Posted in autumn, Color Me Autumn, My trail walks, Northeast Ohio

Covered bridge tour (part two)

A Color Me Autumn blog post

From my point of view, little could be better on a gorgeous Fall day than a tour of Ashtabula County, highlighting several iconic covered bridges. In my previous post, I mentioned the tour I took this week with my friend Lorna who lives in this far northeastern Ohio county, bordered on the east by Pennsylvania and the north by Lake Erie. When I came home at the end of that day, I had neither the time nor the energy to review my entire set of pictures and decide which ones to post, so I promised to do it “tomorrow.” Although it’s actually been two days since the covered bridge tour, and I’m a day late, here are the covered bridge photos I promised, along with classic “Color Me Autumn” scenery from northeast  Ohio.


After breakfast at a friendly family-style restaurant in Geneva, I dropped my car off at Lorna’s house, and she drove us to nearby Doyle Road bridge. My goal for the day was to photograph some different covered bridges and their surroundings. The first bridge was the Doyle Road bridge. Walking through the bridge, I took a picture looking out the window at the creek and then took more pictures of the creek.

The Netcher Road bridge was next on the tour, followed by the bridge on Mechanicsville Road with irresistible autumn scenery along the way.

The last bridge on our tour was the Harpersfield bridge, which I have photographed quite a few times in the past. Today Lorna found a boat ramp we could walk down, so we took our first pictures from beside the river.

Harpersfield bridge
Walking beside the river
Framing the bridge
Bridge from the driver’s point of view
Fisherman approaching the covered bridge

The Harpersfield covered bridge was built in 1868 to span the Grand River, designated a wild and scenic river by the state of Ohio. In 1913 the northern approach to the bridge was washed away in a bad flood. After the flood, they built a 140 foot steel truss section that completed the span. The largest covered bridge in Ohio, it is on the National Register of Historic Places.

At this point we had reached the last bridge on our tour, and it was long past lunch time. As well as being on the map for its many covered bridges, Ashtabula County is a wine-growing region. Many wineries dot the roads throughout the county, but few are open on Monday. We pulled into one that was open, and when we discovered they don’t serve lunch on Monday and Tuesday, we settled for relaxing with a glass of wine on their patio with a view of the vineyards.

This would have been a great way to end our bridge tour, but we had one more stop planned, so we left Ashtabula County and drove to Lake Erie Bluffs, a place I have blogged about in the past, but that Lorna had never visited. The tower is a great place to view Lake Erie and enjoy the Autumn colors.

Fifty foot observation tower at Lake Erie Bluffs
View from the top of the tower

Now we had finally reached the end of our tour…a fun way to spend an Autumn day. Thanks for joining us. I hope you had a good time too.

See you again soon for another “Color Me Autumn” blog post.
Trail Walker
Posted in autumn, My trail walks, nature, photography

O what a beautiful day!

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

Posted in autumn, Holden Arboretum, My trail walks, My trailwalks, nature, Northeast Ohio, photowalking

A sunny walk in the Arboretum

Hello friends. I started today’s walk in the Arboretum with no particular plan other than to wander for awhile and take some pictures. If you want to walk with me, get your jacket on. It’s chilly today. Look how this group of school kids is bundled up in jackets and hats. Still, I imagine that their teachers must feel very lucky to get such a great day for their trip. If you were walking with me I would tell you about a very soggy field trip years ago when I took my class to Chapin Park in an all day downpour. It was a couple of days before my heavy coat dried out after that trip.

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After passing the school group, we would follow this trail, veering off to snap pictures of some cypress knees (I had to get down on my knees in the wet ground to take them).
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I find it difficult to chose a favorite place in Holden Arboretum. My choices are as changeable as the seasons. In early spring  I like to visit the wildflower garden. In June, when rhododendrons and azaleas burst into bloom, a walk in the rhododendron garden is a special treat.  Later in the summer, the butterfly garden becomes my go-to spot, requiring frequent visits to capture pictures of the butterflies and blossoms that make this garden so special. But one place that I enjoy all year round, is Lotus Pond. Frogs, damselflies, and dragons are abundant around the pond, but my main reason for making this a regular stop every time I take a trail walk at the Arboretum, is the beauty of the landscaping around the pond. Here is what you would see today. There is something special about that willow tree. Whatever the season, I am drawn there to add a more pictures to my collection.

Photography isn’t the only reason to visit the Arboretum. You will see lots of people walking their family dog(s) like this dog walker with her two handsome dogs. I couldn’t resist asking for a photo opp.

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Follow me as I wander over to Corning Lake to check out the progress of the restoration in that area. We can see that the new entrance to the rhododendron garden is open, making for easy access from Corning Lake into the rhododendron display. From there, it is an easy walk back the new trail, past Lotus Pond again, and down to Blueberry Pond. Take a look and you’ll see what I mean:

It’s time to head for home, but first let’s take a short detour through the picnic area near the visitors’ center so we can see the scarecrows and the maze set up for the weekend’s Halloween festivities. Maybe we could return then and join in the fun. (Postscript: I didn’t return. It rained BUCKETS that weekend).

After driving out of the Arboretum, if we stop on Sperry Road and look back, we can take one more picture of the Emergent Tower.
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Does that give a different sense of the height of the Tower? It’s one thing to say that it is 12 stories (120 feet) high, but to see it towering over the tallest of trees gives a different perspective.

That’s the end of this trail walk, but you can be sure I will be heading back to the Arboretum soon. I hope you will come along with me the next time too.

Trail Walker

Posted in autumn, My photowalks, My trail walks, My trailwalks, nature

No turning back!


Summer is almost over. Autumn is making its way into northeast Ohio, and there’s no turning back! This rudbeckia is proof-positive of the fact. Sigh!

I snapped this end-of-summer flower in the Butterfly Garden at Holden Arboretum this afternoon.There were no butterflies.

Carolyn aka Skip

Posted in autumn, My photowalks, nature, Ohio, photography

Park Photo Project

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been participating in a photo project originated by another photographer on She was motivated by a book published in the early 80s entitled Blue Moon over Thurman Street, a collections of photos and related poems by Ursula LeGuin and Roger Dorband. As a result of her enthusiasm, many other Blippers* have selected one street in their community as a focus for their journal entries on Blipfoto. Because I rarely do street photography but take photos almost daily on the trails in Chagrin River Park, the park has become the locus for my project. My hope is that anyone viewing my blog will gain an appreciation of this special place. Here are a few of my keepers for today:

* Blippers are photographers who post a picture each day in their journals at

The river is a popular fishing spot when the steelhead are running.
The river is a popular fishing spot when the steelhead are running.This fisherman drove 200 miles for some good fishing, and he was kind enough to take time for a photo opp.

The National Audubon Society has designated the park an "Important Birding Area."
The National Audubon Society has designated the park an “Important Birding Area.”

The chickadees are friendly little birds. They seem to know I carry birdseed in my pocket.
The chickadees are friendly little birds. They seem to know I carry birdseed in my pocket.

The riverbank reclamation project is in full swing! Hopefully it will prevent future erosion.
The riverbank reclamation project is in full swing! Hopefully it will prevent future erosion.

Paul, a retiree, and his dog Murphy are trail monitors for the park district. They put in a lot of volunteer hours walking the parks and helping visitors.
Paul, a retiree, and his dog Murphy are trail monitors for the park district. They put in a lot of volunteer hours walking the parks and helping visitors.

One of the many deer that call the park home
One of the many deer that call the park home

That’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you will come back another day to see more photos from this special park.
Carolyn aka Skip

Posted in autumn, birds, My photowalks, nature, Ohio

Misty Morning

12__2012_CRP_0098Rain fell during the night, but the temperature this morning was a bit warmer and the air was very misty. Despite the less than favorable weather, I headed to the park, leaving my usual lens, the 70-300mm telephoto, at home, and was delighted to discover that my little 50mm lens (nifty-fifty) was more than equal to the dull light. For the past week I have been experimenting with this lens to see what effect it would have on my nature photography. I’ve been in a bit of a rut, photographically speaking, and had come to the conclusion that, after four years of daily blipping, I was losing my photo mojo. My pictures were beginning to all look pretty much the same, and I was dreading the transition from October with its rich and varied landscapes to the dreary, gloomy, grey days of November.

Recently someone on Blipfoto, my photo-a-day website, challenged other photographers, i.e.”blippers”, to create a series of pictures taken on the same street. That wouldn’t work for me because my daily photowalks take me to the park, not down a city street, but (Iwondered) why not take a series of photos on the park trails and post those in my Blipfoto journal? So that is what I have been doing, and I have chosen to use only my nifty-fifty lens for this challenge. At this point, one week into my double-headed challenge, I have a confession to make. The telephoto lens is no longer my favorite lens for my daily photo walks. Not only have I fallen in love with the versatility and sharpness of the nifty-fifty, I am asking Santa for a new lens for Christmas, a 35mm prime lens. And nobody is more surprised by this turn of events than I am!

Below are a few keepers I captured on my misty morning walk in the park, but first, a word about the turkeys. The flock of turkeys that make their home in our neighborhood park (and beyond) has grown quite large over the years. I have no idea how many there are, but today I saw at least 21 of them roaming along the trails. The second time I encountered them they were on the sledding hill, and that’s where I captured the two pictures I included in my collection of keepers for today. They simply reminded me of little kids racing to see which one would be first to reach the bottom of the hill.

Deer playing follow the leader.
Deer playing follow the leader.

Her mother told her to look both ways before crossing!
Her mother told her to look both ways before crossing!

Very young deer
This is a very young deer.

Food fight at the bird buffet
Food fight at the bird buffet

Race you to the bottom of the hill! Last one down is a .....TURKEY!
Race you to the bottom of the hill! Last one down is a …..TURKEY!

This turkey was too dignified to enter the race.
This turkey was too dignified to enter the race.

That’s it for today. Thanks for joining me on the photowalk. I hope you enjoyed the pictures.
Skip aka Carolyn

Posted in autumn, birds, My photowalks, nature, Ohio, photography

Working and playing in the park

I walk in this park almost every day of the week. It conveniently borders our neighborhood, and is wonderfully maintained. It is also designated as an Important Birding Area by Audubon, and park naturalists lead frequent nature walks along the trails. I created this photoblog and titled it “Seen Along the Trail” because I felt the need to do something creative with the (literally) thousands of photos I have taken along these trails over the years. Today’s photowalk focuses (Poor pun, but “What the hey?”) on people who work and play in the park, with a few birds thrown in, because what’s a park without birds? Click on the first picture to bring up the gallery, and enjoy the photowalk.

That’s it for today. See you soon.
Carolyn aka Skip

Posted in autumn, landscapes, My photowalks, nature, Ohio, photography

Color it Autumn

Walk the winding trail or gaze across the landscape, and the dominant colors appear to be shades of brown and grey. These are the colors that define winter here in northeast Ohio (until snow falls). Look a little closer though, and you will discover a richness in Autumn’s color palette, hues you weren’t aware of at first glance.

Here are some of the colors I found along the trail today (Click on the first picture to bring up the gallery).

Postscript: This week I have been experimenting with my 50mm lens on my Nikon, wondering what a difference it will make in the things I notice on my photo walks, and, consequently, will it change (and hopefully improve) my photography? I have already noticed that this lens is faster, sharper, and more fun to use. On the down side, I missed an opportunity to photograph a pileated woodpecker today because my camera wasn’t wearing its 70-300mm lens. Oh well, I guess you can’t get them all!

So far, however, there are definitely more positives than negatives with this experiment. Here are three more pictures I captured today that would have been unlikely with the long lens:


Hungry chickadee
Hungry chickadee

Buddy hoping for a handout
Buddy hoping for a handout

That’s it for today. Thanks for coming down the trail with me.
Carolyn aka Skip

Posted in autumn, birds, landscapes, My photowalks, nature, Ohio, photography, wildlife

Come along…

… with me for a short walk in the woods. Click on the first picture to bring up the gallery and enjoy an autumn morning.

My walk in the park not far from our home is a special hour in my day. Setting out with my camera, hoping to capture a few good pictures, fills me with anticipation. Some days are lean ones, photographically speaking, and some yield a rich return, but when I reach the end of the trail, I always head home refreshed and thankful for this daily gift from God.

Posted in autumn, birds, My photowalks, nature, Ohio, photography, wildlife

Autumn has arrived!

Winter jacket, winter hat, and hand warmers were needed for my walk in the park today. On the plus side, it hasn’t rained all day and the wind has died down to a gentle breeze. Hurricane Sandy, aka the “storm of the century”, has moved out, leaving many people without power for several days and many more with tree limbs and branches littering their lawns. Most people here in northeast Ohio got off light, unlike the storm victims in New York and New Jersey. They need our sympathy and our prayers.

Here are some images from my walk in the park today. Click on one to bring up the slide show.