Two of our grandchildren, Michael and Emmy, siblings as Emmy described them today, are home from college for the holiday weekend. After our family Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, I asked if they would be interested in visiting the Arboretum today for a little photoshoot. They agreed, so off we went this afternoon.
My goal was to replicate a photo I had taken of them fourteen plus years ago when their mother and I took them to the Arboretum. That beautiful spring day in 2002 they were about four and five years old and the weather was perfect for playing around Blueberry Pond. Today’s weather was drizzly and only a couple degrees above 40, but we proceeded with our plan anyway, and we had a lot of fun. Here are the pictures:
Michael, Emmy, and me in 2002
Michael and Emmy today
If the ground hadn’t been so soggy today, I was thinking of taking their picture on the little footbridge at the bottom of the hill. When I got home this evening and started digging through my old picture files, I wished I had gone through with the plan, despite the mud and slippery leaves, because…
Here are Michael and Emmy on the footbridge in 2002
And here they are today overlooking the Butterfly Garden
I can’t believe it has been over 14 years since that May day in 2002. Time flies by way too quickly; places change and people change also, especially children. Blink your eyes, turn around once or twice, and they are no longer little children. This is why I enjoy photography so much and treasure the pictures I have collected over the years. On this post-Thanksgiving day, they, the children and the pictures, mean the world to me.
Thanks, Michael and Emmy, for visiting the Arboretum with me today. It was cold and a little wet, but I had a wonderful time! -Grandma
And thanks, blog friends, for coming along!
P.S. I’m thinking I see a future series of blog posts. All I have to do is get the other grandchildren back to Ohio and take them to the Arboretum for a photoshoot. That might take a while, but I’ll file it in the back of my mind and maybe someday it will happen.
For the past few months I have been hard at work organizing the 50,000+ photos I have accumulated on my computer’s hard drives. I have categorized, keyworded, labeled, and even deleted photos in my effort to gain control over what had become a massive mess. For some photographers, 50 thousand photos wouldn’t make a dent in their collection, but for someone like me, someone who had no logical method for organizing my files as they continued to accumulate, 50 thousand is a lot!
I primarily use Adobe Lightroom to import and optimize my pictures, but although Lightroom has a great system for organizing photos, even 50 thousand or many more, I had no conception of how to use it to my advantage. Then one day, a few months ago, I signed up for several online workshops by Ben Willmore. Since the day I began taking Ben’s workshops, I have had multiple “eureka moments”and now, finally, I am on the way to being in control of my massive mess of picture files. Bit by bit, I am getting them categorized, labeled, keyworded, and (dare I say) ORGANIZED. I don’t have total control yet, but I’ve taken control (thanks to Ben) and I’m gradually getting there.
Then today I went out with my camera and took a bunch of pictures, in a bunch of different places, for a bunch of different reasons. I came home, downloaded them to my computer, and began to wonder about the best way to organize them. I needed to keep track of them and know exactly where they resided on my hard drive, so I can find them when I’m ready to share them on my Blipfoto journal, this Trailwalking blog, or even just to email them to family and friends. And hallelujah, I figured it out! So tonight I am celebrating, and I just had to tell someone, so I chose to tell you. If you’re not interested, if you could care less, that’s okay. You can just ignore the last three paragraphs. But before you check out, please take a look at these miscellaneous moments I captured with my camera today.
The day started with our usual Saturday visit to the Willoughby Outdoor Market. To my delight, I heard music and discovered two young musicians had taken a space at the market and brought their instruments (and their mothers) because they wanted to raise money for their friend Marik, who is undergoing cancer treatment. I was impressed by these ninth graders, both by their talent and their initiative to step up, organize, and implement such a special fund raiser for their friend. They are generous spirits, and I believe Marik must be also.
