Close
Lily Pond

If you took a photowalk with me today…

…you could have given me a break by carrying my monopod part of the time. Just kidding really, but I wouldn’t have turned you down if you had offered because carrying it is a new discipline for me…  and discipline is possibly the best way to describe it because I’m not yet accustomed to carrying (or using) this new piece of equipment. Put simply, it doesn’t feel natural yet. I will have to discipline myself to use it regularly.

Would I fall in love with this new addition to my photography kit?I bought this latest addition to my camera kit a couple of months (or so) ago, but then had to order a special plate to screw into the base of the camera to mount (wrong word maybe) both my camera strap and my monopod at the same time. It took 6-8 weeks, but the plate ($21 from Dodd Camera store) finally arrived. So off I went, out the door of Dodd Camera and directly to Holden Arboretum to give it a tryout. Was I going to fall in love with it? Umm, I had my doubts because it is a bit awkward to handle. However, after walking through the butterfly garden, down the trail to Blueberry Pond and returning by way of Lotus Pond, I could see at least three advantages:

  1. It steadied my camera (and me too, and that was a primary reason for investing in it.
  2. It helped me frame my pictures. I don’t know how, but it just felt better.
  3. It made me feel like a “real” photographer, not professional of course, but it made me consider each picture more seriously, if you know what I mean.

Conclusion: For the first time out, the “stick” and I were on pretty good terms. Although I’m not feeling the love yet, I’m planning to keep it! Now take a look at some of the sights you would have seen in the Arboretum today. What do you think…did the monopod do a good job?

Thanks for walking the trail with me today (even if you didn’t carry the monopod).

Carolyn aka Skip

My photo of the week

Purple flower and a weathered bench

Purple flower and a weathered bench

Walking along the trail in the arboretum for the first time in months, I came upon this weathered bench. I thought about sitting down to enjoy the view, but when I noticed the pretty purple flower, growing up from behind the bench, I decided instead to take a picture. I have no idea what the flower is, but I loved the color, its delicate lace-like effect, and the contrast with the lichens on the weathered bench.

If anyone can identify the flower, please let me know in the comments. This is my first post on Clare and Dean’s Photo of the Week weekly feature. Click here to see what they posted from New South Wales this week.

Thanks for checking out my photo of the week.
Carolyn aka Skip

2015_07_03_bird photography_221

Bobolinks, Savannah sparrows, Friday Faces, and more!

Last week, two friends, one a bird watcher and the other a photographer, suggested that I should visit a park in a neighboring county where there is an over-abundance of bobolinks (if such a thing is possible). Because bobolinks are scarce non-existent in my local park, and I trust both of these women to give good advice, I took off yesterday in search of the bobolinks. I found them without any trouble. All I did was park the car, climb out,  head up the grassy hillside pictured above, and there they were. My faith in the advice of my friends had not been misplaced. Take a look at the gallery:


The grass at the bottom of the hill has been mowed, but farther up the hillside, the grass on both sides of the path I was following was knee high and taller. And that’s where the birds were. Some were nesting down in the grass and flew out as I passed by. Others circled and swooped overhead, landing on the tall stalks of grass. I mentally coaxed the bobolinks to land on the stalks of grass that were right in front of me, closer to the trail. Unfortunately, the stalks they chose were usually beyond the reach of my lens, so I found myself mentally coaxing them to land on stalks a bit closer to the path. “How about that stalk there, the one right in front of me?” Hoping they would “hear” me and heed my request, I stood still and silently stared at the stalk of grass. Of course they never heard and certainly didn’t heed, so most of my pictures are heavily cropped. Although I came home with pictures that I deem “good enough,” I also came home with a few additions to my camera kit “wish list,” most notably a longer, faster, sharper lens!

Nevertheless, it was a great experience. Maybe I’ll rent a bigger lens and return someday. That might be a lot of fun. As I followed a winding path downhill to my car, I was thankful for friends who are willing to share information about the best places for birding. In case you’re wondering why I mentioned Friday Faces in the title of this post, it’s because I wasn’t the only photographer on the hillside yesterday. Craig was there also with his camera (that incidentally had a longer lens than mine). Because it was Friday, and I always try to add a photo of a stranger to my Friday Faces gallery, I asked if he would mind posing for a photo opp. However I’ve been a little wordy tonight, and this post is already long enough. I’m going to stop now and make a separate post for Friday Faces here where you can see Craig and read about his photo opp.

