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Highways


Hidden In Plain Sight

Let’s see.

I-90, 95, 91, 93, 495, 190, 290, 2, 5 and then some.

You can’t see the forest for the trees so you have to get above it but there has to be a clearing too and that’s what this Interstate 90, known to locals as the Mass Pike did for me.

Eliot Porter supplied the inspiration with Redbud Tree in Bottomland as the cover of his book Intimate Landscapes and the exhibit at the Met in New York in 1979 which I was lucky to see.

Porter’s picture did something to me so that when I passed this view on the Pike I got butterfys and I had to get the picture.

Shoot from an Interstate at rush hour? No way. Right from the guard rail but no choice. A few discussions with the Pike police, peremission and ten years of shooting mostly in Weston (below) and Millbury, below that.

You can get an idea of the variety of views on the Pike in the gallery I-90, The Mass Pike.

Poster Porter Intimate Landscapes
Weston Overlook from ground level


My photography began to feel significan when I discovered the views on the Mass Pike.

In the spring there is a pointillist haze as buds began to take on color. However, to see and photograph these is almost impossible. One need to be at the level o the tree canopy yet close enough to fill the frame.

The Massachusetts Turnpike. Usually called Interstate 90 it is the northern most east-west highway in the United States beginning in Seattle and ending at Logan Airport.

Purely by accident it cuts though some womderful valleys and assorted trees but with the red maple dominant. I did most of my shooting from two locations, one on the eastbound side in Weston and another on an entrace ramp at exit 11 in Millbury.

It is very easy to pass by such a view since the trees are so low and the traffic moves to rapidly. This view no longer exists for the trees in front have grown too high and block the view of the valley.

Early Buds on Maple Trees I

When I first noticed tis valley what I saw was a large ensemble of red buds, somewhat like a pointillist painting, of maple trees in early spring, with the buds scattered over a large array of silver gray branches. This took my breath away and although it would mean shooting from the guardrail on a busy highway at rush hour, I had to do it.

The image below was at Exit 11 in Millbury a few miles west. The view is on the east-bound entrance ramp looking into the morning sun. There is a small pond or vernal pool and this particular morning the sun and mist were doing something I had never seen before.

I parked under the overpass and hiked up thinking “Don’t screw it up.” This was a gift to those that come often and in 10 years it was the only time. I kept shooting for 45 minutes until the mist was gone. Two of the images caught the mist perfectly. I call it Spring Sunrise.

There are pictures from all the interstates and I comment on some of the others elsewhere. The one other truly great place was in Littleton on I-495. It’s in Rivers & Streams.

Spring Sunrise I
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