Zion Crossing Park

After checking out the barn on Mountain View Road, I made my way to Zion Crossing Park on Hollow Road. The entrance and the gravel road were still covered in snow. My Acura had a bit of a dance on the snow as I tried to find a spot to park. Stepping out of the car, my sneakers plunged into the snow, which was so deep it came halfway up my calves. The pristine state of the snow hinted that I was the first to come this way.

I walked along the snow-covered bank of the Rock Brook, its waters moving gently beneath the canopy of barren trees towards the wading pool. The bright sunlight danced on the water’s surface, creating a sparkle that contrasted with the shadows of the trees.

The banks of the brook were lined with stones and rocks, some peeking out from their snowy blankets, while others lay hidden, waiting for the thaw. The snow seemed to glow, reflecting the light of the afternoon sun. The tall trees reached towards a clear winter blue sky.

Feeling the cold breeze I framed the shot. Time to go.

Quiet and calm

After dropping Shaan at the Winter Farmer's Market, I redirected my photography plans from Sandy Hook to Zion Crossing Park.

Shaan needed a lift to the Winter Farmer's Market organised by the Montgomery Friends of Open Space (MFOS) at Village Shopper strip mall. As the associate manager, Shaan was responsible for setting up the MFOS tent by 8 AM and assisting vendors in preparing for the market. My initial plan was a photography trip to Sandy Hook with my Nikon N2020, hoping to capture the lonely stillness of Gateway National Recreation Area. However, after dropping Shaan off, my enthusiasm faded, partly due to the gloomy, overcast weather.

I shifted my focus to Zion Crossing Park, near the Skillman and Hillsborough border, just off Hollow Road. The park, with its quaint waterfall, seemed an appropriate subject for my Nikon N2020. While absorbed in this spur-of-the-moment photo session, I remembered the Spectre app for iOS devices to simplify long-exposure photography. This app is good at capturing light trails and silky water effects, perfect for the setting. However, I met a hiccup – I had forgotten my Glif tripod attachment for my iPhone 11 Pro.

After a moment of consideration, I improvised. I found a small stone, just the right size to wedge between the Arca Swiss bracket and my iPhone. This makeshift setup allowed me to experiment with various shutter speeds, with four seconds producing the best results.

The winter scene was somewhat bland, but that's expected for this time of year. This is a scheduled post, so you might be reading this in January, months after I wrote this post.

Falling for Zion Crossing Park

Autumn at Zion Crossing Park in Montgomery Township offered vibrant foliage and tranquillity.

Zion Crossing Park is one of my favourite places in Montgomery Township. I visit several times yearly, especially in the Spring and Fall. During the global pandemic, Zion Crossing Park became a refuge. Here, I connected with the natural world and escaped the complexities of daily life. It became a place to de-stress and forget my worries.

After photographing the area around the lake at Billie Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserver, I went home, making a mental note to visit Zion Crossing Park. I watched the Formula 1 United States Sprint Race, and then, still tired from the disappointing early morning trip to Cape Mae the day before, I fell asleep. I woke up at 3 PM, just before the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix started. The race ended around 5 PM, and I rushed to Zion Crossing Park. I was concerned that I would not have enough light to create the photograph I had in my head.

I had expected crimson and golden leaves to carpet the ground, creating a vibrant mosaic. However, most of the leaves had washed away down the Rock Brook. The usually gushing waterfall was diminished.

I enjoyed the smell of the crisp autumn air as it filled my lungs. At the pond's edge, I focused on the scene, the vivid colours of the foliage contrasting beautifully with the mostly cloud-free sky reflected in the pond. The gentle rustling of leaves and the flowing water created a soothing symphony, providing a sense of serenity.

I used a Hoya PROND1000 filter for a long exposure capture. Once in Adobe Lightroom, I applied some adjustments to bring out the colours of the leaves. I also did some editing in Luminar Neo.

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