For Everyone Else, Creating Something from Nothing

I recently had the amazing privilege of leading a group of photographers on my first Pine Barrens Photography Workshop. It was a great experience showing off this special place to both local and not-so-local photographers.

When I teach workshops, I am not there to take photographs. Most of the time, I don’t even bother to set up my camera because I want to focus all my time on helping the workshop participants. Consequently, after the workshop, I had an overwhelming urge to create. After saying good bye to some great people, I headed back out to the Pine Barrens to a savannah which I recently became aware of.

Photographing the Pine Barrens is not a “point and shoot” place. When you photograph a flat landscape like this, composition becomes critical. To get the photograph shown here, it took wandering around for almost an hour to find the right spot.

The composition in this photograph is designed around the curve of the darker foliage on the left. The foliage acts as a leading line to draw the eye into the texture and color of this open meadow with the rows of pines in the background and a soft pink evening sky. It’s a composition that is based on color and shapes.

There is little visual “drama” in the New Jersey Pine Barrens’ landscape, but that doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful. To the uninitiated, it may seem like a magic act that makes something out of nothing. But to those who love this place, it’s finding and crafting the beauty in a way that invites those uninitiated masses to see and feel the beauty of these scraggly pine forests.


Learn more about my one day New Jersey Pine Barrens and other workshops