2022 was the first year in a several where New Jersey Pine Barrens photography was not my only focus. As much as I love the Pines, it was good to finally travel. If I showed all the images I’m proud of in this post summing up the year, it would be way too long. So instead, here are my favorite photographs from the place I call home.
Zooming in on the Pine Barrens
When starting to photograph the Pine Barrens, it’s easy to chase the sky colors showing our beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The light reflects in some of the 17 trillion gallons of water under the Pines that makes it to the surface in the form of bogs and lakes. As you get to know the Pine Barrens, you start to see the beauty of the shapes, forms and textures of the forest in differing light.
Fall in the Pine Barrens
Although it is called the Pines, we have our share of deciduous trees that put on their best for fall and decorate the Pines in beautiful colors. While this year’s drought and warm temperatures put a damper on our fall season, it did have its moments.
Unique Scenes in the Pines
That old adage about missing 100% of the shots you don’t take applies to photography. Interesting and unique scenes reveal themselves to those who are out there and know how to read the landscape. The key is to be out there and paying attention to the light, both bold and subtle.
The Cedar Swamps
The cedar swamps have been a subject I have been exploring for several years now. 2022 was kind of a breakthrough that came from embracing the chaos of the swamp and learning to work in more varied light. This has also led to announcing my first Pine Barrens Cedar Swamp photography workshop to be held in March. Find out more here.
The Pine Barrens From Above
The drone has been a real game changer for Pine Barrens photography. In a landscape that lacks mountaintop or even hilltop views, the drone provides a prospective that is otherwise impossible to get in the flat million plus acres of the Pinelands National Reserve.
Fire In the Pines
This year the Pine Barrens experienced one of the largest forest fires in many years with around 15,000 acres being burned. The Pines are enduring and fire is part of the ecology. I was able to photograph the damage and the beginnings of the forest’s recovery. Here is a link to more images of this fire.
The Pine Barrens were for the Birds in 2022
If an epic forest fire wasn’t enough, this year the Pines experienced a terrible drought, too. Since the water levels were so low, the fish in the bogs became trapped which attracted a lot of hungry egrets. In the Franklin Parker Preserve the large numbers of egrets would settle down for the night in one of the ghost forests of dead cedar trees.