Next I ran into our old neighbors Harold and his daughter Sandy, who used to babysit with our daughters many years ago. One of my favorite things about the Outdoor Market is running into people I haven’t seen for a while, and stopping for a conversation, which is what Sandy and I did. As we were talking, Harold kept on walking past other vendors, so I said, “How old is your father, Sandy?” It turns out he is 97, and Sandy had to keep moving to catch up with him! I took the opportunity to snap their picture.
I also ran into our friends Ruth and Mike Lovett. Ruth was eating a scone that she said was delicious, so I made sure Bob and I bought a few before we left the market.
After the market, Bob and I drove out to Patterson Fruit Farm. It was getting near noon, and I hatched the idea that a warm apple dumpling would make a great lunch. Patterson’s makes great apple dumplings, and just thinking about them was making me hungry. However, when we arrived at Patterson’s, we discovered a fall festival in full swing. The fruit farm had been overrun by families of all sizes and they appeared to be having a great time. The lines were long, the kind that wind out the door and down the path. Bob took one look and said, “We can come back Monday,” and I agreed. So we came home without our apple dumplings, but fortunately, we had those scones, and they were delicious too!
After taking a few pictures of the festivities, as well as several landscapes, we headed for home.
So that’s it for the visit to Patterson’s, but I’m looking forward to a return visit for those apple dumplings. It’s time for lunch, so we should head for home, but if you have a few extra minutes before we sign off, why don’t you go back and look at my last several blog posts. I’ve labeled them “Color Me Autumn,” because they are all about the beauty of Autumn as I’ve photographed it in my walks along trails in Chagrin River Park, Holden Arboretum, and on the beach at Headlands Nature Preserve. They start here at Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve.
Thanks for joining me for today’s “Miscellaneous Moments.”
See you soon for more Color Me Autumn trail walks.
When I was in my teens (many, many years ago), my mother tried to encourage me to take an interest in gardening. She was a gifted gardener and spent hours each day on her knees, cultivating her flowers, and probably even communing with them. I suspect she was hoping the pleasure she found in gardening would rub off on me and maybe, just maybe, I would become a gardener too. However, as I wrote in one of my recent posts, I (unfortunately) did not become a gardener. Instead, when I retired from teaching and had some extra hours to pursue a hobby, I took up photography. While I appreciate the vibrant colors of flowers and the beauty of birds and butterflies, I find my joy in walking the trails of local parks and the streets of my community with my camera over my shoulder and, after I return home, keeping a blog about the things I’ve “seen along the trail.”
Regular visits to the blogs of other photographers also provide inspiration for my growth as a photographer. In my last post, I mentioned that I have been inspired in recent months by Weekly Fifty, a blog by Simon Ringsmuth, an educational technology specialist at Oklahoma State University, and a blogger who writes a weekly post based on pictures taken with his 50mm lens. Some of his posts have focused (no pun intended) on the combination of the “nifty-fifty” lens and a set of close up filters. I don’t own a good quality macro lens, but I do own two sets of close up filters, one for my 50mm lens and one for my zoom lens. Reading his weekly columns has inspired me to consider a project with my close up filters and “nifty-fifty” lens.
I have enjoyed photographing birds for many years, but for this project I turned to flowers, and my first step was to find some flowers I could “borrow.” My son-in-law, Mike, is a gifted gardener, so recently I visited his garden for my first set of close ups. Here are a few of Mike’s flowers:
That was so much fun, I wanted to try some more close ups, so yesterday, even though the weather was steamy and threatening rain (It actually did rain for a few minutes, forcing me to find shelter), I went with Bob to change the sign in front of our church, something he does each week. While he changed the sign, I took a short, slow trail walk (actually more of a wander) down the sidewalk along the street next to the church where every summer another gifted gardener creates a flower garden that many of us admire.
Despite the occasional raindrops, there were butterflies, bees, and an unidentified insect enjoying these flowers:
Although the flowers are perfect, even the few that are past their prime, I know the photos could be improved. The focus of a few of them is anything but “tack sharp”, and the bees wouldn’t hold still for their photo opp, but I had fun experimenting with the filters. Every time I go out with my camera, I learn something new. This was no exception, and in a day or two, I will hit the trail again, enjoying the beauty of God’s creation and hoping to bring home some images to share on my blog. Thanks for joining me along the trail today. I hope you will take a few minutes to click on the link to Simon’s blog. Maybe it will inspire you too.
