Tags Posts tagged with "Caleb Smith State Park Preserve"

Caleb Smith State Park Preserve

Tom Caruso
Favorite quote: ‘Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.’ — Ansel Adams

FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHER: Tom Caruso

Hometown: Smithtown

Day job: Professional Software Engineer/Development Manager, Broadridge Financial Solutions

Photographer: I developed an interest in photography at an early age, influenced by greats like Ansel Adams. My parents gave me my first 35mm camera in 1972 and my life was forever changed.

Favorite camera: The Nikon D850. I purchased it in December, 2018, and it’s an amazing camera with an incredible sensor.

Favorite lenses: I presently own two lenses for the D850. My walking around lens is an AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm 1:4 G ED and I found this to be a great workhorse giving me the flexibility I need for most shots. When I need tack-sharp images for macros or in dark settings I switch to my AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 G prime lens. Both lenses were refurbished by Nikon when I purchased them.

Favorite locations: I am fortunate to have several beautiful places near my Smithtown home and I visit them frequently to catch them at various times of day and different seasons. These places include Caleb Smith State Park Preserve, Long Beach, Short Beach, Blydenburgh County Park, The David Weld Sanctuary, Stony Brook Harbor, Stony Brook Duck Pond, Kings Park Psychiatric Center and Nissequogue River State Park.

Have you entered any photo contests? My first photo contest was the 2020 Friends of Caleb Smith State Park Preserve The Beauty of Caleb Smith State Park Preserve My image “Deer in Snowstorm” won Honorable Mention in the adult division. I also entered the 2020 Gurwin photo contest. The winners will be announced later this year.

Favorite aspect about taking photos: Landscape and nature photography gives me the opportunity to be outdoors. I love communing with nature and I am happiest when I am wandering in the woods with my camera in hand on a beautiful autumn day. Another aspect of photography I enjoy is knowing that my images bring happiness to others.

Best advice to get that perfect shot: There are a lot of photographic rules that we are told make a great photograph. I sometimes adhere to them but I shoot more on instinct. I know a great shot when I see it whether or not it follows the rules. Always keep your eyes wide open and moving when on a shoot. When in the wild with your camera you have to engage all your senses to find your next capture, not just sight. A faint sound of a crunching leaf turned out to be a snake which lead to one of the photos in this essay. The enormity of a forest can be intimidating but you have to see everything from the largest to the smallest subjects, from a mighty tree to a delicate spider web and all things in between. It is not enough to see the image for what it is but you have to visualize what it could become when post processing. If you do these things you don’t have to look for the perfect shot: it will find you. 

See more of Tom’s photos at www.tomcarusophotography.com.

Winners have been announced for the first Friends of Caleb Smith Preserve photography contest, which began on Aug. 1, 2019 and ran through January of this year. There were 37 participants in the six-month-long contest, which focused on The Beauty of Caleb Smith State Park Preserve located at 581 W. Jericho Turnpike in Smithtown. Judges included three members of the friends group and a park official.

The contest was divided into two age groups: youth and adult (ages 18 or over). There were 22 contestants in the adult division and 15 in the youth division, most of whom were from Commack High School. 

In the adult division Elizabeth Milward of Smithtown captured first place for “Reflection.” Second place was awarded to Katelynd Hill of East Meadow for “Goose Stretch” and third place went to Gerta Polgardy of Kings Park for “Barn.” Honorable mentions went to Tom Caruso of Smithtown for “Deer in Snow Storm,” and Sid Lorber of Smithtown for “A December Day at Caleb.”

Michela DiStefano of Commack High School won first place in the youth division for “Frozen Pond.” Second place was awarded to Miranda Gonzalez of Commack High School for “Emergence,” and Travis Maffei of Kings Park grabbed third place for “Ageless Beauty.” Russell Korn, of Commack High School, received an honorable mention for “Reflection.” 

“The contest was an enjoyable experience as all the beautiful photos came in, and we’re looking forward to holding it again next year,” said Friends President Chris Duffner. Cash prizes of $100 will be awarded to each of the first-place winners, $50 to the second-place winners and $25 to the third-place winners.

A reception that was to be held at the park’s museum on March 15 has been canceled.

The winning photos will be on display throughout the month of March. For more information, call 631-265-1054 or email [email protected]

Photo by Michael D’Agostino

Calling all photographers and nature lovers! The Friends of Caleb Smith Preserve is sponsoring a photography contest now through Jan. 31, 2020.

The community is asked to send in digital photographs that highlight the natural beauty of Caleb Smith State Park Preserve, 581 West Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown.

The contest will be divided into two divisions; Adult: age 18 or older (or out of high school); and Youth: ages 8 to 18 (or still in high school). There will be two first-place prizes of $100 in each division, two second-place prizes of $50 and two third-place prizes of $25. Judging will take place in February 2020.

Contestants must be able to prepare digital files according to specific guidelines, complete a paper entry form, submit the photograph files via email and pay an entry fee of $10 per photograph. Contestants must also have access to a valid email address for communication with contest officials.

A reception honoring the winners and finalists will be held at the park museum in March 2020. Winning photographs and honorable mentions will be printed and displayed.

Copies of the official contest rules, as well as entry forms, are available at the park office. For further information, please contact the park at 631-265-1054 or email the Friends of Caleb Smith at [email protected]

Visit www.friendsofcalebsmith.org for information about all activities and events.

