Especially for orchid lovers

In my last post I only had time to post four photos from my visit to the  Orchid Mania exhibit at Cleveland’s Botanical Garden. Today I am back with more pictures for those of you who love orchids. In addition a variety of orchids, the gallery below includes other things I saw at Orchid Mania: there were families of all ages, birds, butterflies, a new type of orchid called watercolor orchids, and a panther chameleon. I watched the chameleon for a while and talked to a volunteer who was feeding it. He (the chameleon) was born and raised at the Botanical Garden, and he reacts to red. I was wearing a red sweater, and when I approached to get a picture of him, the red on his skin turned a deeper shade, and the bristles on his back raised up, indicating that he felt threatened. Take a close look at him in the gallery below. Click on any picture to scroll through the gallery. You will see several pictures of the watercolor orchids. I was having a little fun with my focus point and depth of field. Can you notice the difference?


As I wrote in my previous post, flower photography and indoor photography are both pretty far outside my comfort zone. My last few trail walk posts have challenged me as a photographer, so it was a good learning experience, as well as a lot of fun. I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Thanks for joining me at Orchid Mania.
Trail Walker

Out of my comfort zone…Again!

A special exhibit currently at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens is titled Orchid Mania. Today my friend Marti and I went to see the orchids. Visiting the Botanical Gardens is always a treat. Today was no exception. The displays were amazing. I took a lot of pictures and chose four for today’s post. As you may have noticed, I am not a “flower photographer.” Nor am I  a gardener or an orchid aficionado, but orchids are gorgeous, and today’s trail walk was a wonderful opportunity to stretch my photography skills again. The four pictures I chose for this post include two orchids, one tree, and one exotic bird unlike any I would see on my usual trails.

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An exotic bird at the Botanical Garden
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Baobab tree

The baobab tree was huge!  Much too large to capture with my 35mm lens, so you’re only seeing part of it. Orchids, vines, butterflies, and birds were at home on its gigantic trunk, limbs, and branches.

And now the orchids. Only two for today, but I will post more tomorrow when I have more time. Naturally I don’t know their names. Anyone knowledgeable about orchids is welcome to leave that information in the comment section at the end of the post.

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A very pink orchid!
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Pink and white striped orchid

Time to stop for tonight. Flower person or not, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Botanical Garden today, and I’m looking forward to a return visit in the spring. Today was a beautiful day with blue skies and puffy clouds, but it wasn’t spring yet. The thermometer barely made it above the freezing mark, but I’m not complaining. It isn’t snowing!

Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
See you soon!
Trail Walker

Solitude

I enjoyed a solitary walk in a snow-covered Holden Arboretum recently. For 90 minutes I wandered the trails without meeting another person. Ninety minutes of snow-covered solitude is  a very peaceful experience.  Although the walking wasn’t always easy, the landscape was beautiful. It’s truly surprising how different the Arboretum looks when the ground, trees, and water are covered with snow. Here are a few photos comparing similar locations in different seasons.

First: Lotus Pond, one of my regular stops on any visit to the Arboretum, looked like this when I was there in October.

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Sugar maple and golden willow tree

 

But on this snowy, 20 degree day in February, it looked like this.

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If I didn’t know that tall golden willow tree was on the edge of Lotus Pond, I might have walked right out onto (and possibly through) the ice.

Here’s another comparison: Blueberry Pond on October 1, 2015 with rocks in the foreground to anchor the image…

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Another of my favorite photo spots is the rocks by Blueberry Pond

…and Blueberry Pond in February with the same foreground rocks covered by snow.

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Just one more comparison. Our grandson Michael walking the Blueberry Pond Trail when he was home for his winter break needed a warm jacket and hat, but he didn’t need boots to hike the trail in that light coating of snow.

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A brief pause before heading down the trail

Two months later, after a heavy snowfall, this is Blueberry Pond just a few yards to the left of where Michael was standing in the picture above.

