Gray Days Lend Their Own Special Quality and Magic.

Gray day go away? Is that how you feel on an overcast day when the storm is soon to arrive or has recently departed?

Sure. Cloudy can be bleak- but it can also lend it’s own magic. In Winter, especially during a heavy snow, the uniform sky looks like a backdrop on a stage focusing your interest on the foreground. Shades of white, grays, and black help to convey the stillness and cottony silence of winter scenes. It is also a time that can be mistaken for no other. Colors tell a story and describe specific times and conditions.

The Snow Arch on the Pygmy Pine Plains- two gnarled Pygmy Pine trees on each side of a sandy path grow about 10 feet apart on opposite sides. When it snows and the trees bend under the load and you stand in a certain place, it becomes the Gateway to the Pygmy Pine Plains.

There’s something to be said for the light quality of a cloudy day. Colors stand out and so do details. There is no glare-only soft indirect light that bathes the natural subject evenly.

This Lady Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium acaule), also known as Moccasin Flower, was photographed under these conditions.

And finally, on the dramatic cloudy days, when angry or spent piles of storm clouds move over the relatively flat Pinelands- on a day when rain is still falling while the clouds part and the sunlight blasts through, you may be lucky enough to witness a rainbow on the side opposite the sun, and luckier still to photograph it. A good reason to have a camera on hand.

This photograph is called Promise of the Pygmy Pine Plains. The storm was short and violent, but is receding. The sun is coming out promising cooler weather. In the foreground, to the left, pygmy pine seedlings have been planted in an effort to restore a part of the forest denuded by off road use and erosion. . The land is preserved with the promise of future generations being able to visit this globally rare environment in the Pinelands.

When is the time to take a photograph? Using your discretion, at all times and every day of the year in all types of weather. When is the time to take a photograph? The time is now.

-“We chase the ephemeral. The effects of light on the natural form in the Pinelands of New Jersey”- Ann-Marie Woods, photographer and author of this blog.

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