Back in April, shortly after Governor Murphy and the counties and townships closed all the state and local parks, I went on a search for open spaces to hike to control my anxiety.
Two years ago when I was struggling with hyperthyroidism and undergoing treatment for Graves Eye Disease, I worked with a therapist to help me deal with anxiety caused by my thyroid as well worry over going blind. We determined that being in nature was relaxing for me. Something about the quiet sounds of wind blowing through leaves, birds calling out to each other and water rushing in nearby streams pushed out the unwanted worry about "everything".
Taking Bhavna along with me1, I bought hiking boots, pants, shirts and socks. I bought layers so that I could continue through the colder months of winter. I bought a new camera, my Fuji X-T2 so that I could document my adventures. Photography was part of the process and it requires attention to detail, focused concentration, and envisioning. After my final eye surgery in December of last year, camera in hand, I started visiting every trail I could find. Then COVID-19 hit and my mental health recovery was aborted and I had something new to be anxious about.
In April of 2020, shortly after Governor Murphy and the counties and townships closed all the state and local parks, I went on a search for open spaces for hiking. I needed to control my anxiety. Fortunately, many of the open space preserves were still open, one of which, Skyview & Garfi Preserves is just a few minutes drive in the nearby town of Hopewell.
Skyview and Garfi Preserves protect a series of meadows, woodlands, hedgerows, and a portion of Woodsville Brook near Route 31. A hiking trail meanders through these habitats. The Garfi Preserve is owned entirely by FoHVOS, while the Skyview Preserve is co-owned with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
I went by myself, slowly inhaling the cool spring air and noticing the small flowers and budding plants at my feet. Dappled light covered my face. It didn't take long for me to find peace. I wanted to sit in the open meadow and enjoy the moment in the sun, perhaps take a nap. But I had not the forethought to bring a chair.
I love watching clouds. Sometimes I think I photograph landscapes because of the clouds. It seems all challenge participants decided to look to the sky this week. I like Amy's interpretation of this week's theme. TheOnlyD800inthehameau looked to the skies for drama finding a moody cloud formation.
I vaguely understood the term "negative space", thinking it was the "blank areas" of an image, Wikipedia informed me further.
Negative space, in art, is the space around and between the subject of an image. Negative space may be most evident when the space around a subject, not the subject itself, forms an interesting or artistically relevant shape, and such space occasionally is used to artistic effect as the "real" subject of an image.
Ok. Wait. What? "Negative space" can be the "real" subject of an image? I hadn't captured anything like this. I had three pictures from the week, which I thought represented my interpretation of "negative space". But which to choose for the challenge. The boring one of a water bottle or the more interesting one of my wife? Maybe I'm cheating a little, but I am submitting both. I think the image of the botted water is closer to the description from Wikipedia. Still, I think the portrait of my wife, giving me her best "do I have to do this" look is more interesting.
I captured my choices for the weekly challenge using the native iOS camera app. The app has a portrait mode which is sometimes doesn't get it right. It uses multiple back cameras on the iPhone 11 Pro including the 6mm f/2 (which Apple calls the Telephoto lens due to its 51mm full-frame field of view) and the 4.25mm ƒ/1.8 (26mm FF). Together with software algorithms, a "bokeh" effect is achieved. I used Kevin Mullin's "Base Film" and "Newspaper" black and white preset.
Bhavna came home around 3 PM, and we hiked in the Skyview & Garfi Preserves in Hopewell Township. We encountered no one. No one.