Photo Almanac: January 1-8, 2016

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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Bill Arotin, Chagrin River Park
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Tom Dodge, Chagrin River Park
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Joe Morandini, Chagrin River Park

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.

Thanks for visiting!
Trail Walker

Another Fabulous Friday Face

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Kym with Piper

Last week I ran into Kym and Piper along the trail in Chagrin River Park. We chatted a little bit, that is Kym and I chatted while Piper kept an eye out for other dogs and observed the activity around us. After a few minutes, Kym and I realized that we had met before. I had taken her picture at the Arts Festival in our community way back in July when she was modeling the hats she creates and sells. (You can see the picture here). Most of the FFF (Fabulous Friday Faces) I post are people I have never met before, but occasionally there is an exception. Kym and Piper were both so photogenic, I decided that they should be added to my FFF gallery together (See the gallery here).

I love dogs and often take pictures of people and their dogs in the park, so here are two more pictures of Piper. He wasn’t enthusiastic about posing for his portrait, but I’m happy with the results. Maybe I should start carrying treats to reward my canine models. 😉

Thank you, Kym and Piper for posing, and thanks to everyone else for joining us along the trail today.

See you soon!
Trail Walker

Fabulous Friday Faces: October 15, 2015

Dorothy
Dorothy

Today’s Fabulous Friday Face is Dorothy, a delightful woman I ran into at Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve yesterday, which makes this post a companion piece to yesterday’s trail walk in Headlands Dunes. It is also the newest addition to my feature known as Fabulous Friday Faces. There weren’t many people in the Dunes area yesterday, but as I was walking back from the beach, I saw Dorothy, who, I learned, lives in a condo not too far from my home. Thanks, Dorothy, for saying “yes” to my request. By pausing for the photo opp and a little conversation, you added an unexpected and delightful dimension to my day.

For people who are new to my blog, Fabulous Friday Faces (FFF) may need a little explanation. I started this feature in December 2013 as a way to connect with the people I encounter along the trail. Since then, it has been more fun than I ever would have expected, and it has also been a valuable learning experience. By stepping way out of my comfort zone and initiating interactions with strangers, I have experienced the joy of interesting conversations with people I would have once simply passed by with little more than a word of “hello” or a friendly smile. It is a project that greatly enriches my life and one that I would encourage other trail walking photographers to consider doing.

You can see photos of more Fabulous Friday Faces, as well as a more detailed explanation of the project and a few rules for anyone who might want to start a similar FFF project, HERE, in my SmugMug gallery.  Unfortunately, I have not been completely consistent about posting the F.F. Faces. Some are posted here on my blog. You can find them by clicking on the link in my menu. Others are posted in my SmugMug gallery. That is one lesson I learned that I want to pass on to anyone who might be interested in the project: Decide where you are going to post your collection of faces because you will want an easy way to keep track of it as it grows.

‘Nuff said for today, I think.  As I’ve said before… At its best, blogging is interactive. Most bloggers post photos and commentary to share with the blogging community with the hope of initiating a little dialogue with other people. Blogging is not meant to be a monologue. That’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to it. Feel free to share your opinions in the comments.

Thanks for joining me on the trail today. I hope you enjoyed our time together.

Trail Walker

We recently had a family gathering where these three siblings were all present.
Because that rarely happens, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take this family photo.

Laura with her brothers, Joe and Bob
Laura with her brothers, Joe and Bob

“I don’t believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers. It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at.” … Maya Angelou

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