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Long Island

Long Island's beauty: Nature in all its magnificence as the seasons change

An October sunrise starts to align perfectly with

An October sunrise starts to align perfectly with the Robert Moses Causeway. Credit: Asia Lee

Fill in the blank:

“I always feel like the universe is out to ---- me.”

a) test

b) befuddle

c) assist

d) conspire against

e) wow

Life in general and Long Island in particular might prompt you to say “f) all of the above.” In photographer Asia Lee's world, the answer is c).

But one look at her images of acorns in beautiful repose at Belmont Lake State Park in West Babylon; geese and turtles making their way in a multicolor West Brook Pond in Great River; or bright and bubbly citrus-hued sunflowers underneath a luscious lavender sky near Jamesport will prompt you to respond e) wow.

For Lee, nature is beauty, magic and inspiration all rolled into one. No season is better than the next, and no opportunity goes unappreciated.

“Nature is like my house of worship,” she said. “It's that connection with beauty, the universe. It's so magical.”

Sometimes the magic is a happy accident. Lee — a fan of sunrises and sunsets whose work has appeared on calendars and in exhibits and is on display at the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station — was leaving Field 2 at Robert Moses State Park in Babylon in September when she caught the sun rising over the dunes. She ran closer and captured a pink sky with a band of gray clouds hovering low on the horizon and bright green grass poking through the stone-colored sand. Another assist from the universe.

“The colors are so magnificent this year,” she said. “This autumn has been absolutely stunning.”

Another trip to catch a sunrise yielded cloudy skies but a sparkling picture. One October morning, Lee traveled to Tanner Park in Copiague to witness the day's first light. But the sky was overcast and blocked out the sun. That aspect of the shoot was a “dud,” Lee said, a description that does not apply to the image she took, which shows a lone boater encased in blue from the sky and clouds above and the water beneath him.

Lee said there was a sense of calmness about him and a man fishing in Fire Island Inlet in September, the start of fall. When winter arrives with her snowfall in tow, Lee will focus on the beauty of the precipitation, not shoveling and ice storms.

“It's like putting a layer of cleanliness on something,” she said, referring to the mound of flakes blanketing a bridge and the ground at Cedar Beach Marina in Babylon that at first glance resembles sand. “No litter, no footprints, no dirt. It's just clean, like it should be.”

Like the universe — and her assist — intended.

Click here for more Newsday coverage of photographer Asia Lee capturing Long Island's beauty.

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