Thursday, September 24, 2015 – Hiking at Point Mountain Reservation, Washington, NJ.
Last Thursday, I was able to go hiking at Point Mountain with my friends Jen and Dorothy. Jen and Dorothy were undergraduate seniors at Rutgers when I was a freshmen two years ago, and they’re both like older sisters to me. Jen would always invite people to go hiking, and she’s one of the reasons why hiking has become one of my favorite things to do on a nice day. I happen to have Thursday mornings and afternoons free every week this fall semester, while Jen and Dorothy both work jobs that have very sporadic schedules. Jen is a nurse at a hospital, while Dorothy tutors students in secondary education. Both happened to have Thursday off as well, and the weather was GREAT, so it all worked out perfectly!
QUICK HIKING SPOT REVIEW: It can be difficult to find nice overlooks when it comes to hiking in Central New Jersey. There are lots of nice forest areas to hike, but there just aren’t a lot of peaks to choose from. Only about a forty-five minute drive away from Rutgers New Brunswick, Point Mountain was a great surprise. This hiking spot is a part of the Musconetcong Reservation in Hunterdon County. The peak was beautiful and really high up, and the hiking trail involved lots of rock scrambling. Also, if you go on the right trail path(s), you’ll hike alongside the peaceful Musconetcong River (there’s just something peaceful about running water!). I would love to go back again soon. Jen and I both share a favorite hiking spot in NJ at Mount Tammany and Dunnfield Creek @ The Delaware Water Gap (http://www.njhiking.com/best_hikes_red_dot_mt_tammany/), which is over an hour drive away from Rutgers. However, I think that Point Mountain, much closer to my Central NJ home, in comparison to Mt. Tammany was also really great location! Difficulty: 7/10 (lots of climbing and rocky paths), Overall Rating: 8/10.
(WARNING: Photography Jargon) I have gone hiking quite a lot the last two years, and most of the pictures I’ve taken have been focusing on the wide landscapes, such as a view on the top of a mountain, or a flowing river. However, early in the hike, I saw little stinkbugs crawling around. Most of the macro (close up) photography I take outside are usually pictures of flowers. I was able to find a couple insects and take macro shots of them during this hike!
Random fact about this hike: I had taken my Sony 50mm 1.8 prime lens out to take most of these macro pictures. It was my first time using it (I have used a 35mm or the past year). On the top of the mountain, I actually dropped my 50mm prime lens off the cliff (it went CLUNK CLUNK CLUNK as it bounced down each rock) at the end of the hike… so these pictures you see here are pretty much the ONLY pictures that were ever taken by that 50mm primes lens sitting and rotting somewhere in the forest at Washington NJ.
(WARNING: MORE Photography Jargon) Using my Sony A57 DSLR camera, I carried three lenses with me: my Sony 50mm f/1.8 prime lens (for portraits and macro shots), my Sony 75-300mm f/3.5-6.5 telephoto zoom lens (for far away shots), and my Samyang (Rokinon) 14mm f/2.8 ultra-wide angle lens (for landscapes).
FIrst, the macro shots:
The first two pictures are of a caterpillar species that I saw twice during the hike. These caterpillars look super white and fuzzy… searching it up, it’s called a Hickory Tussock Moth (Lophocampa caryae). According to the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, it has poison glands on the longer lashes that causes a burning and itchy rash. Glad I didn’t touch it, haha!
50mm f/2.8 1/80 sec ISO 400
50 mm f/2.8 1/80 sec ISO 200
Stinkbug (Halyomorpha halys). 50mm f/5.6 1/160 sec ISO 800
Here’s a picture of a daddy long leg (called the “Eastern Harvestman”, Leiobunum vittatu). We saw a bunch of these on bench along the trail.
Bees! Not sure what type this is. Some sunlight bokeh in the background. 50mm f/4.5 1/1600 sec ISO 400
I believe this is a honeybee. 50mm f/4.5 1/1600 sec ISO 400
I wasn’t able to find out what animal this is… please contact me or comment if you have any clue! This worm or caterpillar would burrow itself into the leaves/dirt to protect itself. When I removed the dirt to look at it longer, it would curl into a “fetal” defensive position. 50mm f/4 1/100 sec ISO 800
50mm f/4.5 1/125 sec ISO 400
50mm f/3.5 1/200 sec ISO 400
A couple of landscape/telephoto pictures:
150mm f/8 1/250 sec ISO 200
14mm 1/125 sec ISO 100 (NOTE: the aperture is adjusted manually on the lens, so I don’t know what f-stop it ended up being!)
Mini long exposure of running water. 50mm f/13 0.4 sec ISO 200
The 0.4 second exposure allowed the shot to have a silky water movement.
14mm 1/80 sec ISO 400
Pre-sunset. 300mm f/11 1/1000 sec ISO 100
Lastly, a couple portrait/people shots:
Direct sunlight allowed for some interesting bokeh here. Thanks to Jen for standing still for me, haha! 50mm f/2.5 1/125 sec ISO 800
50mm f/3.2 1/160 sec ISO 800
Dorothy overlooking the peak of Point Mountain. 50mm f/11 1/250 sec ISO 800
Jen hopping on rocks in the middle of the river. 50mm f/2.8 1/320 sec ISO 800
50mm f/3.2 1/1000 sec ISO 1600
LASTLY, a selfie with the three of us… (no selfie sticks were used here. Actually, no selfie sticks will EVER be used for this blog… unless it’s a blog post filled with pictures of tourists and people using selfie sticks!).
14mm 1/125 sec ISO 100
Thanks again for reading 🙂 If you like these pictures, please share this blog with your friends!
Follow me on instagram (@mattlau95)! Also, follow Jen (@jenwenlee) but I think she may have her account on private, haha!