Tuesday Photo Challenge – Play by jansenphotojansenphoto (Dutch goes the Photo!)

Your challenge is to use the theme of Play in any way that you see fit! As it can be a verb or a noun, be on the stage or in the backyard, there’s plenty of playroom with the theme!

On Saturday I was supposed to participate take a field trip to lower Manhattan. I feel like a broken record but my Nikon broke over the winter and a friend loaned me her father’s Canon camera and 70-200mm lens. It’s a good camera and lens but not ideal for cityscape photography. For that, I needed a wider lens. I rented a Canon 24-70mm f/4L IS. I was excited for the opportunity to capture some city scenes that I had on my list and play around with night time photography.

The Rock Brook —Canon EOS 5D Mark III +EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM @ 24 mmf/22 ISO 100—CC BY-NC-SA

The Rock Brook —Canon EOS 5D Mark III +EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM @ 24 mmf/22 ISO 100—CC BY-NC-SA

Unfortunately, the weather turned sour and the field trip was postponed to next weekend. I tried to make the best of it but it rained on Saturday morning. The rain stopped later in the afternoon for a few hours. My wife saw my disappointment and encouraged me to go out to one of my favourite spots along the Rock Brook. I’ve visited and photographed this location multiple times. I thought it might be boring but I do enjoy walking along the rocks and listening to the wind in the trees.

However, when we arrived the water level was extremely low. I guess we’ve had very little rainfall this summer but I hadn’t noticed. There was very little water flowing but I was able to access areas of the Rock Brook that I had never accessed before.

The Rock Brook —Canon EOS 5D Mark III +EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM @ 45 mmf/22 ISO 100—CC BY-NC-SA
Water flowing —Canon EOS 5D Mark III +EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM @ 24 mmf/22 ISO 100—CC BY-NC-SA
Water flowing —Canon EOS 5D Mark III +EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM @ 70 mmf/22 ISO 100—CC BY-NC-SA

Bhavna encouraged me to play around with what I had. I moved around setting up the tripod in different locations. Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the Canon menus and struggled to get the camera set up for long exposure photography. I played around on various menus trying to get the camera to do what I wanted.

Unlike my broken baby Nikon DSLR, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III has no flip screen. I think a flip screen is something that is a must for landscape photography. Well …. maybe not a must. But it definitely makes things easier when the camera is mounted low on the tripod. To get the compositions I wanted I had to contort my body to see down to the level of the viewfinder.

Looking south from the Rock Brook —Canon EOS 5D Mark III +EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM @ 24 mmf/22 ISO 100—CC BY-NC-SA
The Woods —Canon EOS 5D Mark III +EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM @ 24 mmf/22 ISO 100—CC BY-NC-SA
The Rock Brook —Canon EOS 5D Mark III +EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM @ 26 mmf/22 ISO 100—CC BY-NC-SA
Bhavna is ready to go —Canon EOS 5D Mark III +EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM @ 70 mmf/4.0 ISO 1600—CC BY-NC-SA

I didn’t get much time at the Rock Brook. About thirty minutes after we arrived, Bhavna felt rains drops and gave me a verbal warning. I snapped a few more shots and we returned to the car just as a light drizzle started.

In the Princeton area, the rains started in March and it seems they will never stop. The total precipitation for June was almost as high as May and May exceeded April which exceeded March.

I didn’t notice the spider until after I downloaded the image to Lightroom. — Nikon D5100 + Nikon Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II 11-16mm F2.8 @ (16 mm, f/4.0, ISO2200), Copyright 2017-07-01 Khürt L. Williams

For this weekly challenge, I had no idea what to do.

The Japanese word, “komorebi” refers to the sunlight that filters through the leaves of trees — Nikon D5100 + Nikon Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II 11-16mm F2.8 @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO100), Copyright 2017-07-01 Khürt L. Williams

This week, the governor of New Jersey and the state Jersey Legislature were at an impasse over the state budget. On Friday at midnight, the governor ordered the closing of non-essential state agencies. Everything from state parks to motor vehicle services offices and the Administrative Office of the New Jersey Courts will be closed until further notice. I work as a cybersecurity consultant to the Courts and many of the people I work with (including myself) are concerned.