Hello friends. Several years ago, I created this blog by combining three of my favorite activities…
I named it Seen Along the Trail because most of the posts will be about the sights I see and the people I meet on my trail walks in local parks. If you enjoy the outdoors as much as I do, I hope you will follow my blog and become a trail walker too. I will add new posts on Tuesday, Thursday, and at least once on the weekend. Please leave comments or “like” the posts you enjoy, so I will know you have been walking the trails with me. I’m looking forward to your visits!
A little more info…
I sign my blog posts “Trail Walker,” but my friends call me Carolyn or Skip. I hope you will too. If you want to know more, you can read my full profile here.
I took the picture at the top of this page along the trail in Chagrin River Park on July 5, 2016.
I love visitors, especially when they leave comments on my blog. 😊
To see my recent posts, please keep scrolling down!
Thanks for visiting my blog! I hope you will come back soon.
My project for this week is assembling a portfolio of my winter trail walks . Although I take regular walks in Chagrin River Park which is only five minutes from my home, another of my favorite places to walk is Holden Arboretum. If you follow my blog regularly, you have seen many pictures from my walks along the Arboretum’s trails. Today’s post is a compilation of my personal favorites from the last three months of trail walks in the Arboretum. It is a special place, and we are blessed to have it so close to home…not quite as close as Chagrin River Park, but only about 20 minutes from home to the entrance. So put on your boots and let’s head down the trail for a snowy walk!
As we continue to ease eagerly into spring, I hope you enjoyed today’s wintery trail walk.
Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
You can find other F.F.F. blog posts here and my original gallery here.
I never know what I’ll see or who I’ll meet when I set out on a trail walk with my camera. I don’t actually plan these blog posts, they’re usually just centered around the things I see and the people I meet along the trail. While most of the posts in my blog are nature-related (you’ll see a lot of birds), I also like to post other subjects. If you have been following my blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed that one of my favorite subjects is taking informal portraits of people I meet in the park. When I first started trail walking (after I retired from teaching writing to middle school students), my main goal was to improve my photography by taking pictures of birds, deer, and landscapes. Simple things like that. I rarely engaged in conversation with strangers along the trail. Then, about three years ago, I had an epiphany. Chagrin River Park, the most popular park in Lake County, is filled with people (and their dogs), and because I was blindly walking past those people, never thinking to lift my camera to ask if I could take their pictures, I was missing out on some wonderful photo opps.
That was the beginning of a project I call Fabulous Friday Faces. The picture at the top of this post is the most recent addition to my F.F.F. gallery. When I stopped to say hello, the three fishermen pictured, Bill, Ken, and Tom, told me that they are from the Cincinnati area and had spent the last three days fishing different rivers in northeast Ohio. I’m not sure how many fish they caught in those three days, but I’m pretty sure they had a great time. Their question to me was, “Where is a good place to get lunch (and a beer) in Willoughby?” Later in the day, when I was walking in the park with my husband and springer spaniel Gulliver, they were just packing up for the day and planning to head back to Cincinnati on Saturday morning.
A few minutes later, as I followed another man along the narrow trail, a young (and reckless) bike rider flew past. If either of us had stepped an inch or two to the left, things might have gotten messy. I think I am an easy-going person, but one of my pet peeves is bike riders and runners who come up from behind without giving any warning of their approach. I don’t appreciate being surprised like that. The bike rider flew on down the trail, while the other walker and I paused to reflect on our close call. I learned that his name is Dan Just, and he was out for the exercise.
We agreed that a pleasant walk in the park shouldn’t include the prospect of broken limbs or bloody bodies. Nevertheless, today’s encounter turned out to be a blessing for me. Not being one to pass up an opportunity to add another face to my Fabulous Friday Faces gallery I also asked this stranger if I could take his picture. Two pictures, four new faces for my gallery. I was having a good day!
