Saturday, May 23, 2009

Last week's post mentioned the multitude of millionaires in New Jersey. Well, some of these folks were thoughtful enough to leave or sell their estates to the state or counties which have now become extraordinary parks for all to enjoy. Natirar (Raritan backward) is the name of an estate once owned by the king of Morocco. "The river and Peapack Brook run through it. The estate includes 22 buildings, many historic, six wells and three bridges, NJ Transit right-of-way and three streams, a pond, woodland. The 33,000 square-foot mansion itself, grand that it may be, is sedate and austere. Its history intrigues."* It is owned by the Somerset County Parks Commission which bought the place for 22 million dollars. "The mansion, two cottages, carriage house and greenhouse stand on 88 acres that the county plans to lease to Sir Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Airlines. The house will continue on as a retreat facility ­ albeit commercial, not philanthropic ­ with a full-service spa, conference center and restaurant that will be open to the public. The other 403 acres will be maintained as open space." *

The place is an absolutely gorgeous park. The two photographs below were made on May 15th while circumambulating the carriage path that is about a mile and a half or two in length. I schlepped the entire 4x5 kit (3 lenses, Shen Hao camera, 1 degree spot meter, darkcloth, tripod, film holders (10), filters, and loupe); the P67 might have done as well, but I love the big negatives. Thank goodness I don't have an 8x10 jones, or I'd be in traction.

* from:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

People give the entire state of New Jersey a terrible time. It's as if it were simply destined to be the butt of jokes because some state had to be, and Jersey's number came up....I don't know. It doesn't help that it hasn't got a single city that's got the stature of it's Pennsylvania, or New York neighbors' greater cities; nor that it's decades of polluted air from the oil refineries in the northeastern part of the state are drive through souvenirs as one traverses the New Jersey Turnpike. But I recently learned (though I haven't checked that this is true) that NJ has more millionaires than any other state in the union. It also has some of the loveliest and most cultivated wealthy suburban and semi-rural areas I've ever visited. It has some pretty damn good universities too i.e. Princeton, and Rutgers, and one helluva popular Atlantic Ocean coastline.

The two photographs below are from a Morris County park called Willow Wood. It's an arboretum that is easy to walk through, and lush with a rich variety of plantings that offer wonderful flora that bloom and strut their stuff during the different months and seasons of the year. We will return to this pocket paradise again...and perhaps many paint and photogarph it's vivid beauty.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I often marvel at the extraordinary still life photographs of flowers done so well by so many photographers. I, however, have almost never made an image of a flower or flowers either outdoors or in the studio with the notable exception of some flowering dogwood trees. But, here are a couple that I've posted to break the ice. The lower one was made at an arboretum here in Orange County. Making flower photographs there is like fishing in a well stocked pond...the subjects are abundant; the skill to capture them well is another matter. The upper 'graph was made at the little park in Craigville where I've made a number of images that I really like. As I may have written somewhere else on this blog, it's a memorial to a young boy who died of an incurable disease, and whose family belonged to the religious congregation that built the park. A lovely stream runs through it, and the place fosters a deep sense of peace that is a fitting commemoration of a young life too early extinguished. I never fail to find something that absorbs me there, and may also be worthy of a photograph. But most of all, I enjoy the sense of tranquility that permeates the trees, grass, and flowing water.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The photograph below was posted with a rant I should never have written late on a Friday night when I was too tired for my frontal lobe to have taken an active part in its composition. In other words, it was a pretty dumb thesis that seemed even dumber after a good night's sleep. It wasn't dumb because it was wildly wacko wrong, but because it needed a lot more words, and a lot deeper scholarship to make its' case.'s the pic that it went with without the blather. It's a bit abstract, but not too much so that you can't recognize what it is. I hope you like it.