Archive for ‘South Mountain Reservation’

March 1, 2013

Cobweb 2

cobwebs oh yeah

Look, it’s a spiderweb.

December 28, 2012

Summit Field

Summit Field! I guess maybe it's on a summit or something, I dunno.

This photo doesn’t hold a lot of merits in and of itself, but sometimes, you know, you’re just like, “man, I wish I could look at a nice-looking field with trees in it.”

So here is a nice-looking field with trees in it.

(This nice-looking field is Summit Field in the South Mountain Reservation. You can picnic here. There are tables just off-camera.)

December 22, 2012

Mossy rocks

Just some silly rocks by a creekbed.

Just some, uh, rocks. In the South Mountain Reservation. Which is a home to rocks.

I need to get out more. I’m really running low on photos.

December 21, 2012

Little falls

Small unnamed falls

I wish these little falls had a name, but I don’t think they do.

Another glamour shot, because I have way too much fun photographing waterfalls to let this sit in my archives.

They can be found on a tiny tributary of the Rahway River in the South Mountain Reservation, upstream of Hemlock Falls.

I like photographing waterfalls! They’re clichés, but there’s something to be said for the instant gratification you get when you capture a really cool photo. And it doesn’t always happen, because the light hardly ever cooperates with me and I STILL haven’t bought a ND filter. What’s your experience?

December 19, 2012

Hydrant in the woods

Hydrant in the woods! Well, I guess you need SOMETHING for forest fires, right?

I guess it’s a matter of practicality, but when I go hiking, I expect to find nature, not fire hydrants.

October 8, 2012

Mountain landscape

View from Washington Rock, Watchung Mountains, New Jersey

Sometimes I say, “Man! I am going to go look at professional photos and get inspired.”

The first place I usually turn is National Geographic. (At the moment, the desktop wallpaper on my work computer is cycling through an archive of National Geographic landscapes.)

When I look at these landscape photos, I’m awestruck. I’m pumped. I want to go take my own awe-striking photos. But all the best landscapes seem to involve either (a) aerial views of cliffs and rivers, or (b) treeless mountains rising out of large bodies of water.

Now, I’m not about to go rent a helicopter to get aerial shots, which leaves me with (b), which is impossible because we have no treeless mountains nor large bodies of water around here.

So basically: There are no awesome landscapes nearby that I can take awesome photos of.

Also: I don’t have any filters for my new camera yet, so all my landscapes will have atmospheric haze in them anyway.

Regardless: I hiked up to Washington Rock in the South Mountain Reservation at dusk and managed to get this shot of a tree-smothered foothill, which has quenched my thirst to photograph vast mountain ranges for the time being.

August 26, 2012

Brookside Drive on a Sunday

Bikers and pedestrians on Brookside Avenue on a Sunday morning

Brookside Drive, which runs north/south through the South Mountain Reservation, is closed to automobiles on Sunday mornings (7am-12pm). While this is a bit of a nuisance for drivers, it allows bikers, skaters (?), walkers, and joggers to safely take advantage of a long flat open road in the middle of a nature preserve.

Inspired by Bicycle Sundays on the Bronx River Parkway, people (including Dan Baer, the first democratic mayor in Millburn’s history) proposed and approved the Brookside Drive plan around 2005.

Unlike Bicycle Sundays in the Bronx, the Sunday morning Brookside Drive closure happens year-round.

When I first heard about this, my reaction was “Why?”, but upon reflection… nature trails are scenic, but they’re rooty and uneven; roads are filled with unsafe traffic; sidewalks are narrow and only exist in unscenic suburbs (and bikes aren’t supposed to be on ’em).

So. Why? Because it’s nice. And I guess it lets you love your town a little more.

For additional information, check this video.

August 19, 2012


O mush-a-room, o mush-a-room, thy stem stands tall and spongy!

I have a fondness for photographing fungus. Fungi are maddeningly common, but so freaking weird! Each specimen is unique, and otherworldly, and their mushroom-fruits just sit there, hangin’ out, begging to have their pictures taken. I can’t help but oblige!

Recently, I have managed to spare you from much of my fungus obsession, but today… today you look at a photo of a mushroom.

August 18, 2012

The Great Train Robbery

The steps!

I have heard— and I have no citation for this, other than the hearsay of the South Mountain Reservation’s historian— and who knows, maybe I misheard him— but I have heard that these here steps, in the South Mountain Reservation, connecting Brookside Drive to the Thistle Hill Ford, were featured in The Great Train Robbery!

Screenshot from the Great Train Robbery

(And as of August 2012, you can watch it here:

The Great Train Robbery, made in 1903, was the first narrative film in history. It was directed and shot by Edwin S. Porter, a former Thomas Edison cameraman, in various locations around New Jersey.

Including this area! The South Mountain Reservation (or “Essex Park,” I think) was just getting started at the time, so this may have just been “the woods.”

Thistle Hill Ford, from a South Mountain Reservation map

The current stairs may not be the same ones featured in The Great Train Robbery— the actors don’t look like they’re going down very many steps— but that sure looks like Thistle Hill Ford, which is still a jump-able section of the river today.

August 16, 2012

Campbell’s Pond pumping station 3

Faux HDR, yo

More Campbell’s Pond pumping station.

I was pretty intrigued by how to treat this shot. It would’ve been a perfect opportunity for HDR imaging… if my camera shot RAW, and if I had the software to process HDR, and if I’d had a tripod with me.

1/100 sec, f/3.5, ISO 400 1/1000 sec, f/3.5, ISO 400

I ended up cutting and pasting and compositing these two images by hand, which required INCREDIBLE PATIENCE (I am not patient). If you get close to the final image, it doesn’t hold up at all at full resolution. But seriously, who cares?

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