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Welcome to my blog!

The name, “Seen Along the Trail,” should be a big clue that there has been some serious walking, as well as plenty of photography, involved in its creation. Years ago, when I bought my first digital camera, a wonderful new world opened up for me. Because of my love for nature, I was instantaneously motivated to take daily photowalks. As my collection of images grew and grew and grew, I needed a way to share these pictures with my family and friends…and anyone else who came by for a look. That’s why I started this photoblog. Scroll through the sliding pictures above to view a small selection of my recent pictures.  if you like what you see, click on the three horizontal lines in the top right corner to open  the menu bar. That’s a good place to find out more about me and my blog. If you would like to join me for more trips down the trail, click the FOLLOW button so you can come back again and again because there will always be something new to see.

Thank you for stopping by today.
I hope you will stick around for many more trail walks.

Carolyn aka Skip

Power towers in the meadow

Weekly photo feature

Hello friends. Today’s post is the inaugural post of “Skips’s Weekly Photo Gallery.” With just a few words to summarize the week, I am posting my favorite images. If you enjoy the pictures and like the idea of a weekly summary/gallery, I hope you will let me know, and if you can think of a catchy title for the weekly photo feature, please leave it in the comments at the end of the post.

ABOUT THE WEEK of JUNE 21-28, 2015…

It was cool and rainy…really rainy, resulting in soggy everything. There was one significant thunderstorm, but mostly just rain and more rain. >:( I’ve included some pictures of the high water that will show those who live in dry climates what “soggy everything” looks like. The upside of it is the really green grass that makes my park even more beautiful.  The highlight of my week photographically was my first opportunity to see and post pictures of a red-eyed vireo. I have just updated that post with a few better pictures of the red-eyed wonder. Take a look if you would like to see her again. Near the vireo’s nest is a skinny dead tree where a house wren has nested in recent years. Since the arrival of the-spring-that-never-was, I have been keeping my eye on that tree, and the wren finally showed up! She posed for pictures, so s/he is featured in this week’s gallery. (Yay!).  That’s enough talking; it’s time for the pictures. I hope you enjoy them (Don’t forget to click on the first one to scroll through the gallery).

That’s it for this week. I’m going to stop now. If you’ve stayed with me through all these pictures, you’re likely thinking, “It’s about time!” Thanks for putting on your virtual walking shoes and joining me for this trek along the trail in Chagrin River Park.

Carolyn aka Skip

Here she is: The red-eyed vireo

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In yesterday’s blog post about Friday Faces I mentioned that I saw my very first red-eyed vireo while walking on the trail through the bog. Another blogger commented that s/he had never seen a vireo, so, at that blogger’s request, here it is: momma vireo sitting on her nest. It’s not a great picture (not even a very good one), because she was hidden away among lots of leafy green branches. Sunlight filtering through the leaves gave it a green cast, but given the difficulties, I am happy to have a picture of this pretty little bird.

For the past four weeks I have been busy with Blogging 101, an online course for bloggers who want to improve their blog. With a new blogging assignment every day, there hasn’t been much time to go on my usual photowalks, so I have actually taken only a few pictures during these weeks. Hopefully normal photowalking will resume next week…if it stops raining and we aren’t flooded out.

UPDATE ON THE VIREO

Before the rain finally stopped yesterday (Sunday), I went back to the vireo’s nest to see if I could capture a few more/better pictures. I’m going to include them in my weekly photo update (my new blog feature starting today), but I thought this sweet little bird deserved a spotlight all her own. Here are a few new pictures of her at the nest: (Click on the first picture to scroll through the gallery).

I was excited to get a second chance to show you her red eye.
Pretty neat, isn’t it?

See you soon if the rain stays away!

