There’s something about the Canopy Walk…

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Since it opened in September I have made four visits to the Canopy Walk. The novelty of walking through the tree tops, looking out at a squirrel on a nearby branch or down at people below me, while looking up at the the nearby Emergent Tower is something special that draws me back. There’s always something new to see, so every visit is a unique opportunity.

The special feature of today’s visit was having a front row seat for a magnificent display of brilliant  Autumn colors. The transition from summer to fall has been a slow one this year. On my first three trips up the Tower and along the Canopy Walk, green was the dominant color…different shades of green to be sure, but all green nevertheless. Today was different. Green is still evident, but it is submerged by a happy golden hue with glimpses of red and orange in the mix. My words just don’t do it justice tonight, but here are a couple of pictures that might help:

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For an even richer, fuller taste of Autumn, visit my SmugMug gallery where I have posted more pictures from today’s Canopy Walk, but before I close, I want to share two more pictures that I consider special. They seem almost magical to me, so I  hope you will like them too.

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Thanks for joining me on the trail today. Tomorrow I will share some pictures from today’s 12 floor climb up the Emergent Tower. See you soon Trail Walkers!

Trail Walker

O what a beautiful day!

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A beautiful morning like this one brings people out to the park in large numbers, some taking their dogs for a walk; others bringing their toddlers to the playground; and still others come out with their cameras. I’m in the last group. I thought about going to the Arboretum today, but really didn’t have enough time, so I headed for Chagrin River Park instead. If you’re up for a trail walk along the Chagrin River trail today, come along with me as I look for some vibrant fall colors.

Our first stop will be the pedestrian bridge that crosses the Chagrin. Walk part way across the bridge, sit down, and aim your camera downstream, and this is what you will see:

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For a slightly different view, we’ll leave the bridge and walk to the overlook by the picnic tables. From there, we can get a closer look at the river. Kneel down by the fence rail and snap your picture from there to capture this scene.
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In the first few minutes of our trail walk, we’ve tried two different vantage points, but did you notice that there isn’t a lot of color along the banks of the river? Let’s walk up the steps to the sledding hill. In a couple of months, there will probably be snow, and crowds of sledders, flying down the hill with abandon or crowded around the fire pit, but today we have it to ourselves, except for a few walkers, and it will be our third vantage point for looking at the river.

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It’s a great view, but there’s not much in the way of vibrant color so far. Follow me, and we will take a trail through the woods where I know we will find some colorful trees.

Not only did we find colorful trees, we also ran into Earl and his wife Linda. They were getting ready to head down the trail in search of some good photo opps, but they took time to show me the fantastic eagle pictures Earl shot recently at Lake Erie Bluffs and at Conowingo dam, a well-known site for eagles in Maryland, quite near where I grew up. When I say Earl’s pictures are fantastic, that’s probably an understatement. If you know Earl, be sure to ask him to show you the eagles, especially the ones with fish in their talons. They are amazing! And if you are a photographer, take a look at the kit Earl has devised so he doesn’t have to carry all his camera equipment on his back. It’s very clever.

One last picture, and it will be time to head for home. I had parked myself on a bench on the evergreen trail to look through the pictures on my memory card, when I saw three people and two dogs headed in my direction. If you follow my blog, you probably already know that I like to take pictures of the people I meet along the trail and their dogs.  “Photo opp!” flashed through my mind. Then I realized that I had already met one of the dogs, Bailey, and his person, Ron. Bailey and Cosmo, the other little dog, greeted me effusively, joining me on the bench, and enthusiastically bestowing kisses on my face. Getting them to pose for a picture was no problem, so here they are: Ron and Bailey on one end of the bench and Cosmo and Liz on the other.

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Cosmo and Bailey look like twins, although they are actually two different breeds. Aren’t they adorable? That was the end of today’s walk. I was only a short distance from the parking lot, and it was time to go home for lunch. We did manage to see some color today. I was glad because I don’t know how many more days like this we can expect before the curtain comes down on my favorite season of the year. Thanks for joining me on the trail today. Come back soon. Weather permitting, I am planning another trip to the Arboretum this month and hopefully a trail walk at Lake Erie Bluffs. Maybe we’ll see an eagle there. Although I can’t match Earl’s fabulous photos, I wouldn’t mind trying. ;)

Trail Walker

Windy Walk at Edgewater Beach Park

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This afternoon after Bob and I drove our granddaughter into Cleveland to visit a friend at her Cleveland State dorm, we headed a little farther west to Edgewater Beach park for an unplanned trail walk in the park. I wish you could have been there. As you can see from the pictures, the wind was fierce. Nothing approaching hurricane strength, but strong enough to blow my hat off my head, so I left it in the car. Bob took off his glasses and put them in his pocket, fearing they might fly off his face.

