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.


Image 02


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.

Image 04


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

Image 01


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.

Image 03


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.

Image 05


Image 06


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


24 Responses to “NO SWIMMING TODAY”

  1. Del Cannon Says:

    I miss the park. A great place to visit when no one is there.

  2. eajackson Says:

    Thank you sharing your day. I think I may have to visit this park. Lovely………

  3. Bonnie Says:

    Very nice. You know I love the fox shot! I need to get back there one of these days.

  4. Virginia Rice Says:

    Ralph ,so close to where we live but I never think to go there. Lovely photos

  5. rtyblog Says:

    Hey Ralph, great blog and thanks for the kind words. A friend posted it on my FB page.

  6. MikeP Says:

    I love IBSP… that is where most of my childhood memories came from. Your zen shot stands out for me as does the 1st pic.

  7. fiebs Says:

    I, too, love the fox shot. But especially this: “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.” Possibly your best line ever. 😀

  8. Marilyn Flagler Says:

    As always, you captured me with beauty and your fun with words…I love the “zen” shot, the fox and the “claw”. A number of years ago, we trailered horses to Island Beach and rode along the surf line…great fun!

  9. Jenn Says:

    fiebs, you nailed it. Ralph, thank you for the smiles.

  10. denisebushphoto Says:

    Great post Ralph. I especially love the zen grass in snow!

  11. Rich Lewis Says:

    Beautiful set of photographs. I never imagine the shore in the snow. It is really very beautiful.

  12. Ken Curtis Says:

    Beautiful images, Ralph, all of them. My favorite though is the zen image with the grass and the snow.

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