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.