Just in case you forgot what rivers look like.
Tho’ I guess the Passaic River is really more of a brook once it gets to New Providence.
A visual chronicle of suburban NJ
I’m an animator by day. Part of what I do, as an animator, is finesse inherently mechanical animations to look organic and real-ish. And part of the way I do this is to incorporate (fake) lens effects/flaws into these mechanical animations (lens flares, bokeh, general distance defocusing, chromatic aberrations, etc). Unfortunately, a lot of lens effects are difficult to fake— or at least difficult to fake WELL & QUICKLY using the tools I have available.
Because of all this, I have a TON of fascination with natural photographic lens effects. So the defocusing in this image might make a photographer squirm (are you squirming?), but as an animator, I study it with awe and try to figure out how I’d replicate it in 3D.
Photography and animation overlap a lot, actually. You might be surprised.
(Cross-posted to Instagram)
I see clams on the beach all the time, sure, but I never knew about freshwater river clams. They’re a thing! We have them! Isn’t that cool? I think it’s cool.
(Cross-posted to Instagram)
Today I walked around the Passaic River Park for the first time in a while.
For a year or two, after I stopped doing this blog every day, I stopped using my DSLR much ‘cos it’s too heavy to casually tote everywhere. I’ve trained myself now to grab my phone-camera when I see a photo op. Consequently, I’m sick of cameraphone limitations, and I’ve once again started looking for excuses to haul my DSLR out of semi-retirement. It is such a delight to see a subject, frame and focus, twiddle whatever settings you need to twiddle, and just GET the damn shot you want (or a sufficiently close approximation of it).
So yeah, anyway, river walks and bokeh are fun. Mosquitos and poison ivy, not so much.
(Princeton is about an hour’s drive one way from here, which is a pretty respectable time commitment for a college student on a Sunday in late April, so— props to them for making it!)
Greenwood Gardens, near Old Short Hills Park, is usually an admission-only space, but they opened it to the public for free today. (Who doesn’t like free things?)
In 1906, Joseph P. Day purchased 80 acres of land in Short Hills and called it “Pleasant Days.” The original house on the property was destroyed by a fire in 1911, so Day built a huge Italianate mansion in its place. By the time the property was purchased by the Blanchards in 1949, the 1911 mansion “had deteriorated significantly,” so it was replaced by the modest Georgian Revival mansion you see here (“modest” my foot).
And, y’know, if you’re gonna purchase a large estate and call it your own, you might as well call it by a name YOU prefer, like “Greenwood Gardens” (because, really, “Pleasant Days?” that’s like so 1910s, OMG, really) so there was THAT.
In 2000, a Blanchard descendent began working with the Garden Conservancy to establish Greenwood Gardens as a nonprofit public garden and conservation organization. They’re in the process of fully restoring everything to its glory, but (in my humble opinion) it looks pretty good now.
Greenwood Gardens. (n.d.). “Garden Guide and Walking Tour.” (Pamphlet).
This is the Wick House.
It was built by Mr. Henry Wick around 1750 (possibly 1752 exactly), and is currently preserved within the Morristown National Historical Park.
That would be cool in and of itself, but during the Revolutionary War, Continental soldiers loitered around the Wick Farm from 1779-1782, chopping down 600 acres of Mr. Wick’s trees, and made themselves at home IN his home (this house) during the winter encampment of 1779-1780.
…Well, SOME soldiers (officers) hung out in his house. Most soldiers had to make do with makeshift huts.
There’s a lot of talk of Major General Arthur St. Clair using the house as a headquarters during that time. (I’d never heard of him, but maybe you have.)
…And then there’s the Legend of Tempe Wick. According to the story, Tempe (Henry Wick’s daughter) was out riding her horse when some soldiers tried to commandeer it; Tempe was like “screw you,” galloped the horse back home, and stashed her steed inside the main house. The soldiers eventually followed her back to the house, but found themselves stumped because obviously horses aren’t found in houses. And thus the horse was saved.
I must’ve read this next part on a sign board somewhere and neglected to document the sign, so I can’t verify this information—but in recent years, I believe the accuracy of the story is unverified, so they’re not promoting it as hard truth anymore. As such, the former “Tempe Wick House” is now called simply the “Wick House.” Regardless, there’s still a Tempe Wick Road in Morristown.
Aaaaaand this is what the building looked like many years ago (specifics unknown, but apparently it’s from an old Water Company brochure):
Oh, and because I put an “architecture” tag on this post: apparently it’s a Cape Cod. There ya go.
National Park Service. (n.d.). “Jockey Hollow.” Morristown National Historical Park, New Jersey. http://www.nps.gov/morr/historyculture/jockey-hollow.htm.
Rt23.com. (2008?). “Wick House: The Revolutionary War in North Jersey.” http://www.rt23.com/american_revolution/wick_house.shtml.
“The Wick Farm.” Information plaque near Wick House. Morristown, NJ. Documented April 2013.
Williams, J.M. (1996). Images of America: Morristown. Arcadia Publishing: Dover, NH. ISBN 0752402072.
So remember those K-RA-ZY exciting soliders’ huts I was talking about yesterday? There are five huts in a tight little arrangement: four in a row, and one (an officers’ hut?) behind the rest, which is the one I showed you yesterday.
…Well, there WERE four in a row, before one burned to a crisp from the inside out.
I don’t know exactly when it happened— there’s no charred smell, so it can’t have been too recent, but there’s still yellow tape all around (tho’ it’s starting to come down). My totally uneducated guess is somewhere between 6 months-2 years ago.
I also don’t know WHAT happened. The hut is clearly burned from the inside out; neighboring huts exhibit wax dribbles (presumably from candles?). Maybe a candlelight Boy Scout outing went awry?
In Morristown National Historical Park, there are some replicas of huts that soldiers would’ve stayed in during the Continental Army’s winter encampment of 1779-1780 (oddly enough, called, on the map, “soldiers’ huts”).
Each log-cabin hut has a 14’x16′ floor (roughly) and would’ve housed 12 soldiers.
They were pretty cramped. It was a lousy winter, by all accounts.
Also here are links to trail maps (it’s connected to the Lewis Morris Park):
* Jockey Hollow
* NJ Brigade map
* Morristown Historical Park in context of Morristown
* Lewis Morris Park in color (PDF)
* Lewis Morris Park in less color (JPG suitable for printing B/W)
National Park Service. (n.d.). “Plan your visit,” Jockey Hollow. http://www.nps.gov/morr/planyourvisit/index.htm.
Parsons, E. (n.d.). “Jockey Hollow (Morristown) – Soldiers’ Log Huts.” Richard Stockton College of New Jersey; Art & Architecture of New Jersey. http://www.ettc.net/njarts/details.cfm?ID=292.
Purdes, J. (2003-2003). “Jockey Hollow.” Hiking in New Jersey. http://www.purdes.com/njhiking/jockey_hollow/.
Skylands Visitor. (2008?). “Morristown National Historical Park: The Great Story.” http://www.njskylands.com/hsmtnhp.htm.