Morning, Tree, Leaves, Light

My vision for the morning keyword challenge was to use one of two concepts, Komorebi and Shinrinyoku.

“Komorebi” refers to the sunlight that filters through the leaves of trees.

Shinrinyoku” is a term that means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” It was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. For relaxation, practitioners go deep into the woods where everything is silent and peaceful.

Those were the two concepts I had in mind for the weekly challenge. I also envisioned a fog among the trees that would make that filtered light look a certain way. In my vision, the photo would evoke a mild spring fog among the trees of the Sourland Mountain with early morning sunlight shining on a single spot on the forest floor.

In my mind, I envisioned something like this. The photograph below is by Tomasz Przywecki captured in Trzebiez, West Pomeranian, Poland.


But instead I captured an image of light falling on the trees in my backyard. Not inspiring.

In many ways, this photo is a compound failure. I failed to get out of bed early. Normally, I am a morning person. Weekdays my alarm goes off at 6 AM. On the weekends I sleep in, waking around 6:30 AM. Unless I am tired. My son is a senior in high school and starting college this fall. He was accepted into the Honors College at Rutgers University. Yesterday, we toured two of the fours campuses. I was tired last night. I did not get up for the sunrise at 6:30 AM.

One of the challenges of outdoor photography is being at the mercy of nature. We had a nice foggy morning one day this week. In the middle of the week. Is there such a thing as a fog forecast? Had I known about that fog, I might have been able to get up early for some photography. But … it was overcast that day, so there would be no light filtering through the trees. Just fog.

I live on a slightly hilly area in a valley beneath the Sourland Mountain Range. Most of my sunrises and sunsets are through the tops of the trees. But there is one place I could have gone this morning; Carnegie Lake.

On a fall morning two years ago, I looked out the kitchen window and saw a light fog hanging over the area. I can’t see the lake from my home but I imagined what scene might be unfolding.

It was a work day. I quickly assembled my diabetes kit, took a bolus of insulin for my liquid breakfast of Soylent, packed my TimBuk2 messenger bag, grabbed my iPhone 6 and Nikon D5100 and headed out the door. The tripod was already in the car.

Driving along Blue Spring Road I noticed some colour in the sky. A sort of reddish-orange. I headed toward the Princeton side of Carnegie Lake, expecting to capture images of the fog over the lake. But as I pulled off Route 27 into the parking area I knew I had something special. I mounted the iPhone 6 on the tripod and set about capturing some images.

After a few long exposure shots of just the lake, I tried something new. I put myself in the image. I don’t normally put myself into my scenes. With a shutter speed of 60 seconds, I knew I had to stand very still to reduce motion blur and ghosting.

sunrise, man, silhouette, water, lake , morning
Sixty Seconds
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As I stood there counting down the seconds I forgot about the photography. The camera had long ago captured the scene. I stood still. Not moving. Just enjoying the scene before me. It was just me and the lake and the sun. I could hear the sound of the lake water lapping against the lake shore. I listened to the early morning birds call out to each other across the water.

Sixty seconds.

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. This week’s theme is morning.


We ran out of coffee beans on Friday morning. Normally the subscription from Drift Away Coffee would arrive just around this time but for some reason is a bit late. Neither Bhavna nor I can start our day without a good cup of joe. When I woke up Saturday morning the first thing on my mind was aquiring coffee. Buy the Cup in Rocky Hill is the only coffee shop in my area open before 7AM on a Saturday morning. Every cup of coffee is $1, no matter what size — 12 oz, 16 oz or 20oz. It’s a real bargain and I have a choice of Rwanda, Columbia, Mexican and a few flavoured coffees that I refuse to acknowldge. Flavoured coffee is just plain stupid.

I know the owner, Vitaliy, so every trip is a conversation. This morning we chatted for a few minutes about hacking wi-fi networks. The shop is a local hangout for the early morning residents who jog or work in the area.

I drove away from the shop enjoying the colour display from the trees lining Washington Street. I circled back around headed toward home admiring the trees in the well kept yards. I drove down to Rocky Hill section of the Canal State Park. I could see that the light was just coming over the top of the Trap Rock Quarry.

I pulled out my tripod and grabbed a few shots in Slow Shutter Cam on my iPhone 6 before my battery quit. I would have prefered to capture the scene on my Nikon but I recently lost both my SD cards. Shit happens.

I applied the Fuji Astia 100F v.2 preset from the RNI Films iOS app.

Nassau Street, Princeton, Street, People

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I captured this image about a year ago around the same date while driving to work. My sister-in-law loved the imaged and wanted a large canvas wrap to hang in her new home. She has a lot of my prints displayed on her walls. When I went back to look for the image I realised that I had also captured the image on my Nikon. I used this image to order a 30″x40″ canvas wrap from Canvas Pop.