Since I’ve gotten back from traveling the days have felt long, and I’ve been attempting to fill them with outdoor activities while the weather is so nice. I took a solo kayaking trip down the Maurice River into Union Lake in Millville, and it gave me a lot of time to get lost in the beauty of the nature in my backyard and think. Whether I was fighting the current to make a sharp turn or coasting calmly through a tunnel of trees I felt centered and happy. Focusing on a field of blue, I let all my worries go and enjoyed the warmth of the sun, the cool of the wind, and the feeling of freedom for the short time I was out there.
As I’m heading west for a while I’ll be trying to post a snapshot of the previous day. The plan is to be up for sunrise daily and try to catch sunset in some amazing places. I always make note of the last New Jersey sunset I see before a trip. In this case as I was driving north to begin the trip the sun was setting over the highway I just came from. While things don’t always go as planned and riding off into the sunset seems like a fairy tale at times, I’m trying my best to look forward to the sunrises.
I was feeling like a basic image today; something that didn’t involve snow or too much analysis. The sunsets over Union Lake in Millville are often breathtaking and colorful. I live just around the corner, but I still don’t seem to get there often enough. By the time I notice the sky lighting up out my window it’s almost too late. I’m looking forward to seeing so many sunsets in new places in the coming months, but I will always love this one spot in my hometown.
Even just over a month ago things still had some color to them. In the recent, color-free days of snow and frost, I wanted to add a photo with some color to it, even if it’s mostly leaves that are on their way to death. This little area is always a nice place to get off the main trail and away from the other people at the park for a short time on the trail around South Vineland Park. You might have to hop over the water to get through, but it’s worth it as a scenic detour.
With the impending snowstorm set to hit the northeast US, I was thinking about how we haven’t gotten any big snowstorms yet this year. Strangely enough it seems to me there have been quite a few snowy days that I’ve been out hiking around locally in freshly covered trails. This is another from a trail I rarely take at South Vineland Park. I really like the scene in snow as it’s not usually quite as visually pleasing without it.
To get away from the snowy pictures for a day, this is from Cheesequake State Park in central New Jersey. It’s not the easiest to find a good hike in the area, but we had never been here so we gave it a shot. There is a well-worn, but still somewhat difficult to navigate, series of trails throughout the forest there. The trails pass through marshes, thick deciduous forest, and along graveled roads at different points. There was a little ice, a lot of mud, and plenty of nice, quiet places to enjoy the views of winter along the way. This particular spot grabbed us as an interesting and beautiful view of winter’s grip. Shedding everything to start anew this spring.
Another image from my snowy walk along the edge of Union Lake the other day. The completely fresh trails were some of the best part. Being the first footprints on a trail is a nice feeling… even if your own footprints get covered in with snow after a short time.
There was a snowstorm scheduled the other day that ended up coming later in the day than it was forecast, so I got to enjoy walking the trails in very heavy snowfall. It was great walking through the freshly fallen fluffiness while it came down. When I got to the lake I came across this great scene of white, which I stood at stared at for quite a while as the snow kept pouring down. It’s such a foreign sight and so close to home.
In my effort to get outside daily even if it’s only for a long walk, I’ve been taking some of the paths through Millville that I normally only run on. So, while the lighting was nice the other night I headed over the Maurice River walking bridge and really liked the view toward downtown. Aesthetically, it’s probably one of the nicest parts of the city, I’ve used it multiple times as a subject from different vantage points. It rarely disappoints.
Sometimes it feels like you can’t see where the road you’re on is taking you. It looks dark and ominous, but you just have to hold on to the hope that up ahead, around the bend, there will be a clear path, and the clouds will part. In the meantime you can enjoy the view of the foggy, dismal streets. The lighting at sunset after a storm reminded me of Walking Dead promos. Everything just looked a little more interesting.
I’m always watching the sunsets or looking for them. Even days when it’s cloudy I find myself wandering outside or gazing up at the clouds when I know the sun is about to be gone for the day. Something about that time of day is just really interesting to me. Thinking about it makes me want to more actively pursue the sunrise. I know every ending is another beginning, such as the beginning of the night, but I’d like to start greeting the start of the day with the same reverence I give the end.
Anytime I visit the farmland areas I think I should be going back all the time. It’s such a stark contrast in landscape to the claustrophobic grid of city streets and houses near where I live. You can actually see the sky and there are beautiful colors playing in the fields. I love the simplicity of this scene and the tranquility. It makes me feel calm even though I feel like I need constant stimulation to keep myself busy. This lets me sit and relax for a moment.
