Rock Brook, brook, water, snow, ice, trees, winter, rocks

Changing Seasons March 2017

For this month’s Changing Seasons Monthly Photo Challenge I wanted to try something different. In the last two posts for the challenge, I did not set a focus. I would take photos during the month, of various random subjects and usually on the weekend. The result was that at the end of the month, I did not have a coherent set of images to represent the month. I want to try something different. Starting with March, I intend to add a weekly entry of events that transpired over the week. I may or may not have a photograph to include for that week. However, I hope that I can capture my feelings about the month as it unfolds. I don’t want to get to the end of the month and try to recall what my thoughts and feeling were weeks prior. I also intend to focus on a specific subject.

I think for a challenge entitled, Changing Seasons Monthly Photo Challenge, I really should be shooting a series of images. I want to show a change. There is a stream nearby, the Rock Brook, which I have photographed a few times in the past during different times of the year. I think it will be interesting to observe how the Rock Brook and the surrounding landscape, changes throughout the year. However, I also started a personal photography project for 2017. I am photographing some of the lighthouses of New Jersey. I may use imaged from that project for the Changing Seasons Monthly Photo Challenge.

March 4th

brook, water, trees, winter, rocks

I have lived in Skillman, Montgomery Township for almost sixteen years. That’s the longest I have lived in any one place and almost as long as the amount of time I lived in the British West Indies. I love my township. There are many parks and streams and the rolling hills remind of the rolling hills of St. Vincent1. One of my favourite spots in the section of the Rock Brook, along Hollow Road, just north of Camp Meeting. There is a small patch of dirt on the northbound side of the road just large enough to park a vehicle.

Rock Brook,brook, water, trees, winter, rocks[exif id=”25391″]

The Rock Brook is just below, after walking a short distance through the trees. As the name suggests, this brook is mostly filled with rock. This section of Montgomery Township, a small area at the foot of the Sourland Mountain Range, is unique in geology, history. The Rock Brook is prone to flooding and heavy stormwater flow and is part of lands preserved by the Montgomery Friends of Open Space.

brook, water, trees, winter, rocks

I visited the Rock Brook today. It was cold outside, about -4ºC (~ 25ºF), and windy. I wore several layers and my photography gloves, but I still felt cold.

March 11th

It snowed yesterday. I am not sure for how long or how much snow. The office building where I work had very few windows and my office is located near an interior wall. I didn’t see the effect of the snowstorm until the end of the day. I would guess that the area had about three inches of snow on the ground. The parking lot had no snow, but the cars were all covered with powder.

brook, water, trees, winter, rocks

Saturday morning, after breakfast, I decided to revisit Rock Brook. Looking outside my window, I could see that the grass was still covered with snow and I hoped that I might get some unique images of the brook. I drove over to the spot on Hollow Road and parked just above the Rock Brook.

As I grabbed my camera, I looked down through the leafless trees to the water. There was just enough snow on the rocks, and some parts of the brook were frozen over. The sun poked through the tree line providing both shadow and light across the water. I walked through the trees, mentally planning my shots. The frozen snow crunched under my boots. It was cold, and there was a slight breeze.

brook, water, trees, winter, rocks

I did my best to capture and frame the images from the same spot as the previous week. However, it was hard for me to remember the exact places and the snow cover made it even more challenging. You can see that the framing was not quite the same.

I tried to move quickly; setting up my tripod, getting the exposure readings from the camera, calculating the shutter speed for the ND filter, attaching the ND filter, and shooting three images.

It was about -6ºC outside. I wore three layers of clothing, and although my feet were comfortable, operating the camera meant exposing the area of the glove covering my thumb and pointer finger. I tried to minimise the exposure to the cold and stayed out as long as my fingers could handle things. That was about thirty minutes.

brook, water, snow, ice, trees, winter, rocks

I liked all the images I captured, so here’s the gallery.

Rock Brook, brook, water, snow, ice, trees, winter, rocks[exif id=”25405″]

Rock Brook, brook, water, snow, ice, trees, winter, rocks[exif id=”25407″]

March 19th

I didn’t go to the Rock Brook today. This weekend I completed a group photography workshop where I was challenged by being forced into a photographic box — time limits and focal length limits. By the end of the workshop, my approach to photography was transformed. While walking around completing the challenges that our instructor had assigned the group, I started thinking about my approach to the Changing Seasons Challenge.

