Tag : Scenic

17 Apr 2010

What’s good: Taking the time to get out and find the beauty.

Virginia Bluebells carpet the ground at Duke Island Park in Bridgewater, NJ.

It was a cold, cloudy afternoon, not a very pleasant day outside. I decided to head to Duke Island Park in Bridgewater, it is a nice county park about five miles from my house. The park has a small pond where I have photographed a heron many times and I thought it would be fun to see if it was around yet. The pond is close to the park road, so I could see from my Jeep the heron wasn’t there. I drove through the park a couple of times but didn’t see anything that made me want to get out of the warm vehicle.

I left the park and headed toward another park when it hit me that I saw a tweet from Walter Choroszewski earlier this week that the Virginia Bluebells were out in full force. Walter is a great photographer who has done at least 17 photo books. You can see his gallery of the bluebells here. Walter and I are going on a photo adventure to Alaska this summer.

So I headed back to the park and took the time to get out of the car this time. About 200 yards from the parking there they were. Thousands of small, blue flowers carpeting the floor of the woods. It is a spectacular sight. And I nearly missed it because I didn’t make the effort to simply get out of the car and look around. I felt much better enjoying the beauty of the flowers and being a little chilly than driving around in a warm car. Lesson learned: take time to get out and smell the bluebells.

13 Apr 2010

What’s good: Chasing a hot air balloon

A hot air balloon lands at dusk.

When I left work in East Brunswick, it was drizzling and pretty chilly. As I got closer to home the rain stopped and I could see the clouds were starting to break in the west. I saw something strange in the sky and drove a couple of blocks out of my way to see what it was.

There was a hot air balloon floating to the west. They aren’t uncommon, the country’s largest summer balloon festival happens about where the balloon was flying. But they usually aren’t around this early in the year.

It was about and hour before sunset, so I went home, took care of the dogs and went out to find the balloon. I knew about where it would be, so I headed out as the sun was setting. I spotted it a couple of times and then I lost it. I went to the airport where it probably took off and all was quiet. I stopped to shoot the late sunlight hitting an old abandoned farm silo. Not a bad shot but I thought I would find something better after sunset.

I looked up and there was the balloon off in the distance. It was about five minutes before sunset, which is when they no longer can legally fly, so I knew it would land soon and I wasn’t very close. I drove through several neighborhoods trying to get on the east side of it so I could have the colorful western sky behind it.

About five minutes after sunset, I spotted it low over the trees and I still wasn’t close. I thought it was landing so I just kept driving. I pulled out onto Lamington Road and there it was, floating well above the trees over an former horse farm, looking for a place to land. I pulled off the road a couple of times and made some shots. I finally came to where the chase vehicles were and watched as the balloon crossed the road to land in an open field. I love riding in balloons and watching them is almost as much fun.

A fence row on Villettown Road in Tewksbury, NJ.

I was close to a hill that I ride my bicycle up quite often and I thought there might be a good shot there. It is a fairly steep hill for around here and there is a house on top that looks neat during the day. I’ve never been there after sundown, so I thought I’d take a look. I drove up the hill and saw a dramatic rail fence. Bingo. I spent the next 15 minutes kneeling in the wet soil to get the right angle. Two silhouettes in two days, rare for me, but I like them.

12 Apr 2010

What’s good: Robin in the tree

A robin hops around branches of a backyard tree.

After dinner on my sister-in-law Penny’s deck, Penny, Robin and I were chatting when another robin flew into a nearby tree. It was chirping away and hoping around the branches.

10 Apr 2010

What’s good: Reflections in The Great Swamp

A Canada goose preens in the Great Swamp

I made a quick trip to The Great Swamp late this afternoon. The Great Swamp is about 15 north of my house. It is a 3,000 acres National Wildlife Refuge that was created in the early ’60s when they wanted to build a huge airport and the locals got creative and created a wildlife refuge so they couldn’t pave it. Instead the put in a few boardwalks and some trails.

It isn’t the prettiest place, it is a swamp and it looks it. I’ve spent a lot of time there and know it pretty well.

I went to a boardwalk that goes out to a blind where you can observe wildlife without disturbing the critters. I’ve never seen anything good from the blind but the boardwalk usually provides something interesting.

As the sun was getting low today,  a Canada goose was sitting on a clump of grass. There was a nice reflection in the water as the goose pruned itself.