Jonathan’s Woods Red Trail to Green Trail

Located in Denville and Rockaway New Jersey, Jonathan’s Woods is owned in parts by Morris County Park Commission, as well as both townships.

Trails are maintained by Protect Our Wetlands, Water and Woods (POWWW).

New Jersey Hiking

Hiking trail at Jonathan’s Woods in Morris County NJ

Kiosk for Red Trail is located on Old Beach Glen Road in Denville.

Denville Trails

Kiosk at Jonathan’s Woods on Old Beach Glen Road

A Google Maps search for Jonathan’s Woods will get you to the main parking area. Take the Red Trail from the parking lot on Old Beach Glen Road.

New Jersey Nature

Red Trail at Jonathan’s Woods in Denville Twp

Turn Right at the Green Blaze on the old gravel road to head towards the wetlands.

NJ outdoors

Green Trail at Jonathan’s Woods county park

The Beaver Brook marsh is a great place to sit and look for wildlife or just unwind.

NJ nature photography

Beaver Brook marsh with Wildcat Ridge beyond

Wildlife watching NJ

Beaver dam at Jonathan’s Woods

Following the Green Trail will take you across seasonal stream crossings before you return to the parking lot.  You will also pass near the “Cathedral Pine” area which was largely toppled by Hurricane Sandy but has since been re-planted.

NJ hike

Seasonal wetlands on Green Trail

Pine Trees Grove NJ

Former Cathedral Pine Area devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The area has since been re-planted and is being monitored by Morris County Park Commission and POWWW.

For any info on the trails at Jonathan’s Woods contact


Tamron 18-400mm Full Resolution Butterfly

I took this digital photograph of an Painted Lady butterfly recently in Chester New Jersey.  Click on the picture to download or view the high resolution original.  Zoom in to view the sharpness from the new Tamron 18-400mm ultra-telephoto all-in-one lens.

Tamron 18-400mm Sharpness

Tamron 18-400mm Macro Sample Image of an Painted Lady Butterfly. Straight Out Of Camera.

The Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD all-in-one lens was handheld in conjunction with the Canon SL2 Digital Rebel.  I am extremely impressed by the fine detail resolved in this SOOC (straight out of camera) shot.  The tiny hairs by the butterfly eyes are very well defined.  I also like the pleasing bokeh of background flowers.

100% crop from above SOOC photograph

Tamron 18-400mm macro photography

Tamron 18-400mm VC 100% Crop SOOC. Handheld at 400mm F/9 on Canon SL2. Photo by Dave Blinder

Exposure settings:

Tamron 18-400mm VC @ 400mm, Autofocus On, Vibration Compensation On

Canon SL2 in Aperture Priority Mode +2/3 exposure, AI Servo Focus

1/800 F9 ISO 800


Purchase the new Tamron 18-400mm from Amazon using my affiliate links  (help support my blog)

Tamron 18-400mm for Canon –

Tamron 18-400mm for Nikon –

Canon EOS Rebel SL2 Digital SLR Camera Body Only –


Do you have any questions about the lens, camera, or photograph?  Any more sample images you’d like to see?  Let me know.

Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch 9/23/2017

A few quick views from one of my favorite local vistas.

NJ hiking

Photographer taking a shot of NYC in the distance. Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch, September 2017, photo by Dave Blinder.

The Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management Area Hawk Watch also serves as an unofficial community center for nature observation and study.

NJ birding

International Hawk Week banner. Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch, September 2017, photo by Dave Blinder.

A great service to the public has been provided by Bill Gallagher and more recent NJ Fish&Wildlife Volunteers. Bill will be missed.

NJ hawk migration

Volunteer Frank Bundy tallies passing raptors. Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch, September 2017, photo by Dave Blinder.

These giving folks greet newcomers to the hawkwatch and provide birdwatching knowledge and tips to all.

Rockaway Township NJ

Visitors come to discuss migration. Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch, September 2017, photo by Dave Blinder.

The volunteers also provide raptor migration data sheets to NJF&W and other wildlife monitoring organizations.

New Jersey Nature Area

Visitors take in the panoramic view. Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch, September 2017, photo by Dave Blinder.

Visit the Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch this Fall. Parking is available at the far end of Upper Hibernia Road in Rockaway Twp NJ. Ascend the gravel road on foot 6/10 of a mile before turning for Hawk Watch access. Bring binoculars, water, and a snack.

Visit the WCR Enhancement Website for more detailed visitor information.

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD Full Resolution Macro

September in New Jersey can be a great time of year for photographing many type of caterpillars.  Monarch Caterpillars have especially nice patterning to them and I always look forward to capturing frames of them.  The cooperative caterpillar below provided a great opportunity to test the close-focusing ability of the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD All-In-One lens.

Tamron macro lens for Canon

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD All-In-One sample picture

The 18-400mm has a minimum focusing distance of 17.75″ (45cm) and a 1:2.9 maximum reproduction ration.  Translation = you can fill the well with small subject matter on this Tamron.  Download the full resolution straight out of camera (sooc) jpeg off my Canon Rebel SL2 from my Google Drive account


Camera settings for this picture:

Tamron 18-400mm handheld and wide open aperture at 400mm + Canon SL2

1/1000 F/6.3 ISO 400, Vibration Compenation (VC) On

Looking to order this lens?  Buy it now from my Amazon Affiliate links and help support my blog.

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD for Canon DSLRs –

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD for Nikon DSLRs –


Do you have questions, comments, or feedback on this post?  Let me know!

Kayaking with the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD

NJ Photography

Kayaking in NJ with the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD

I brought the new Tamron USA 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD all-in-one lens out on the water with me for kayaking this past weekend.