It definitely wasn’t beach and swimming weather, so I was surprised to see people in the water until I realized they had surfboards and S.U.P.s (Stand up paddle boards), and had come to the lake front to enjoy the wind and waves.  I headed toward them with my camera, determined to get some action shots along with the landscapes (or lakescapes) that I had planned for. Five or six men (and one loon) were in the water. I’m not going to touch that comparison. Nope, just not going to go there! I’m just going to give these guys the respect they’ve earned by jumping into that water on a cold, windy, fall day.

What do you think of that loon? It’s the first one I’ve ever seen, and I’m pretty excited that he joined the surfers. It made my day!

We watched the action for awhile, then turned eastward and walked along the lakefront where I took these pictures (Click to enlarge pictures):

Then we headed toward the pier, which looked like a great location for capturing some city shots.

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Walking almost to the end of the pier, we stopped just about where you can see the man standing in the picture. Hooking my arm around one of those light poles, I hung on tight and took these pictures of downtown Cleveland.

Mission accomplished! We left the pier and headed for the warmth of our car. On the way, I snapped one last shot of the city…with a group of grounded gulls in the foreground. Apparently their flight plans had been cancelled. I didn’t have any trouble figuring out why!

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That’s it for today’s windy walk. Thanks for joining me on the trail.
I had a great time, and I hope you did too.

Trail Walker

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Hey there, friend!

By accident or by design, you have found my blog.

Combining my three favorite pastimes…

  • trail walking in local parks and nature centers
  • photography,
  • and writing…

…has led to the creation of this blog, so it’s probably no surprise that the name of the blog is Seen Along the Trail, and my blogging name, the way I sign my posts, is Trail Walker (although my “real” name is Carolyn and my nickname is Skip).

I’m glad you joined me on the trail today. It’s always good to meet people and make connections. If any of my posts resonate with you,  please leave a comment. That’s when blogging becomes a conversation instead of just a solo activity, and that conversation, more than anything else, is what makes it  special. I hope you will return to my blog often and help me create some conversations.

See you along the trail!
Trail Walker




Too much to do!

Too much to do and only a little time to do it! Haven’t we all said that at one time or another? Today was a case in point. I’m way behind on just about anything you can name: computer files to organize; letters to write; housekeeping chores to attend to; loads of photos to process and post; laundry to catch up on; closets to organize; and packing to do for our weekend at Chautauqua. You get the picture! I didn’t know which task to tackle first, so I took the line of least resistance, sat down at my desk, and worked on the computer files…until about 4 pm. At that point, I picked up my camera and headed out to the Arboretum, and I’m glad I did. Come along on my August afternoon photowalk and you’ll see why. Just click on the first photo and scroll though the gallery. I hope you enjoy the beauty of this almost-autumn-afternoon.

That’s it for today’s photowalk. I hope you enjoyed the scenery along the trail, but now it’s way past my bedtime. Like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, “I’m late! I’m late! I’m late for a very important date”…with my pillow!

Goodnight all!
Carolyn aka Skip

Brigadoon aka Chautauqua Institute


Brigadoon! That’s what the tour guide called it. Last week we took another trip to Chautauqua Institute in southwest New York state. Although it is only a two hour ride from home, when I walk through the gate to find myself surrounded by lovely victorian homes and tall shade trees with Lake Chautauqua a short walk downhill, I feel as if I have left the ordinary world behind and entered a mystical, magical place…much like Brigadoon.  The nine week summer season at Chautauqua starts in June and lasts only nine weeks…and although it doesn’t vanish like the hauntingly mystical Brigadoon, Chautauqua is an amazing place with a mystique all its own. On Friday and Saturday we were immersed in that mystique, and I loved every minute of it. I don’t have time (nor energy) for a long post today, so this will be a sampler of some of the sights and sounds of Chautauqua. The sounds, the symphony rehearsing for an evening concert and a bagpiper practicing on the green, you will have to imagine, but I hope you enjoy this little taste of “Brigadoon.”

Running behind, playing catch-up, and finally a Friday Face:Rae

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I’m running behind again this week…still trying to catch up from my week of VBS (Vacation Bible School). There are some weeks when nothing much gets done except the foremost task of the week, and the week of July 12-17 was one of those. The day after VBS ended, I managed to post a blog about our community arts festival, but, after that, the little energy I had left evaporated. Pffsstt, and it was gone! That’s why i”m playing catch-up this week. On everything: my photowalks, blog posts, and even leaving comments on all your blogs. So playing catch-up is the mode of the week.

