Fire and Light in the Franklin Parker Preserve

Fire and Light in the Franklin Parker Preserve

  • Pinelands Franklin Parker Preserve

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.

Farming Remnants

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.

Pinelands Franklin Parker Preserve

5:46pm – Old Pump House On The Pole Branch by Richard Lewis 2018


Nothing Like A Tree

I’ve probably seen this tree many times, but it finally caught my eye in the late afternoon light.

Pinelands Franklin Parker Preserve

6:09pm – Among The Pines by Richard Lewis 2018


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.

Pinelands Franklin Parker Preserve

6:22pm – Soft Evening Light by Richard Lewis 2018


Golden Light

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.

Pinelands Franklin Parker Preserve

7:05pm – Late Light On The Marsh by Richard Lewis 2018



Sunset is always a magical time. I loved how this vantage point created some great leading lines in the sky and the old bog.

Pinelands Franklin Parker Preserve

7:11pm – Sunset Reflection by Richard Lewis 2018


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.Pinelands Franklin Parker Preserve

7:19pm – Distant Fire At Dusk by Richard Lewis 2018

Last Light

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.

Pinelands Franklin Parker Preserve

7:32pm – Dark Cedar Swamp by Richard Lewis 2018


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.


See more of my New Jersey Pinelands Photography Here

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2018-03-21T12:40:48+00:00March 21st, 2018|14 Comments


  1. Mike Pillows March 21, 2018 at 10:32 am - Reply

    I believe this is what sets your work apart… it’s a deep connection to the land and the creativity to bring that vision to us. Always a pleasure reading and envisioning the paths you take.

    • Rich Lewis March 21, 2018 at 12:46 pm - Reply

      Thanks Mike. I do feel deeply connected to this area, especially the open spaces of the Preserve.

  2. southjerseytrails March 21, 2018 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Beautiful shots, as always (especially always at the Parker Preserve).

    • Rich Lewis March 21, 2018 at 12:48 pm - Reply

      Thanks Michael. I appreciate it. The Preserve is really an especially beautiful place,

  3. Bonnie Rovere March 21, 2018 at 2:00 pm - Reply

    Beautiful shots with lovely lighting!

    • Rich Lewis March 21, 2018 at 2:12 pm - Reply

      Thanks Bonnie, that light was pretty special.

  4. Robin Carpenter March 21, 2018 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    I look forward to your posts. When one of your photographs pops up, it always makes me smile. Thank you for sharing your truly amazing talents.

    • Rich Lewis March 21, 2018 at 4:48 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much for this very nice compliment. Keep smiling!

  5. Barry Nealis March 21, 2018 at 2:33 pm - Reply

    Beautiful! You always find the shots that look so special and unique.

    • Rich Lewis March 21, 2018 at 4:49 pm - Reply

      Thanks Barry. I’m very bonded to this place and when the light is right, it’s magic to be out there.

  6. larryalyons March 22, 2018 at 9:23 am - Reply

    I love the way you connect your photography with the environment and tell a story. Something I like to do as well. Great post.

    • Rich Lewis March 23, 2018 at 6:36 am - Reply

      Thanks Larry. I think we both realize how our photographic work can spread awareness of how much these places matter.

  7. Ralph Berglund April 2, 2018 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    Love the sky in Soft Evening Light, and Sunset Reflection is wonderful. All nice. Have you considered homesteading out there?

    • Rich Lewis April 3, 2018 at 6:56 am - Reply

      Thanks Ralph. Yes, I have thought about it. There is a caretaker that lives on the Preserve and I’m very jealous of the guy.

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