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Mother Nature / Human Nature | by Velocity of Sound
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Mother Nature / Human Nature

Have you ever looked at an expanse of land that was developed for human usage and wondered what it must have been like before people touched it? How many dense forests, grassy plains, and small hills and valleys would litter the land where flat concrete is disrupted only by tall buildings? I've learned to appreciate the cityscape, but the forest that must have stretched for miles before New York City was built over it must have been so beautiful.


This photo was taken from Randall's Island (also called Ward's Island - the two used to be separate, but construction projects of the past deposited enough material into the river that the two islands were eventually joined - this is technically from the Ward's Island segment). I discovered this island and its parks about a year ago, but shortly afterward the pedestrian bridge to it was closed for renovations, and I was unable to return until recently. The island is beautiful: populated with many soccer and baseball fields, many athletes and picnicking families come to the island on weekends and on weekday summer afternoons. Despite the activity, the island overall seems less busy than Central Park (which makes sense, as it's a bit more out of the way and more difficult to access).


I only wish I had discovered this island sooner. Even though it is only separated from the bustling FDR Drive by a relatively small portion of the East River, and it is close enough that the moving cars are clearly visible, no road noise reaches the island. The occasional ambulance siren is lightly audible, but the honking of car horns is not. Combined with the relatively low number of people at certain areas of the island, it's a serene get-away from the city. Perhaps because of this, I found a number of interesting birds around the island, as well - the island houses three or four salt marsh habitats, so it makes sense that a number of birds would make the island their (temporary) home.


This particular photo was taken on a lovely 90˚F (32.2˚C) day. Around this particular point the sun's rays began to exhibit the Tyndall effect. Five photos taken at 1 eV steps were tone mapped together to create a high dynamic range (HDR) photo. It was fairly bright, but because I love photos with detailed clouds, the overall photo looks a bit darker than it was in reality.


I attempted to frame this such that the disparity between the island's natural elements contrasted with the city across the river. The beach - which isn't present at all parts of the island - was a little bonus.

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Taken on July 11, 2011