Unfortunately, starting tomorrow, my schedule turns demanding, frenzied even, again. What’s this all about anyway? I’m retired! My time should be my own. Shouldn’t it? Umm…? “No, you say!” What do you mean, it just doesn’t work that way? I always assumed when I retired I would be a lady of leisure, free to come and go as I please. Sleeping late, Long hours immersed in books by my favorite writers. No need to set the alarm clock. No need to wear a watch. No need to worry about my schedule! Okay, I admit there are some things I have committed to that need to be done on schedule, and this week I’m even behind on most of those. Like my Friday Face blog post for example. It should have been posted four days ago, and I’m just now getting around to it. Mea culpa, blogmates. It’s late, but here it is…on Tuesday evening.

The Friday Face for this week is Rae, a creative, energetic, and very personable vendor I met at the Arts Festival in Willoughby on Saturday morning. Two things attracted me to Rae: Her colorful hat was one. She designed it because that’s what she does in her basement workshop. She takes all sorts of items she has collected, gets a vision for one-of-a-kind-original creations, and turns them into amazing hats.  Then she sells them. The second thing that attracted me to Rae was her friendly smile. It spoke so loudly, Rae didn’t need to use words to get my attention, but she was good with words too, and I enjoyed meeting her and learning about her creativity. Thank you,Rae. You create much more than hats. You create fun, serendipitous experiences for people who are fortunate enough to meet you, and this time I was one of the lucky ones!

Rae is the latest addition to my Friday Faces gallery, which you can see here.

Carolyn aka Skip  

Photo of the week: Bee and blossom

On Friday, July 10th, I wandered through the Arboretum, trying out my new monopod for the first time. That’s when I took this photo. I’m hoping the monopod will steady my camera and help me get sharper images. What do you think? Did it do the job?

Feedback is appreciated at any and all times.

Thank you!
Carolyn aka Skip

Here is a link to Clare and Dean’s photo of the week, a little “joey” straight to you from Australia, and here is a link to the “how to” for participating in the photo of the week feature.

Birding (and more) from the backyard bench


My camera, a Nikon D7100, gives me the option to choose between two image areas”

  • DX crop (24×16) uses the full 24mm x 16mm image area, uncropped.
  • 1.3X (18x12mm) crops each image using an 18mm x 12mm image area.

Do I understand the math of these options?
I recommend David Busch’s Nikon D7100 Guide to Digital SLR Photography.Truthfully no, but I have a fantastic handbook on the D7100 by David Busch that says one argument for the 1.5X crop factor is that it “transforms any telephoto lens you have into a longer lens, which can be useful for sports, wildlife photography, and other endeavors that benefit from more reach.” of course, there’s more to it than that, and not everyone agrees, but, being a bird (and other wildlife) photographer, I decided it would be worth investigating.

This morning, instead of hitting the trail in search of photo opps, I walked out to our back patio, sat down on the bench and spent a half hour playing around with the settings. The greatest test of the added reach the 1.5X crop factor afforded me was these two hummingbirds. For some reason, the hummers have stopped coming to our sugar water feeders; however, they still fly through the back yard and love to rest (as hummingbirds do) on the tip-top branches of our neighbor’s apple tree where they have a good view of the feeders and any back yard action. That’s where this little one was sitting when I took his picture:

It’s certainly not a closeup or even a good picture, but as a capture of a tiny bird about 18 feet (or so) from my lens, it’s better than anything I got with out using the crop factor. In my half hour of bench time, I captured the following images using the added reach afforded by the crop factor:

A note about the chipmunk: Chipmunks cant’s fly, but they can climb!!As we all know, chipmunks can’t fly, but they can climb. This summer my husband transformed an old step ladder into a bird feeding station. The birds like it, as do the squirrels and chipmunks. This little chippy jumped onto the bottom step and dashed upward to reach the big blocks of seeds (designed for the woodpeckers). As you can see, he was enjoying his meal.

That’s it for my first experiment with the 1.5X crop factor. Did it give my camera more reach? Yes. Is it “magical?” Maybe not, but I did get closer pictures with it than I have without it, so I guess I will keep on using it. It does lower the resolution of my images from 24mm to about 15-16, but since I usually don’t print my picture, that’s not a great concern, just something to keep in mind when I might want to print them for a contest or a gift or something.

So there you have it. If you have any thoughts to share about this topic, please add them to the comment section.

Thanks for visiting.
Carolyn aka Skip


If you took a photowalk with me today…

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…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