Komorebi — Nikon D5100 + Nikon Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II 11-16mm F2.8 @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO100), Copyright 2017-07-01 Khürt L. Williams

Early on Saturday morning, after dropping my son off to the farmers’ market I drove over to the Rock Brook and parked my car along Hollow Road. The sky was partly cloudy but it seemed there was a chance of rain.

Looking down at the Rock Brook — Nikon D5100 + Nikon Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II 11-16mm F2.8 @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO100), Copyright 2017-07-01 Khürt L. Williams

Rock Brook is one of my favourite places. With the rains the woods have grown green and lush. On this trip, I documented my steps from the edge of the Sourland Mountain Range down to the brook.

The Rock Brook Waterfall — Nikon D5100 + Nikon Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II 11-16mm F2.8 @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO100), Copyright 2017-07-01 Khürt L. Williams

The underbrush was thick with some sort of grass. I thoroughly enjoyed the komorebi. The Japanese word, “komorebi” refers to the sunlight that filters through the leaves of trees. I find it fascinating that the Japanese culture has created a single word to capture that feeling.

The Rock Brook — Nikon D5100 + Nikon Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II 11-16mm F2.8 @ (11 mm, f/8.0, ISO100), Copyright 2017-07-01 Khürt L. Williams

I walked down to the “waterfall” enjoying the sound of rushing water and the sweet smell of the gentle morning breeze. Step by step, I made my way down to the water, stopping to snap some photos along the way.

“Shinrinyoku” (“forest bathing”) is a Japanese word which means to go deep into the woods where everything is silent and peaceful for relaxation.

Between photos, I stood or sat to enjoy the sounds of the wind in the trees and just take things in. My steps were slow. I wanted to enjoy each moment of my shinrinyoku. I dipped my shoes1 in and enjoyed the sensation of the water running between my toes. The water in the stream was clear and cool. I noticed some fish, about six inches in size, slowly swimming about. Smaller fish darted around between the pebbles.

Rocks — Nikon D5100 + Nikon Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II 11-16mm F2.8 @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO100), Copyright 2017-07-01 Khürt L. Williams

Stepping among the rocks I suddenly realized that, perhaps subconsciously, I had photographed the theme for the week.

Tuesday Photo Challenge Steps — Nikon D5100 + Nikon Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II 11-16mm F2.8 @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO100), Copyright 2017-07-01 Khürt L. Williams

After snapping all the photos I wanted, I stood for a while in the middle of the brook, with my eye closed and enjoyed the sound of the wind in the trees and the water flowing past my feet.

Peace.

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.

[exif id="25406"]

For this month's Changing Seasons Monthly Photo Challenge I wanted to try something different. In the last two posts for the challenge, I did not set a focus. I would take photos during the month, of random various subjects and usually on the weekend. The result was that at the end of the month, I did not have a coherent set of images to represent the month. I want to try something different.

Starting with March I intend to add a weekly entry of events that transpired over the week. I may or may not have a photograph to include for that week. However, my hope it that I can capture my feelings about the month as it unfolds. I don't want to get to the end of the month and try to recall what my thoughts and feeling were weeks prior.

I also intend to focus on a specific subject. I think for a challenge entitled, Changing Seasons Monthly Photo Challenge, I really should be shooting a series of images. I want to show a change. There is a stream nearby, the Rock Brook, which I have photographed a few times in the past during different times of the year. I think it will be interesting to observe how the Rock Brook and the surrounding landscape, changes throughout the year.

However, I also started a personal photography project for 2017. I am photographing some of the lighthouses of New Jersey. I may use imaged from that project for the Changing Seasons Monthly Photo Challenge.

March 4th

brook, water, trees, winter, rocks

I have lived in Skillman, Montgomery Township for almost sixteen years. That's the longest I have lived in any one place and almost as long as the amount of time I lived in the West Indies. I love my township. There are many parks and streams and the rolling hills remind of the rolling hills of St. Vincent1. One of my favourite spots in the section of the Rock Brook, along Hollow Road, just north of Camp Meeting. There is a small patch of dirt on the northbound side of the road just large enough to park a vehicle.

