Golden hour photo of wind swept sand dunes on Long Beach Island.

Who Goes There?

Golden hour photo of wind swept sand dunes on Long Beach Island.
Who Goes There? — 35mm | f/5.6 | ISO 100 | EXP 1/800

Footprints? Footprints on the sand dune? That’s prohibited, yo. Photographic evidence would suggest recently someone was out and about on a section of berm otherwise left perfectly windswept along the beaches of Loveladies, New Jersey. Judging by the small size and short gait I’m going to guess this was a child’s work. Fortunately it was one little path of a mere 20 steps or so running close and parallel to the beach entryway. As best I could tell no harm was levied against any wildlife in this endeavor. So as not to seem I’m casting righteous judgement from an ivory tower, I’ll admit the temptation to cross the barrier and traipse into this untouched land is strong. I myself had a moment of weakness yesterday as I thought, if only I could get closer to that little dollop of dune grass you see to the left of this photo in the middle ground. Adherence to rules shoulder angel was able to defeat go ahead no is looking pitchfork guy. Crises averted.

Putting that lesson in moral conflict behind us, these footprints I’ve been going on about lend a suitable foreground element to the composition. Reminiscent of a snow photo from two years back, the small section of prints brings more to the story. Who was here? What were they doing? This brings a human interest to the piece—a small reminder we the people populate this natural world and leave downstream effects in our wake. Some positive, some negative—and so goes our story of progress. Fits and starts. Two steps forward and one step back. This is not an admonishment as we are only human and perfection is better left to a more ethereal realm.

Before we close this out, if you’re ever looking to get up on the dunes in a compliant fashion, keep your eyes and ears open for a volunteer day when our berms are being cleared of refuse, or reinforced with dune grass or old Christmas trees and sand fence. Local organizations could always use more helping hands.

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