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

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

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

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

Color me Autumn

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Sitting in front of my computer screen looking at photos of fall scenes posted on several other blogs propelled me out of my chair and out on the trail with my camera. The weather couldn’t have been better for a walk in the park, so here are a few pictures from my very short walk. Take a look at that sky! Maybe it’s just me, but I think it is amazing.

If you have checked out my recent blog posts, the river and pedestrian bridge are probably beginning to look very familiar. Ever since 2002, when they constructed the bridge to make both sides of the river accessible to walkers, it has been a magnet for me. It’s a photogenic bridge in a lovely setting. What more could I look for when I am carrying my camera?

Thanks for stopping by today. See you soon.
Trail Walker

Do you see it?

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This is my favorite from today’s trail walk.

Do you see the end of summer when you look at the pictures I captured in Holden Arboretum yesterday? The autumnal hues of the vegetation, blooming goldenrod, and  drooping rudbeckias are clear-cut clues that summer will soon be a thing of the past. And to tell the truth, I don’t mind because it is ushering in my favorite season: Autumn! Take a look…

 

Despite my disappointment over the absence of butterflies, my motivation for entering the Butterfly Garden, I couldn’t have been there at a better time. I spent a peaceful half hour wandering the paths, enjoying the scenery, and snapping pictures. Truthfully, I didn’t mind switching to plan B to capture pictures that didn’t involve butterflies and dragonflies.

A variety of bees buzzed from flower to flower, seeking nourishment and, incidentally and even more importantly, pollinating all the plants they visited. They were working so hard, this is the only one that paused long enough for a photo opp.

 

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I’m not the only one attracted by yellow flowers!

 

I stopped to read a clever sign about the importance of “Pollen-Nation”.

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Then at the end of the short trail below the footbridge, I sat down on a bench to capture two pictures, one of the bridge and a second one to include a camera-carrying man who walked across the bridge at just the right moment.

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Footbridge in the Butterfly Garden
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A walker crossing the foot bridge

I also captured several pictures of the fountain in the butterfly garden, each from a slightly different angle…

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Fountain in Butterfly Garden

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Purple flowers

So there you have it, friends. We’re reached the end of this blog post, the last one of summer 2016. I’ve heard it said that, in northeast Ohio, this has been one of the hottest summers in many years, and perhaps it is one of the driest too. I still plan to post a “Summer Summary,” to highlight just a few of my favorite trail walks from this long, hot summer, but aside from that, summer is on the way out and autumn is on the way in. I love autumn, so bring it on! I’m ready!

Please join me as we celebrate the start of a new season.
See you soon, friends.
Trail Walker

Cleveland: Westside Market

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A family dinner planned for Monday evening was our incentive for visiting the Westside Market. Located in the Ohio City neighborhood, just a few miles from downtown, it is easy to reach and draws visitors from all over Cleveland, both east and west of the Cuyahoga River. Recognizable from a distance by the tower pictured above, this oldest continuously operated municipally-owned market in Cleveland, opened its doors to shoppers in 1912 as one of three markets that catered to Cleveland’s growing immigrant population. It is the only one of the three remaining in business and is still a great place for shopping.

When our daughter and grandson from Phoenix were visiting last summer, we took them to the market, so when Gretchen visited this year, this time with her husband Rod, the Westside Market was once again on the list of places to see. There are over 100 different vendors in the Market and on our brief walk along the aisles I grabbed pictures of a few of them as we selected the food for our evening meal.

Most vendors don’t mind if I hold up my camera and ask for a photo opp, although one shook his head and turned away. Not to be deterred, I kept on trying, but truthfully I am not happy with the results I got. On my next visit to the market, I plan to take more time and get better pictures.

After we left the market, we headed downtown because we had not been through Cleveland since the visitors to the RNC left town, and we were curious to see what changes had been made. Driving through Playhouse Square I snapped a few pictures of the unique outdoor chandelier hanging over Euclid Avenue.

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Notice the “Go Tribe” message on the front of the bus in the second picture. Win or lose, Cleveland is a real sports town known for its rabid never-say-die fans!

Final note: Of all the items we purchased at the market, including stuffed peppers and more, my favorite was the huge piece of chocolate peanut butter cake that I enjoyed in small servings over the next three days. Yum!

That’s it for this quick tour. Thanks for coming along.
Trail Walker

Almost the end of summer

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Last week, when our oldest daughter and son-in-law flew in from Phoenix for a short visit, climbing the Emergent Tower at Holden Arboretum was included on the list of “things to do and places to visit.” Monday was a beautiful day, so off we went to Holden and had a great time. After we all experienced the Canopy Walk, Gretchen and I climbed the Tower, while Bob and Rod kept Gulliver company at ground level. For very good reasons, dogs are not allowed on the Walk or the Tower.

We were the last climbers to leave the Tower and the afternoon was waning, so we paused for a photo opp by the gate into the Rhododendron Garden…2016_08_29_Trailwalks_Holden Arboretum_0013

…and then walked back down the trail. In the little time we had left, we wanted to wander a while in the Butterfly garden before we headed home.

It wasn’t a long visit, but, in my opinion, every visit to Holden Arboretum is special, and this afternoon was no exception.Thanks for coming along. I hope you enjoyed the climb. Maybe the wander through the butterfly garden was more your speed, but whatever your preference, it’s all good! There is something at the Arboretum for everyone.

Note:  The past week has been all about family time, so I have a lot of catching up to do,  pictures to process, and posts to write up, but eventually I will get caught up.  And I’ll be back soon with another post from last week.

Thanks for coming along on this walk.
Trail Walker

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