Landscape, nature and wildlife photography are pursuits that share many things in common. The photographer is up early, spends a lot of time standing still, and must be patient. Success or failure depends on the whims of the weather and nature. The birds only migrate, and mate and certain flowers and plants only bloom within a narrow window of the season. Miss that window, and I have to wait until the following year for a photographic opportunity.
The native plants of the Sourlands only grow from mid-March to late April. A few weeks while hiking on the aunt molly trails ago, I found patches or anemone Americana and noticed the leaves of trout Lilly poking out from the leaves. I knew that soon all sorts of the plants would cover the area, including bloodroot, wood anemone, jack in the pulpit, Solomon’s seal, May Apple, and others.
But nature didn’t care that I needed photographs for the Lens Artist challenge. Instead of warm sunny days, we had cold rainy days all this week. On Thursday, the sun sporadically peeked through the clouds.
Zion Crossing Park
I drove to Zion Crossing Park, a seven-acre passive recreation park on Hollow Road in the Montgomery Township section of the Sourlands, near Hillsborough Township.
This area of the Sourlands was known as Zion. Its settlers were occupied with timber harvesting, pottery, and quarrying, and by the 1800s, as the population around the Sourlands increased, the settlers harnessed water power to operate mills. A section of the Rock Brook runs over the remains of an old mill, creating a small picturesque waterfall. The park is a great place to relax, and on my many visits, I’ve observed large patches of trout Lilly growing along the Rock Brook.
The trout Lilly were bountiful, but neither the sun nor the air cooperated. It was too cold and cloudy. The flowers were all closed. I waited almost 45 minutes, hoping the sun would breakthrough. No luck. I found two bloodroot plants, but the floral was still closed. I got back in the car and drove to the Sourland Mountain Preserve.
Sourland Mountain Preserve
The large parking lot had just a few cars. I made my way up the hill on the orange trail. I stopped to photograph the blue violets and May Apple. I noticed and photographed young jack in the pulpit and woodruff. I used my iPhone to document the locations. I hoped that that sunnier weather next would reward me with a great showing of native spring flowers.
One other thing about nature and wildlife photographers. We move slowly. If a nature photographer and a tortoise were racing each other, the tortoise would wind. It was already well after lunchtime when I completed the short loop back to the pond and my car.
This was not the colourful spring show I hoped to photograph. But this is what Spring looks like in New Jersey this day. Cold and damp.
Zion Crossing Park
h4> Sourland Mountain Preserve