Winter In The Franklin Parker Preserve

Winter In The Franklin Parker Preserve

When Ordinary Becomes Beautiful

Cold Winter Light In the Franklin Parker Preserve in the Pine Barrens by Richard Lewis

Cold Winter Light by Richard Lewis 2017

It doesn’t snow much in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, so when it does, it’s time to head out to find something to photograph. This old bog in the Franklin Parker Preserve seemed like a nice place to look. Usually the stumps of these old cedar trees look like abstract designs, however they blend into the sandy and mucky bottom of the bog and don’t stand out enough.

A little snow on the ground changed that. When I arrived at the bog, it was almost perfect. It was also really cold, around 15 degrees (-9 celsius). Still, I thought it would be worth it to wait about a half hour to see if some beautiful light would fall on the trees in the background at a time closer to sunset.

After 30 minutes, the red light from the setting sun began falling at an angle creating some beautiful highlights and shadows in the trees. It only lasted a minute or two, but it made the perfect background for this odd little bog with its abstract natural sculptures.

I’ve been photographing the New Jersey Pine Barrens for many years and it never ceases to amaze me how new and subtle beauty reveals itself. I’ve hiked by this bog dozens of times thinking it would never be “photo worthy.” Yet add some snow and winter light, and this little bog turns into a surreal and abstract scene.

This photograph along with others will be part of my solo exhibition called the Franklin Parker Preserve, The Heart of New Jersey’s Wilderness from January 20, 2017 to March 16, 2017. Visit my website for more information, reception dates and times, etc. 


2017-05-19T10:35:45+00:00 January 15th, 2017|18 Comments


  1. Susan Addelston January 15, 2017 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    You should seriously think of offering these gorgeous photographs to the local political leaders where the bogs are and to the Congressional representative, as well as Senators of NJ. A nice little covering letter with precisely your description of what you consider a nondescript plot of tiny land, but which by itself is beautiful and worthy of preservation to encourage them to make sure that the Pinelands remain preserved for all time.
    Let’s remind them of why these areas need protection.
    It’s not just the majestic Western lands or vast reaches of Alaska that need these accolades, but all of our wilderness that is left. It was Ansel Adams (and others) photographs of Yellowstone & Yosemite that made presidents decide to preserve it before it vanished to developers. In this case, photographs are truly worth 1000s of words. Your sharp, artistic eye and meaningful words can have a great impact.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Rich Lewis January 16, 2017 at 6:55 am - Reply

      Thanks Susan I appreciate the compliment and will look into how these images can be used for the purpose you recommend. I’m hoping sales are strong in this exhibition because we are donating a portion of it to the New Jersey Conservation Foundation for their good work in creating public land that is privately held. The Franklin Parker Preserve is a perfect example of how well that works.

      One of my hopes is that a place as special as the Pine Barrens ultimately becomes a National Park. While it doesn’t have the grandeur on the surface of other parks you mention, it has its beauty and has more bio diversity than most National Parks. Just the fact that it exists where it does, makes it quite unique and worthy of preservation.

  2. kristiaadams January 16, 2017 at 8:05 am - Reply

    Funny you should post this yesterday. I was planning on going there today!

    • Rich Lewis January 16, 2017 at 12:41 pm - Reply

      I hope you have a good hike Kristia. It’s a great day to be out there.

  3. carolinehelbig January 16, 2017 at 11:48 am - Reply

    The title above the photo is perfect. It is so true that the right timing/light can completely transform a place. Great photo!

    • Rich Lewis January 16, 2017 at 12:50 pm - Reply

      Thanks Caroline. It never ceases to amaze me how places change with light, seasons, weather, etc. It’s probably the main reason I’m a landscape photographer. Sometimes it is predictable, like the photograph above, but it’s very magical when it happens in a place you least expect it.

  4. Louis Dallara Photography January 16, 2017 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    Great I love FPP

    • Rich Lewis January 17, 2017 at 7:21 am - Reply

      What’s not to love Lou? I hope to see you at the reception on Friday.

  5. denisebushphoto January 17, 2017 at 10:09 am - Reply

    I know this exact spot as I was always attracted to the repetition of stumps. It is certainly more attractive here in your composition with the warm light and snow.

    • Rich Lewis January 18, 2017 at 7:54 am - Reply

      Thanks Denise. This is one of those situations where you think a place will never be more than a spot you pass by on the way to a better one. Then something happens like a little snow and some great light.

  6. Erin Johnson January 17, 2017 at 8:25 pm - Reply

    Is this exhibit open at other times? I won’t be able to make any of those but I would love to see it.

    • Rich Lewis January 18, 2017 at 7:44 am - Reply

      Yes, Erin it is open at other times. We will be having multiple receptions. The times and dates can be found on my website: If you will be busy on all those dates, let me know and we may be able to accommodate you. We are also arranging for this exhibition to be shown at other locations. If you sign up for my email list or follow this blog that information will be provided once we firm up the dates.

  7. Green Global Trek January 26, 2017 at 5:41 am - Reply

    Oh how stunning!!! Wish I could see your exhibit. More please…..

    • Green Global Trek January 26, 2017 at 5:42 am - Reply

      I can’t stop looking. A beautiful painting to behold….

      • Rich Lewis January 26, 2017 at 6:19 am - Reply

        Thanks again Peta! If your travels ever take you to New Jersey, feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to give you and your husband a tour of the Pine Barrens.

    • Rich Lewis January 26, 2017 at 6:17 am - Reply

      Thank you so much for your comment and compliment on my work Peta. You can see more of my work on my website: I will also be posting more photographs from the exhibition in future posts.

  8. Louis Dallara Photography March 12, 2017 at 11:45 am - Reply

    Great capture of some Great Warm Light.

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