It was a strange start to my day. I got up and decided at the last minute to drive over to Belmar Park. The sky had some nice color but by the time I got there, the color had disappeared. I walked around the lake a little and noticed how weed-infested the grounds are � the result of shrinking budgets and the economy. It made me sad to think how little we value this sort of thing but I understand that park maintenance gets cut before other necessities.
By the time I got to one of the inlets into the lake, the sky had sprouted vibrant colors and incredible streaks and an amazing curly cue. I felt much better as I took some photos. As always, the vibrant colors last a few minutes and then they fade to white.
The morning people were starting to arrive, walkers, joggers and lots of dogs. I enjoy the morning people because they exude the same feelings that I feel: an awe of this time of day. The beauty, the quiet, the coolness, the dew, the procession of colors, the awakening of the birds from a few honks to an incredible ruckus of quacking and splashing. If you treat yourself to this daily spectacle, you may just find yourself renewed and refreshed and ready to face whatever comes your way.
After exchanging 'good morning's with a couple of people, my rather dour first impression was completely gone. These Belmar regulars had transferred their love of this special place to me. Now instead of seeing all weeds, I could see that the park was being managed to return the disturbed areas to native vegetation; it simply takes a long time. I talked to one elderly gentleman who was walking a very large, interesting puppy. I asked him what kind of dog it was and he told me it was an elderly Samoyed with a very short haircut! I could see the Samoyed but I swear this was a puppy! He told me to look for the black-crowned night herons over in the marsh.
I walked further to a part of the lake where the sun was already shining. I saw a little mist on the water and moved closer to get a photo. After one step, I could see an egret standing in the mist. I was able to snap one photo (with no time for set up � take what you get!) before the egret flew off in a loud complaining voice.
I had been waiting for the sun to reach the marsh, now it was and I headed over there. I was attracted to the brindle colors of the cattails and the numerous dead stumps sticking out of the duckweed-covered marsh. I followed the trail along the marsh for a few hundred yards and all of a sudden I noticed one of the black-crowned night herons sitting motionless and silent on a branch suspended over the water. I took some photos but the cattails were in the way and I really needed a telephoto lens to do the bird justice. But it was breathtaking to watch this bird for a few minutes. I walked further and was getting ready to take a photo of a mallard when I looked the other direction. Right next to me were two black-crowned night herons!
So I ended up doing what I often do when I go out to take photographs. I get lost in the moment and pretty much shut the rest of the world out. I guess maybe self-preservation kicks in at some point and the need to get to work inserts itself into my mind. I get to work late but I have already lived a lifetime by then.