I discovered the NJ Pinelands earlier this year. Ok, they were discovered hundreds of years ago and long before my time. But I found out about them and started exploring them earlier this year. I was immediately hooked - what a stunning area of wilderness right within the most populated area of our country.
My wife and daughters have gone to the Jersey Shore every year for many many years. And occasionally they allow me to come along. I’ve always loved that last stretch on the Garden State Parkway before you exit for Ocean City - it’s usually late afternoon or early evening and the golden light on the marsh grass tells us the beach is near!
By now I think you all know that Ricketts Glen is one of my favorite places. In mid-summer I made my second visit of the year. And while I'd like to say there was some special "calling" that brought me back, it wouldn't be true. I bought some new camera gear and thought what better place to try it out than Ricketts Glen.
The Meadow at Longwood Gardens is a special place for my sister. So I thought I would tag along for a visit one recent afternoon. I've been to Longwood Gardens before and really like the place. But I wouldn't do "meaningful photography" there - after all, it's a "flower zoo". Ahh, but the meadow is different. It's a wild place in it's natural state - full of colorful grasses, wildflowers, and insects.
It was a very hot weekend in early July - almost too hot even for me to be outside. So I thought it would be great to spend an afternoon walking in the shade of the forests of the Pocono Mountains. Our daughter Gina is home for the summer and decided to come along for the hike.
A few weeks ago we traveled back in time. We traveled back hundreds of years - and spent a week in storybook villages in the French countryside, that we had no idea existed in real life. It was a feast for our eyes, with color in every direction, straight out of a fairy tale. Yet it existed in real life, in 2018.
There was a five day stretch in early May when it seemed like all the dogwood trees in the world bloomed at once. We went from a winter that just wouldn't quit to flowers and leaves bursting from the branches.
Early spring days are bright. The sun is high in the sky with strong, direct light and there are no leaves yet on the trees to cast any shadows. And so everything just looks bright and crisp and clear.
Continuing from last month's blog post is another image about snow. Because, what else have we had in late February and March but snow and more snow! While I was wandering around that snowy winter morning, I was very aware of how the colors changed as the sun rose, and then climbed higher in the sky.
The two mornings this weekend could not have been more different. I woke early on one morning to take some photographs of a stand of trees with sunlit brown leaves that have their own magic color in winter. It was cold but sunny, you could hear the bird sounds that seem to increase every day at this time of year, and I saw the first robin of the season - spring must be here soon.
I can't believe another year has gone by. This marks the start of the fifth year of my website and my monthly blog posts - having missed only one month! The monthly schedule has forced me to spend more time photographing - especially close to home. And while I love going on the hiking and photography trips, it is the "close to home" images that are more rewarding to me - seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary.
It came on a Saturday morning. It was a little late and it started slowly. But it didn't disappoint - it was one of those special snows that falls so gently - straight down because of the complete absence of any breeze or wind. And even someone who loves the summer and warm weather as much as I do can get excited about the first snowfall of the season.
It didn't feel complete - we hiked four full days in Zion and I only posted three times. I feel like you all didn't get your money's worth. ;) So I thought I would post a final small set of images before I process the full gallery.
I wanted to do something different than the expected canyon and cliff scenes - even though we saw more of those today. But this really is Zion - it's Zion in Autumn. Nestled among many of the cliffs are washes where the water runs off from spring rains and summer storms. All along these washes, plant life flourishes. The plant life includes hardwood trees like oaks and maples - they're a bit smaller than back East but they are unmistakable.
Once again we started the day early - in the darkness before sunrise. But today we hiked the East Mesa and East Rim trail which means we were at the top of the canyon. We didn't know this meant it was 7,000 feet high and we certainly didn't know this meant that it was 24 degrees out when we started the hike! Eventually the sun came out and warmed us up and rewarded us with some great views of Zion Canyon from the East Rim.
Some of you know that I am on my next photo and hiking adventure - this time in Zion National Park in Utah. We started off our first day in total darkness - leaving the hotel room 2 hours before sunrise, driving up a dirt road so steep the SUV lost traction twice, and practically running up a 2.8 mile hike in the dark wearing headlamps, to get the view above. It was worth it! This is a view of Zion Canyon from Eagle Crags Trail.
This post is about color and light. It's isn't really about the chokecherry bush in our back yard. This post is about a time of the year told through the perspective of color and light.
The color for the last couple months has been nothing but green. It's like someone spray painted green across the entire landscape. The grass was the greenest it has ever been. The corn stayed dark green all summer long.
I know what you are thinking - not another waterfall picture from Ricketts Glen. How many waterfall pictures does this guy need? But this isn't a picture of a waterfall at Ricketts Glen. This is a picture of what Ricketts Glen FELT LIKE on a July day during the wettest summer in many years.
They call them Witness Trees - they are trees that were present at the Battle of Gettysburg. They are the last living survivors of those brutal three days in July of 1863. While the people have long since gone, about 150 trees that were alive during the battle, remain alive and in place today. If you stand and run your hands over the rough bark, it's quite possible soldiers from the battle 150 years ago did the same thing.