Little Hoosac Tunnel, North Adams, MA

I spent the day yesterday looking for a spot to practice some HDR photography- climbing fences and ignoring “No Trespassing” signs- in search of a good subject.  Of course, after already spending hours shooting, I happened upon the coolest and by far the creepiest find of the day.  Or ever.  Since August I have lived a few hundred feet above this tunnel in North Adams, Massachusetts without realizing it. Weird.

Ignoring the fact that I know this particular railway to be in operation, I climbed down from a walkway on Furnace St., looked both ways, and skipped on over to the West entrance (shown below).  I almost sh*t my pants immediately, as what turned out to be a giant sheet of ice slid off of the ceiling and broke apart on the gravel below.  Fairly certain it wasn’t a ghoul, I proceeded towards the entrance.

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Approaching the man-made cave, I was met with a wall of musky and extraordinarily chilly air not unlike that of an old cellar or basement.  Multiply that by one thousand and you can probably imagine the sub tropical breeze pouring out of the tunnel.  “Excellent,” I thought.

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Once inside, I had three major objectives: Don’t get crushed by a giant icicle, don’t get crushed by a freight train and take some damn pictures.  Letting the importance of the third task outweigh the others, I continued to inch forward.  Every foot or so I set my camera and tripod down to capture the amazing brick retaining arch from a new angle.

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Spending a few minutes with the Internet after my adventure taught me that this tunnel is in fact, called the “Little Tunnel” and it opened sometime around 1882.  Apparently, construction began around 1852 and was completed with a combination of hand tools, air-powered drills and nitroglycerin.  Although I only ventured about 20 ft. into the 324 ft. tunnel, I found myself in awe of the towering rock walls and ceiling still bound with thousands of seemingly tiny bricks.  Maybe someday I’ll make it to the East entrance…

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Snow Drift Icicle

Western Massachusetts has accumulated a reasonable amount of snow in the past few weeks and many of the storms have produced gusty winds.  The result?  A really cool snow drift hanging from the roof of my apartment building.  I’ve noticed over the past couple of days that the icicles are constantly changing.  This evening, I decided to stand on an end table and shoot through the top half of the window.  I used a 50mm macro lens with a shutter speed of 0.3 seconds.  ISO was 100 and the aperture was f2.8.

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Snow Drifting: Film and review of the 2008 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport

While the 2.5 liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder may seem underwhelming for a car bearing a “sport” badge, and factory-lifted suspension, this machine begins to make a lot more sense when it snows. In fact, the 175 horsepower engine, and symmetrical all wheel drive system are more than enough to keep drivers moving down the road in adverse driving conditions, and capable for those of us who would like to do a little bit of irresponsible driving.

There are a number of advantages to the naturally aspirated engine over the turbocharged versions found in the WRX and WRX STI, except of course speed, and that enthralling Subaru rumble. Insuring the non-turbo Impreza Outback Sport, for example, will be considerably less, and fuel economy is anywhere from 20-30 percent better. And of course, there is no turbo lag. That being said, handling is incredibly soft–to be kind–as the Outback Sport is both a wagon, and .25 inches higher than the standard Impreza. To help justify the “sport” name as more than just a trim package, this model could really benefit from a rear sway bar, and a stiffer suspension. Personally, I think the exhaust is lacking as well.

The featured car is my personal daily driver and I am more than happy with it. In snowy conditions like the above video, my issues with handling are considerably fewer, as this car will find grip under the most ridiculous, strenuous driving situations. The car is well equipped to boot, and if you’ve opted for the 5-speed manual, it should get to 60 mph in just over 8 seconds. Comments are always welcome, and I hope you enjoy!

Look a Corn Snake in the Eye!

IMGP5145Here is a macro photo (taken with my 50mm macro lens) of my corn snake, Michael Bolton. He’s between 2 and 3 years old (hard to say), but he’s almost 4ft long and still growing! His color is mostly variants of grey, but he has yellow along his face on either side. He was basking under some aspen shavings (directly under his heat lamp) with his face against the glass, so I decided to try some macro shots. It’s dark in the tank, and without my tripod this was the best exposure I could achieve without any motion blur or cranking the ISO too high. I believe this was shot at 400.