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A blanket of snow changes the landscape dramatically, and it changes what the walker needs to wear.  On this February day, I wore a heavy jacket, a warm hat plus ear muffs, and cleats on my boots. I don’t fool around when the trails are icy and snow covered, but this was a beautiful day, and a trail walk in the snow-covered Arboretum was one of my photography goals for this winter, a goal I am glad that I accomplished.

Enjoy this gallery of snowy photographs:

Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
I hope you enjoyed the wintry beauty and solitude.
Trail Walker

Trail walking in Downtown Cleveland

Today’s blog is a continuation of my last one. Processing and posting my shots from yesterday’s trail walk in the city needed more time than I had because I had to stop working on them when it was time to leave for my birthday dinner with our daughters and sons-in-law. For today’s post I revisited my images from that walk, did a little more work on them in Lightroom, and selected a few as my favorites.

 

 

That’s it so far, but I enjoyed this downtown trail walk so much I am hoping to repeat it and eventually add more images to this gallery. Oh, and the birthday dinner, at Bravo’s in Eton Place, was great.

My next post will be a nature trail walk
See you soon!
Trail Walker

Out of my comfort zone!

 

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The tagline on my blog says it all: “I am at home among trees.” Today’s trail walk took me far from those trees into the concrete sidewalks of downtown Cleveland, and way out of my comfort zone. As anyone who follows my blog knows, I am a nature photographer, and I find most of my photos along the trails of local parks, but today’s trail walk was different.To begin with, today is my birthday, and my family and friends have gone out of their way to make it extra-special with cards, phone calls, texts, Facebook greetings, and gifts. One of those gifts resulted in this blog post.

My daughter Alison called and announced that she would pick me up this morning at 10 am and to be sure to bring my camera. However, she wouldn’t say where she planned to take me. It was only after we were in the car driving west on route 2 that her plan unfolded. We were going to take a very different trail walk, involving no parks, no nature trails, no hawks, deer, or snow-covered landscapes. We were going to walk the city streets where we would look for abstracts, architectural details, building elements indoors and out, and whatever else struck our fancy.

I knew right then I was going to be out of my comfort zone, but Alison was in the driver’s seat, so I made up my mind to go along for the ride and have a good time…and I did. I had a great time. We made quite a few stops and several of them led to today’s blog post. We started our tour at the Arcade (top of page) and then moved on to the Cleveland Public Library. Established in 1869, the library was originally operated in several temporary locations in downtown Cleveland until, in 1925 the Main Library on Superior Avenue was opened.

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Entrance to the Cleveland Public Library

The main entrance and first floor lobby are an impressive introduction to this handsome building. According to a brochure handed to us by a delightful gentleman stationed near the entrance…

The entrance doorway window depicts the classical Lamp of Knowledge. The interior entrance doorway has a clock flanked by mythological griffins, a motif of creatures that protects civic buildings. a beautiful terrestrial globe made of pearl art glass hangs from the entrance hall ceiling (1925). It is based on one of the first maps to depict the early Americas done by Leonardo da Vinci. The vaulted lobby ceiling is decorated with paintings done in 1926 that illustrate historical figures that represent the arts, writing, and learning….The lobby is illuminate by torchieres (circa 1990s) which are symbolic of the Lamp of Knowledge.

Along with the brochure we were given an interesting personal introduction to the library that made us feel very welcome. Who would have known so much beauty awaited us when we walked up the stairs and entered through the large main doors. The picture gallery below is a small sampling of my images, including the interior and exterior of the main library, plus a peek into the gated reading garden that features a fountain by Maya Lin, garden gates by Tom Otterness, and other works of art. My images don’t do it justice, so I will have to return and try to do a better job on my next visit.

If you are familiar with Cleveland, you probably recognized some of the shots in this gallery as well as the Arcade, pictured at the top of the page. I hope you enjoyed them.

That’s all for today. Thanks to everyone who helped to make my birthday very special and to Alison who opened my eyes to an entire realm of new “trail” walks and proved that one is never too old to “learn new tricks.”

