Across the split rail fence that surrounds our backyard sits the Reed Turner Nature Preserve. Relative to other nature preserves, the 33 acres of the Reed Turner is rather small. On a crisp autumn morning, a brisk walk around the preserve may take as little as fifteen minutes. So it is easy to understand why it remains relatively unknown, even to many who live just down the road or around the corner.
Yet the size of the Reed Turner gives new meaning to the old saying that great things come in small packages. For it was a on a meandering stroll in the spring of 2000 that I began to see the remarkable beauty and diversity of what my wife, Rachel, and I have come to view as an extension of our backyard. As I began to explore the preserve with greater frequency, I found that each walk would reveal something new.
Some days it was the way light would filter through the trees. Sometimes it was a new wildflower that I had not noticed the day before. As the seasons changed, I found that newly fallen snow or a dense fog would change the preserve to the extent it was almost unrecognizable and therefore a brand new place to discover.
In early January of 2003 I felt it was time to begin recording some of the moods, details and sights of this remarkable parcel of land. As the snow began to fall that day, I slung my camera over my shoulder, took Rachel by the hand and headed into the preserve. A few of the photographs taken that day are still among my favorites.
Since then I have taken thousands of photographs of the Reed Turner Nature Preserve and I know that I have only begun to scratch the surface of possible images. The original goal of recording some aspects of the preserve has transformed into a full-time project to capture a comprehensive sense of the woods, stream, and prairie in all its seasons and moods, while documenting the myriad number of flowers, insects, animals, and trees that live in and frequent Reed Turner.
As I begin to understand the preserve and as I learn more about photography, I have slowly begun to realize that there is not an end to this project, for the more photographs I take, the more I see what I have not captured.
Tobin Fraley
3612 RFD
Long Grove, IL 60047
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