Celebrating spring!

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My friend Lisa and I took at trail walk in Holden Arboretum today. The morning sky was completely overcast, but as I drove down Sperry Road to the arboretum entrance at about 1 pm, the sun came out. Admittedly it was still only about 50 degrees, and winter hasn’t entirely loosened its grip on northeast Ohio, but with the sun shining down on us from a deep blue sky, we couldn’t have had a better day for the first spring trail walk!  Today we’re celebrating spring and hoping it will soon be here to stay.

Thanks for coming by today to say hello. See you soon!
Trail Walker

Do you know where you are?

Searching for Spring series

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Regular visitors to my blog should recognize this as the golden willow tree next to Lotus Pond in Holden Arboretum. Yesterday, although not as warm as last week’s early Spring temperatures, was still a lovely day for a trail walk. As always when at Holden, I made sure to visit one of my favorite trees. And, as today is both colder and wetter than when I took this picture yesterday, I decided it is a good day to share a few more pictures in my Searching for Spring series.

The first, a snowdrop, is similar to one I posted last week.  Although it is not as perky as the one I posted on a sunny, warmer day last week, it is still lovely, and what camera-carrying photographer can walk past a snowdrop in February without snapping its picture?

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The second plant is a pastel perennial I was delighted (and lucky) to spot. The netted iris, native to Russia, the Caucasus, and northern Iran, is cultivated widely in temperate regions like northeast Ohio. Typically flowering in March and April, many little clumps of this plant were already in full bloom on February 28th, their delicate flowers waving in the breeze on top of slender stalks. I resolutely plopped myself on the wet ground, leaning in as close as I could to take a picture of this pretty plant. Thankfully nobody else was around with a camera because, for some photographers,  I would have made a comical photo opp, soaking up water through the seat of my pants and then clumsily clambering back to my feet, camera in hand. The things we do to get the pictures we want!

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Back on my feet, I brushed the wet dirt and debris from my sweat pants and continued my trail walk. I will share more pictures from Holden in a future blog post.

Thanks for joining me today.
See you soon!
Trail Walker

Orchid Mania

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First of two posts about Orchid Mania

Yesterday we took a little field trip to see the Orchid Mania exhibit at Cleveland Botanical Gardens. To sum it up briefly:

  • Marvelous experience
  • Plenty of color
  • A taste of spring both inside and out (High temperature of 78 degrees)
  • Good company
  • Orchids-orchids-orchids
  • And a few exotic animals too!
  • Plenty of challenging photo opps

I will share more pictures in my next blog post. I’ve run out of time!

Thanks for stopping by tonight.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker

Following up on…

… my recent post about close up filters.

 

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When I was in my teens (many, many years ago), my mother tried to encourage me to take an interest in gardening. She was a gifted gardener and spent hours each day on her knees, cultivating her flowers, and probably  even communing with them. I suspect she was hoping the pleasure she found in gardening would rub off on me and maybe, just maybe, I would become a gardener too. However, as I wrote in one of my recent posts, I (unfortunately) did not become a gardener.  Instead, when I retired from teaching and had some extra hours to pursue a hobby, I took up photography. While I appreciate the vibrant colors of flowers and the beauty of birds and butterflies, I find my joy in walking the trails of local parks and the streets of my community with my camera over my shoulder and, after I return home, keeping a blog about the things I’ve  “seen along the trail.”

Regular visits to the blogs of other photographers also provide inspiration for my growth as a photographer. In my last post, I mentioned that I have been inspired in recent months by  Weekly Fifty, a blog by Simon Ringsmuth, an educational technology specialist at Oklahoma State University, and a blogger who writes a weekly post based on pictures taken with his 50mm lens. Some of his posts have focused (no pun intended) on the combination of the “nifty-fifty” lens and a set of close up filters. I don’t own a good quality macro lens, but I do own two sets of close up filters, one for my 50mm lens and one for my zoom lens. Reading his weekly columns has inspired me to consider a project with my close up filters and “nifty-fifty” lens.

I have enjoyed photographing birds for many years, but for this project I turned to flowers, and my first step was to find some flowers I could “borrow.” My son-in-law, Mike, is a gifted gardener, so recently I visited his garden for my first set of close ups. Here are a few of Mike’s flowers:

That was so much fun, I wanted to try some more close ups, so yesterday, even though the weather was steamy and threatening rain (It actually did rain for a few minutes, forcing me to find shelter),  I went with Bob to change the sign in front of our church, something he does each week.  While he changed the sign, I took a short, slow trail walk (actually more of a wander) down the sidewalk along the street next to the church where every summer another gifted gardener creates a flower garden that many of us admire.

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Despite the occasional raindrops, there were butterflies, bees, and an unidentified insect enjoying these flowers:

Although the flowers are perfect, even the few that are past their prime, I know the photos could be improved. The focus of a few of them is anything but “tack sharp”, and the bees wouldn’t hold still for their photo opp, but I had fun experimenting with the filters. Every time I go out with my camera, I learn something new. This was no exception, and in a day or two, I will hit the trail again, enjoying the beauty of God’s creation and hoping to bring home some images to share on my blog. Thanks for joining me along the trail today. I hope you will take a few minutes to click on the link to Simon’s blog. Maybe it will inspire you too.

