Parting Shot: Porcupine in Hemlock | December 2020 | Outdoors | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

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Parting Shot: Porcupine in Hemlock | December 2020

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A photo of a porucpine from Nora Scarlett’s Ledge Lake Leaf Labyrinth - NORA SCARLETT
  • Nora Scarlett
  • A photo of a porucpine from Nora Scarlett’s Ledge Lake Leaf Labyrinth

In 2016, photographer Nora Scarlett published Trunks of the Gunks, featuring some of the stranger tree formations in the Shawangunk Mountains. In her latest book for Black Dome, Ledge Lake Leaf Labyrinth, Scarlett presents the many faces of the range, from its northernmost tip to its southern reaches. Scarlett captures the flora and fauna, as well as its human-made and geological marvels. She documents ladders and pathways that snake through weathered rock and wood, bright orange lizards and fungi that rest on verdant, mossy stones and hidden canyons, lakes and waterfalls that have been crafted by nature over tens of thousands of years.

Scarlett was drawn to photograph the Gunks because of its network of carriageways and the geological makeup of the mountains themselves. The former makes traversing the terrain much easier, while the latter provides stunning images. "The white rock [of the Shawangunks] is just such a graphic visual element that makes an ordinary picture of a forest interesting," Scarlett explained. "The rock is so sculptural; it calls out so graphically and makes such a great compositional element."

Scarlett was just as interested in the smaller moments along the Gunks. As seen above, she captured a photo of a porcupine occupying a tree that was on her property, just west of the village of New Paltz. The creature had been something of a domestic pest, rooting around in her compost and garbage, but the porcupine is just another small, integral part of the sprawling ecosystem of the Shawangunk Mountains.

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