Archive for November, 2012

November 30, 2012

Boat wakes

Wakes are fun.

I’m sorry for posting fluff pieces for the past week. Maybe one of these days I’ll leave myself enough time to prepare a proper local-interest post.

In the meantime, here’s what one of the views from the top of Barnegat Light(house) looked like a week before Sandy. I have no idea whether or not those little islands and sand bars are even still there. But I hear the northern bit of Long Beach Island (where this was seen) fared a lot better than the southern portion, so who knows, maybe it still looks exactly the same.

November 29, 2012


Some fishermen use crabs as fishing bait, because crabs are tasty, and some fish think so too.

But if you don’t want your bait to scare off your prey, you need to remove your bait’s threatening defensive equipment.

As such, the fishing area around Barnegat Light is littered with discarded crab claws. They’re small, only an inch or two long.

(Poor little crabs.)

November 28, 2012

Boxes upon boxes

Just some post boxes

Just some old post boxes in the Whitesbog general store.

November 27, 2012

Snow on rocks

Snow on rocks, oh boy

It’s supposed to snow today. This is actually a photo from last year, so I don’t know whether or not today’s snow will look like this or not.* According to our local government weather stations, (Philly/Mount Holly and New York), it’s only supposed to be 0-2″, but NJ Transit announced a system-wide cross-honoring YESTERDAY, so I’m a little concerned. Hopefully it’s nothing.

Of the many praises I sing of my Sony camera, one of the awesome perks (for me) is the exposure. Most of the time, it gets it right; the other 10% of the time, it’s easy to do an exposure lock, exposure compensation, or just set it manually. And when I get it wrong, it’s very quick to adjust the curves in Photoshop.

Sometimes I think I can process these photos quickly because I’m getting good at Photoshop. But then I have to deal with an exposure like this, and it takes forever. There goes that theory.

My last camera— a Fuji Finepix, on which this photo was taken— was not so exposure-friendly. I underexposed the snow in this shot— my fault— and I set the white balance for “shade” because it was overcast (and my Fuji tends towards blue casts), but unfortunately the snow came out reddish (but it looked okay on my LCD screen!).

I’ve struggled to correct the issues in Photoshop. This would be a piece of cake with a JPG from my big camera, but exposures from my little Fuji just don’t give me enough values to work with. Which is weird, right? Because a JPG is a JPG is a JPG.

I hear that this wonky exposure (and highlight/shadow clipping) phenomenon is prevalent on all small-sensor cameras, and I’ve attributed it to each camera’s interpretation of “dynamic range.” Or at least to my understanding of what dynamic range is. Is that about right?


*Or whether the snow already looks like this or not. I usually schedule posts, so I’m actually writing this on Monday night. Which makes it hard to figure out what verb tense I should use when I write. But anyway.

November 26, 2012

Around the ground


Sometimes I get lazy and just post macro shots of fungi.

November 25, 2012

Leather hats

Firefighter gear

I’m sure this is one of those many things that’s obvious and known to everyone but me, but I didn’t know that firefighters had leather helmets. I always see the cheap red plastic things they make for kids, and I guess I assumed the real thing was just a steel version of the same thing. I never really paid attention. But no— there’s lots of hand-rendered craftsmanship in each hat— they’re carefully stitched from black and brown leather (and probably lined with other fire-retardant things).

Or maybe they’re made by machine. Or maybe only the Millburn Fire Department has hats like these. I don’t really know. I just thought it was interesting.

(from the Millburn Fire Department Open House)

November 24, 2012

Crib of corn

Inside a corn crib!

Have you ever wondered what the inside of a corn crib looks like?

You probably haven’t. The Wikipedia page has a photo of a corn crib interior right there, and I’m not sure whether or not corn cribs are even still used.

The outside of a corn crib! Will wonders never cease!


Corn cribs are/were a big bin for corn to be dried out and stored. This one in Batsto Village included a belt-and-shaft machine at the top (not currently visible) for shelling the corn first, powered by the nearby gristmill’s water turbine.

November 23, 2012

Leafy lichens!

Leafy green lichens! Tasty. (I doubt they're edible.)

Oy, if I make the midnight deadline, I will have JUST gotten this out in time.

Nothing informative or even attractive or interesting today— just some lichens on rocks.

Leafy green lichens on rocks!

November 22, 2012

Turkey day


When I was driving my friend Kyle home after a somewhat disappointing hike, I nearly ran over some wild turkeys.

“WHAT!” I cried.

“They’re turkeys,” said Kyle.

I stopped the car in the middle of the road and grabbed my camera from the backseat.

“Are you serious,” Kyle deadpanned.

“They’re WILD TURKEYS!!! I’ve seen wild turkeys like three times!”

“Dude, they live in the woods. They’re as common as sparrows.”

“Not to me!”

Kyle sat there in patient disbelief as I kept shooting pictures of these stupid birds.

“…In the spring, they have babies, and they’re kind of cute,” he conceded.


Anyway— Happy Thanksgiving, if you’re in the U.S. and you celebrate. 🙂

November 21, 2012

A reexamination of the current transit situation

SEPTA buses to the rescue! Sort of.

Immediately after Superstorm Sandy, New Jersey Transit was crippled.

Things have improved overall. On Friday, NJ Transit was proud to announce that “all but one NJ TRANSIT rail lines [would] be running full or modified service effective Monday, November 19. This include[d] the restoration of service along the North Jersey Coast Line, which suffered the brunt of the damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy” (NJ Transit News Release).

…Guess which one line STILL doesn’t have service, even after restoration of the line that received “the brunt of the damage?” That’s right, MINE, Gladstone branch.

NJ Transit recovery map, November 19. GUESS WHICH TRAIN ISN'T RUNNING YET

When NJ Transit talked about all the Morris & Essex line damage they had to fix, they named the rail washout at Kearny junction (which has been fixed) and “major damage” between Summit and Millburn (which have been fixed) and Denville and Morristown (also fixed). And there was something about some poles down near Lyons. The Gladstone line certainly didn’t seem any more damaged than any other line.

Why is it taking so long? Theories abound on NJ Transit’s Facebook page: some say the catenary poles were fragile wood instead of customary steel, so they the majority of them broke; some say the line’s single-track nature does not lend itself to repairs; some say that our Gladstone trains are being used elsewhere to compensate for all the trains that were (preventably) destroyed.

Most of us assume the real reason is that Gladstone branch is “the bastard stepchild of NJT line[s],” and fixing our line is simply not a priority. (We don’t have the highest ridership of the system, it’s true.)

But seriously, everyone else (including the most heavily damaged line) has been fixed for nearly a week at least. This is getting ridiculous.


Enough with my indignation. MOVING ON:

To ease the lack of Gladstone trains, NJ Transit has commissioned free emergency shuttle buses to stop at most Gladstone-branch train stations.

There are two sets of buses (route “A” and route “B”), which together hit most of the stations on the line.
Gladstone branch emergency bus route, as of November 20, 2012
[click here to pan around a Google map of the area]

(I have no idea why they left out poor little Stirling. Every other stop on the Gladstone branch is covered.)


Because New Jersey has apparently run out of buses, they’ve brought in SEPTA buses from Philadelphia (see top photo).

Unfortunately, presumably because these bus drivers don’t know their way around these suburban New Jersey roads, I guess they’re getting lost. Half of the buses never show up.

Basically: You dream about sex, but I dream that my train is running again. It will be a sweet, sweet day.

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