Park Entrace

Photo tour of Ramapo Valley Reserve

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If you are not the first visitor on my photo webpages, you should have noticed the difference in this album in .. let's see .. the first 0.5 seconds. It's like this - I was really getting bored of my standard template, generated from a bunch of shell scripts and parser programs, and came across the excellent presentation style of, also used in, and decided to step into the flow. Like I have anything to lose anyway.
So .. where was I? Ah .. selection of the new writing format. So far so good. Now comes the other question - why Ramapo Valley in the middle of winter? Isn't that the perfect place for fall colors?

Yes, of course. Most of New Jersey is dead right now. Well, the flora, at least. The motivation came from an entirely different point - my new Nikon F100 camera, delivered from B&H Photo Video, still warm. Had been pouring over the manuals for the last 24 hours or so, and decided to try it on for size. For one thing, I discovered that the functionality was pretty much the same as my N70, except for a significantly more rugged construction, and features (dials, etc.) more accessible. But then that's another story. When you spend as much as I did on something, you make sure you are very, very happy with it. Some exceptions come to my mind, but then never mind all the digressions my brain keeps spewing out .. that way, we'll never reach Ramapo.

So, then, I just *had* to get out and take a few photographs. The weather was just perfect, and the S4 was craving to be driven. Bikram - a complete dog - was supposed to land up yesterday, and join me in a photo trip someplace, but he never made contact. So, then, Akla cholo re mode came into effect. Decided to check out some pine barrens on Rt 195 near the Atlantic City Expressway, but then a) could not find it on the map b) did not want to spend the day in hunting for a place that I'm not even sure exists. After some 'brainstorming', decided to re-visit the Ramapo Valley - I had pleasant memories from a trip I had taken in fall 1999. Loaded up the car with my camera stuff, checked directions online, and set off.
There are several trails all over the park. For information about the park, search in google - I found this link helpful: but I did not spend too much time on research, and there may be others that are more informative. There are a few lakes in the preserve. I headed for the next-to-easiest option, the MacMillan Reservoir - the easiest accessible lake is right next to the parking lot. There wasn't much to take pictures of - as I meantioned earlier, and wil lprobably keep on mentioning (thankx to my short term memory), this is really a place meant for spring and fall, it's just too bare to enjoy in the winter months. So- anyway - since I was there to test drive my camera, and not on an assignment from National Geographic, all I needed was a snaking road, some trees, and a bright sun. Now, of these, there was no scarcity, and I managed to bag a few snaps like so:
Trail Trail Trail Trail Trail
Trail Trail
Sometimes, people would come into my frames, and there were plenty of them, so I gave up trying to avoid them, and instead started chasing them to place them in my snaps. At other times, all I'll get were the sky and the trees.
Sky and trees Forest More Forest Children

Since the scenery around was all a dull, listness span of dried leaves and naked trees, I decided to try some textures. The good thing about taking 'texture' photographs is, anything goes. Of course, there's the good and the bad, but then anything that can be tiled to make a nice background for the desktop is a texture by my rules. So I slapped on the zoom, and went on clicking every which thing that came into view. Here's what I collected by the end of the day:
Moss texture Forest texture Golden Retriever, I think

Since I was already taking pictures of things that did not really matter, I thought, what the heck, let me take pictures of interesting objects of no significance as well. A log here, a bark there, some mushrooms, stuff like that. Every once in a while, I would come across a stream of water, and click, burn it on film. The rings on the log looked better in black n' white, so taht's the way I have it here.
Dead tree trunk Tree trunk: Bark Details Mushrooms Stream Stream

Golden Retriever, I think And then, there were dogs. When I use the plural, I don't mean like a couple of dogs - there were at least a few hundred dogs in the forest at any point of time that I was walking around. There were big, furry ones, nice and friendly ones, dogs that were barking at other dogs, those that were barking at nothing in particular, some that were like little kids and were being carried on the shoulder of their owners (though, me thinks, that defies the purpose of taking the dog for a walk). You can't move 50 feet on the trails without seeing a new dog right around the corner. Surprisingly, the people were very polite and nice, and were only too glad to let me take pictures of their pets. No sign of the usual New Jersey/ New York hostility towards strangers. Which strenthens my theory that the hostile attitude is a result of inhaling some toxic byproduct of petroleum combustion - see the difference of attitude from streets of Manhattan to the Ramapo Valley. I took a few snaps of those that looked nice and friendly, and decided to put just this one up for my page.

For dircetions and general information on the Ramapo Valley area, visit:
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© copyright Kundan Sen

Created on ... February 17, 2002