See you soon!
Trail Walker

The day after the storm…

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Last night we had a storm. Stepping out the back door this morning, I was hoping for, if not actually expecting, cooler, fresher air. It was a futile hope. Today has been one of the hottest, muggiest days of the summer. It was dry, in the sense that there was no rain, but with the moisture-laden air, I felt like I was “swimming” without the refreshing benefit of being in a pool. So no trail walk today. Instead, after capturing the picture of a hummingbird in our back yard,  I “borrowed” my son-in-law’s Mike’s garden for a short photoshoot. Mike was at work, but my daughter was home today, and we had a little time to visit while I photographed flowers. So despite the heat and humidity,  it was a win-win situation.

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I don’t own a macro lens, but recently I have been inspired by another blogger to play around with the close up filters that have been buried in my drawer for several years. The images aren’t as good as a quality macro lens would produce, but the filters, attached to my nifty-fifty lens, do allow me to get within an inch or two of the flowers, and I had a good time playing around with them. That’s it for tonight. In my next post,  I will be back with more about my experiment with close up filters.

Thanks for stopping by today.
Trail Walker

Regrettably, I’m not a gardener, …

…but thankfully my son-in-law is, and…
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…fortunately there’s no law that says I can’t enjoy his flowers. That is what I was doing today while Bob helped Alison adjust the new gate she designed and constructed to keep the Mabel and Cooper from dashing down the driveway, barking at people that walk past the house.

When I was a girl, my mother would try to encourage me to take an interest in the flowers she loved. As winter waned and warmer temperatures hinted at the coming of spring,  she would pour over the seed catalogs that  came in the mail.  When spring finally arrived and the ground was warm enough for planting, she spent hours digging in the dirt, planting, transplanting, and weeding, and we always had vases of cut flowers in the house.  Mother loved her flower gardens. Unfortunately the proverbial green thumb passed me by, but thank goodness I can occasionally sneak into Mike’s amazing garden and take a few pictures. Although I may not enjoy the process of growing flowers, I do enjoy the process of taking pictures of them to hang on my walls and post on my blog. When fall gives way to winter and the flowers of summer slowly fade and die, I miss the color. Gray is the predominant color of winter, and it just doesn’t bring me much joy.

While I wandered around Mike’s garden with my camera, the work on the gate continued with the help of Mabel and Cooper…

 

Before long, the job was finished, and we headed home where I was greeted by a surprise; a colorful butterfly had discovered our new swamp milkweed plants. That’s color that doesn’t require digging , planting, and weeding…my kind of color!

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That’s it for Saturday. Thanks for stopping by!

See you soon.
Trail Walker

On a sunny Thursday morning…

…I went for a photowalk in the Holden Arboretum, one of my favorite places to spend time with (or without) my camera. My chosen destination was the butterfly garden, but once there, I saw very few  butterflies. There was a hummingbird flitting around in the colorful flowers, but he wouldn’t sit for a photo opp, if you can imagine that! However, there were plenty of wonderful things to see and photograph, so despite the scarcity of butterflies, I still came home with some special images to present the beauty of the Arboretum (Remember to click on a picture to scroll through the gallery).

I’m glad you joined me for my sunny walk in the Arboretum today. It makes me feel good to be able to share the beauty with you.

Carolyn aka Skip

However, it doesn’t FEEL much like spring! Well, except for the raindrops that were falling on my head during my walk in the park this morning. I am reminded of a spring some years back when cold and wet suddenly, actually overnight, became sunny and 90 degrees, and we went from complaining about the miserably cold weather to complaining even more vociferously about the stifling, sticky, hot weather. I wonder if that is going to happen this year? I wonder if we should just stop worrying about the weather and go with the flow? What do you think?

P.S. When I snapped today’s picture, the feels-like temperature was a non-springlike 29 degrees Fahrenheit. I very nearly froze my fingers, toes, and tush crawling around in the wildflower garden to take pictures of the emerging wildflowers, but complaining about it didn’t change a thing, and I DID get the pictures.

Thanks for visiting my (chilly) corner of northeast Ohio today.
Carolyn aka Skip aka Photo Walker

A spring walk

…is bursting into bloom. Magnolia trees, forsythia bushes, daffodils, and more are brightening up what has been a pretty dull landscape for most of the winter. We usually have a fair amount of snow here in northeast Ohio. Lake Erie freezes over for part of the winter, and our local river, the Chagrin, is almost always covered with ice thick enough to walk on during January and February. None of that happened this winter. Without snow on the ground, I didn’t have a good background for the pictures I took in the park. But now winter seems to be over, although spring snowfall isn’t unheard of. A few years back we woke up on Easter morning to several inches of very unwelcome white stuff! However, we have arrived at the official first day of spring in the midst of an extended warm spell with temperatures near or above 70 degrees. My thermometer currently reads 75 sunny degrees to the delight of just about everyone. Here is what it looked like in the Arboretum today when I stopped to wander around after my visit to the dentist.

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If these spring scenes have whetted your appetite for more, I posted a slide show here. I hope you enjoyed your short visit to the Arboretum today. See you soon.

~Carolyn aka Skip

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