuelot River is feeling pretty powerful these days, and it is. The eerie booming sounds coming from the boulders and debris that it rolls along its bottom can be felt as well as heard. Almost like thunder, it rolls through you.

Ashuelot on 4-14

So far this year the Ashuelot has held all of the thousands of gallons of runoff water within its banks. From here it will travel to the Connecticut River and then to the Long Island Sound where it will spill into the Atlantic Ocean. Once it evaporates into the atmosphere it might return and give us some welcome summer rain.

Study how water flows in a valley stream, smoothly and freely between the rocks. Also learn from holy books and wise people. Everything – even mountains, rivers, plants and trees – should be your teacher. ~Morihei Ueshiba

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