Posted by: kerryl29 | October 3, 2022

The Story Behind the Image: Pompton Lake Reflections

Six years ago, in late August, my wife and I drove from Indianapolis to northern New Jersey, to attend an annual gathering of collie enthusiasts. (My wife is one such enthusiast.) I was mostly along to do the driving and serve as moral support. This was decidedly not a photo excursion. But I brought my photo gear anyway, and managed to spend about five hours over consecutive evenings poking around a few nearby locations.

One of these spots was Terhune Memorial Park, which is the site of the aforementioned gathering. (If you’re interested in the background of the event, there’s some information about it here.) The public municipal park, which was formerly the site of Albert Payson Terhune’s estate, known as Sunnybank, includes access to Pompton Lake.

During one evening while we were on site, I wandered around the small park, and found myself drawn to the lake shore at sunset. I made a few images and, as dusk settled, prepared to call it a day. Before doing so, I took one last look at the lake. There wasn’t a breath of wind that evening, so the lake’s surface was as still as glass and as reflective as a mirror. I caught sight of a vine, hanging from a nearby tree branch, and moved to a position where I could see it reflected in the water. The lake itself was bathed in the warm light of post-sunset glow, which I found quite appealing. I looked at the reflection of the vine, and moved my position again, so that the reflection’s platonic ideal–the vine itself–was in the same visual plane as the reflection. Using a rock penetrating the surface of the water as an anchor, I set up the image you see below. There was some vegetation at the shore’s edge that I would ideally have eliminated, but that was impossible, so I let it form a perfectly imperfect lower edge of the frame. It all left me with a very Zen-like feeling.

I made sure that I had enough depth of field to carry the day (I did; no focus stack was necessary, so this is a single frame) and produced the final image, which required minimal post-processing beyond a basic Raw conversion.

Glancing at this image always leaves me with a sense of peace and a rapid return, in my mind’s eye, to that evening on the shore of Pompton Lake.

Pompton Lake Intimate, Terhune Memorial Park, Passaic County, New Jersey


  1. Lovely comp — very Zen-like, as you say. Remarkable to have such still water in the evening; usually breezes pick up as the day progresses.

  2. Very delicate-I like it. On another note, would love to see a Collie.

    • Thanks, Jane. I’ll see if I can get a collie picture or two up one of these days.

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