An evening on the Ben Franklin Bridge What makes South Jersey an interesting and unique place to live is that you are close to the wilderness forests of the New Jersey Pinelands and the City of Philadelphia. One can enjoy both city and country life without traveling very far. There is a pedestrian walkway on the Ben Franklin Bridge that spans the Delaware River and connects Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Camden, New Jersey. I had [...]
A Remnant of Personal History We recently visited what is left of Cejwin Camps in Port Jervis, New York. The camp was founded in 1918 to provide a summer in nature and fresh air for New York City's Jewish children. The camp, like all summer camps, provided an opportunity for kids to bond, have fun, and maybe learn something they could take into adulthood that would be useful. Its location in rural New York, just [...]
An aimless pursuit of beauty. What do you do when a day of scouting for photography locations doesn't yield anything? That happened recently on a trip to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. We spent the afternoon hiking the Cliff and other trails to check out overlooks and waterfalls. My plan was to find the best ones and spend the next few mornings photographing them. Nine miles of hiking didn't yield [...]
Being on the top of that mountain taught me to experience sunrises and sunsets in a different way. I've always looked for that decisive moment when the light is at it's peak. Now I realize that a sunrise is a story that starts at first light and ends when the dawn colors fade.
I'm not sure why I went back to the old Pennhurst Hospital which is often referred to as the "Shame of Pennsylvania." The hospital for "feeble-minded children" (from its original name) was built in 1908 and had a long history of being overcrowded, underfunded and understaffed which lead to abuse and neglect of the young residents until it was closed in the 1980's. On my first trip to Pennhurst I was searching [...]
Happy 100th Anniversary to the National Parks The US National Park system may be the best thing our government has ever done. Preserving some of our best American landscapes has been going on for a hundred years. In spite of some parks being overcrowded with visitors, having an overworked National Park Service staff, and many other challenges, the beautiful landscapes remain relatively unchanged since they have become parks. Shenandoah National Park [...]
Why wake up at 4am to hike up a mountain? One of the things I love about being a photographer, and a hiker, is the challenge to find unique places to experience nature at its best. In Virginia's Shenandoah National Park that meant hiking up a mountain in the dark before the sun came up. On a beautiful afternoon my wife and I hiked up Hawksbill Mountain, the highest mountain in Shenandoah [...]
If this post doesn't make you cry I'm not doing my job Yellow Dog Village is an odd name for a town, but it is sort of an odd town. In the early 20th century when miners and mine owners battled each other over wages and working conditions, this town was a place of harmony between workers and management. Yellow Dog Village came into being because of an agreement between [...]
Batsto Village is a preserved historic iron works in the middle of the New Jersey Pinelands. In the 18th and early 19th centuries it was a major industry and even played an important roll in the American Revolution. I wanted to photograph a moonrise at Batsto Village, but right after arriving it became obvious that it wasn't going to work out. There were just too many trees and no place to get a good [...]
Abandoned homes are always the saddest of all because they were places where people and families lived. Every square inch of this place has a memory created by occupants of a home that is over 100 years old.
Fun at the Berks County Photographic Conference I just returned home from my first time presenting at the Berks County Photographic Conference in Kutztown, Pennsylvania which was an awesome experience on many levels. It is always great to be able to share one's knowledge and experience with like-minded individuals. My presentations were on photographing abandoned buildings and iPhoneography. Also rewarding was getting to hear the other presenters and meeting so many interesting people, several [...]
Hiking the New Jersey Pinelands for Therapy and Art I had a knee injury from a bicycle accident a few months ago and have been walking as part of a physical therapy program. On a recent Saturday afternoon, I decided to do some therapy by hiking in the Franklin Parker Preserve, one of my favorite New Jersey Pinelands spots. It ended up being more of a spiritual therapy session than a physical one. I intended [...]
Visually Preserving an Un-preservable Local Treasure I had posted photographs from this mansion earlier and was going to make it a series with several parts, Instead, I'm creating a new post with more information and photography. The McNeal mansion was built around 1894 in Burlington, New Jersey as the dream house of a local industrialist named Andrew McNeal. It sits along the Delaware River next to his successful cast iron pipe [...]
Three out of four isn't bad, right? We all have our favorite places and this is one of mine. I pass this old barn almost every day and its elegant, simple utilitarian architecture calls to me. Recently, I photographed the barn in the early Spring and realized that I now have images of it in three of the four seasons. Summer is absent because the barn is almost totally obscured by the trees, vegetation [...]
Neighborhood Nukes in South Jersey In the rural Southern New Jersey community of Woolwich Township are the remains of another cold war relic, Nike Missile Battery PH-58. Unlike the Lumberton site, PH-23/25 from my previous post, when this site was decommissioned in 1974, it remained abandoned and was never repurposed. Now it stands as a dilapidated, overgrown memory of a time when our military needed to defend our major cities [...]
A Sad History That Goes From Glory To Gory. I have revised this blog post to provide more detail and photography, please click here to see it. All of the photographs that were in this post are now on the new one. Doorway to Devastation by Richard Lewis 2016