We’re not gonna see this stuff in July.  Just sayin’.

It certainly has not been a nice winter and I’m looking forward to the Philadelphia Flower Show followed by spring.  But, to stay in the cave day after day is not good either.  A couple of weeks ago we escaped to two favorite antique malls in Redbank.  After antiquing we watched the ice boats and related hardy types enjoying life on the adjacent Navesink River.  These boats are said to be the fastest wind-driven sport craft, easily capable of 50 mph and, if the wind’s right, up to 100 mph.  On my bucket list along with kite-surfing.

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I recently returned to Island Beach State Park, still in search of the Snowy Owls.  I failed again: not even a flash of white feathers as I scanned over the dunes.  Full stomachs dictating naps in the branches?  There were, however, several foxes on the dole.  They actually emerge from the brush when they hear a car approaching.  Here’s Freddy, again.

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And another snowy beach scene.

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Back home I’ve been playing with the contrast between the indoor flowering houseplants and the cold bleakness of winter.  Herewith one of my columneas, happy to be inside.

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On a recent snowing day (one of too many this winter) I was drawn to the same kind of contrast between a constant spring inside and bitterness outside.  The falling snow, however, is one of winter’s best features so I tried to capture a sense of it here, to be reviewed on a 98° day next August.


On yet another morning we were having a winter mix of snow, sleet and rain.  Yeah, a really nice morning.  But, there was some lemonade to be made.  I was caught by the buildup of sleet at the bottom of a window being pac-manned as it were by the rain drops sliding down the window.  Would I hang this one in the living room?  I doubt it but it’s interesting.

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Don’t go away depressed by winter.  There’s always color in Marty Lou’s greenhouse.

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No Swimming Today!   This was one of the signs that greeted me as I pulled into Island Beach State Park with the temperature in the 30’s  Well, I had forgotten my swim trunks anyway.

This was only my second visit to this nearby barrier island park and I enjoyed it.  The trip was in response to the great images of foxes and snowy owls being captured on the island by an outstanding photographer, Ray Yeager.

The island is reached via a causeway from Toms River.  The park begins 2.5 miles south of the causeway, and continues on for about 8 miles paved and another mile of beach-walk to Barnegat Inlet.  Along the way are numerous places to park and walk through the dunes to either the beach or the bay.


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The above image is a little soft in the foreground.  I had my 100-400 on in case I spotted an owl and they’re just not good for landscape work.  (370mm, f/16, 1/400, tripod mounted, and composed in live view)

The dunes are impressive compared to those on LBI as they are taller and generally covered with berry-laden holly, scrub pine, white cedar, sassafras and so on.  They reminded me of the dunes called Sandy Hills in Margate where we often played war in my childhood years.

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Elsewhere there were eye-catching zen scenes of simplicity and gracefulness.

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I drove to the end of the paved road.  I had contemplated a sunset behind Barnegat Light but found that would require a hike along the beach of about 0.8 mile.  I realized that I was missing a camera accessory: a truck whose tires I could deflate in order to drive along the beach.  Must check the B&H Catalog.  I decided the hike would be good for me…but on another day so I drove back up to leave the park and get some lunch.  On the way I passed some fox activity which is one of the things I had hoped to see.  I saw five of them off and on; they were working the road in anticipation of being fed.  The signs, of course, say Don’t Feed the Fox but the foxes don’t read.  One gal had brought a box of hot dogs and was using them to entice a fox which enabled me to get this image.

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It’s also a little soft (370mm, f/16 and 1/166th, handheld) so I want to return and try some more.  I also had hoped for a snowy owl shot as Yeager’s are to be envied, and they are such beautiful animals.  I walked a lot of off-the-road trails but nary a flash of white.  I actually did have one in my crosshairs but it asked me if I were Ray Yeager.  When I said no, it gave me the claw and flew off.


I got back into town (such as it is in February) and found a pizza  place.  I asked the proprietor if he expected a busy Super Bowl Sunday.  He said he didn’t;  “Everyone’s back in New York and nobody lives here in the winter.”

I then headed back into the park as hope springs eternal.  Here are two more typical scenes I found.   The first, an unglamorous drainage cut from the Bird Blind Trail, the second on a beach trail after emerging from the trees.

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All in all it was a pleasant and informative afternoon and I mean to return.