Happy weekend, friends.
See you tomorrow for another trail walk.
Trail Walker

A Fabulous Friday

Consider yourself warned: Today’s post is a long one because this has been a very full week with an amazing number of photo opps. Before I could say “Jack Robinson,” the week has flown by, and my camera card is filled with memories. However,  it’s Friday again and time for an end of the week post, and the blog won’t be complete unless I at least try to give the flavor of this fabulous week that flew by so fast, so hang on, here goes!

Note: I have no recollection of the origin of that phrase “Before I could say Jack Robinson.” It just popped into my head as something my mother used to say. I can’t tell you if it is an accurate memory (and there is no one to ask), but it was a fleeting memory, appropriate for this fleeting week, so I’m using it!

So…What makes THIS a fabulous Friday?

First: I captured Two Fabulous Friday Faces to add to my F.F.F. gallery.

As you know, if you follow my posts, I like to take pictures of people I meet on my trail walks. I don’t snap a picture of every person I pass, but sometimes I enjoy a brief conversation with someone I’ve met for the first time, and I just want to have a record of that encounter. Over the past few years, that record has grown into a gallery of Fabulous Friday Faces that you can see HERE, and this week I added two “Faces” to the gallery: Bob and Morgan.

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Bob in Chagrin River Park, February 16, 2016

Bob and I were both enjoying the fresh snowfall when we met along the trail. He noticed my camera and remarked that he expected to see some photographers taking advantage of the photo opportunities in the park. In the few minutes we chatted, I learned that his wife died some years ago and he really misses her, but he has lots of kids and grandkids in the area that he is thankful for. He was in the park that morning because one of his daughters had called to tell him how beautiful it is with a fresh blanket of snow, which motivated him to go out and enjoy the snow. He and I were in complete agreement that it is much better to get out and take advantage of what the park has to offer, including the beautiful landscape, the river, the wildlife, kids having fun on the sledding hill, and the people you meet along the trail. I’m glad I met Bob that snowy morning. Hopefully I will see him again.

A little farther along the trail I met Morgan and her son on their way back from the sledding hill. I commented on her great hat and asked if I could take her picture.

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Morgan in Chagrin River Park, February 16, 2016

While we talked and I snapped her picture, the little guy was having fun in the snow. There were lots of families in the park because the surprise snow had created a “snow day” for all the area schools, and it was fun to see all the activity on the sledding hill. Take a look:

Now you’ve seen what makes this a Fabulous Friday and part of a truly fabulous week of photography. I’ve taken so many pictures, I can’t keep up with the processing and posting, and there’s still…

One more thing to include in the blog today!

The weather today is warmer (above 50 degrees) and very windy, so I have been wondering where I could go for some good photo opps after my hair cut appointment, and then an idea struck. My hairdresser is located near Lake Front Park,  a small, “pocket park,” that I hadn’t visited for many months, so that’s where I headed when I left the hair salon. The wind at the lake front totally messed up my hair, so it’s a good thing we don’t have any plans to go out this evening, but I got some beautiful photos at the park, and that is what helped to make this a truly fabulous Friday.

At the park

When I started down the trail, I was surprised to discover a wonderful new deck overlooking the lake.

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Here’s the deck.

I have no idea when it was constructed, but I am thankful for the foresight of Lake Metroparks in providing a such a great place for us to enjoy the beauty of Lake Erie. Here are a few photos I snapped on and around the deck:

That’s all from today’s trail walk and the end of this very long post. While I have been sitting at my computer, the wind and warmer temperatures have been at work, and when I finally looked outside, I was shocked to discover that in the past two hours most of the snow has vanished. I wonder where I will find the fuel for my blog next week?

If you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking with me.
I’ll try to make my next post a short one!
Trail Walker

Not the best weather!

