Opie's Grist Mill

The Opie's Grist Mill in Bridgepoint Historic District, Montgomery Township during a rain storm in March.

It rained all day. I spent Saturday morning watching the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix. Normally on a cold rainy day like this, I would just sit inside and stream a movie or engage in a photo editing session. I wanted a few more cans of the Mittelfrüh Pilsner by Source Brewing. I made a trip out to a package store in Libby's Liquors in Lawrenceville. The roadways in Lawrenceville were like streams and flooded in many areas. When I left the Libby’s I got water inside my sneaker from the puddle in the parking lot.

On the way home, I realised that the weather might provide some interesting opportunities for photography. On Hollow Road at the northwestern border of Montgomery Township, I stopped at Rock Brook near the bridge at Grandview Road. Without a tripod, it was challenging to get long-exposure photographs with my Fuji X-T3 or iPhone 11 Pro.

The Rock Brook runs southeast to Bessie Grover Park at Camp Meeting Road. My friend Chris once lived in a house across from Bessie Grover Park. I tried using some small rocks to balance the camera but without a tripod it was challenging. As I drove slowly along Camp Meeting Road back toward home I remembered Opie's Grist Mill on Dead Tree Run Road.

The photograph showcases Opie's Grist Mill, a historic structure perched by the side of Dead Tree Run Bridge in the Bridgepoint Historic District of Montgomery Township, Somerset County, New Jersey. The mill, clad in red panelling, stands out against a winter backdrop with its vibrant colour. It is a multi-story building featuring a prominent balcony overlooking the river. The foreground is dominated by the muddy waters of The Rock Brook, displaying a smooth texture with ripples and reflections that suggest a rapid flow. The bare trees surrounding the mill create a stark, almost solemn atmosphere. The sky is overcast, casting a diffuse light that softens the entire scene, enhancing the mill's prominence. This tranquil setting captures the essence of historic rural America, where such mills were once the heart of local communities.
Opie's Grist Mill in Bridgepoint Historic District · 2 March 2024 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF27mmF2.8 R WR

Opie's Grist Mill is located on Dead Tree Run Road in the Bridgepoint Historic District in Montgomery Township. The mill and the one-lane stone bridge were built in the early 1800s. A prominent, richly coloured red structure, the mill has retained most of its historical architecture, with its traditional wooden build and gabled roof. With the deluge of water from the incessant rain, the water of the Rock Brook had expanded right up to the edge of the Dead Tree Run Road and the mill almost seemed surrounded by water.

I stood on the southern side of the bridge, using small rocks to steady and level the camera. The iPhone 11 Pro was wedged between two rocks for stability with a flat rock underneath to level the frame. I used the Reexpose app from Reeflex to make a 7-second simulated (stacked image) exposure. The app was made for use with their line of iPhone camera lenses, none of which I own. I used a 3-second timer to reduce the effects of any camera shake from pushing the shutter button in the app.

Sun-Kissed Meadow Beauty

Dandelions are hardy and can grow almost anywhere, even in poor soil. I love seeing the bright yellow flowers in fields, lawns, and gardens.

As I finished my walk through Zion Crossing Park and headed back to the car, Bhavna called. We had only one car, and I had the car for the day. She was ready to get picked up from work.

The sun from behind the clouds cast its bright light on the small meadow. The grass was invaded with colonies of dandelions. Dandelions are hardy and can grow almost anywhere, even in poor soil. I love seeing the bright yellow flowers in fields, lawns, and gardens.

Many see dandelions as a nuisance, as they can quickly spread and take over a lawn or garden. But dandelions are beautiful. Lawns are stupid, vain, useless and wasteful. But dandelions have anti-inflammatory properties and can treat various ailments, such as indigestion, high blood pressure, and acne. The root can be roasted and used as a caffeine-free coffee substitute.

Dandelions are edible! The leaves can be used in salads or cooked like spinach, while the flowers can be used to make dandelion wine or even fritters. I would love to try that, but the lawns in my development are not a good source. The association landscaping maintenance crew sprays everything with a pesticide.

There is a small covered picnic table on the meadow amongst the dandelions. I keep reminding myself to pack a basket and do a late afternoon lunch with Bhavna.

Zion-Wertsville Road Bridge

In September of 2021, the remnants of Hurricane Ida caused severe flooding and damage in the area, and the bridge was hit hard.

After photographing the waterfall, I walked north along the short trail in Zion Crossing Park. At the far end of the trail are the remains of the Zion-Wertsville Road Bridge.

The Zion-Wertsville Road Bridge, aka the Rock Brook Bridge, is in Hillsborough Township and is part of the border between Montgomery Township, intersecting Hollow Road and Zion-Wertsville Road. It was built in the late 1800s and is a historic iron truss bridge that spans the Millstone River. The bridge is an important piece of history for Hillsborough Township, and it has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1995.

The bridge was originally used for vehicular traffic but closed in 1984 due to safety concerns. However, in the 1990s, the bridge was restored and converted into a pedestrian and bicycle bridge.

The Rock Brook
The Rock Brook · Monday 1 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF27mmF2.8 R WR

A new project, the Zion-Wertsville Road Bridge Rehabilitation Project, was started to fix up this historic bridge. It involved putting in a reinforced concrete arch liner with concrete fill and a reinforced concrete relief slab for the steel stringer span. The plan was also to install a new steel tube railing to make the bridge safer.

The project started in August 2021, but unfortunately, things didn't go as planned. In September of that same year, the remnants of Hurricane Ida caused severe flooding and damage in the area, and the bridge was hit hard. The flood waters were so strong that they destroyed many of the materials used for the rehab project, and the bridge itself was seriously damaged. It was a challenging setback, but the community is working to get the project back on track as soon as possible.

The bridge was part of the route for the Sourland Spectacular, an annual bicycle race to raise funds for the Sourland Conservancy, a non-profit whose aim is to protect the delicate ecosystem of the Sourland Mountain Range.

One of my entries for Lens-Artists.