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 autumn, Holden Arboretum, My photowalks, nature, Ohio, photography, trees

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

Posted in autumn, Holden Arboretum, My photowalks, nature, Ohio, photography, trees

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

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

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.

Posted in autumn, Holden Arboretum, nature, photography, trees

Take a hike!

Pack up the camera, put a leash on the dog, pick up the grandchildren and head to the Holden Arboretum for a hike. That’s what we did on this gorgeous Sunday afternoon. Once we reached the arboretum, we took the trail that leads, via the Molly Offutt Memorial Boardwalk, into the Pierson Creek valley. It would be a beautiful trail to follow at any time of year, but the fall colors made it special today.

Head of the trail

My companions on the hike

I didn’t count the stairs we descended to reach the valley floor; there were a lot, but the scenery made every step worthwhile.
Down in the valley

A carpet of fallen leaves

Reminder to be a responsible hiker

All the comforts of home!

At one point, the boardwalk projected over Pierson Creek and provided a great view upstream where a fallen tree trunk became an irresistible temptation for intrepid hikers…although not the one with the camera nor the one with the dog.
The "bridge"

One hiker braves the bridge!

The second hiker steps out.

We made it!

Time to head home! That means clambering up the stairs and heading back down the trail to the parking lot.
A long way up

The hike is over for this time, but it was great fun, something to store in the memory bank for future withdrawals. If you ever chance to be in northeast Ohio, look up the Holden Arboretum. It’s worth a visit.

Posted in autumn, nature, photography, trees

Senior citizen


Walking the trail in a new park today, we passed this old tree trunk.The land that is now a park was once used for farming, and many of the trees have grown up since the farmers moved away; however, this “senior citizen” has been around for a long time. It may have seen better days, but it definitely has character.