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A trip to The Pinelands always brings the unexpected. This area of southern New Jersey is full of stories - from the home of the Jersey Devil to the dumping place for many an enemy of Tony Soprano. Usually for me, the unexpected involves just the natural world - the interplay of light, clouds, water and land in an ever-changing manner. A friend and I spent a typical Saturday afternoon in the Whites Bog section of The Pinelands. By the end of the day, it became anything but typical. Lily pads on the water presented beautiful colors and shapes reminiscent of impressionist painters like Claude Monet. As the day ended we were treated to a mysterious and unexpected music in the pines. On a single day, we witnessed two very different personalities of the Pinelands - yet somehow united by its mystery.


Monet In The Pines

As the sunny afternoon at Whites Bog wore on, I couldn’t stop looking at the deep blue water and the golden lily pads. The water in the Pinelands is stained brown from the tanins of the trees and so the water appears dark which makes it highly reflective - more so than clear water. The bright blue sky made the tanin stained bog water look like it was from the deep blue Pacific Ocean. Add the low angle of the sun and the golden light and I couldn’t help but think of Monet’s impressionistic paintings. Arranging the lily pads and grasses into pleasing shapes was, in a way, similar to the challenge faced by these early painters. Every angle presented a different view - slight changes in position made the difference between a canvas of color and a mere snapshot.

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Music In The Pines

It was closing in on 6pm and we were about to get the most beautiful light of the day. Except for one thing - the cloud bank that formed on the horizon destroyed any hope of sunset and deep golden light. I whined for at least twenty minutes. Deciding that the photographic part of the day was over, we packed up and started driving out. I took a wrong turn and we were lured in by the most unexpected of sounds - heavy metal music! In the pines! It turns out the band Tallah was shooting a music video for their song, “We, the Sad” and they invited us in. They asked if we wanted to be in the video, but we knew our hiking boots would make us look out of place. So they let me shoot some photos of my own while they performed and shot the video. It was an incredible thirty minutes to cap the day. Thank goodness the clouds came in or we never would have seen this!

Shout out to the band Tallah for letting us enjoy their performance - look for their video here. And shout out to Sean Tamper who was producing the video and graciously allowed me to have some fun photographing this very unique event in the Pines!

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A short Photo Story from June 2019, by Brian Reitenauer.