Liora Codor has always loved Fort Tilden.
The former military base on the western end of the Rockaway Peninsula has been a place of leisure for her and her family for decades. It also has provided a welcoming subject for her camera lens.
Codor, a professional photographer who shot for Macy’s for years, is showing off some of her favorite Fort Tilden photos at an exhibit being held at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge this spring.
Liora Cador: Fort Tilden — A Photographic Essay opened on Sunday with a parade of Coldor’s friends, family and parkgoers who had heard about the exhibit and wanted to see it. Displayed on the wall of the refuge’s multipurpose room were about three dozen of Codor’s favorite photos divided by season and by time after Hurricane Sandy; immediately after the storm and a year later.
Her winter work featured snow-covered beaches and the abandoned recreation house once used by the military. Though flooded with the whites and blues of winter, the colder season photos also feature some color, including the glowing red and orange sunsets common on winter afternoons.
Her spring collection features the juxtaposition of a just-waking world of newly-grown plants and baby birds. In one photo, a Canada goose leads an army of goslings. Coder captures them as they seem to march in formation with the older bird. In another, a Carolina wren sits on a bare branch and sings, perhaps a wake-up call to her feathered brothers and sisters.
One of Codor’s favorite pictures is one featuring a mother oystercatcher teaching her chick to eat.
“I waited more than two hours to get that photo,” she explained, laughing as she recalled a battle of wits she had with the mother bird as she waited for the right photo opportunity. “When I would get close, she would back away, then get close to me, so I’d back away. She was protecting her baby.”
Codor’s summer photos have vibrant colors of lush green and blue sky and her autumn ones feature a colorful change of season, but one that still feels summery.
Some of her photos are of the same subject in different seasons, such as the old battery where guns were located to protect the shoreline from foreign invasion. She has photos of the installation in winter and summer to show how the seasons change the scenery in that same location.
At the end of the exhibit, Codor shows off some of her post-Sandy work.
Several photos were taken just weeks after Sandy and show a devastated landscape with shattered concrete, twisted fencing and gravely injured flora. One photo shows the exposed roots of black cherry vines, completely devoid of the earth that once enveloped them.
“There really is a sense of sadness in these photos,” Codor says of the ones she took right after Sandy.
The last section of the exhibit features photos taken a year after Sandy as nature begins to repair the damage the storm created. She had two photos of dune grass, one with just a few stalks, the other showing thick plumes of grass just several months later.
“It amazes me how nature comes back and when it does, it comes back differently,” Coldor said.
She noted that the red leaves of the Virginia creeper have exploded in the wake of Sandy.
“Everything else seemed to have died, but that flourishes,” she explained.
The exhibit is free and open to the public during the hours the wildlife refuge’s contact house is open, which is daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The photos will be on display through June 6.