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 Chagrin River Park, Color Me Autumn, My trail walks

Brrr! I’m not ready for winter!

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Walking the trails in Chagrin River Park

Unwelcome changes are coming…and I’m not referring to politics. There are big changes coming in the House of Representatives, the Senate, and even in the White House, but I don’t plan to delve into that subject here on my blog. This space is primarily devoted to my trail walks and the amazing beauty of God’s creation, and on this morning’s trail walk, despite temps that had dropped into the 40s overnight under overcast skies, I found plenty of beauty to enjoy. That’s what I’m sharing today, and I hope it will bring you joy…today and always.

As the picture at the top of this post indicates, I was walking the trails in Chagrin River Park this morning. Wearing a winter coat and hat and definitely feeling the chill, I still enjoyed an hour on the trail. I saw a large buck stalking a couple of does. They were ignoring him, but sadly one doe had a badly injured leg. It looked broken, and that is something I always hate to see. Nevertheless, it was browsing for breakfast, and the buck left it alone. They were in deep brush, so I couldn’t get pictures, but I watched them for awhile.

The little birds were active…and hungry. These birds, the chickadees, titmice, woodpeckers, and sparrows live here all year round, but during good weather they are more heard than seen. As leaves fall and the branches become bare, they become more visible. I haven’t been taking bird pictures for much of the summer, but the time has come. The downy woodpecker and blue jay escaped without posing today, but here are a few that did pose:

My walk wouldn’t be complete if I couldn’t find a few landscapes to photograph. Although the colors were considerably less vibrant today, they were still beautiful, as you can see in these pictures I snapped.

And finally, here are a couple of deer I did capture with my camera.

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I walked the trail twice before I decided I was ready to go home and make a mug of cocoa. As I said at the top of this post, I’m not ready for winter, but when there’s a chill in the air, I’m always ready for a rich, chocolatey beverage. I make my mother’s recipe for cocoa, using regular Hershey’s cocoa powder, sugar, and milk. It warms me in more ways than one.

Thanks for joining me today.
I hope you enjoyed our trail walk…the first chilly one of the season.
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 Chagrin River Park, Color Me Autumn, My trail walks

Late afternoon trail walk

Another post for my “Color Me Autumn” gallery

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I started down the trail around 4:30 pm, while there was still plenty of light. I caught up with my friend Kathy a short distance down the trail, and we walked together for a little while. That’s when I took the picture at the top of this page. By the time I circled the long trail, dusk had fallen, and the headlights on my car came on as I drove home from the park. Here is another picture from the top of the trail:2016_11_02_places_chagrin-river-park_0008

After Kathy reached her car and we said goodnight, I continued to meander along the trail toward the river, wondering what I would find to add to my Color Me Autumn gallery. My next photo stop was at a deck overlooking the river, a popular access spot for fishermen.  Looking to the right (northwest), I could see, about a mile away, the towers of the Akron-based First Energy plant that stand, tall and imposing, on the Lake Erie shoreline. There is a peregrine falcon nesting box about 300 feet up on one of the stacks that is accessed from a small portal in the concrete and steel-reinforced smoke stack. Since 2005, falcons have nested in the box and hatched chicks each year.

Turning away from the river overlook,  I continued to follow the trail that would eventually circle around and lead me back to my car. The woods along that stretch of the trail were beginning to look “dark and deep” (to plagiarize Robert Frost’s beautiful lines…

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep.

I snapped one more picture along the trail…

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And then, after about 15 minutes of poking along, I reached the top of the hill overlooking the river.

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Viewing the Chagrin River with the sun behind me.

And it was none too soon because when I turned to look back, I could see that the sun was just beginning to slide below the horizon, and I was just in time to capture some images of the beautiful sunset.

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We’ve reached the end of the trail. It has been a great evening for a walk, and I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have. There is still more Autumn color for us to enjoy, so…

See you soon.
Trail Walker

Posted in Canopy Walk, Color Me Autumn, Emergent Tower, My trail walks

Splendiferous

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Trying to think of a good word to describe the view from the top of the Emergent Tower at Holden Arboretum, I’ve settled on splendiferous. I wasn’t actually sure it was a “real” word, so I checked the dictionary and discovered that it means, extraordinarily or showily impressive. Its origin is splendor + i + ferous, and it was first used in 1843. Who knew? I certainly didn’t, but I like it, and it perfectly describes the landscape I could see over the tree tops 120 feet in the air. Even under an overcast sky, the rich Autumn hues were impressive.

I hadn’t intended to climb the tower on this visit. It was Halloween, and I had   only planned a short walk in the Arboretum, but when I drove up to the entrance and read the sign announcing the Tower and Canopy Walk were closing for the season on November 1, I knew I had to climb it again today. That’s why, when the person in the booth asked, “Do you want tickets for the Tower and Canopy Walk,” I responded, “Yes!”  Despite the fact that I had already climbed the Tower eight or nine times this year, I had to climb it again today for one final look over the splendiferous multi-colored tree tops before winter.

That’s the last “top of the tower tour” for this season, but I will still post more sights from Holden Arboretum. It is a fantastic place to experience nature. As you’ve probably guessed if you visit my blog often, it’s one of my favorite places for trail walking.

Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
See you soon.
Trail Walker
Posted in Cleveland Ohio, Color Me Autumn, Northeast Ohio

Script Cleveland

A unique Color Me Autumn photoshoot

Early in the summer of 2016, when Cleveland was preparing to host the Republican National Convention, “script Cleveland” signs were erected at three different locations in the city. This week I finally made it out to one of the locations and captured these two shots of the sign. I don’t know who originated the idea, but I love this one with the city in the background, and it has become a very popular attraction with groups of all sizes clustered around the sign. For this photoshoot,  Bob and I were the only people available for the photograph, which was taken by our grandson Bryan.  As the season will soon come to a close and the vibrant colors will fade,  I was happy to be able to add this to my Color Me Autumn collection.
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That’s all for today. It’s a brief post, but one I am happy to add to my blog. Hope you like it.

See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in celebration, friends, memoir, Memorable Moments

Reconnecting with a friend

A note to my blog friends: I wrote this blog post especially for my friend Dollie. None of my regular readers know Dollie, but if you had a special connection with a friend at sometime in your life, a friend you haven’t seen for many years, my words in this post may resonate with you. If they trigger memories for you, as this experience has done for me, you may even find yourself creating blog posts based on those memories. If that happens, I wish you happy blogging!

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This was me, back in my high school days when I met Dollie.

Several weeks ago, a special message showed up in my email box. As I read it, my eyes got wider and my smile grew bigger. The message was from someone I have never met, but she introduced herself as Kim, and explained that she is the niece of one of my very good friends from high school, which was a long time ago…back when I was growing up in southeastern Pennsylvania.

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I think (but I’m not sure) that this was Kennard-Dale High School.

Our high school wasn’t large. As I remember it, there were only 61 members in our graduating class. Located in the country, surrounded by beautiful farms with rolling hills and lots and lots of cows (my father was in the dairy business), the school was new when we entered 10th grade. The students came from different elementary schools. Many of us only knew a few of our classmates at this new school. Fewer than a dozen had gone to grade school with me, so high school became a time for making new friends, which thankfully didn’t take long. That is when I first met Dollie, and we were good friends all through our three years at Kennard-Dale High School.

After high school,  I went off to Philadelphia for college. There, as these stories often go, I met someone special. When I graduated from Beaver College (now Arcadia University) in 1959, Bob and I were married. He started a career in sales, I taught school,  we raised three daughters, and I never returned, except for short visits, to my home town in southeastern Pennsylvania. As a result, I lost contact with my friends from Kennard-Dale.

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Bob with our daughters
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Me with our daughters

But home never stopped being important to me, and occasionally we still drive through that little town on the Maryland-Pennsylvania line, bringing flowers to the cemetery, located on top of the hill with a wonderful view of the valley and houses below. We drive down Main Street (There is only one main street. It really is a small town) to see what has changed. And of course we always drive from end to end on Chestnut Street, past the home where I grew up, which sadly has changed way too much. One of these years I expect the old homestead, built by my grandparents in 1907, will be gone. That will be a sad day for me.

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My parents are both gone now, and my sisters as well. My husband and I rarely make trips back to the corner of Pennsylvania that I still call home, but there is a very special corner of my heart where I keep my memories of that time and place. Was I glad to get an email from Dollie’s niece Kim? I was more than glad; I was deeply touched, delighted, and grateful. It means so much to me to reconnect with that time and place and with my good friend, Dollie.

Happy Birthday, Dollie. I hope you have a wonderful day, and I hope we can continue to keep in touch. As they say Best Friends Forever (BFF)!

Carolyn

A few more pictures

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 Chagrin River Park, Color Me Autumn, Lake Metroparks, My trail walks

Trailwalking in Chagrin River Park

More photos from my  Color Me Autumn Collection

I was wishing I had dressed for winter when I decided to take a trail walk in Chagrin River Park yesterday, but despite the drop in temperature, it still felt good to get out on the trail. For the first time in weeks, I snapped some pictures of a few little birds. It was getting late in the day, and I didn’t set a fast enough shutter speed, so unfortunately the pictures aren’t as sharp as I would like, but I’m posting them anyway because the little critters are cute, and the pictures mark my return to taking (occasional) bird photographs. The chickadees, titmice, and even a nuthatch were in a celebratory mood because one of the trail walkers had sprinkled a handful of birdseed on the bench and the ground below it. During summer people rarely leave such treats, which doesn’t matter much to the birds because they have easy access to berries and blooms all along the trail. With the recent chill in the air, they have become more interested in handouts.

This little doe and quite a few of her relatives were hanging around the trail, probably hoping for a handout. I didn’t have anything to give them, so they went to work grazing on the greenery instead.

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Enjoying her salad greens!

With images of the wildlife captured on my memory card, I turned around, retraced my steps, and returned to the river trail. Standing on the pedestrian bridge, I took these pictures:

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Looking southeast, with the light behind me
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I saw a little bit of blue sky, but the clouds added the most interest.

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…and then walked down the trail to the top of the fishermen’s stairs, to take one last shot.

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That’s it for this trip down the trail.
Thanks for coming along!
Trail Walker