Carolyn aka Skip

Friday Faces: A weekly photo feature

Friday Faces: Roz

Friday Faces: Roz

Friday Faces is a weekly photo feature that I started in 2013. Because of the extremely cold and icy weather this past winter and early spring, I temporarily retired the feature, which I had been posting on my other blog. This summer seems like a good time to bring it out of retirement, so today I went for a photowalk in the park, and “captured” a Friday Face for this week. Today’s Friday Face is Roz, a fellow photographer I occasionally (although not regularly) encounter in the park. Roz has the same camera I have, a Nikon D7100, although with a better (longer) lens than mine. She is dedicated to producing excellent bird photographs, and spends many hours on the trail in one park or another in search of her quarry.

When I ran into Roz today, she was kind enough to show me the nest of a red-eyed vireo that she recently discovered.  If you are a bird photographer, you know how elusive the little critters can be when summer arrives and the trees are in full leaf.  We’re not talking about  eagles here, we’re talking about warblers and other small birds. If you are lucky, you will spot the bird flying into its nest, and that’s what happened with the red-eyed vireo. It’s tiny; it’s sweet; and it can be practically invisible when it sits on the nest. I never would have spotted it on my own, but, thanks to Roz, I got my first red-eyed vireo photo today.

Want to give Friday Faces a try? Here are the rules. If you enjoy photographing people, or perhaps would like to stretch your wings :P, give Friday Faces a try. There are just a few rules for this photo feature, which I will list below, but rules are meant to be broken when it comes to photography. Read the rules, but feel free to break them if that’s what it takes to capture the “face” you want. (I broke rules  #2 and 3 with Roz. She is not a stranger.) So go on, break the rules if you need to. Here they are…

  1. Always carry your camera.
  2. Smile and be friendly when you meet strangers along the trail (or wherever you meet them).
  3. Choose someone who smiles back, stop, say hello and engage them in conversation.
  4. Remember to be a good listener and give them your full attention. (See this recent blog post).
  5. After you’ve talked for a few minutes, explain about Friday Faces and invite them to help you with your project (Most people will agree, but if they don’t, thank them anyway).
  6. After you take the picture, offer to email it to them, or (and this is what I prefer) hand them a business card with your name and the website where they can find the picture.

That’s all there is to it. Let me know if you give it a try, and have fun.

Skip aka Carolyn

PS Look here and here for other posts I have written about Friday Faces.

Was I ever that young?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Snapshot Stories.”

The prompt instructed me to find a photo album and write a post about the first picture of myself that I found in the album. I don’t know if it is cheating or not, but, after looking through some old albums, I amended the prompt to read, “…find the oldest picture of yourself and write a post about it.” This (unretouched) photo,  the oldest picture I could find of myself, sent me wandering down memory lane. Most of my photowalks are recent walks on the trails in my favorite parks, but if, for a change, you want to wander with me off the beaten path, read on.

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The back story:

During my growing-up-years, my father was the family photographer, and this picture, since digitized, was found in one of his albums. I was in high school when this was taken, and at that time, the ukulele was enjoying a lot of popularity in the U.S.  I think it may have been Arthur Godfrey (anyone remember him?) who was responsible for its popularity. Anyway, I was a “ukulele wannabe.” I probably learned three or four chords before I realized I was never going to make it to stardom on The Arthur Godfrey Show, but this photo of me, snapped in the corner of my teenaged bedroom, is proof that I was once that young, actually owned a ukulele, and had aspirations of musical fame and fortune.

Arthur Godfrey is long gone, so are my parents, and I have no idea what happened to the ukulele after I left home, but just looking at this old photo brings back memories of the much younger person I once was and gives me a warm-fuzzy-happy-feeling.  I have a smile on my face as I write this. I am so glad Daddy saved this photo. It must have meant something to him too, and I wish I could share it with him today.

Thanks for looking at this “way-off-the-trail” blog post. Maybe you could find an old picture of yourself and take a photowalk down memory lane.

