What’s great about living in a new town is discovering new locations and for a photographer that’s like discovering new places to find gold. Of course, I’m not going to know these locations off the top of my head, so I looked to my treasure map that is Google Maps to see any parks nearby that I haven’t checked out yet.
I found a park called “Central Park” in Lawrenceville, New Jersey and decided to check it out during the first week of July. It was a sunny day mixed with some cloudiness. My camera settings were set to program, ISO levels to 400 and white balance set to daylight, cloudy and shade.
I took the 25 minute walk from home to “Central Park” on Eggert Crossing Road and to my surprise there wasn’t much to photograph. I was expecting an actual park with screaming kids on a playground, numerous walkways and a gazebo. Instead, there were multiple baseball fields, a football field and a lacrosse field.
The eerie part of all this was that the park was completely empty. No one was around, not even any security guards. I took a few photos at this park, but nothing too exciting or anything I haven’t seen before. I felt really disappointed and thought that this trip was a waste of time.
Before I decided to go home, I remembered that there was another park area down the road. I hesitated at first, but decided to see this other location known as the Loveless Nature Preserve. When I arrived at the entrance, I read a description on a sign explaining that this was a place for safety of animals and no hunting allowed at all.
I liked the no hunting part since I know there would be a low chance of me getting shot, but I was worried wild animals attacking me. Nonetheless, I went in anyways, passing the only parked car at the entrance.
When I walked through the entrance, nothing but green trees surrounded me as I walked down a rocky road. For a minute, I felt like I was in a fantasy novel in a mystical forest about to meet a fairy that would guide me through it. It was just breathtaking as I felt like I was in another world.
Right away I had my camera ready for this wide shot to capture all of the trees and their branches hovering over the road (Photo Above). I decreased the exposure composition just a little to get the shaded area created by the trees further down the road.
I continued to walk down this road and as I looked to my right, I saw some trees casted on by the sun. Once again, I went with a wide shot to capture all of the trees and to get the entire ground in the bottom of the frame (Photo Above).
The sunny day really helped cast shadows of the branches of nearby trees onto the trees on this picture. I actually wanted to walk into this area, but I was once again afraid to run into a wild animal and it was my first time in this preserve so I didn’t want to get lost.
After walking down the road, I came across the open field area of the preserve. No one was around this area either, but unlike “Central Park”, this didn’t have an eerie feel of emptiness. It felt more like having a paradise to myself to roam free and to explore (Photo Above).
I went with a wide shot yet again just to show how open this field is. Thinking about it now, I should have had went with a panoramic shot to capture everything. The sun was blocked by a passing cloud so it was difficult to get a clear blue sky in this shot like I wanted to.
As much as I wanted to continue to explore the Loveless Nature Preserve, I didn’t want to keep going further as I felt like I wasn’t prepare to do so. I didn’t have the proper footwear or any kind of bug spray to combat annoying gnats. So, I decided to turn back on this road where I found the creepy wooden crate to head back home. When I did I saw the end of the road shine gorgeously on it (Photo Above).
I went with a medium shot, focusing more on the sun light on the road along with the grass and bushes on the left side of the frame. This composition juxtaposes the right side of the frame which is covered by the darkness which was created by using shade as my white balance and decreasing the exposure composition.
Walking back to the open field area, I ended up bumping into a couple and their dog as they were kindly enough to say hello to me and I returned the favor with a hello of my own. I was not alone after all and that would explain the parked car of the entrance as I later saw them get in it.
Being at the Loveless Nature Preserve was a great experience as I felt like I escaped reality and was one with nature for a short period of time. I plan on re-visiting the preserve again later this summer, this time prepared with boots and bug spray. I want to see what other gold I could discover and capture with my camera.