Category Archives: Places

Interesting locales

Mill Creek Marsh (it’s for the birds)

I made my first visit to the Mill Creek Marsh in the NJ Meadowlands this weekend. The preserve is located a few miles from NYC next to the Mill Creek Mall. I really didn’t know what to expect, and I was initially a little put off by the place.

Mill Creek Marsh NYC Skyline

As you can see above, NYC is just a few miles away, and the area is bordered by a shopping mall, sewage treatment plant, and the NJ Turnpike. There was a distinctive “low tide” smell which I assume came from the actual low tide. The marsh itself was a bit strange looking, with cedar stumps poking out of the water. There is a good overview of the area at NJWildLifeTrails.Org

Mill Creek Marsh Cedar Stump

White Cedar Stump and Red Winged Blackbird

Mill Creek Marsh Mallard

The first signs of life I saw were seagulls, and the ducks. Since it is still early spring, the foliage was just beginning to fill in. The trail around the marsh seems fairly new, and there are signs along the trail that give an overview of the foliage and wildlife to be seen. The place seems to be a work in progress, as I also saw tires, and other refuse scattered about in the marsh.

Mill Creek Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs near the waters edge

Mill Creek Marsh Red Winged Blackbird

Red Winged Blackbird

Mill Creek Marsh Myrtle Warbler

Myrtle Warbler

As I wandered about, I began to appreciate the abundant bird life. Apparently, the recovery work at this site is already having a very positive impact.

Mill Creek Marsh Robin

American Robin

I’m not a regular Birder but I’ve added the Mill Creek Marsh to my list of places to return to. Check it out if you want to get a little taste of the NJ Wetlands. All of the photos were taken with a Nikon D200 and 300mm f/4 or 18-35mm lens.

Eagle Rock Reservation

In my previous post I mentioned my lack of inspiration at Brookdale park. In a search for alternative shooting locations, I took a drive over to the Eagle Rock Reservation. I think this 400+ acre preserve is going to be the focus of much of my weekend shooting for the next few months. There is not much in the way of color there right now, so I processed my shots as toned B&W. I am really looking forward to shooting here in the spring. Right now, there is so much brown and gray (dead leaves, bare trees, rocks), that moss and grass start to look colorful.

As soon as I saw this fallen tree, I noticed how the roots looked like fingers stuck in the earth. It looks like an evil hand digging into the ground.

Eagle Rock Reservation - Fallen Tree
Eagle Rock Reservation – Fallen Tree

The vine like plants in the next image can be seen on many of the trees. They look like an invasive species, but I’m not really sure.

Eagle Rock Reservation - Spiral Vine
Eagle Rock Reservation – Spiral Vine

I really liked the “cutaway view” of the roots of this tree. There is a small stream that washed out the soil, just out of the frame. It reminded me of an illustration in a science book, showing the normally invisible root system.

Eagle Rock Reservation - Exposed Roots
Eagle Rock Reservation – Exposed Roots

You can give yourself a Rorschach Test with this image. I see a skeletal hand on the right side and a weird frog/bug in the upper left. Am I nuts?

Eagle Rock Reservation - Root Formation
Eagle Rock Reservation – Root Formation

There is not much going on in the last image. I just liked the symmetry of the mushrooms on the trunk.

Eagle Rock Reservation - Trunk and Mushrooms
Eagle Rock Reservation – Trunk and Mushrooms

I am still trying to find a little direction for the layout of the site. I am only going to keep a single post on the front page for the time being. I am also moving away from using the flash based slide show. I had a few people comment that it took away their ability to view the images at their own pace, which made absolute sense. If you got this far, leave a comment and let me know what you think of this site! Thanks.

Foggy Day in Montclair

My wife and I negotiated some time to ourselves yesterday. She got a 3 hour block of time to catch up on her Guiding Light, and I got 3 hours to take some pictures. It was foggy and rainy, and the sunset was at 4:52. I packed up my gear quickly, and headed over to Brookdale Park. I have mixed feelings about Brookdale. There are plenty of places for activities.. playgrounds, ball fields, and a nice track and soccer field. I find that it is lacking a little in the hidden spaces and beautiful views department. Combined with my frequent visits there, it makes it hard sometimes to find a new angle to photograph. The first shot is of an old gnarled tree near the bike path :

As the light started to fade, I was struggling to find an interesting subject. I started taking shots of the raindrops on the branches. I was attracted to the little images inside of the drops. I converted all of the images to B&W since there was not much in the way of color to begin with. All photos were taken with a Nikon D200 and my old workhorse 28-105mm lens.