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Early this morning...

Early this morning, I ventured out for a walk in my neighbourhood. The sky was a blanket of grey, and a chill hung in the air, the temperature just 2ºC

This morning, I ventured out for my daily walk around my neighbourhood, the sky overcast, casting a soft, muted light on the surroundings. The air was crisp, hovering around 2ºC, fresh and invigorating and filled with the aroma of wet and decaying vegetation. It was one of those peaceful mornings.

As I returned home, I walked along Salisbury Road with my pocket camera, noticing a couple walking toward me on the other side. They walked in tandem, the woman cradling a baby wrapped snugly against the chill. I raised my camera, capturing this simple moment of family and warmth amidst the cold. I smiled, connecting to this brief shared slice of life.

Montgomery Hills, Montgomery Township, Salisbury Road
Tuesday 5 December 2023 · Apple iPhone 11 Pro · iPhone 11 Pro back camera 6mm f/2

Continuing my walk, I climbed the small hill on Salisbury Road. I turned my lens towards the back of the houses lining Jackson Avenue. My attention was drawn to the neat lines of the drains in the run-off area. These drains, often ignored, play an essential role in managing rain and melting snow, channelling water underground to prevent flooding. When covered in snow in winter, the gentle slopes become a playground buzzing with children's laughter. I took my kids to play here when they were younger. They would sledge down, their lively shrieks piercing the cold air, their faces flushed with excitement and cold. I also captured this scene as a reminder of how simple joys persist, even in the most structured of environments, and how every element around us, no matter how mundane, has its own story.

White-tailed buck

White-tailed deer are a common sight in the backyards and roadways of Montgomery Township.

White-tailed deer are a common sight in the backyards and roadways of Montgomery Township. It's common to see deer grazing peacefully on lawns, nibbling on shrubs and plants, or cautiously exploring their surroundings. Montgomery Township also has woodlands, open spaces, and proximity to water sources, which provide a habitat for these deer.

White-tailed deer have adapted remarkably well to the suburban landscapes of this region. However, as deer populations grow, the deer frequently overbrowse, destroying gardens and native vegetation. Efforts to balance preserving the deer's habitat and protecting homeowners' landscapes and the native flora have led to strategies for deer management, which include year deer hunting from September to February.

I saw this young buck through the kitchen window. This individual was grazing on the grass, moving north. I grabbed my super telephoto and stepped onto the backyard deck for a photo. He heard me, stopped to check me out, decided I was not a threat, and then moved on.

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) · October 27, 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR

In Montgomery Township, most residents don't appreciate the presence of white-tailed deer. They tend to cross roadways at random, leading to many car accidents. Even a tiny deer can lead to hundreds of dollars of damage to a car, sometimes destroying the car beyond repair. I've had many deer accidents in my 20 years of driving in New Jersey.

Black-legged ticks (aka deer ticks) are often found on deer due to the animals' frequent trips into wooded areas and tall grasses where ticks reside. Lyme disease is a significant health concern because deer ticks carry the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. When I am out and about in the woods hiking or for photography, especially in areas where ticks are prevalent, I wear appropriate clothing sprayed with repellents to reduce the risk of tick bites. I also do tick checks and showers after spending time outdoors.