Mercer White Oak, Princeton Battlefield Park

Mercer White Oak was a historic tree at Princeton Battlefield Park that stood tall amidst the park's rolling hills and lush fields. The tree was named after General Hugh Mercer, who died from wounds he received at the Battle of Princeton during the American Revolution. The tree became a symbol of the battle and a testament to the bravery of the American soldiers who fought there. The tree was one of the largest and oldest white oaks in the state of New Jersey, with a massive trunk and sprawling branches that provided shade for visitors to the park. The Mercer White Oak was not only a natural landmark but also a crucial part of the park's rich history, serving as a reminder of the sacrifices made during the American Revolution.

The Mercer White Oak tree was about 300 years old when strong winds ripped it apart in March 2000. Soon after the tree's death, an arborist planted an 8-foot sapling from a Mercer Oak acorn inside the former tree's stump. That fenced-in young oak tree is the one that is seen in Princeton Battlefield Park today.

On this misty, foggy day, the tree takes on an ethereal quality, shrouded in a mysterious veil of white. The fog seems to wrap around the trunk and branches of the tree, adding to its already stately presence.

This is one of several frames from one of the four cartridges of Kosmo Foto Agent Shadow 400 35mm film I bought last year. The film was developed in Tennessee at Boutique Film Labs and scanned at home using an Epson Perfection V600 and VueScan software. The negatives were converted as part of my workflow using Negative Lab Pro.

Putting my best foot forward

Best Food Forward

I get the attention deficit thing. I discovered that listening to music on my phone and wireless headphones can help me focus my mind. But wearing headphones means being unaware of my surroundings in situations where sight and sound are essential.

One thing that frustrates me about where I love is that I see these beautiful scenes on my way to and from the office or while driving around town, but the narrow-one-lane-no-shoulder country roads don't allow for stopping, and we don't have any sidewalks here either. It can be a strange site for other motorists to watch a car slow down and stop briefly while the driver rolls down the window and stick out a DSLR camera and lens. It works when traffic is light only.

Princeton Battlefield State Park, Princeton, New Jersey
"Princeton Battlefield State Park in the Fog" — 29 October 2014 — Apple iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 back camera 4.15mm f/2.2 @ f/2.2, ISO 800

Sometimes I get lucky, and the scene unfolds before me, traffic is light, and the road has a shoulder. But still, there is no time to pull out a DSLR, set up a tripod, compose the shot, set camera settings etc. Sometimes, there is just enough time for a grab-shot photo on the iPhone. It's the best I can do at that moment.

"View from The High Line, Manhattan, New York" — 28 September 2014 — Apple iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 back camera 4.15mm f/2.2 @ 1/10000s at ISO 32

Being without my Nikon1 has forced me to use my iPhone 7. The camera on the iPhone 7 is much better than the camera on my previous iPhones. But I am less happy with recent images taken with the iPhone 7 and less willing to use it in general. But by using a DSLR for most of the pictures I captured over the last few years, I seem to have forgotten how to compose and think through capturing images with the iPhone. Looking back through my catalogue over the last few years, I have many old iPhone images of which I am proud.

Beach, Sunset, Rodanthe, Pier, North Carolina
"Rodanthe Beach, Outer Banks, North Carolina" — 3 September 2015 — Apple iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 back camera 4.15mm f/2.2 @ the 60s at ISO 32

Why am I so stuck now? Why am I not even trying? Why am I struggling to put my "best foot forward"? Have I become one who thinks one can only capture a good photo on expensive high-end equipment. I hope not!!

Self Portrait, Carnegie Lake, Princeton, New Jersey
"Self Portrait, Carnegie Lake, Princeton, New Jersey" — 5 November 2015 — Apple iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 back camera 4.15mm f/2.2 @ f/2.2, ISO 32

For the last few weeks, while driving along Mapleton Road on the border between Plainsboro and Princeton Township, I have observed the beautiful morning sun that illuminates the expensive homes on the western side of Carnegie Lake. There is no place to stop and take a photo. But I am determined, and perhaps tomorrow I will arise before dawn, drive to the southern end of Mapleton Road, park my car at the entrance to the Delaware and Raritan Canal Park Trail, and walk the trail, with the tripod and iPhone 7, north toward that area. I expect the walk will be pretty cold.

Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve, Princeton, New Jersey
"Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve, Princeton, New Jersey" — 31 October 2015 — Apple iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 back camera 4.15mm f/2.2 @ f/2.2, ISO 32

  1. Dropped! Broken! 

Battlefield Park A Year Ago

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 picture on my Nikon. I used this image to order a 30"x40" canvas wrap from Canvas Pop.