Eastern Black Rat Snake in Tree Cavity

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Eastern Black Rat Snake in Tree Cavity
 
Wharton State Forest, New Jersey
 
Learn more about the snakes of New Jersey – https://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/ensp/pdf/snake_broch.pdf
 

Common Nighthawk in New Jersey Pinelands

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Common Nighthawk
 
Brendan T Byrne State Forest, New Jersey
 
This bird moved from the forest floor to a tree while I was photographing butterflies elsewise I would never have noticed it!
 
 

Long Bridge at Black Run

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Long Bridge at Black Run
 
Black Run Preserve, Evesham, Burlington County NJ
 
Crossing this 10 foot stretch of “bridge” on a nature trail almost seemed like a good idea until I gauged the depth at nearly 4 feet with my tripod. Carrying 20 lbs of unwieldy photography gear in a backpack also convinced me that this trail was not for me.
 
Visit Black Run Preserve – https://blackrun.org

Cedar Creek at Double Trouble State Park

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Cedar Creek
Double Trouble State Park, Ocean County NJ
I consider Double Trouble “the gateway drug to the Pinelands”. The park is very close to the Garden State Parkway (exit 77) and the trails are very visitor friendly. The diversity of wildlife, plants, and scenery is quite remarkable at this gem of a natural area.
Tamron SP 15-30mm + Canon 5Dsr

American Rubyspot damsefly in NJ

This a recent macro insect photo I took in the region of New Jersey known as the Pinelands National Reserve, home to ecosystems and wildlife not often seen in other parts of our state.  Photography equipment utilized: Tamron SP 90mm VC F/2.8 1:1 Macro Lens and the Canon EOS 7D DSLR.  Damselflies are generally smaller than dragonflies, but fall under the same order known as odonata.  Pictured below is a male American Rubyspot damselfly, its Latin name is Hetaerina americana.

NJ insect photo

One of New Jersey’s most vivid damselflies.

I actually ended up wading in standing water that was thigh high to take this photograph.  I saw several Rubyspots perched on vegetation in this pond.  I wasn’t thrilled to get to my cargo shorts soaking wet, but I had to decide to either walk away from a photo opportunity or “dive right into the scene”.

The sunlight was fairly overcast when I snapped this shot so a fast shutter speed was not possible.  Dragging a good tripod into a pond didn’t seem like a good idea, and a tripod is not really an asset when making a still capture of an insect perched on a piece of grass with forces like water ripples and a breeze causing motion.  Handheld and fairly large aperture was the only way this shot was going to happen.

I’ve had a few people tell me that they find a 300mm lens sufficient for shooting small insects, but the reality is you are not going to get this type of highly magnified photo without a 1:1 macro lens.  In this case the fast autofocus and Vibration Compensation were also needed.  Camera settings:  1/125 F/5.0 ISO 400, VC on, Auto White Balance, RAW file format, One Shot focus in continuous drive mode.