I was supposed to post something. And I completely forgot. We got into going to get the long-lost car key — not like just getting your key copied at the key store anymore — and then I stopped to take some pictures at the dam and continued on to the grocery.
Then I unpacked the groceries, started the chili, decided to process the pictures … and realized I never got around to posting anything at all.
So here are a few pictures from the Mumford dam in the middle of town. It’s pretty. It’s not the kind of bright and colorful you might expect. So many leaves fell off during the past three days of pounding rain — bright green leaves falling — so even trees which are changing are doing it in pastels. Not going to be a great autumn.
By the time the leaves change, there won’t be any left on the trees. Tonight, the weather is supposed to drop into the 40s — which is normal for this time of year. But after all this prolonged warm weather, it’s more than a dollar short and weeks rather than days late.
Meanwhile, the chili tastes weird because I put in the wrong beans. I don’t believe I did that.
Although we usually photograph the dam in Manchaug, the area is known for it’s rather large and deep pond and an annual rubber duck race held there.
From the pond come a lot of streams, not all of which have names. They don’t run long distances, either … which is perhaps why they don’t have names.
This dam is near a mill. All the dams are near a mill because that’s why the dams were built — to power the mills. I don’t know what the mill is being used for now. Probably some kind of industrial space. The old stone mills were built very well and may well last nearly forever.
But the area also has some apocryphal history, that a Native chief was drowned in that stream having fallen from the pond above it. It’s a long drop and the stream isn’t very deep, so I can’t imagine many people would survive the fall.
When we first found the dam — actually, it was Kaitlin and me who found it the first time. We were wandering around looking for something to photograph when I heard the rushing water. Not every dam is beautiful to photograph, but Manchaug is different. It’s not part of the Blackstone River … just a narrow neck of the pond formed into a dam that drops straight down to a stream.
Right next to the stream, there’s a pre-school — directly between the old stone mill and the stream. Until recently, they didn’t even have a fence to keep the little ones from falling into the water.
While I understand New Englanders tend to be pretty tough, a pre-school, dam and a rapidly running river seemed a bit extreme. I’m glad they built a fence.
Essentially I’ve been using monochrome formatting to get the pink tones into these pictures. Although black and white is the “typical” format for monochrome, it is by no means the only one.
You’ll find many formats some of which use many colors and others based on two primary colors, as well as bi-tonal formats that use a wide range of colors.
Our software gives us hugely increased access to filters and processing techniques. We can create antique-style photographs using pastel tones. We create “damaged photographs” and pictures that look as if they were created on glass plates or made with silver.
Pink is one of the more difficult colors to find, but by golly, I found it!
Garry and I have no sense of direction. Manchaug used to be a town, but it didn’t have enough income to keep itself going, so it parceled itself out to Douglas and Sutton. Maybe Uxbridge too, but I’m not sure about that.
Thing is, the river that runs through Manchaug which is one of the many tributaries of the Blackstone and is part of the valley’s watershed, but most of it is a big pond … and the pond is located in Douglas.
We tried to find it today, but even though we followed the sign and we could hear the water, we couldn’t find it. It was in the woods somewhere, hiding. It isn’t the place we usually go when we shoot pictures of the dam anyway.
After driving around for a while, Garry said he was pretty sure he’d seen a sign on 146 that said “Manchaug.”
I said, “sure, why not? We aren’t accomplishing much driving around in circles in Douglas.”
So we got back on 146 and sure enough, there was a sign for the Sutton version of Manchaug, but once you got off 146, there were no signs at all. I said I thought it had mentioned Whitins Road, so why didn’t we just stay on Whitins Road and maybe the dam would appear?
We found it and the little Manchaug Post Office, a personal favorite of mine because how many post offices have hand-painted signs, right?
We took pictures of the dam, pictures of the pond, pictures of each other and the classic shot of each of us taking pictures of the other.
I got into an obsessive mode with the water falling on and flowing over the rocks at the base of the dam, so I figured one of them was going to have to be pink. Because there was a lot of water rolling over the dam … the most water I’ve ever seen in that small river. The rain has come this year.
Garry wanted to know where I’d seen pink rocks and I tried to explain the whole square pink picture thing to him, but he lost me somewhere around square and pink. I think I got a nice mauve motif going on this one.
The rocks at the base of the dam in Manchaug in slightly blushing pink. Most importantly, we actually found the place! Yes, we found it!
The weather has been really lovely for the past few days and I managed to get out of the house with a camera. Not for any kind of long shoot, but for a few minutes here and there.
Today I went to the dentist and when I got there, realized I’d forgotten to take my antibiotics. You have to take them to have your teeth done if you have an artificial heart valve — and I have two of them.
But we were parked next to the dam and the trees were blooming. And, as it happened, I had a camera.
This is a dam that’s hard to find. You can hear it from the road, but you can’t see it without going around the big brick building that was formerly — you guessed it — a mill. A cotton mill, I believe.
Funny to finally discover this dam after passing so near for more than a dozen years. You really can’t see it from the road, which is where we usually shoot from and I probably heard it, but didn’t pay attention. It’s an interesting dam, not like any of the other local dams.
It’s not very tall, perhaps 10 or 12 feet. Water doesn’t flow over the dam as much as it comes through holes in the dam, set at various heights in a long crescent.
Stones under the dam
Photo: Garry Armstrong
The waters spits out and onto a plateau of flat rocks. I’m not sure what this design was intended to accomplish, but there must have been some special purpose in the design.
The old mill used to be an antique cooperative until last year. They recently converted it to an adult activity center. The senior center in Uxbridge is tiny, so this is definite upgrade. The building has been beautifully restored and its location, adjacent to the river and Whitins Pond … well, it couldn’t be lovelier.
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