 

Dozens of volunteers were willing to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty to show their love for Smithtown’s state park this weekend.

Boy Scout Troop 565 of Smithtown and Girl Scout Troop 2861 of Hauppauge participated in the annual New York State Parks & Trails I Love My Park Day May 5 at Caleb Smith State Park Preserve. The scouts worked alongside resident volunteers to restore trails and plant flowers.

The groups were part of the more than 8,000 volunteers who lent a helping hand at one of the 135 parks, historic sites and public lands in celebration of New York State’s park system, according to New York State Parks & Trails website. The annual I Love My Park event is hosted in partnership by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the National Park Service, Excelsior Conservation Corps and the New York Commission on Volunteer and Community Service.

Students take samples from Nissequogue River to analyze. Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh

By Sara-Megan Walsh

Hundreds of students from Smithtown to Northport got wet and dirty as they looked at what lurks beneath the surface of the Nissequogue River.

More than 400 students from 11 schools participated in “A Day in the Life” of the Nissequogue River Oct. 6, performing hands-on citizens scientific research and exploring the waterway’s health and ecosystem. The event was coordinated by Brookhaven National Laboratory, Central Pine Barrens Commission, Suffolk County Water Authority and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Northport High School students analyze soil taken from the bottom of Nissequogue River. Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh

“’A Day in the Life’ helps students develop an appreciation for and knowledge of Long Island’s ecosystems and collect useful scientific data,” program coordinator Melissa Parrott said. “It connects students to their natural world to become stewards of water quality and Long Island’s diverse ecosystems.”

More than 50 students from Northport High School chemically analyzed the water conditions, marked tidal flow, and tracked aquatic species found near the headwaters of the Nissequogue in Caleb Smith State Park Preserve in Smithtown. Teens were excited to find and record various species of tadpoles and fish found using seine net, a fishing net that hangs vertically and is weighted to drag along the riverbed.

“It’s an outdoor educational setting that puts forth a tangible opportunity for students to experience science firsthand,” David Storch, chairman of science and technology education at Northport High School, said. “Here they learn how to sample, how to classify, how to organize, and how to develop experimental procedures in an open, inquiry-based environment. It’s the best education we can hope for.”

Kimberly Collins, co-director of the science research program at Northport High School, taught students how to use Oreo cookies and honey to bait ants for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Barcode Long Island. The project invites students to capture invertebrates, learn how to extract the insects’ DNA then have it sequenced to document and map diversity of different species.

Children from Harbor Country Day School examine a water sample. Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh

Further down river, Harbor Country Day School students explored the riverbed at Landing Avenue Park in Smithtown. Science teacher Kevin Hughes said the day was one of discovery for his fourth- to eighth-grade students.

“It’s all about letting them see and experience the Nissequogue River,” Hughes said. “At first, they’ll be a little hesitant to get their hands dirty, but by the end you’ll see they are completely engrossed and rolling around in it.”

The middle schoolers worked with Eric Young, program director at Sweetbriar Nature Center in Smithtown, to analyze water samples. All the data collected will be used in the classroom to teach students about topics such as salinity and water pollution. Then, it will be sent to BNL as part of a citizens’ research project, measuring the river’s health and water ecosystems.

Smithtown East seniors Aaron Min and Shrey Thaker have participated in this annual scientific study of the Nissequogue River at Short Beach in Smithtown for last three years. Carrying cameras around their necks, they photographed and documented their classmates findings.

“We see a lot of changes from year to year, from different types of animals and critters we get to see, or wildlife and plants,” Thaker said. “It’s really interesting to see how it changes over time and see what stays consistent over time as well. It’s also exciting to see our peers really get into it.”

Maria Zeitlin, a science research and college chemistry teacher at Smithtown High School East, divided students into four groups to test water oxygenation levels, document aquatic life forms, measure air temperature and wind speed, and compile an extensive physical description of wildlife and plants in the area.

Smithtown High School East students take a water and soil sample at Short Beach. Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh

The collected data will be brought back to the classroom and compared against previous years.

In this way, Zeitlin said the hands-on study of Nissequogue River serves as a lesson in live data collection. Students must learn to repeat procedures multiple times and use various scientific instruments to support their findings.

“Troubleshooting data collection is vital as a scientist that they can take into any area,” she said. “Data has to be reliable. So when someone says there’s climate change, someone can’t turn around and say it’s not true.”

The Smithtown East teacher highlighted that while scientific research can be conducted anywhere, there’s a second life lesson she hopes that her students and all others will take away  from their studies of the Nissequogue River.

“This site is their backyard; they live here,” Zeitlin said. “Instead of just coming to the beach, from this point forward they will never see the beach the same again. It’s not just a recreational site, but its teeming with life and science.”

The Friends of Caleb Smith Preserve will hold its 15th annual Junior Angler Fishing Tournament at Caleb Smith State Park Preserve on Saturday, June 10 starting at 9 a.m. For ages 5 through 8 and 9 through 12. Includes free junior angler T-shirts and goody bags for anglers age 5 to 8. Three prizes will be awarded for each age group. Registration deadline is June 4. Fee is $15 per entry, $10 members. For more information or to register, call 631-265-1054.Ca