AND TONIGHT, THE STORM – Marilyn & Garry Armstrong

FOTD – October 27, 2018 – Autumn Leaves


We had a beautiful sunny day today and whatever Autumn we are getting this year, I think this was the last day of it. Tonight, tomorrow, and possibly for the two following days, we’re getting a nor’easter.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Not snow (phew), but lots of rain and wind and more falling trees. There are still a lot of limbs down in the back from the last storm, just a few days ago.

Early autumn at Manchaug

This is no fit weather for October. Effectively, the month is over anyway. Some pretty pictures have come from it, but it will be another year before it comes round again.

 

ANOTHER CHILLY, RAINY DAY IN THE VALLEY – Marilyn Armstrong

It’s supposed to be better tomorrow. It’s always supposed to be better tomorrow, especially if you had photographic plans for today. At least it isn’t pouring. It’s just drippy and grey and muddy.

Rocks and a tree limb

We went to the doctor yesterday and I noticed that now, many trees have changed color and if we can just get some decent weather, it might be time to go take some seriously autumnal pictures.

Garry at Manchaug

Marilyn at Manchaug

Meanwhile, we did take some pretty nice shots the other day at Manchaug. Call them the “pre-autumnal” photo set. Some by Garry, others by me.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Manchaug has one of the prettiest dams and falls in the area. Not nearly as big as many of the falls, it is high above the stream into which it falls and the way the light falls, the water is crystal pale while the background nearly black.

ANY WHICH WAY – Garry Armstrong

Which Way Challenge: October 1, 2018


We found a place we thought we’d lost this week. What a great feeling to not be lost for a change! We took a lot of pictures and we will take more tomorrow because it probably won’t rain.

Which would be great since it has been raining all week. And most of the week before. Our rivers are at their crest. Another inch of rain and we will all be canoeing through downtown Uxbridge.

Marilyn as the photographer in blue

Ramp down the side of the Manchaug post office.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

The long road with a hint of our car – Photo: Garry Armstrong

A path along the river – Photo: Garry Armstrong

ROSY MANCHAUG – By Marilyn Armstrong

Rosy Manchaug


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.

Impressionist and bi-tonal Manchaug dam

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.

Antique Manchaug

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.

The stone mill

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.

The Pre-School – Photo: Garry Armstrong

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.

Processing

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.

Photo: Garry Armstrong – Marilyn is pink, too

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!

ROSY ROCKS AT MANCHAUG – By Marilyn Armstrong

Rosy Rocks by the Dam at Manchaug


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.

Slightly mauve rocks at the base of the dam in Manchaug

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!

And that was our day. How was yours?

MANCHAUG DAM – JUNE 2015

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Each year, it’s different. Everything depends how much rain we get in the spring rainfall as well as the amount of snow that melts after the winter.

pond before manchaug dam

When we are not having a drought, the dam will have a strong waterfall. Manchaug is at its most magnificent when we’ve had plenty of rain. I haven’t seen the dam at full strength in four years.

Manchaug June 2015

Last year, the dam was nearly dry. The pond formed by the dam was a puddle, because they had closed the dams upstream to save water.

Manchaug falls june 2015

When the rivers don’t run and the ponds dry up, it’s tough on the wildlife. There’s no place for the swans and geese to nest. The fish can’t breed. But there’s no choice.

Manchaug dam falls maple trees

The dams control and contain water when rainfall is insufficient, which has been most of the past five or more summers. This year, the dam has a moderate waterfall, reflecting a good winter snow-melt, but weak spring rains.

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Today, for example, it was supposed to rain, yet there was barely a sprinkle. We had no rain at all in May until the 31st of the month. Water restrictions are in place in most of the valley’s towns and villages.

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I’m hoping we’ll have more rain. Everyone complains when it rains. Sunshine is popular for picnics and summer activities. Rain is not. But we need rain. Without good, drenching rains, the aquifer can’t refill. Reservoir levels drop. Wells go dry.

closeup manchaug dam waterfall

Water is as necessary as air. We cannot survive without it. Nothing survives without water.

Manchaug above the dam


The pictures in this post are by both Marilyn and Garry Armstrong. You can tell by the signature who took each picture.

I was using two different Olympus PEN cameras (PL-5 and PL-6) and a variety of lenses. I don’t remember which lens I used for which pictures (sorry!). Garry was using his big Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ60 with its amazing 24-600 mm Leica lens.

manchaug daisies