The Point Au Roche State Park in northern New York contains a nature preserve with hiking trails, covering about five square miles along the shores of Lake Champlain. The hiking trails take you through distinct landscapes that change dramatically as you walk from the nature center entrance to the lake, and include a marshland (see Frogs on Logs, whose pictures were taken as the frogs soaked up some sunshine in the marsh); areas full of shrubs and wild vines; a peaceful pine forest with a thick bed of discarded pine needles covering the forest floor; and shoreline trails where the effects of the wind blowing in from Lake Champlain have a unique twisting impact on the trees growing nearby as well as on the remnants of those that have fallen and broken.
I’ve always enjoyed exploring woodlands; there’s nothing quite like entering the shaded quiet of a few acres of pine trees as a hush falls around you. Sometimes I’ll walk the same trails both with and without a camera. Without a camera, I think I get a better sense of the scope and complexity of the woodlands. With it, I tend to look closely at the details: shapes, colors, textures, and contours that — for me — evoke a sense of what that space was like to stand in and observe.