Carolyn aka Skip

Morning in the park

Meadow and power towers

Meadow and power towers

I took a break from working on my Blogging 101 assignments and headed for the park to give my camera a workout. Recently I’ve been spending way more time on the computer than I would like. Along the trail I walked this morning, I passed by this meadow where there are bluebird boxes. I actually got a picture of one, but it didn’t turn out very well. :( . The towers and smokestacks in the distance are part of the Cleveland Electric Illuminating plant, a coal powered plant that was recently decommissioned (if that’s the right word). Not sure what they are going to do with it, but the falcons that nest at the top of the tower may be out of a home if they tear it down. I hope that doesn’t happen.

If you had come along on this morning’s walk, you probably would have wanted to keep going for a while longer, but I had to cut it short and get back to my Blogging 101 assignments. I’m a little behind. But here are a few more pictures I captured on my memory card. Click on one and you can scroll through the gallery.

I’m glad you joined me on the trail today.
Carolyn aka Skip

Comic relief!

2013_08_01_field trip_074Caption anyone?I’ve heard that llamas like to spit and may even spit at you if you get in their space. I’m not sure if that’s true because I’ve never seen it happen. But this did happen in front of me when I was visiting the animals in the FarmPark. Apparently llamas like to roll in the dirt, and I have the picture to prove it. I hope it adds a little humor to your day. If you have a caption to contribute, please add it in the comments.

Thanks for visiting today.
Carolyn aka Skip

I love a parade!

THAT WAS THEN…

When I was growing up in the dairy farm country of southeastern Pennsylvania, the annual July Fourth parade was a huge event. Everyone would bring their lawn chairs or blankets and the entire community would gather along the route, visiting with neighbors as they waited for the parade marshall to arrive, signaling the beginning of the parade.

Children shouted back and forth, turned somersaults in the grass, and called to their friends across the street. Excitement was high.

After all, it was the 4th of July, Independence Day in the United States, and in rural Pennsylvania we celebrated the 4th in a BIG way. It didn’t matter that the parade wasn’t very long, that every fourth or fifth parade entry was a fire truck, a milk truck, or a Boy Scout troop marching down the street behind their leader. The parade was a huge event in our little country town, and after the parade we could all follow the marchers to the carnival grounds at the end of the parade route. There we could ride the merry-go-round and other rides, eat cotton candy, win prizes at the  penny arcade, and stay out until long after nightfall, when we would finally wend our way home through the darkened streets.

THIS IS NOW…

Living in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, I had often heard  of something called Parade the Circle. This annual event, now in its 26th year,  takes place in the University Circle area of Cleveland. The Plain Dealer newspaper described it as…an artful event of floats , musicians, stilt-walkers, dancers, parading artworks and more, featuring more than 1200 participants, including more than 80 groups and 44 local and international artists from across the U.S., Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico, Brazil and beyond.  The newspaper headlined it as Showtime at the Circle, and what an amazing show it was and so much fun! My daughter, Alison, grandchildren Michael and Emmy, and I arrived at 10 am for the parade that was scheduled to step off at noon, and, like the families waiting for the parade in my childhood days, we passed the time chatting and being entertained by the little children playing along the curb.  Anticipation was high and everyone was in a celebratory mood. And then the parade began with a group of colorfully costumed “creatures” (pictured above) leading the way. And it truly was a grand show. The parade participants interacted with the crowd along the curb; small

No invitation needed for the little kids to jump in and be part of the parade.

No invitation needed for the little kids to run out and get involved.

children and some bigger ones, left their seats and ran out to become part of the parade, jumping rope, running under the parachute and “high-fiving” the costumed creatures passing in front of them.

The excitement continued for almost two hours, and when the last costumed character passed by, the crowd rose from the curb and fell into line behind the last marchers,  heading to their cars for the ride home. As we walked to our car, I said to my daughter, “That was a far cry from the July 4th parade in my hometown.” The excitement was equally high and celebratory at both events, and the families were just as excited, but there wasn’t a single fire engine or milk truck in sight in today’s parade. I didn’t see any scout troops either, but there were plenty of children and they were all having the time of their lives. “I’m coming back next year,” I said to Alison and she agreed.

