Early Fall Bike Path


I missed another week. My weekends have been busy of late, and I haven’t been getting out as much as I’d like, which leaves me short of interesting photographs, as well as exercise. This weekend I managed the latter, although I was covering familiar ground, so there was less inspiration than I’d have liked.

I was back at Wompatuck State Park, hiking some of the rough woodland trails I hadn’t been on before.  Most of these are primarily for mountain bikers, although they make good hiking if you don’t mind stepping aside periodically for the bikes (the trails are barely wide enough to walk single file). Those trails go through the woods, mostly away from the relics of the land’s former use as a military base, so aside from interesting rocks and trees, there’s not much photogenic. It was a good hike though, and the only bikes I saw were families out on the paved trails.

I took this image back on one of the main bike paths, this one the recently created trail up to the Cohasset commuter rail station. Until last year, this area was the last portion fenced off and littered with crumbling buildings left over from the tail end of the Cold War, when it had been a facility for testing missile engines, among other things. Last year, they bulldozed the last of those into earth-covered heaps like this one (except for a few too solid to knock down), removed razor wire and other hazards, and paved a few of the trails, before adding it to the rest of the park’s network.

What I like about this image is the way it captures the look of late summer / early fall (technically the latter now). The days are still comfortably warm, but the nights are getting cooler. The long grass has started to yellow, although in part that’s due to the relatively dry summer we had.  The trees aren’t quite changing color yet, but you can see a few yellowed branches, which probably have more to do with the dry weather than the cold at this point.

Plus it’s a good photo of a nice bike path through mostly natural scenery. Aside from the oddly regular mound aside the trail, the only visible relic of the past is the tall pole at the left, one of many. I believe it’s a lightning rod, as these were placed to bracket the structures.

This image is, as usual, an HDR made from a bracket of five photographs. The bracket was centered at 1/25th-second exposure, with ISO 400 and f/11, with the lens at 47mm. I did not use the polarizing filter, as the sky was a haze-free blue all on its own, and the light was getting a bit dim under the trees, although it was still quite bright out where I took this one. Adjustments were minor, I didn’t use any preset, merely boosting contrast and lightening the blacks to bring out detail under the trees. The yellow of the late-afternoon sun comes through clearly all on its own, helped by the yellowing vegetation. I did apply sharpening before the final export.


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