Outdoor Photography in NJ

Kayaking at Monksville Reservoir in NJ with the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD

All shots taken handheld along with the Canon Rebel SL2.

Mallards on Monksville Reservoir

Kayaking at Monksville Reservoir in NJ with the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD

The location is Monksville Reservoir which is an incredible natural resource situated in Northern New Jersey.

NJ Adventure Photography

Kayaking at Monksville Reservoir in NJ with the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD

The compact lens + camera combo fit easily into my dry bag.

Great Blue Heron at Monksville Reservoir

Kayaking at Monksville Reservoir in NJ with the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD

It is important to me to be able to photograph both scenery and wildlife when I am out on the water.

NJ Wildlife Photography

Kayaking at Monksville Reservoir in NJ with the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD

The 18-400mm is a great versatile tool for outdoor adventures.

NJ Adventure Photography

Kayaking at Monksville Reservoir in NJ with the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD

Purchase the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD all-in one now lens through my Amazon affiliate links and I get a small commission to fund future adventures.

Tamron 18-400mm for Canon

Tamron 18-400mm for Nikon


Have any questions on camera gear or settings?  Ask in the comments and I will do my best to answer.

Hawk Watch with Pete Dunne

Hawk Watch with Pete Dunne at New Jersey Audubon’s Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary​.  September 16, 2017.

I stopped over in Bernardsville on Saturday morning for a couple of hours to join in on the festivities. Hawkwatching is always a great reason to get outside, but having New Jersey’s most accomplished birding author Pete Dunne around is also a recipe for a good time.

Thanks also to Eric Stiles, Mike Anderson, Susan Garretson Friedman, and the other New Jersey Audubon​ staff behind the scenes who made all visitors feel welcome to this great free event.  Click on the thumbnails below to view larger photographs.


More details on the event in the Daily Record, write-up by Peggy Wright –

Two Sisters Wetland Preserve

Two Sisters Wetland Preserve Property, Wayne NJ

NJ nature

Cellphone HDR photos from location scouting I arbitrarily visit local open spaces that I see on Google Maps. This was my first time visiting this wetland and floodplain area adjacent to the Pompton River.

NJ nature

Nice yet small wetlands that gets a decent amount of sunlight. I can imagine this being a decent area for viewing wildlife such as marsh birds, turtles, salamanders, and nesting hawks and woodland warblers.

NJ hiking

Expect to encounter mud if you want to scan the ponds. Google Maps should get you into this small preserved open space.

NJ wildlife

Winter Solstice Hike by the Morris County Park Commission

Winter Solstice Hike. 12/21/2016 led by Morris County Park Commission‘s Senior Naturalist Douglas Vorolieff.

We met at the visitor center for Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area pre-dawn and ascended up Turkey Mountain to meet with a colorful sky on the official first day of Winter.

Thank you to everyone who attended, it was quite a fun outing and a great way to kick off the season.

Future Morris County Park Commission events can be found online here -


The Creative Vision Hoax in Nature Photography

“The Creative Vision Hoax in Nature Photography”

New Jersey Fine Art Photography

A small aperture and dark exposure helps frame the morning sun striking the Jersey Shore.

I just got done flipping through another recent article in a photography magazine (name omitted to protect the guilty).  In my estimation 80%-90% of photography periodicals, videos, and websites are rehashing the same post-processing principles that have been discussed ad nauseam since the early 2000’s.  In the meantime, they are beating the dead horse on composition and exposure techniques that have been documented and discussed for at least 50 years.

My pet peeve is writings on the topic of “creative vision”.  When shooters and authors mention creative vision, what they generally mean is taking the liberty to pull as many sliders in Lightroom as possible.  Making the image looking wholly unnatural, yet justifying that their “eyes saw it that way”.  I concur that there are no rules to art or photography, but to claim that the sky above the Earth is regularly the color of pure cyan or that the human eye views clouds with intense tonal gradations is nonsense.  Modern age photographers should absolutely use all technology available to them, but they should do so with full disclosure.

Instead of stating my “creative vision” saw the scene this way, why not phrase it more accurately?

“I thought I could spice it up by adding intense contrast using software plug-ins.”

“The straight out of camera shot would receive little attention so I tried to improve it.”

“I use heavy post-processing on my photos to get more views on social media.”

The integrity of the field of photography is better preserved when we are honest about our techniques.  “Creative Vision” “Marketing Vision” and “Post Processing Tools” are different concepts.  You can fool some of the people some of the time…

Words and photo by Dave Blinder.

Nature Photography – Organizing the Chaos

A typical nature scene, especially woodlands and meadows include a lot of visual clutter and overlap when seen from the typical human angle of view.  When we press the camera’s shutter button from that perspective, everything is permanently recorded into our digital image.  We are frequently disappointed when the photo “doesn’t look like what we saw”.  Plenty of studies have been done on comparing human perception to a camera’s imaging system.  Moral of the story is that we focus differently and our optical systems have different dynamic ranges than cameras currently in existence.

How to compensate for the ever all-seeing camera lens?  “Organize the chaos.”  A well known phrase to experienced photographers.  How to organize?  One of the many techniques is to seek symmetry in nature photography.  Absolute symmetry is rarely going to present itself, but we will still seek it…

In my photo below I’ve aligned my angle of view to have two nearly parallel trees create a natural rectangle (or is that a rhombus?) around the sun.

New Jersey nature photography

New Jersey nature photo of an overcast sky as framed by two large trees and their gnarled branches. Handheld capture from the #Tamron 16-300mm VC PZD lens and #Canon EOS T5 #DSLR