The snow from two nights ago has lingered. I expected it to stick on the ground for a few days, but certainly not to grace the tree branches with the lacy trim I saw yesterday. I was wrong. The trails I walked today reminded me of Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” If I had the words, I would wax poetic (although definitely not in the same class as Frost), but you are in luck because I have a meeting to get to and don’t have the time to do more than share a few of the pictures I took in Chagrin River Park this afternoon. The conditions today weren’t very good for photography, and you will notice some specks and blotches that look like dust on my camera sensor. It’s not dust, however, it is pellets of snow, some of which got on my lens and some on my face and glasses. Despite my determination, the inclement weather finally made me retreat to my car and head for home (after drying off my camera).Take a look at this gallery to see what I’m talking about:

I have many other snowy pictures from yesterday and today, but that’s all I have time to post today. I will close with Frost’s eloquent words, which are true for me this afternoon:

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

The snow may (or may not) be here tomorrow. Please come back for another walk along the trail, and we will find out!

Thanks for joining me on the snowy trail today!
Trail Walker

Snow Day!

Today we had a Snow Day…a day when snow fell fast and heavy overnight, making for slick roads and dangerous driving in the morning. Last winter we had quite a few days like this along with single digit temperatures. This year we’ve seen very little snow, no snow days and only a few days with wind chills hovering around zero. What a difference a year makes! Because we are located on the south shore of Lake Erie, our weather can be variable and quite fickle. Today’s Snow Day was an extra holiday for all the school kids, so the park was full of kids, parents, dogs, sleds, and a few photographers. I spent three hours walking the trails in Chagrin River Park and captured lots of pictures, so I have chosen a few to post today.

That’s all I have time for right now, but there will be more to share later in the week.

Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
Trail Walker

I’M HERE AGAIN…

I came back to post the rest of the pictures from yesterday’s trail walk. I hope you’re ready to see more deer, some new HAWK pictures, and a few more birds.

First I encountered these two does. These two spotted me as soon as I started down the trail. Convinced I was carrying food for them, they walked toward me, then when I passed them, they turned around and followed me. They walked in my footprints (literally) for quite a distance. It’s an eerie feeling playing pied piper to a pair of deer. Several times I stopped, faced them, waved my arms and said “Shoo. I don’t have any food for you.” (I would be willing to give them some corn or apples, but it is against the rules of our metropark).

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I finally discouraged them, and they wandered off the trail into the woods, as I headed on down the trail, where I found some little birds that were delighted when I put down some bark butter bits on a fence post.

The red-bellied woodpeckers always bring a smile to my face. They seem so surprised and happy when I take their picture, although, truthfully, I am the one who is surprised and happy when they fly in to pose for me, and I can’t resist multiple pictures of the RBW. It is such a beautiful bird. Today’s RBW was a male wearing a lovely red cap.

By this time, I was beginning to feel more than a little chilled. I was ready to head back to my car when more deer caught sight of me and plodded in my direction. And not just the two original deer. They brought friends. I stood back, watched, and clicked my camera shutter as they enjoyed a little feast.

 

Now I was really ready to return to my car and turn on the heater. “Okay, ladies,” I said to the little herd, “I’ve had enough. I’m heading for home,” and I turned and trudged back to the parking lot where I climbed into my car and was just about to switch on the engine (and the heater) when… WHOA! Was that a HAWK that just flew past my windshield? Grabbing my camera, I climbed out of the car and followed the big bird. At this point I was joined by my friend Kathy, another photographer, and we trailed him as he swooped from tree to tree, on the hunt for something to fill his belly. He’s a very large bird. I can only wonder how many little critters he captures each day. On other occasions, I’ve watched him feast on a FIELD MOUSE and a SNAKE. Today, feeling frozen, I left him to the hunt and headed for home, so I didn’t see the outcome of his efforts. I’m sure he must have a huge appetite, as it would take a lot of food to satisfy such a large bird.

That’s it for this very cold trail walk in Chagrin River Park. I hope you enjoyed sharing the experience with me. Come again soon. You never know what we might see along the trail.

Trail Walker

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