My photo blog… visual thoughts around me.

“Home Is Where The Heart Is”


“Swamp Beauty”

I recently had the invite and honor of going on a photo workshop, with Rich Lewis into 4 different areas of the Pinelands. Many who know my background of having grown up in Browns Mills, raising a family in Chatsworth and recently moving to Southampton, might scratch their heads and ask why I would go with someone into “my backyard”. There is a pretty simple answer. As photographers we sometimes isolate ourselves from those who shoot around us. I have always been very open to new perspectives even in an area I am very familiar. Rich, besides being a very good friend, has a unique and really personal take on the Pinelands, so I couldn’t pass that up. I have grown immensely in both vision, technique and camaraderie because when I opened myself up to the visions of others… besides the saying “keep your enemies close” really fits… LOL.

We started at sunrise, at the Franklin Parker Preserve with a 25 degree morning which kept everyone moving right along. There is nothing like watching the sunrise over a long stretch of bogs. First the sky gradually changes, then the light plays with the foreground until finally it dances and highlights the many open spaces. This is serenity for me, sharing a home space and talking about our craft to one another I felt very blessed. It still surprises me after shooting countless times in and around my home that I always can find something new.

Next location was a cedar swamp, where just the mention of the word swamp is enough to turn most adventurers off. Rich guided us to a place just off the main road, one I had driven past countless times but always took for granted… big mistake. Lucky for us there was a raised path, so there was no mucking around. The light created many shadows and presented a challenge to create a picture from the chaos that was all around. For me, the reflections in a frozen puddle made it all worthwhile.

Further down the road was an abandoned brick factory which had been transformed into a “graffiti and paintball haven”. Talk about really stretching your shooting and composition skill-set, well this is the place. With so many bright colors in the middle of the forest, it almost seemed surreal.
Last on our list was my actual backyard… Lebanon Lakes. Finding a “not to familiar shot” here was challenging, but as before, if you just open up and drink in the ambience, it will appear. What also awakened in me were many happy memories of walking my dogs here as well as showing my daughters the many wonders that could be found… their favorite… frogs ! As I closed my eyes I could hear my wife’s laugh, it was unmistakable, in both vibrance and warmth… I knew I was truly HOME.

15 responses

  1. katmcdaniel

    Love these images…very unusual. Thank you for sharing them.


    June 7, 2018 at 7:10 pm

  2. Looks like you had a fun and successful shoot … almost makes me miss The Pines! The graffiti surprised me! It can be rewarding going out on a shoot with others to share ideas and locations.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 21, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    • Funny that after my hiatus I seem to be falling right back into shooting… this time with a group but many times solo. Always great to hear from you.

      Liked by 1 person

      May 4, 2018 at 9:22 pm

  3. Very nice set of images, Mike. An unusual and pleasant perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 11, 2018 at 8:35 am

    • You know me so well… always looking for the unusual. Thanks for the visit Ralph.


      April 15, 2018 at 9:17 am

  4. That was a nice day of shooting with Rich. Love the reflections and ice patterns you captured. Good to see you are back posting.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 8, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    • Thanks Larry… good to be back… those reflections were one of the highlights that day for sure!!!


      April 15, 2018 at 9:15 am

  5. Joann Richichi

    your work is just sooooo impressive thank you for sharing it with all of us

    Liked by 1 person

    April 5, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    • Mike Pillows

      As you know that’s a big part of what I do. Big thanks for the comment.


      April 8, 2018 at 12:58 pm

  6. Barry Nealis

    I really like the patterns you captured in the ice!

    Liked by 1 person

    April 5, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    • Mike Pillows

      Hey Barry… great to catch up with you at the reception… it’s very scary how similar things catch our eyes… thanks for the visit.


      April 8, 2018 at 12:57 pm

  7. Mike, it’s an honor to be mentioned here and to see what you came up with on the workshop. You always have an interesting way of looking at things with your camera. Even though the light wasn’t want we would call spectacular, you made it work. You found all the shapes, patterns and textures in these places, and built some beautiful and interesting compositions. Seeing this work here makes me a happy workshop leader who got to see what a Piney can do with the Pinelands.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 5, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    • Mike Pillows

      All my best to you always… with out your WS sharing many of us would not see the Light!! I continue to evolve when being inspired… so THANK YOU sir!


      April 8, 2018 at 12:55 pm

  8. Bonnie Rovere

    Very nice set! Makes me wish I was back on my farm!

    Liked by 1 person

    April 5, 2018 at 8:39 am

    • Mike Pillows

      I definitely know the felling just having recently moved… thanks for the comments and a very informative WS on textures.


      April 8, 2018 at 12:51 pm

Hey...let me know what you think!!!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s