As I have written on previous blog posts, creating the F.F.F. gallery was a turning point in my hobby as a photographer. Since then I have met many interesting people along the trail. I am no longer driven to “find a new face” every week, but when I meet someone new along the trail, I take that as an opportunity to say hello and ask them for a photo opp. I never know who I might encounter along the trail, but I’ve met many interesting people and have even made new friends that I see time and again along the trail. Asking strangers for a photo opp has definitely enriched my trail walks. Thanks to Dan, Bill, Ken, and Tom for enriching my trail walk today.
(Note: If you have been featured as a F.F.F. and would like a copy of your picture to print, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
See you soon for more tales from the trail.
On a recent walk along the trail, I captured two new faces for my Fabulous Friday Faces gallery (Click the link to learn more about my F.F.F. Gallery).
I ran into both Ron, and later Lynn, while I was standing near the split rail fence where I had stopped to photograph some birds on that snowy morning. It’s always a pleasure to encounter new people on the trail, and it’s even better if they are willing to pose for my Fabulous Friday Faces. When I first started taking pictures in the park, I rarely took pictures of people and definitely not pictures of people I had never met. I wouldn’t say I was shy, but I wasn’t confident about my portrait-taking skills, and the idea of being rejected when I asked someone to pose made me reluctant to approach a stranger and ask for a photo opp. Each time I decided to try, I had to take a deep breath and give myself a pep talk (along the line of “Carolyn, you are able to do this,”) as I headed in their direction, camera in hand.
My attitude about photographing strangers changed a few years ago when I discovered another photographer, living in Scotland, who had started to photograph one stranger every day on the streets of his city. To this day, he is still posting them, and his gallery of photos is beyond amazing (See them here). At that point, I decided if he could post a stranger’s face every single day, I could post at least one a week, so I started. To be honest, I haven’t been faithful about getting one every single week, and some weeks I post two, but every Fabulous Friday Face I have added to my gallery has help me advance as a photographer. Granted, I am only an enthusiastic, amateur photographer, not a well-trained professional toting a serious looking full-frame camera and a tripod, but I get out with my camera in all seasons; I constantly try to learn new photography and photo processing skills; and I challenge myself to improve, instead of settling for the status quo. I’m happy with that, and I think it’s a good (and healthy) place to be.
As I have written elsewhere in my blog, taking that first step, asking a stranger to pose for my camera, was both scary and life changing. It was a giant step, but one that has challenged me to become a different person, and, I think, a better photographer. When I first started, I was galaxies away from my comfort zone every time I approached a stranger to ask them to pose for my Fabulous Friday Faces Gallery. I am no longer reluctant to ask. What can they say other than “yes” or “no”? In all this time I have only had one or two who refused to pose, and I have met many delightful people. My Friday Faces Gallery is a simple concept, but it has turned each walk along the trail into an adventure; taught me new skills; helped me become more outgoing; and proved that you can “teach an old dog new tricks.” I encourage other photographers to give it a go.
Thanks for visiting my blog today. I hope you will return for more photo walks along the trail and more Fabulous Friday Faces.
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.
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.
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!
A new feature on my blog, the Photo Almanac (originally titled The Week in Review), will appear every week to highlight some of my favorite photos from the previous seven days. While many of them will have already been included in other posts throughout the week, some will make their first appearance in the weekly Almanac. This week I have categorized the selected photos and posted them in three separate galleries. You can click on any picture to open and scroll through the gallery.
Gallery one: Wildlife
As you know if you have been following my blog, I love being outdoors, and trail walking is one of my favorite activities. It is on the trails in local park that I usually take most of my photos. This week, after experiencing Northeast Ohio’s warmest December on record, things began to cool down. In midweek we had a few very pleasant days with temperatures in the forties and low fifties, but by the end of the week, they continued to drop. Happily (from my point of view) there was little snow or rain and not a lot of windy days either, so I headed out on the trails almost every day. My most exciting day on the trails this week involved a confrontation between a red-shouldered hawk and a hapless field mouse, but other critters made an appearance too. All the photos in this gallery were taken on trail walks in Chagrin River Park.
