One of the many things in the New Jersey Pinelands that I find fascinating are the Cedars. They grow along the edges of the rivers and lakes in thick groves. Some of these groves are almost impenetrable and the ones you can enter are usually very dark, wet and swampy. They can be so thick that most of the sunlight is blocked creating a dark and surreal world.
I recently started photographing the cedars of the Pine Barrens and here are two of the latest images. Both were made during off trail hikes. Hiking is more like bushwhacking in the cedars and can be tough going. I’ve learned that waders and boots are a big help.
My preferred method of experiencing the Pines, or any other place that I am drawn to photograph, is on foot. While hiking photographs tend to jump out at you. Often times my favorite images are not the one I sought out when I started the hike. For instance, the image above titled, “Edge of the Cedars” happened while I was trying to get to a spot to photograph a beaver dam and lodge. Along the way I saw what looked like a Monet painting and had to stop and photograph it.
When hiking one tends to be more tuned to the immediate environment. Tom Brown, the famous back woods tracker, refers to this as “wide angle vision.” As artists we tend to not only be tuned to the environment around us, but composition and color as well.