Back to the Viaduct

Bogastow Brook Viaduct

This weekend was beautiful spring weather, and I had time to revisit one of my favorite photo subjects.  I’ve photographed this before (and again). But this was a chance to see how it looked with the “new” (two years ago) camera and a bit more skill on my part, plus the addition of HDR. You can compare for yourself (see the first link above) but I certainly think this one is better.

Now we just need some more green in the image, but as the red buds on the trees show, the real Spring is just around the corner.

Since I’ve described the viaduct before, I won’t repeat myself except to note that it was built in 1847 to carry the Boston and Worcester Railroad’s Milford branch across the outflow from Holliston’s Factory Pond, a millpond that served a number of industries since colonial times. Today the pond is scenic rather than functional, and the railroad has been gone from this stretch of the line for decades, although only recently was this stretch formally abandoned.

At the time, the Boston and Worcester, which had opened its first line, and the first to operate in Massachusetts, fifteen years earlier, was quite successful and built for the ages. As a result, the viaduct still stands strong, 168 years later. It is, however, listed as one of the states “most endangered historic resources, dur to the potential for damage (mainly from vegetation) now that it’s no longer being maintained by the railroad. It certainly doesn’t look like it’s in any hurry to collapse.

The viaduct is named for Bogastow Brook (sometimes also written Boggastow), a name that derives from the original Nipmuc name for the region around the Charles River in the vicinity of what is now Sherborn, Medfield and Millis, to the East of Holliston (the Nipmuc once held much of Central Mass., including the lands west of that section of the Charles).

The brook is a small one, and the fall at the millpond is barely five feet (1.5 m), which was reasonable, if small, in colonial times, but by the 1800’s wholly inadequate for industry. As a result, industry moved elsewhere and the area was noted more for granite quarries and farms than for a role in the industrial revolution.

There’s a bike path in this viaduct’s future, but today the path atop it is bare dirt and leaves and as-yet unimproved. Holliston acquired their portion of the trail from the railroad in 2012 (although another news story noted that they were still in the process of buying it in 2014), after more than thirteen years of negotiations. But funding to clear and pave it has apparently been slow, and while a portion has been gravelled, they lag behind neighbor Milford, which has extensively paved their portion.

I like this photo due to the subject matter, and the clear blue sky. There’s nothing really special about it otherwise.

The image is another HDR, made from a bracket of five images at 1 EV offsets. The bracket was centered at 1/200th-second exposure, at f/11, ISO 400 and with the lens wide at 28 mm. The circular polarizing filter was used, and accounts in part for the deep blue sky (it’s also an artifact of the HDR processing, which always seems to exaggerate colors). The sky way quite blue, but of a lighter shade. Processing consisted mostly of boosting contrast and lightening shadows (I took the default preset). The color-balance was also shifted to the yellow a bit to compensate for a blue cast. Back in Capture One sharpening was applied before export.

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