"52" - Week 9 - Island Beach State Park
There's something incongruous about being on a beach and needing a sweatshirt. I probably feel that way because I'm from New Jersey; we only go to the beach when it's warm. For a lot of people from the Garden State, the beach is a destination to get quite drunk, very tan (in my case, horribly burnt), and little else. Go to the beach in the offseason though, and your curiosity is rewarded: seeing the desolate shoreline is an awesome sight to behold. Without the hordes of blankets and volleyball games to dodge, you can really appreciate a genuine walk on the beach.
Island Beach State Park, nestled below the (usually) bustling shore town of Seaside Park, is a treasure. Go there on a quiet day, and it's like having a private, secluded shoreline all to yourself. Well, you need to share it with several hundred foxes. They're OK though; just a little curious.
The park, as its homepage states, is shaped by wind and water. The dunes are covered in wispy, temporary clots of vegetation, and the tattered, half-buried remains of fencing is like a graveyard of human intention to make things accessible. Nothing that people make on the beach will ever last forever -- the arrow-straight road is probably one of the few things in the park that doesn't need constant maintenance.
My friend Dan Schenker joined me on this trip, armed with his brand-new Canon 5D Mark III. I gingerly took the Fujifilm X100s with me, hoping that its lack of weather-proofing wouldn't work to its detriment. Despite the breeze and fine sand, it held up well for the long-exposures I put it through. The iPhone 6+ did its usual thing of taking amazing photos -- it's uncannily unflappable.
Soon enough, Island Beach State Park will be filled with people again, as New Jersey relentlessly takes to the shore for the warmer months. If you end up making a trip out there, don't forget to look around. For one, the park is a hidden treasure of the state -- for another, thanks to wind and water, it probably won't look the same the next time you go.