Click a picture in this gallery to scroll through more of my many pictures of the parade. It wasn’t easy to capture the spirit of this event on my digital memory card, but I hope, by scrolling through these images, you can sense the spirit and enjoy the interaction between participants and watchers .


Thanks for joining me on this unusual photowalk. I hope you enjoyed the parade. If it reminded you of some special memories of your own, why don’t you share them in the comments or, better yet, blog about them. Making and preserving memories is an important part of blogging.

Carolyn aka Skip

The GIFT of being “present”

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(This post was written in response to the Blogging 101 assignment to write a post that builds on one of the comments you left yesterday. Don’t forget to link to the other blog!)

Some random, rambling thoughts came to my mind when I read a blog post yesterday titled “Shut Up and Listen” on the blog named Away from the Noise. It was the title that caught my attention and stopped me in my tracks so I could read the entire post.

The writer’s first sentence says, “Have you noticed in conversations sometimes that some people are not really there? They are physically of course, but not emotionally.”  Well, yes, actually I have noticed that, and I think it is a very rude and thoughtless way to treat someone who is trying to connect with you. Think about it. Have you ever been sitting or standing next to someone who is there, right in front of you physically, but so far away mentally and emotionally that they might as well be in Outer Mongolia, even though you are both standing on a street corner in Cleveland, Ohio or sitting on the patio in your neighbor’s back yard? Sound familiar? How does it make you feel to be treated that way? Like you don’t matter to the other person? Like they really aren’t hearing a word you are saying? Like you aren’t important?

One of the greatest gifts you can give to another person is to be fully present when you are physically in their presence. Fully present means you can’t just be physically present. After all, how much effort does it take to be physically present?” If you are standing next to someone who is talking to you, then you are already physically present, but the really important thing is to be fully present. Just being physically present simply doesn’t cut it. If you are standing next to someone who is talking to you, then you are already physically present, but the really important thing is to be fully present. Just being physically present simply doesn’t cut it. It just isn’t enough. Look at the person standing in front of you; listen carefully to what they have to say, and then respond thoughtfully. Actually engage them in conversation and let them know that they matter to you. That’s a gift, and it’s the best gift you can give to another person. If you can’t give them that, you’re not really connecting with them, and you truly might as well be in Outer Mongolia. That’s what I think about those kind of conversations.

How about you? What do you think? If this topic strikes a chord with you, check out Away from the Noise and join the conversation.

Thanks for listening.
Skip aka Carolyn

Lesson learned: the hard way

Redwing blackbird

Redwing blackbird

My goals for today were to make my “about page” more irresistible by trying some of the ideas from Blogging 101, create a custom header, and get to bed before 10 pm so I could read my new mystery book. Unfortunately, none of those items got checked off my to-do list. Nope, none of them. Nada! So here I sit at 11:53 pm, simmering with a backlog of frustration. I hope you don’t mind if I squawk for a few minutes. I’ll try to be brief.

I just learned something about blogs and images that I wish I had learned a long time ago (Like when I first started blogging). It would have been s-o-o-o-o helpful back then. I really could go on and on, moaning about my tale of woe, but I said brief, so here’s the abbreviated version…

This morning, when I tried to upload a new gallery of pictures from Saturday’s two hour long parade, the last 10 images wouldn’t upload. After a little investigation, I discovered I have used up the entire  3 GB of free space in the image library, and that’s all I get. There is no more space, at least none of the free variety. “Minor setback,” I (naively) muttered to myself. “I’ll just remove some of the old images to make space for these new ones. Easy-peasy.” “Minor setback,” I (naively muttered to myself. “I’ll just remove some of the old images to make space for these new ones. Easy-Peasy.”

