Archive for July, 2012

July 31, 2012

Water Street

Lookie look

Check it out, it’s totally Water Street in Morristown!

There’s a plaza off of Speedwell Avenue that sort of overlooks this view.

“Sort of,” because there are some strategically inconvenient plantings blocking your access to this view, and you have to do some contorting and reaching and shooting blind to actually get this shot. (Well. I suppose if you had one of those snazzy swiveling LCD screens on your camera, you might be able to see what you’re photographing, but I couldn’t.)

July 30, 2012

And here we wait.


If you’re at Convent Station (the rail station), waiting to catch a westbound train, you might find yourself sittin’ down on this bench while awaiting the train’s arrival.

July 29, 2012

Outside Century 21

La la la la la

Century 21 is a small chain of department stores centered in and around New York City. This one in Morristown is only one of two in New Jersey. (The other’s in Paramus.)

True to its Revolutionary War roots, the exterior of the Morristown store is adorned with relief portraits of locally significant historical figures, as well as a commemorative plaque or two:

Continental Army Encampments: 1776-1782. Site of Baptist Church. Used as Smallpox Hospital during the encampment of 1777. Continental Soldiers were buried in graveyard adjoining.

Used as Smallpox Hospital during the encampment of 1777. Continental Soldiers were buried in graveyard adjoining.

…Which is interesting, because the First Baptist Church is a few blocks away, and the closest graveyard belongs to the Presbyterian church across the road.

My book says nothing on the matter, and the interwebs are giving me conflicting information. The most logical explanation I can find is derived from

Presbyterian Church of Morristown is the oldest congregation in the community. During the Revolution it served as a small pox hospital for Washington’s troops and the graves in the church yard reflect this history. Today, visitors will see the third church building at the same site.

Maybe— and this is completely speculative, mind you— maybe the current Presbyterian church was built on the original Baptist church grounds? Maybe there didn’t used to be a street separating Century 21’s commemorative plaque and the Presbyterian church, so it was all on one lot? Maybe the plaque-writers actually meant the Presbyterian church?

I’m at a bit of a loss here. Any Morristown experts out there?

July 28, 2012

Turtle Back Rock

Everybody do the Turtle Back Rock! Lift your glove and lift your sock!

If you’re ever bored at the Turtle Back Zoo [site], you may find yourself wondering why on earth they named the place Turtle Back Zoo. Did they used to ride on the backs of turtles? Is it an homage to some obscure turtle legends from the local Lenape indians?

No! None of this. None at all.

Right near the zoo, there’s a “bluff over Northfield Avenue that has extensive markings— grooved ovoid patterns that are textured like those on a turtle’s back, except larger (Sceurman and Moran 2005, 33).”

Hence: Turtle Back Rock, and subsequently… Turtle Back Zoo.

And these turtleoid rocks are all over the place! When I visited, I was expecting one big rock with turtle marks. Nope! Every boulder in a 20-foot radius looks like a turtle!

Another turtle back rock face!

A turtle back boulder!

The main turtle back hangout rock, I guess

While the guys from Weird NJ speculate as to the markings’ potentially otherworldly origins, Turtle Back Rock was formed by pretty mundane geology.

Apparently, when the local basalt lava cooled into basalt trap rock, it split into hexagonal crystals (“blocks”). Non-basalt minerals filled in the cracks, and erosion deteriorated the mineral fillings more quickly than the basalt rock. So the grooves in the “turtle’s back” indicate areas where minerals filled the gaps in basalt.

Cool, huh?



Lord Elwood and RakeInTheCache. (2007). “A turtle’s back rock formation.”

Sceurman, M. and Moran, M. (2005). Weird N.J.: Your travel guide to New Jersey’s local legends and best kept secrets. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.: New York. ISBN 1402766858.

July 27, 2012

Interstate sunset

Sunset over I-95

This is outside of my New Providence radius, and it’s blurry and grainy and unprofessional, but it’s still New Jersey and I like it.

I wouldn’t want to live in the Meadowlands, but it’s interesting to watch the quiet stalemate between man and nature. It’s a very industrial area, since it’s right outside of New York City, but it’s very swampy and impossible to really develop. There are wide swaths of swampgrass and rivers and wildflowers, peppered with abandoned factories and smokestacks here and there. Most days, I see snowy egrets hanging out by the railroad tracks.

Every day when I take the train into Manhattan, I get to see some variation of this scene. I still think this area, where I-95 splits around the Hackensack River, is one of the most beautiful parts.

July 26, 2012

Pearl crescent

Hooray butterflies

This little orange butterfly is (as far as I can tell) a Pearl Crescent! It’s very similar to Silvery Checkerspot butterflies, except those silvery checkerspots have ring-spots on their hind wings, not polka-dot-spots.

…Truth be told, at the time, I was just happy to photograph a bug that stayed put long enough for me to take its picture.

July 25, 2012

Down Bear Lane

Just lookin' down the trail

Sometimes, I get enchanted by beautiful landscape photos, and I think Golly! I want to do something like that! Where’s a good place around here…?

The problem is— most of these beautiful landscape photos involve very simple shapes. Flat seas, bare rocks, desert sands.

Around these parts, I haven’t yet found anywhere I can actually see the horizon. I love trees, but they get in the way of my photos!

That said— I try to work with what I’ve got. 🙂

July 24, 2012

The stucco water tower of Millburn

The Stucco Tower of Millburn!

While I’d normally reword my source information to avoid plagiarism, this passage is written well enough, and I don’t have anything to add:

This stucco tower stands on the southeast corner of Hartshorn Drive and Parsonage Hill Road. It was constructed by the City of East Orange to provide additional pressure for moving the water from the reserve on Parsonage Hill Road through the pipes to East Orange. The house at 225 Hartshorn Drive was designed to architecturally blend with the tower.

For better context, here’s a link to a Google Street View of the tower.

Now you know everything I know!


Lampe, O.W. (1999, 2000). Images of America: Millburn. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC. ISBN 0738504130.

July 23, 2012

Summer lovin’

Japanese beetles, yo.

Just what you needed to see on a Monday: copulating Japanese beetles. You ask— well, actually, nobody asked— but I deliver for you, all the same.

Japanese beetles are very pretty bugs, but they’re an invasive species and have a reputation for being awfully destructive to American plants.

July 22, 2012

Feast of OLMC – 7: The Zipper

Zip zip zip zip zip zip zip

Today concludes 2012’s series on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel!

This is the Zipper ride, which I’ve shown you before. But this Zipper was provided by Ace Amusements, not Blue Sky Amusements. The Blue Sky Zipper— as far as I recall— functions more as a pendulum, where gravity and Newtonian physics do a lot of the work; the Ace Zipper (this one) completely ignores gravity, and is driven by a constant-velocity (constant-speed?) motor, like a Ferris Wheel.

This may seem like an inanely geeky distinction (and— let’s be honest— it is), but as a photographer, the gravity-driven ride requires more precision and anticipation of when to click the shutter, as opposed to the constant-velocity ride, where you can click the shutter any old time (as I was able to do here).

So. This shot? Like shooting fish in a barrel. BAM.

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