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The end of the year is a time when lists appear—10 best books, 10 best movies, 10 best spaghetti sauces, it goes on and on—and in December I have developed a habit of publishing my 10 best photos. Not just the ten best, however, the ten best photos from the Sourlands that have not been published with my Seeing the Sourlands essays. Putting this list together is always one of the highlights of the end of the year for me.
I once had a dog that was descended from bird dogs and she would walk down the street looking up, hoping to see birds. I learned from her that all of the things to see in the forest are not at the ground level so I often look up when I am in the forest. In winter, interesting patterns made by tree branches reward me. These tulip tree branches look a little like a written Asian language.
We are learning more and more about the communication skills of both plants and animals. I would love to know what these turkey vultures are saying to each other.
These two white pines have obviously grown up together and have learned how to share the space between them. You can find white pines in the Sourlands but it is a little too far south to be part of their natural habitat. The ones we see here are either planted or are the offspring of planted pines.
Confused? Worried? Life for a three-week-old red fox is confusing and worrying, especially when a human is nearby and pointing a camera at it.
I find that the patterns in a spring meadow are as interesting as the individual plants.
This exotic structure is the flower head of Gray’s sedge. Although it is common in the Sourlands it is often overlooked.
This is a detail of a great Solomon’s seal in autumn.
Wood fern turned to gold.
This white oak is my favorite tree. To me, it represents strength, age, and even wisdom. I often touch it when I am near, hoping to get some of its karma.
I often think that when tree leaves change color in autumn they are either yellow, red, or orange. After I looked closer at these chestnut oak leaves and saw that each leaf has several colors, I looked closely at the leaves of many other species of trees and saw variations in their colors, too.
By Jim Amon.