Photo Blog Wednesday
The town of Mill Neck, at only 2.6 square miles, is so small that it's easy to drive through before you realize you're there. A collection of nice estates near Long Island's north shore, it's nestled deep in the woods near a lake. Their single train station is also their post office, and their police station. For weeks I searched in vain for the Shu Swamp, a nature preserve I hadn't visited since I was much, much younger. I've always loved the fact that there were so many beaches and nature preserves in my town and the neighboring communities, loved being able to walk or take my bike to the places in between the places with all the noise and people, and find a whole other world. To most, Long Island is synonymous with strip malls and expensive real estate. While such a description is increasingly accurate, it's nice to know some of the places that gave the island its initial appeal still exist.
As I've been blogging about ad nauseum of late, I've been very busy with the various bands I belong to. After work tonight I played in a several hour procession in Brooklyn from which I've only recently returned, and yesterday I spent several hours at a feast in Hoboken. On Saturday I performed in a fire department parade and on Sunday I found myself strolling with a small Italian band through the streets of the Bronx. I awoke Saturday determined to find some time for solitude and relaxation between noise and labor. Some research online eventually revealed why I had been so unsuccessful in finding the Shu Swamp in the past. I knew it was near a train trestle, but it was further down the line from the locations I suspected. I was also spelling the name with an “oe” rather than a “u”, which is why most of my searches weren't helpful. At last I had the elusive location, and I was on my way Saturday afternoon before the parade.
It was a magical journey. I parked my car and made my way down the trail, deep into the woods over bridges and past dragonflies. I saw broken trees supported by other trees, heard strange birdcalls, and snapped one very scary-looking rusty gate in the back corner. I emerged upon a small lake fed by a larger one, and noticed movement in the water. There I saw several fish about the size of my forearm swimming about; I have no idea what kind they were. The silence was broken by the incongruous sound of a train whistle, and I looked up to see a train impossibly fly through the treetops. I made my way to a break in the trail and saw a steep incline leading to the tracks which ran through the otherwise peaceful place. Finally I came upon a bronze statue of a bird and emerged into the parking lot once more, but not before getting the standard “serial killer perspective” shot from between the trees that's common in any horror movie. I got home with plenty of time to spare before the parade, and discovered that my camera sucks.
The batteries were low, which was one possible problem. It also has a very poor memory card setup. The card is spring loaded, and the door doesn't really hold it in. I have some tape on it, but if the card just slightly pushes out, pictures will be saved to the camera itself, which has a much smaller capacity. Apparently this happened since I only had about 10 out of the 30 shots I knew I'd taken, and some only showed up when I let the card stick out a bit. It was annoying, and there was no time to go back on Saturday. It did give me an excuse to return on Sunday however, and though I had to get to my job that day earlier I still squeezed my mission in. I knew which images I needed to recapture this time, knew to put in fresh batteries and keep my thumb on the loose card door. Between the two days, I can now take all of you along the same path I walked, and share with you the sanctuary I found. Sit back, relax, and watch this video I took. Come now with me through the Shu Swamp:
Labels: PBW Photo Blog Wednesday