I take trail walks because…

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Sheila and John, November 10, 2016
Part three of my three part series from the Holden Arboretum

My top five reasons for trail walking

  • I love to be outdoors, yes, even when it is cold and snowy (Although not so much when the weather turns hot and humid).
  • There are amazing sights to be seen along the trail…and  with so many parks and trails, there are countless places to go and things to see. Every day is different and every trail has unique features waiting to be discovered!
  • Walking the trails and taking pictures are complementary activities that can be done simultaneously, and learning to take better pictures challenges me.
  • We all need exercise, and walking is a great way to get it.

There is one other reason I love trail walking and that is because I meet many interesting people along the trail that I would never get to know otherwise. Sheila and John are a good example. I met Sheila when I walked up the trail into the Rhododendron Garden and found her sitting on a bench, waiting for John to return from his walk around the garden. According to Sheila, he walks too fast for her to keep up, so she finds a good bench and sits down to relax until John finishes his walk. (Obviously John believes in the value of daily exercise). When he returned from his walk,  John found Sheila and me sitting side by side on the bench, having what some of my photography friends from the the British Isles call a good, old chin wag. I was blessed to meet them, and as we all enjoy walking the trails in Holden Arboretum, maybe I will have the good fortune to encounter them again.

I love to take pictures of people I see along the trail. Although I haven’t posted any Fabulous Friday Faces in recent months, I have accumulated a collection of portraits I post here.

Sheila and John’s portrait was not the only picture I took on Thursday. You’ve already seen others in the first and second post of this series from Holden Arboretum, and here are the last pictures from that Thursday trail walk. The trees have lost a lot of their luster, but they are still beautiful. We have enjoyed a fabulous Fall, or to put it another way, an awesome Autumn.

Thanks for joining me in this lengthy trail walk.
That’s it for today. See you soon!
Trail Walker

How photography changed me

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).

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Ron
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Lynn

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.

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

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