It’s been a while since I can remember it being cold enough in New Jersey for the lakes to stay frozen for any length of time. I used to walk out on Parvin Lake pretty regularly in the winter, but it’s been a while since I would even consider setting foot on the ice. I still didn’t do it this year, but it looks like it might be able to hold weight. I’m really enjoying looking up close at the textures and how the water freezes. It’s pretty amazing and really unique. It’s another way that a familiar landscape is transformed into something else completely amazing.
There are a few places in New Jersey where you can see the sun drop into the water at the end of the day. It’s a nice change since we live on the east coast and normally that’s reserved for California or the Gulf Coast. But since the bottom of the state is a peninsula we have the bay to our west. At East Point the sunset is arguably just as beautiful as some over the Pacific. The sun sets over Delaware and depending on the time of year there are horseshoe crabs lining the beach.
Union Lake at sunset is one of the prettiest places I have close to where I sleep. In the winter these icicles form on the trees and bushes along the shore from the water that splashes up throughout the day. It’s pretty amazing to see the kinds of sculptures that form, and with the sunset behind them they look even more magical. The worst part is the biting winds coming off the water while I try to get a good shot. Definitely worth it.
Taking a different look at the scenery from my recent snowy images, this is a close up view of ice on the shore along the Maurice River near the Bluffs trails. After a great, long walk we came out to the shore to enjoy the spectacular sunset light on the frozen water and came upon these great little works of art crystallized in the ice. I could have shot thousands of images just inches away from each other and they would all be amazing and unique like this one. They remind us of abstract modern oil paintings, like looking close at a Van Gogh.
If this looks familiar it’s because it is the same shot from two days ago under snow. It’s also a little earlier in the day so the color is a little less warm. I had a nice walk around the snow-covered trails of the Maurice River Bluffs yesterday, enjoying the new world created by the snow. I like how similar, yet different, everything seems, which is why I chose to share this photo so soon after the other one. There’s always another way to see something; it can be a place or a situation.
After the full day of snow, I had to get out for a walk before dark. The best thing about the snow is it makes things new, so my usual walk around the lake at South Vineland Park was transformed into a place where I could look around to see things I wouldn’t recognize. I had the music turned up as the snow continued to fall steadily, and it was a nice feeling. It took me out of my head for a little while.
One of my favorite places locally to get away from everything is the Maurice River Bluffs trails. They are well-maintained, secluded, and there are several loops so you can make it as long or short as you’d like. One of my favorite spots is just near the entrance at sunset where the rows of trees are silhouetted and the sun peeks through as it creates these long shadows. It’s even better in the winter when I can enjoy all of this pretty much without the chance of anyone else showing up.
Keeping it brief for the holidays. This photo just made me think of how even when you’re in the place where you live and you know a lot of people, it doesn’t always feel like home. There’s a feeling of constant search for a place to belong and a way to get there.
Whenever I’m up for a beautiful sunrise I start thinking I should be getting up early every day to witness the beautiful light that appears before the sun arrives. Union Lake in Millville is the perfect place to see sunsets and sunrises, and even though I live a few minutes away, I often miss them. We never know how many more we’ll get, so I should start making an effort to see more of these.
This is a beautiful sunset scene from the farmland of south Jersey. I am always caught by surprise when I catch something like this and I should really plan to go out to the farm areas for sunset more often. The huge sky and nice silhouettes are perfect for it. Yet another reminder that there is beauty all around if you look for it. I’m always hung up on the flatness of this part of the country since I crave mountains, but there are definitely upsides to it.
As it gets colder all the time I try to take advantage of any relatively nice day we have to enjoy the nearby nature. South Vineland Park is one of my main areas locally to get away for a little while. There are various trails that I can loop for shorter or longer walks and runs, although to make anything substantial I have to make several trips around the lake. It’s a really beautiful park when you get away from the main parking area, and it has a disc golf course that we play a lot in the warmer months. This is somehow the first time I’ve noticed this nice view out to the water as we walked by at sunset.
Some days you get to see the beauty that’s right in your backyard– almost literally this time. This park is right around the corner from where I live, and it also is right next to the house I grew up in. I spent a lot of time sledding down these hills, riding my bikes around the paths, and throwing rocks into the pond. Seeing this sunrise as I drove by for work so many years later, it felt like a whole different place altogether. Even if things don’t change, it’s the way we look at them that makes the difference.