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.

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

Saturday is spelled e-r-r-a-n-d-s!

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Apple tree laden with ripe fruit

The thought of Saturday errands probably has a familiar ring to anyone who works from 9-5 or even longer on Monday through Friday. That’s not the case for me because I retired from the work-a-day world many years ago; however, habits die hard, and it seems like Bob and I often find ourselves out and about running errands on Saturday mornings. This being Saturday, we were occupied with e-r-r-a-n-d-s.

  • First we went to Wild Birds Unlimited to pick up “no mess seed” for the bird buffet in our back yard.
  • Next stop was Lowes to get supplies for one of Bob’s projects.
  • We went to the Willoughby outdoor market to stock up on produce.
  • Our next stop was Patterson’s Fruit Farm where we picked up pears, apple butter, and apple dumplings. 😋
  • We visited Sage’s Fruit Farm to get peaches because nobody else had them (This was a good year for apples but a bad year for peaches in northeast Ohio).
  • …and our last errand was to our daughter’s house to give the dogs a run in the back yard because Mike and Alison were gone all day.

When we finally pulled into our driveway several hours later, it was past time for lunch, so I warmed up an apple dumpling. Can’t tell you how good that tasted!

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Here’s Mabel, sitting in the sun.
So that was Saturday,
and it was a beautiful day everywhere we went!
See you soon! 
Trail Walker
(Although there really wasn’t much trail walking  done today.)

Maria’s Field of Hope

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2016_09_13_road-trips_sunflowers_0054The Prayers from Maria Foundation first planted the Sunflower field in 2014 to gracefully draw attention to the lack of funding for childhood cancer. The field was inspired by the memory and spirit of Maria McNamara, planted as a way to love and honor the courageous children who are battling cancer and those we have lost.

This is Maria’s Field of Hope

I am not actively involved with the non-profit organization Prayers from Maria – Children’s Glioma Cancer Foundation, but I was inspired by the beauty of Maria’s Field of Hope to post these pictures in the hope that anyone who sees them will say a prayer for Maria and for all the children who are battling cancer and for the families of the children who have lost their lives to childhood cancer of any kind. This is just my way of “planting a seed.” If you would consider becoming involved with the Foundation or would like to make a contribution, click here to visit their website.

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Thank you for visiting my blog today.
Trail Walker

Helplessness is…

…Seeing an injured doe struggling to walk across the meadow…

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…and knowing there’s nothing I can do to help her.

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For the record
  • Weather: The air was cool, but the evening light was soft and lovely.
  • Exercise: I walked 1.7 miles, but forgot to record my steps. Whoops!

Thanks for stopping by. Carolyn aka Skip

A new resident of the bog

Much to my delight I saw the little red squirrel again today and in the exact same area where I spotted her a couple of weeks ago. Although I could easily be wrong, I am thinking it may be a momma-to-be squirrel. I really have no solid evidence to support that conclusion, but her behaviors seem to suggest that she is going to call the bog her home for the summer at least. I hope she stays. It would be fun to have a family of red squirrels to watch. They are much smaller and cuter than our resident grey squirrels, (but don’t tells the greys I said that). To show you what I mean by cute, here are a few images of her antics today: (Click to enlarge them.)

For the record
  • The weather for most of today was grey and gloomy and the high temperature was only 51 degrees. For that reason I didn’t go out until late when the sun finally showed up…She (Merry Sunshine) only played a bit part today…sort of a cameo appearance.
  • Getting fit didn’t happen today either as I only walked 2632 steps on my abbreviated visit to the park.
  • Have I mentioned how tired I am of “grey and gloomy”? Honestly? If you have any sun to share, please send it this way. I would welcome it.

That’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Carolyn aka Skip

PS: if you are a dog lover and missed yesterday’s daffy-nition post, please take a look.

An hour well spent



Squeezed between lunch with a good friend and some necessary household chores, I found an hour to walk in the Holden Arboretum. Hat and glove weather has arrived, but it is still wonderful to spend time outside. Take a look at these pictures, and you will agree that winter is almost upon us, even if the calendar claims it is still a month away. In my opinion, the calendar is a very unreliable judge of the seasons. Winter weather always arrives way ahead of the December date that marks it on the calendar, and spring never arrives when the calendar says it will. Here in northeast Ohio, spring is reliably late. Every April, when the wet, grey weather persists well past the time I am ready for sunshine and warmth, I play with the idea of moving to a warmer climate, but, to be truthful, I love the contrast of our four seasons. Each one has a beauty of its own. Here is some more beauty I enjoyed in the Arboretum today.

(Click on any picture to bring up the carousel with larger images.)


Thanks for visiting my corner of Ohio today, I hope you enjoyed the scenery.

Carolyn aka Skip

It’s not a rainy day…

just a very cloudy one. It’s not even very cold (48 degrees), considering this is mid-November and we are in northeast Ohio. If I weren’t a nature photographer…I would stay inside today, curled up on the sofa….If I weren’t a nature photographer, determined to get outside with my camera every day, I would stay inside today, curled up on the sofa with a cup of cocoa and a good book. I am retired after all, so I don’t have to go anywhere.
That’s what runs through my mind on a grey day like today; then I remember that I have challenged myself to become a better photographer, and I remember other grey and even rainy days, and how much better the world looked once I went outside, instead of hanging around inside looking out. So I grab my camera and my jacket, and off I go to the Arboretum. Come along and see the sights. I would enjoy your company.

First stop: Visitor’s Center and picnic shelter-I wandered from the Visitor’s Center through the picnic area, taking a few pictures along the way:
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Then I took the staircase, leading into the valley, where I snapped a few more pictures before heading back up the hill to Blueberry Pond, where some Canada Geese were enjoying a family swim on the still waters.
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Detouring through the wildflower garden, I headed toward Lotus Pond. Although there aren’t any wildflowers blooming during this time of year, it is a peaceful place with interesting sights to see. I especially like the boulders that frame the exit from the garden. In warmer weather, there are always chipmunks scampering over the rocks, but not today. They must be hibernating by this time.
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Since I only have time for a short walk today, it is time to head around Lotus Pond and back to the parking lot…stopping for a few photo opps along the way.
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So there you have it: my photo walk for Wednesday. Despite the lack of sunshine, I enjoyed the trek and capturing my “daily dozen” photo opps wasn’t a problem. Thanks for joining me on the trail through the Arboretum today. I enjoyed sharing it with you.

Carolyn aka Skip

Framed!


Hello! Today has been a busy day, and now it is late, so I am off to bed and hopefully a good night’s sleep. I’ll be back tomorrow with more pictures to share.

Seeking beauty

tree dressed for winter
As I started down the trail, I wondered where I would find beauty on a rainy day walk in the woods. I didn’t expect the kind of technicolor beauty that would hit me in the eyes, like the vibrant colors of October, putting a smile on my face and a song in my heart. Nothing like that could be seen today, as I shielded my camera inside my rain slicker and trudged down the trail.

But I did find beauty….

In the rich hues of rain-soaked autumn leaves, the bare branches of winter-dressed trees, the hollow husks of blossoms gone to seed, the artistry of water drops in a puddle, and the friendly greetings of people I met along the trail.

Walk in the woods on a rain-soaked autumn afternoon, and you will become aware, as I was, of a hidden beauty that you were blind to during the sunny-blue-sky-days of summer.

So ends our rainy day walk in the woods. I’m glad you visited my corner of Ohio today. Please come back soon.

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