When colder weather came, the chickadees came looking for handouts.
And the deer came closer to the trails.
The lady cardinal showed off her colors.
This red-bellied woodpecker is arguably my favorite bird.
Tufted titmice are loaded with personality.
The doe and I had a staring contest, but I just wanted a good picture.
The white breasted nuthatch favored a LARGE peanut.
My most exciting capture of the week…
…was this red-shouldered hawk.
…And the hawk captured a field mouse for his lunch.
Gallery two: Landscapes
Although Chagrin River Park is my most frequently visited place for trail walking, Holden Arboretum is another favorite. At Chagrin River opportunities to observe and interact with birds and other wildlife are plentiful, while at the Arboretum there are seemingly endless trails and gardens, each with its own special beauty. I try to visit Holden at least once a week, and this week I was lucky to be able to enjoy it with my grandson Michael. Here are a few pictures from our visit on Thursday.
View from the other side of the pond
Michael standing in the entrance to the wildflower garden
Trail through the wildflower garden
The rhododendron garden will look very different in June.
Love that sky over Blueberry Pond.
The willow tree in Lotus Pond is one of my favorites.
A brief pause before heading down the trail
By Blueberry Pond
Another view of Blueberry Pond
Gallery Three: Fabulous Friday Faces
In December 2013, I screwed up my courage and began asking many of the strangers I encounter on the trails if I could take their picture for a special feature on my blog called Fabulous Friday Faces. Prior to that time, when I saw people I didn’t know, I would pass by with little more than a smile and a nod or brief “hello.” I was essentially a solitary walker and happy to be that way. I’m not sure what triggered my decision to change, but, however it happened, I began to pause, engage strangers in conversation, and ask them to pose for photo opps. It was difficult at first, but has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made as a photographer. I’m sure it’s not for everyone, but I have come to enjoy these brief encounters immensely. Of all the new people I have encountered, only one has refused the request to pose for my camera. Over time, I have learned a lot, met many fantastic people, and become much more connected with the world around me when I am on the trail. I keep an ongoing gallery of Fabulous Friday Faces and an explanation of the process here on my Smugmug site if you want to know more. Here are two new FF Faces that I added during my trail walks this week followed by a new photo of one of my earlier Fabulous Faces. One of the benefits of the FFF is the number of friends I’ve made. I repeatedly meet some of them in the park, and it’s always a great feeling to see them.
That’s it for this week’s edition of the Photo Almanac. If you have enjoyed this new feature, I would love to hear your comments.
I was nearing the end of an afternoon trail walk in Chagrin River Park. More than happy with the images I had collected on my memory card, I was ready to head for home when a large hawk, perched on a fence post just off the trail, caught my attention.
It must be a decoy, I thought to myself. I had heard other people talking about the hawk they had seen along the trail, but I hadn’t been lucky enough to spot him, so I didn’t believe my eyes until his head moved, and I realized it really was a hawk, a very large one! Lifting my camera, I began shooting frame after frame, while any minute expecting him to fly away.
Instead, he spread his wings, rose a few feet into the air and plummeted into the gully next to the post where he had been perched.
After a short skirmish, with a small field mouse gripped tightly in his talons, he returned to his perch to enjoy his lunch.
If your sympathy lies with the little mouse, you will probably agree that nature isn’t always pretty because the field mouse didn’t have any hope of surviving his encounter with the redtailed hawk. The hawk, on the other hand, was happy to capture a meal and survive for another day of hunting.
That’s it for today. Although I actually have more pictures of this encounter, I decided not to post the most graphic parts of the sequence.
I’ll be back soon with another post, one that I promise will be more cheerful! I hope you will join me then.