Firestone Library, Princeton University
[exif id=”26283″]

What if I didn’t return to the Rock Brook? What if I slowed down, spent some time thinking about I wanted to say with my images, and focused on the story I wanted to tell about March?

Besides the Tuesday Photo Challenge, I am participating in a monthly photo challenge called Changing Seasons. It was almost the end of March, and I wanted to capture some photos that portrayed Princeton University in March. There are a few iconic — aka, heavily photographed — images of the university. The Firestone Library is one of them. So is East Pyne, Nassau Hall, and the Princeton University Chapel.

Why black and white? It was a sunny day, but I wanted to convey a sense of “historic”. Honestly, I don’t think I accomplished telling the story about Princeton University. Something is lacking. What do you think?

Holder Hall, Princeton University. I posted a dramatic version of this image in an earlier post.
[exif id=”26281″]

  1. There are significant differences. St. Vincent’s mountainous area is the ridge of a dormant volcano, La Soufriere, and the vegetation is tropical. ?

The Changing Seasons Monthly Photo Challenge is a blogging challenge by Cardinal Guzman. Each month I will post at least one photography that I think represents the month. Sometimes I’ll post a set of images.


  1.   NIKON D5100  @ 85mm  , ISO 4500  , 1/1000s  , ƒ/5.6  on 13 May, 2017  Copyright © 2017 Khürt L. Williams 
    I do almost all my photography on the weekend. It’s the only time I have to get outside into the woods at dawn and dusk.
    The weather soothsayer had predicted rain for the weekend. Cold rain. All of Saturday and Sunday. The sky was grey and the weather felt more like fall than spring.
    I had several ideas for this challenge. There was obvious; falling water means waterfalls. I woke up Saturday morning trying to decide if I should make the one hour drive to Kugler Woods waterfalls or stay close to home and visit the Rock Brook to get an updated photo for the monthly photo challenge.
      NIKON D5100  @ 85mm  , ISO 6400  , 1/1250s  , ƒ/5.6  on 13 May, 2017  Copyright © 2017 Khürt L. Williams 
    My daughter was performing in the pit crew for a musical, Seussical, at the high school. I dropped her off and drove over to the Rock Book to scope out the situation. The last time it rained this much, the brook was filled to the edges and we had a flash flood warning for the area. The water was gushing but I was still able to walk down to my favourite spot.
    Perhaps I could capture some long exposures of the water before the brook filled up. But I had forgotten the Tokina 11-16mm f/4 lens and Hoya ND1000 filter at home. I pulled out my iPhone 7. I could use ProCam in Slow Shutter mode for long exposures. But I’d need a tripod and I had also forgotten the Manfrotto PIXI. I propped my iPhone 7 against some rocks and snapped two shots before I panicked that the rain might damage my iPhone. I was nearly soaked through when I got back to the car.
      NIKON D5100  @ 85mm  , ISO 800  , 1/640s  , ƒ/1.8  on 13 May, 2017  Copyright © 2017 Khürt L. Williams 
    I had some other ideas. I attempted to shoot raindrops falling and splashing off the pavement. I tried a number of shutter speeds. I stepped into the street near my home and put my Nikon D5100 on the PIXI and fired off a few shots. A few cars drove by. I must have seemed strange stooped over in the rain, getting soaked, and seemingly taking photos of the asphalt.
    I experimented with shutter speed. I wasn’t sure what I wanted. Did I want to suspend water drops in the air? Did I want a blur of water drops?
    Let me know what you think.
    Created by photographer Frank Jansen, the Tuesday Photo Challenge is a weekly theme-based challenge for photographers of all kinds to share both new and old photography.

  2. Personally, I think your brook photos tell a story. At least they speak to me. They are spectacular! The Princeton images, I love that you did them in black and white. They don’t speak to me in the same way, but I’m more of a nature person. The last shot though, breathtaking!

  3. OMG they are truly spectacular. Running waters and lower shutter speeds are truly awesome for me. I am glad you are putting the settings in every photo, so coming here is also a learning experience. Thanks so much.

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