Rock Brook,brook, water, trees, winter, rocks[exif id="25391"]

The Rock Brook is just below, after walking a short distance through the trees. As the name suggests, this brook is mostly filled with rock. This section of Montgomery Township, a small area at the foot of the Sourland Mountain Range, is unique in geology, history. The Rock Brook is prone to flooding and heavy stormwater flow and is part of lands preserved by the Montgomery Friends of Open Space.

brook, water, trees, winter, rocks

I visited the Rock Brook today. It was cold outside, about -4ºC (~ 25ºF), and windy. I wore several layers and my photography gloves but I still felt cold.

March 11th

It snowed yesterday. I am not sure for how long or how much snow. The office building where I work had very few windows and my office is located near an interior wall. I didn't see the snow until the end of the day. My guess would be that the area had about three inches of snow on the ground. The parking lot had no snow but the cars were all covered with powder.

brook, water, trees, winter, rocks

Saturday morning, after breakfast, I decided to visit the Rock Brook again. Looking outside my window I could see that the grass was still covered with snow and I hoped that I might get some unique images of the brook. I drove over to the spot on Hollow Road and parked just above the Rock Brook.

As I grabbed my camera I looked down through the leafless trees to the water. There was just enough snow on the rocks and some parts of the brook were frozen over. The sun poked through the tree line providing both shadow and light across the water. I walked through the trees mentally planning my shots. The frozen snow crunched under my boots. It was cold and there was a slight breeze.

brook, water, trees, winter, rocks

I did my best to capture and frame the images from the same spot as the previous week. However, it was hard for me to remember the exact spots and the snow cover made it even more challenging. You can see that the framing was not quite the same.

I tried to move quickly; setting up my tripod, getting the exposure readings from the camera, calculating the shutter speed for the ND filter, attaching the filter, and shooting three images.

It was about -6ºC outside. I wore three layers of clothing and although my feet were comfortable, operating the camera meant exposing the area of the glove covering my thumb and pointer finger. I tried to minimize the exposure to the cold and stayed out as long as my fingers could handle things. That was about thirty minutes.

brook, water, snow, ice, trees, winter, rocks

I liked all the images I captured so ... here's the gallery.

Rock Brook, brook, water, snow, ice, trees, winter, rocks[exif id="25405"]

Rock Brook, brook, water, snow, ice, trees, winter, rocks[exif id="25407"]

March 19th

I didn't go to the Rock Brook today. This weekend I completed a group photography workshop where I was challenged by being forced into a photographic box -- time limits and focal length limits. By the end of the workshop, my approach to photography was transformed. While walking around completing the challenges that our instructor had assigned the group I started thinking about my approach to the Changing Seasons Challenge.

Firestone Library, Princeton University
[exif id="26283"]

What if I didn’t return to the Rock Brook? What if I slowed down, spent some time thinking about I wanted to say with my images, and focused on the story I wanted to tell about March?

Besides the Tuesday Photo Challenge, I am participating in a monthly photo challenge called [Changing Season]. It was almost the end of March and I wanted to capture some photos that portrayed the Princeton University in March. There are a few iconic — aka, heavily photographed — images of the university. The Firestone Library is one of them. So is East Pyne, Nassau Hall, and the Princeton University Chapel.

Why black and white? It was a sunny day, but I wanted to convey a sense of "historic". Honestly, I don’t think I accomplished telling the story about Princeton University. Something is lacking. What do you think?

Holder Hall, Princeton University. I posted a dramatic version of this image in an earlier post.
[exif id="26281"]

  1. There are significant differences. St. Vincent's mountainous area is the ridge of a dormant volcano, La Soufriere, and the vegetation is tropical. ?

The Changing Seasons Monthly Photo Challenge is a blogging challenge by Cardinal Guzman. Each month I will post at least one photography that I think represents the month. Sometimes I’ll post a set of images.