Thanks for joining me on this new trail today. It’s good to share my discovery with you.

Purple flower and a weathered bench

On a sunny Thursday morning…

…I went for a photowalk in the Holden Arboretum, one of my favorite places to spend time with (or without) my camera. My chosen destination was the butterfly garden, but once there, I saw very few  butterflies. There was a hummingbird flitting around in the colorful flowers, but he wouldn’t sit for a photo opp, if you can imagine that! However, there were plenty of wonderful things to see and photograph, so despite the scarcity of butterflies, I still came home with some special images to present the beauty of the Arboretum (Remember to click on a picture to scroll through the gallery).

I’m glad you joined me for my sunny walk in the Arboretum today. It makes me feel good to be able to share the beauty with you.

Carolyn aka Skip

Here she is: The red-eyed vireo

2015_06_26_Chagrin River Park_035

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

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

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

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

The GIFT of being “present”

2015_05_25_Holiday-Memorial Day_032

(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

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

Hello Bloggers!

2014_07_20_July day trip 2014_254Hello Bloggers. My name is Carolyn aka Skip; I live in northeast Ohio about a mile south of Lake Erie and 20 miles east of Cleveland, Ohio, and I will begin this introduction with a confession. I am both a Blipper and a Blogger, and Seen along the trail is NOT a new blog. I created it several years ago when I began to accumulate a large collection of photos from my daily photowalks. For those not familiar with the term Blipper, I will explain. A blipper is a person who takes pictures and maintains a photo journal on Blipfoto.com where s/he posts a picture-a-day…Not every day in my case, just most days. I have been blipping for seven years, and I just posted my 2500th Blip. My blog hasn’t been around that long. It includes entries going back to October 2011.

Recently I signed up for Blogging 101, a WordPress course that helps bloggers improve their blogs. You might wonder why I signed up for Blogging 101 at this late date. The answer is really simple: I just discovered it, and it looked like something I really need to do. When I first began blogging and blipping, I had three pretty straightforward goals: to improve my photography skills; to improve my writing; and to find a way to share some of the huge backlog of images on my hard drive (Currently there are 51,000 of them sitting there. I take lots of photo walks). I have learned a lot about blogging and blipping over the years, but there is still much to learn. Although up to now, I haven’t been a very good blogger, I am persistent…most of the time. However, several years after starting this blog, it began to feel stale to me, so over the next six months, I want to learn how to liven it up a little lot and make it a blog where people will be able to connect…through images, comments, and  even by posting blogs of their own that relate to something I’ve blogged about.

I believe that connecting with people and being present for them (even virtually) is a gift, and for me blogging and blipping are all about connecting. Nature, especially the birds, critters, and people I encounter in my regular photo walks will continue to be an important focus of Seen Along the Trail. I am also looking for ways to be more invitational, to make people feel more welcome so they will hopefully want to join me on my daily photowalks. Although I am not exactly sure yet how to do that, I’m looking forward to learning and improving my blog in the process.

Carolyn aka Skip

P S: If you want to know more about why I blog and how I got started, check out my “About Skip page.”

Clare & Dean

A Trip Blog

Hoof Beats and Foot Prints

Explore the world with Bella Remy Photography

The Farmers in the Dell BLOG

Muddy boots, callused hands, happy heart - Life on a farm

belinda o

all class, a little camp, not at all cool

Melanie Allred Flowers

Musings on God's Mercies

NihongoJapango

Picture this!Living in Japan and Reliving my Travels

Such Small Hands

Searching for Purpose and Finding Grace

Texas Tweeties by Bob Zeller

About birding and wildlife photography

breezes at dawn

The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you... ~ Rumi

Walking with a Smacked Pentax

A photographic journey through the North of England

Backyard Bird Nerd

"Consider the birds of the air...."

%d bloggers like this: