Gingkos, baldcypress, and other trees

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Gingko tree on November 16, 2016

With all the wind, rain, and near freezing temperatures we’ve “enjoyed” in the past five days, I wondered what I would find when the sun came out yesterday and I went to Holden Arboretum to walk some of my favorite trails. My first stop was the gingko tree. I had waited for weeks, since Autumn began, for it to make the annual transition from green to golden. Last week before the wind, rain, and even a few snowflakes moved in, I finally saw what I had been waiting for. That’s when I took the picture at the top of this page. Unfortunately, here is what I saw yesterday when I rounded the curve in the trail and stood beneath its branches:

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Gingko tree on November 22, 2016

The weather had taken a sad toll on my beautiful tree, and I will have to wait another year to see it in all its glory. Thanks to this blog, I can see it in living color any time I want to revisit my “Color Me Autumn” blog posts.  😊

After taking several pictures of the gingko ,  I continued along the trail, pausing to take pictures of some of my favorite spots. But before I share the gallery of those photos, I want to show you another unusual tree, the baldcypress tree. It’s the only tree I am aware of that is noted for its knees. That’s right, knees. Take a look at the picture below. Do you see the knees?

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They are those little stubby growths that almost look like large stones on the ground to the left of the two trees. According to Wikipedia…

A cypress knee is a term used in the biology of trees to describe the distinctive structures forming above the roots of a cypress tree of any of various species of the subfamily Taxodioideae. Their function is unknown, but they are generally seen on trees growing in swamps.

Most tree roots are underground, but, in another source I read, the knees of the baldcypress tree are part of the root system that come back to the surface. You can see these trees and their knees in swampy areas where the baldcypress trees grow. Apparently no one is sure of their exact purpose. If you visit Holden Arboretum and want to see them, take the trail around Blueberry Pond and keep your eyes along the edge of the water. That’s where you will find them. Below is another baldcypress, growing at the edge of Blueberry Pond. All baldcypress trees are deciduous conifers that lose their leaves (or needles) in the Fall.

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If you look at the ground beneath the tree, and you will see that it is covered with orange-colored needles. I’m not sure why so many ferns are growing there, but I’m guessing the baldcypress needles have something to do with it. If someone reading this blog has the answer, I hope they will tell us what they know in the comment section. That way I can add it to what I have written here. Obviously my knowledge of these unique trees is limited.

Side note: Someone who has taken more biology classes than I have, called me to explain the reason for the baldcypress knees is that the roots of cypress trees are often (or usually) under water where they can’t get enough of the air they need to survive. For that reason, some roots will protrude out of the soil to get air. The “knees” are those protrusions.

Now let’s take a look at the other photos I captured on today’s trail walk:

That’s it for today’s trail walk.
Thanks for coming along.
Trail Walker
Posted in Color Me Autumn, Holden Arboretum, Memorable Moments, My trail walks

Could we ask for more?

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The day dawned with fog which gradually lifted during the 2 1/2 hours I wandered the trails at Holden Arboretum. After snapping the picture above, I headed down the trail toward the gingko tree.  Eager to find out if it was finally dressed in the rich golden hue I remembered from previous years, I was delighted when I rounded the curve in the trail and saw this:

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and then this:

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…and my heart was filled with joy and gratitude. Could I ask for anything more than what we have already received from this amazing, colorful autumn? But truthfully, there was more, as you can plainly see.

On down the trail from the gingko, I circled Lotus Pond where I captured two more shots of the golden willow to add to the collection I posted last week, showing it from two different sides of the pond.

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The other area I wanted to explore today was the Helen S. Layer Rhododendron Garden. I have posted a few picture from there recently, but today I decided to spend more time in this area because it is quite large and there is so much to see. Walking along the trail into the rhododendron garden, I was confronted with some large earth-moving machines and a crew of workmen. For several years Holden has been engaged in major redevelopment projects that are ongoing, and the constant rumble of the earth-moving machinery, along with the beep-beep-beep warning sounds reminding walkers to take care, are signs that big things are happening!

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Men and machines at work

While all this activity was happening on the right side of the trail, on the left the scene was very different!

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Past the construction zone, the trail winds through the rhododendron and azalea beds, which will be beautiful in June. Although in November little is in bloom, I spotted a trio of wilted rudbeckias, a startling contrast to the vibrant red and orange tones of autumn.

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It’s time to end this post. If you are still with me, thanks for your patience, but I’m getting weary and you may be also.  I did a lot of walking today , followed by several hours at the computer preparing this post, so instead of sharing all the images that I collected today, I will save some for another day, or maybe even two days, making this post part one of another series.

Here are two more autumn images from the rhododendron garden before I wrap up with something that was a happy and totally unexpected surprise.

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Serendipity

As I was leaving the rhododendron garden after taking the picture of that beautiful orange-red tree, I was surprised and delighted to see an Eastern bluebird perched on a limb nearby. So surprised in fact that I couldn’t believe my eyes. Of course I didn’t have the best lens on my camera for catching birds, especially little birds that flit from tree to tree, but I gave it my best shot and managed to get these two pictures:

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Eastern bluebirds aren’t rare in northeast Ohio, but they are migratory birds and many (although not all) of them fly off to a more temperate climate by mid-November. These are the first bluebird pictures I’ve captured this late in the season, so I’m happy to share them with you.

See you soon for another visit to the Arboretum.
Thanks for sharing this walk with me.
Trail Walker
Posted in Fabulous Friday Faces, Friday Faces, Holden Arboretum, My trail walks

I take trail walks because…

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Sheila and John, November 10, 2016
Part three of my three part series from the Holden Arboretum

My top five reasons for trail walking

  • I love to be outdoors, yes, even when it is cold and snowy (Although not so much when the weather turns hot and humid).
  • There are amazing sights to be seen along the trail…and  with so many parks and trails, there are countless places to go and things to see. Every day is different and every trail has unique features waiting to be discovered!
  • Walking the trails and taking pictures are complementary activities that can be done simultaneously, and learning to take better pictures challenges me.
  • We all need exercise, and walking is a great way to get it.

There is one other reason I love trail walking and that is because I meet many interesting people along the trail that I would never get to know otherwise. Sheila and John are a good example. I met Sheila when I walked up the trail into the Rhododendron Garden and found her sitting on a bench, waiting for John to return from his walk around the garden. According to Sheila, he walks too fast for her to keep up, so she finds a good bench and sits down to relax until John finishes his walk. (Obviously John believes in the value of daily exercise). When he returned from his walk,  John found Sheila and me sitting side by side on the bench, having what some of my photography friends from the the British Isles call a good, old chin wag. I was blessed to meet them, and as we all enjoy walking the trails in Holden Arboretum, maybe I will have the good fortune to encounter them again.

I love to take pictures of people I see along the trail. Although I haven’t posted any Fabulous Friday Faces in recent months, I have accumulated a collection of portraits I post here.

Sheila and John’s portrait was not the only picture I took on Thursday. You’ve already seen others in the first and second post of this series from Holden Arboretum, and here are the last pictures from that Thursday trail walk. The trees have lost a lot of their luster, but they are still beautiful. We have enjoyed a fabulous Fall, or to put it another way, an awesome Autumn.

Thanks for joining me in this lengthy trail walk.
That’s it for today. See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in Holden Arboretum, My trail walks, nature photography, trees

Working your subject: a photographic essay

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Part two of a three part series from Holden Arboretum

When I bought my first digital camera and starting shooting pictures, I didn’t have the faintest idea what I was doing. As I look back in my files at pictures I took in those early years, it is painfully obvious I had a lot to learn.  Because I really wanted to improve, I began reading books about photography and spending a lot of time on the websites of photographers I admire. And I learned…a lot!

One valuable piece of advice I heard early on is “work your subject.” Don’t just take the shot that catches your eye and then walk away, thinking you have captured all there is to see and learn about the subject.  Don’t immediately lift your camera to your eye and shoot off a burst of shots.  Unless the subject, whatever it is, will jump up and dash away, slow yourself down. Take time to walk around and view it from different angles. Try to find the best angles and then shoot from several. If possible, revisit the same place on a different day at a different time. If your first photoshoot was in the morning, come back in the evening. And if you are shooting outdoor subjects like landscapes, trees, and wildlife, try returning to the same location at different seasons throughout the year. You’ll be amazed at the results. Today’s blog post is a gallery of pictures I have captured at one location throughout the past year. Taken together, they illustrate the advantage of slowing down and getting to know your subject.

If you follow my blog, you know that Holden Arboretum is one of my favorite places to shoot. On my frequent visits to Holden, I almost always stop to say “hello” to the golden willow tree at Lotus Pond. The size and shape of the tree and its location make it a focal point of the Pond, and it draws people (and geese) to its neighborhood.

You’ve probably heard that one picture is worth a thousand words, so I will stop “talking” so you can scroll through the gallery to see if you think “work your subject” is good advice for a photographer (Click the first picture to begin your stroll around the golden willow tree).

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

Joyce Kilmer, 1913

So there you have it. One tree, rooted in one spot, will have many different moods. Perhaps Joyce Kilmer got it right when he wrote his poem “Trees.” What do you think?

And what do you think about the advice to “work your subject?”
Is it something you already do or will try to do in the future.
Do you have any advice you could give to an aspiring photographer?

Thanks for visiting the golden willow tree with me today.
See you soon.
Posted in Color Me Autumn, Holden Arboretum, My trail walks, nature photography, trees

Trees

Part one of a three-part series from Holden Arboretum
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Gingko tree

When I was a young girl, the home I lived in, the big white house my grandparents built in 1907, was framed by sycamore trees. These trees were one of the dominant features of that property and the focus of many of my lasting memories of those years. Falling out of the tree; swinging on a rope swing; raking huge piles of leaves just so we could jump in them; or sitting at my bedroom window, drawing pencil sketches of the winter skeletons of the tall sycamore trees…These are some of the special images that create the keystone for my childhood memories.

Is it any wonder that Holden Arboretum is one of my favorite go-to places for trail walking? When the sun came out this morning, I took my camera and headed to Holden for a walk along its trails. Two hours later, I returned home  with many digital images on my memory card. I don’t have time or space in this blog post to share them all, so this will be the first of a series of posts based on those pictures. Here are the trees I’ve selected for today’s post:

If you’ve followed along this far, I am guessing trees may also hold a special place in your memory bank. I have to run now. It’s time to prepare supper and go to choir practice, but I hope you will return to check out my next post from the Holden Arboretum.

See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in Color Me Autumn, Holden Arboretum, My trail walks

Autumn is rapidly advancing…

…but there is still wonderful fall color for us to enjoy!
Do you have time for a short trail walk in Holden Arboretum?
It’s an easy one. Just click on one of the pictures and stroll through the photos I captured on my trail walk today. Take a close look at the sugar maple tree and compare it to this one to see how things have changed in the past week.

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Sugar maple at peak colors
Ready to walk? Click on a picture and let’s head down the trail.

There you are! Didn’t I say it would be an easy walk? And still filled with wonderful Autumn hues! I still have one more beauty to share, and it is another of my favorite photo spots in the Arboretum. I haven’t photographed it yet this year, but the time has come…

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I really don’t have an explanation for choosing that little footbridge as a favorite; it just is…plain and simple! I especially love it in Autumn when it’s covered with colorful leaves. I hope you like it too.

That’s it for today.
Thanks for keeping me company on the trail.

Trail Walker
Posted in Color Me Autumn, Holden Arboretum, Moments to remember, My trail walks

Unwrapping gifts

Color Me Autumn…Again and Again!

Today was a perfect day to wander the trails in the Arboretum and marvel at  God’s amazing creation. Each turn in the trail revealed another amazing sight… many multi-colored gifts. Because you weren’t there,  I brought home a few “gifts” to share.

Click on the sugar maple at the top, then imagine you are strolling along the trail as you scroll through the pictures. Enjoy!

 Thanks for taking this trail walk with me!
Trail Walker
Posted in Color Me Autumn, Holden Arboretum, nature photography

Can you believe…

This sugar maple tree at Holden Arboretum is one of my favorite trees. Can you believe how quickly it has changed over the past few weeks?

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Sugar maple tree at Holden Arboretum on October 3, 2016.
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Same sugar maple on October 11th
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Here it was two days ago-October 18, 2016.

 

Here is what it looked like last October.

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Same tree a year ago: October 22, 2015!

If the weather cooperates, I will head out to the Arboretum this weekend and take a picture exactly one year after the one above. Why am I doing this? No scientific reason, but I think it is interesting to compare the seasons, and it looks as if we are pretty much on track to match last year’s seasonal transition….According to the sugar maple tree at least.

Thanks for stopping by today. See you soon.
Trail Walker
Posted in Color Me Autumn, Holden Arboretum, My trail walks, nature photography

Autumn in the Arboretum

“Color Me Autumn”

Autumn is my favorite season and October is my favorite month. Throughout this season, most of my blog posts, as well as my daily posts in my Blipfoto journal, will focus on variations of “Color Me Autumn.”

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The golden willow tree

When I visit the Arboretum, I almost always pass by the Golden Willow next to Lotus Pond, even if only for a brief pause to say hello and take a picture or three. It is such a graceful tree, and I have noticed that many people are drawn to the bench under its weeping branches. Today was no exception.

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When the bench beneath the willow was empty, I walked down the trail and stood near it. Looking across the pond, I could see some children playing in the tree house. It’s a fantastic tree house and very strong. I know that for a fact because when I passed the tree house a few days later  I watched two adults climb up to check out the view (Unfortunately I wasn’t fast enough to get their picture).

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Who can resist a tree house?
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A close look at the tree house

After passing the tree house, I continued along the trail  around Lotus Pond pausing once more to capture a picture of this flower.

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That wasn’t quite the end of the trail walk. Here are a few more pictures I snapped along the trail before it was time to go home for lunch:

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Looking at the frogs on the log in the bog. Can you see them?
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The bog is a great place to take pictures.
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This gingko tree will feature in future posts.

Just past the gingko tree the trail passes the lily pond and curves around a sugar maple, and at that point I left the trail and headed for my car. It was time for lunch. Sorry to say I didn’t pack my lunch today, so it’s time to go home. I’ll be back soon with more pictures of Autumn in the Arboretum.

I hope you can join me again for another walk along the trail.
See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in Holden Arboretum, My trail walks, nature, Northeast Ohio

Do you see it?

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This is my favorite from today’s trail walk.

Do you see the end of summer when you look at the pictures I captured in Holden Arboretum yesterday? The autumnal hues of the vegetation, blooming goldenrod, and  drooping rudbeckias are clear-cut clues that summer will soon be a thing of the past. And to tell the truth, I don’t mind because it is ushering in my favorite season: Autumn! Take a look…

 

Despite my disappointment over the absence of butterflies, my motivation for entering the Butterfly Garden, I couldn’t have been there at a better time. I spent a peaceful half hour wandering the paths, enjoying the scenery, and snapping pictures. Truthfully, I didn’t mind switching to plan B to capture pictures that didn’t involve butterflies and dragonflies.

A variety of bees buzzed from flower to flower, seeking nourishment and, incidentally and even more importantly, pollinating all the plants they visited. They were working so hard, this is the only one that paused long enough for a photo opp.

 

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I’m not the only one attracted by yellow flowers!

 

I stopped to read a clever sign about the importance of “Pollen-Nation”.

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Then at the end of the short trail below the footbridge, I sat down on a bench to capture two pictures, one of the bridge and a second one to include a camera-carrying man who walked across the bridge at just the right moment.

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Footbridge in the Butterfly Garden
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A walker crossing the foot bridge

I also captured several pictures of the fountain in the butterfly garden, each from a slightly different angle…

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Fountain in Butterfly Garden

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Purple flowers

So there you have it, friends. We’re reached the end of this blog post, the last one of summer 2016. I’ve heard it said that, in northeast Ohio, this has been one of the hottest summers in many years, and perhaps it is one of the driest too. I still plan to post a “Summer Summary,” to highlight just a few of my favorite trail walks from this long, hot summer, but aside from that, summer is on the way out and autumn is on the way in. I love autumn, so bring it on! I’m ready!

Please join me as we celebrate the start of a new season.
See you soon, friends.
Trail Walker