Every Day is a Different Sunset
Sometimes you just have to drop everything and head to the woods. It’s been a busy time for me with the opening of my Pinelands Photography, Our Wilderness Next Door Exhibition, leading back to back workshops, presenting to camera clubs, and teaching photography. As much as I love doing all of this, I recently took a break with a little ‘just me and my camera’ time.
I enjoy hiking from late afternoon into the evening and headed out to the Franklin Parker Preserve, a favorite spot of mine in the New Jersey Pinelands. Fortunately, it was a very peaceful evening with a still winter air. The light was interesting as smoke from area prescribed burns lingered in the air and mixed with the late day light. Prescribed burns in the forest help clear the undergrowth in order to control forest fires. The heat from these fires also helps our finicky Pitch Pine trees to germinate.
Enjoy the photographs from this hike and follow along without putting on a backpack and hiking boots.
Most of the Franklin Parker Preserve was once a cranberry farm. The bogs where the cranberries grew have been left for nature to reclaim. Enduring remnants of the old farm are small pump houses that were used to flood and drain the bogs. Here is one along the Pole Branch of the Wading River.
Nothing Like A Tree
I’ve probably seen this tree many times, but it finally caught my eye in the late afternoon light.
A Prairie In The Pinelands
This area of the preserve that can look like a midwestern prairie. I loved this scraggly little pine that stood alone here.
Just before sunset this rustic landscape is lit with patchy shades of red and gold light. The sky is a mix of clouds and smoke along the horizon.
Sunset is always a magical time. I loved how this vantage point created some great leading lines in the sky and the old bog.
Where There’s Smoke
It never occurred to me that smoke should be part of a landscape photograph. Seeing it here I realized that fire in the Pinelands, controlled or accidental, is part of this environment.
7:19pm – Distant Fire At Dusk by Richard Lewis 2018
In the last light of day this tree caught my eye at the edge of a cedar swamp, the darkest places of the Pinelands. As mysterious as cedar swamps are, they become more so after the sun goes down.
The need to immerse oneself in nature, whether you are a landscape photographer or not, is a vital part of being human. Being out here in the Pinelands or any natural space, reminds us that we are part of the natural world we live in. We may shape and mold our world, but it can also help shape and mold us.