INTO THE FRANKLIN PARKER PRESERVE – 3/27/10

I and two colleagues from the South Jersey Camera Club joined a group to journey into some areas of the Pine Barrens including the two parcels of the Franklin Parker Preserve.  The group was the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club and we rode their coattails.  The boisterous, outspoken, enthusiastic leader was Dr. Emile De Vito of the staff of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation who did an excellent job of herding us and informing us.  The mission was to see birds.  The birders did; I didn’t see very many, and photographed even fewer.

But it was a beautiful day and there was some pretty scenery.  This is a reservoir which accrued a water supply for the irrigation of the cranberry bogs during the growing season.   The pink blossoms are on a swamp maple.

Here was some colorful British Soldier Lichen along the trail.

The cranberry bogs were created on land that had supported the growth of Atlantic White Cedar.  The above scene from the Styx-like waters shows the remains of some of those forests.

And, finally, my token bird shot for the day.  I don’t even know what it is but perhaps someone who does will tell me in a comment. (See the comment – click on Comments below –   by LauraInNJ identifying the bird as a Yellow-rump Warbler.  Thanks, Laura.)   We did see an eagle nest with the mother (according to Emile) sitting on her egg.  One could see it with the birders’ spotting scopes but it was too far even for my 560mm lens.  In any event it’s nice to know the eagles are nesting out there.

INTO THE PIGMY PINE FOREST – 3/22/2010

For years while driving along NJ Route 72 on the way to Long Beach Island I have marvelled at the dwarf pine trees on either side of the road.  They are part of the 13,000 acre unique Pigmy Pines Forest or The Plains of the Pine Barrens, described asdesolate stretches of white sand barrens … for the most part devoid of trees higher than one’s knees.  

This is certainly not a scenic wonder but it is a botanical marvel.  For all those years I’ve wanted to go into the area and see what it’s like.  Last Sunday a group of about 25 caravaned from the Pinelands Preservation Alliance  outside of Vincentown to an area off of County 539 in the Warren Grove Recreational area.  The focus of the trip was to find specimens of Coremia Conradii, more commonly Broom Crowberry, which grows more north of us and, in our area,  just in this part of the Pine Barrens, and which “blooms” typically right at the Vernal Equinox.  Here are beds of Broom Crowberry.

The beds looked as though they had been burned out by drought.  As I said to a colleague, “I’ll not need to take a stress pill from over excitement.”    But as our guide brushed his hand over the low growth clouds of pollen appeared, hoping for a female flower.  When I got into the brush with a macro (closeup) lens I was amazed at the color of the male flowers.

We then moved to an area by the entrance to the bombing range (not active on Sundays, I think) where we were met by two Drexel professors (one in Herpetology, one in botany) and some of their students.  They talked to us at some length about the botany and the area environmental management.

It was interesting but a little too barren and dry for me until I found some water on the way out.

NOT ENOUGH SNOW? OFF TO THE CATSKILLS 3/12/10

Last weekend I joined fifteen other photographers from three New Jersey clubs for two days of shooting around Roundtop Mountain in the Catskills.   Here’s a view of five of the group risking life and limb on snowy and icy slopes, trying to capture the perfect image.

This is the same area we visited last winter and spring, and several of the photographers were repeats from those weekends.  The weather was beautiful; we visited several new sites; and we had fun!

It’s hard not to find beautiful scenes what with running streams, rocks, trees and snow.  The scene below was made late in the afternoon and exploited the motion of the water and the splashes of warm light.

And now for something completely different….a Buddhist retreat with the pagoda, three temples, each complete with recorded chanting, joss sticks, and fresh fruit offerings.  Enchanting!

Below we have a covered bridge over the Artists’ Falls, mostly covered with ice and snow.  The group picture above was taken on the other, down-falls side of the bridge.

Finally, the mountains.  Several more images from the weekend can be seen at my gallery.  Click here.

IT’S NOT YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S FLOWER SHOW ANYMORE – 03/04/10

I manage to get to the Philadelphia Flower Show about every two years.  I haven’t missed many since my first in 1953 while going to Drexel, and for many years it was an all-family event to bring home the pussy willows and another gardenia plant to feed the mealy bugs at home.  But, by now I’m only up for it about every two years.  Heresy, but it’s kinda the same thing every year.  I don’t for a minute mean to denigrate the brilliance of the theme and exhibit designs but it all begins to blend together.  Anyway, the Post title?  Here she is

Brazilian Dancer

 The theme this year was International Gardens, and the entertainment was international as well.  This lady danced to the samba music of a guitar and electronic piano and she was lovely.  I just don’t remember scenes like this in 1953.  I think it’s a nice improvement.

There were many of the traditional, beautiful garden scenes comprising plants that can only bloom simultaneously at the Flower Show, brightened from the flashes of a bazillion point-and-shoots.  What do they do with all of those images?

 And there are always imaginative scenes, some candy for the imagination:

Lilies in ice blocks

And this beautiful panel with water flowing over it:

Water Panel

A few more images can be seen at my gallery.  Click here.