At this point, I am sure some of you more experienced bloggers are probably shaking your heads, as you should be, at the stupidity of my feeble logic (or what passes for it). However, I didn’t know that each image in the image library has its own built in “address” (if that’s the right word), and if an ill-informed  and inexperienced blogger like yours truly, deletes an image from the library, that image is automatically deleted from any post it was a part of. Without thinking the entire process through, I just assumed (always a mistake) that the image doesn’t have an address (or whatever it’s called) while it just waits on the shelf in the image library for me to use it.  Live and learn! But NOW I know, and, as they say, “Better late than never.”

In the past, my work flow has been like this:

  1. Process the pictures in Lightroom.
  2. Export the images I want to use from Lightroom to my hard drive.
  3. Upload them to WordPress.
  4. Start a blog post.
  5. Place the images where I want them to appear in the post.

Guess I’ll have to add another step to my work flow to resize my images, but I’m still looking for a tutorial to show me an easy way to do it. Suggestions anyone? If you have any helpful tips for me, I’m listening, just be sure to write them in simple sentences using only one or two syllable words because I’m not up to anything too technical at this point. Easy is the operative word here (I’m joking…honest. Well, sort of).

The best only good part of this entire debacle is that I got to have a chat with one of the WordPress happiness engineers, and he truly was helpful. That’s it for today. I’m done squawking. I’m headed to bed, resolved that today’s goals will be completed (you guessed it)…tomorrow.

Thanks for listening.
Carolyn aka Skip

Recycling a robin

This morning the big blue recycling truck lumbered down our street, stopping at each house to collect the items placed at the curb for recycling. As a result, my post today involves recycling, but not that kind of recycling. Recently I read a suggestion that struck my fancy. The writer was encouraging photographers to search out and recycle old photos, just to see how creative they could be with some of the old stuff we all have accumulated, but maybe never used…sort of like digging through that junk drawer in your kitchen and discovering treasures you had forgotten.  “Good idea,” I thought.

“With 51,000 photos sitting on my hard drive, that should be easy …and fun.”

So this evening I searched through the backlog of photos on my hard drive, looking specifically for pictures of animals that put a smile on my face. And here you have the first one, a chubby, self-satisfied American robin enjoying her day at the spa. And here is a song you may remember, although probably not, unless you are old enough to remember when Harry Truman was president of the United States (and yes, I am that old).

I hope you like the song because if you are anything like me, it could be rolling around in your head for hours. Did it bring a few good memories to mind? Or maybe it will send you searching through your photographic junk drawer to see what you can come up with. If my “poor little robin, walking to Missouri” sends you searching, I hope you have fun. I did, and I’m planning to recycle another “funny animal”…maybe tomorrow.

See you soon!
Carolyn aka Skip

If you had joined me for my walk in the park today…

Jessie and Joe

Jessie and Joe

… You would have met Jessie and Joe. Even though their health, especially Jessie’s, has declined since I first met them two years ago, they still take regular walks in the park. When I asked them for this photo opp,  Jessie stepped away from the walker she now uses and they moved closer together. One of my joys in photographing people is to engage them in conversation, so I asked, “How are you doing today?”  Jessie’s reply was, “Still kicking,” which she demonstrated by kicking out at her walker. Then she added, “But not too high!” She may be declining in health and less able to get around, but she definitely hasn’t lost her spunkiness, and neither has Joe. They are a delightful couple. As I said in yesterday’s blog post, one of the blessings I see in blogging is the connections that occur when I meet people and ask to take their picture. One of the blessings in blogging is the connections that occur when I meet people and ask to take their picture. Getting to know Jessie and Joe is one of those connections, and it definitely adds joy to my life. I hope it is a bright spot in their day too.

Here are a few other pictures from my walk, just to give you a sense of Chagrin River Park and what a great place it is. Small, yes, but truly lovely and filled with friendly people having fun (Click on any picture to scroll through the gallery).

That’s it for this time. Thanks for joining me on my photo walk.

Carolyn aka Skip

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