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.

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

Can you believe…

This sugar maple tree at Holden Arboretum is one of my favorite trees. Can you believe how quickly it has changed over the past few weeks?

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Sugar maple tree at Holden Arboretum on October 3, 2016.
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Same sugar maple on October 11th
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Here it was two days ago-October 18, 2016.

 

Here is what it looked like last October.

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Same tree a year ago: October 22, 2015!

If the weather cooperates, I will head out to the Arboretum this weekend and take a picture exactly one year after the one above. Why am I doing this? No scientific reason, but I think it is interesting to compare the seasons, and it looks as if we are pretty much on track to match last year’s seasonal transition….According to the sugar maple tree at least.

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

Autumn is advancing: November 11, 2015

The pictures on this gallery demonstrate how quickly Autumn is advancing. Sadly, the brilliant fall colors are losing their luster. Winter is coming, but that doesn’t mean trail walking is over for the year. As long as you dress for it, you can still enjoy being outdoors, so get out your winter garb because we are going to need it soon.

See you soon!
Trail Walker

A Fabulous Friday Face and more fall photos

Gail Broughton-November 5, 2015
Gail Broughton-Friday, November 5, 2015

Let’s start with the Fabulous Friday Face. I was snapping photos in the Rhododendron Garden when Gail came down the trail. “She would be a great Friday Face,” I thought to myself, and I was right. We were both enjoying a walk in the Arboretum on one of those rare November days that you wish would last all winter, when I stopped Gail and asked her to pose for a photo opp. I explained about my Friday Faces project, and we chatted about the fantastic weather and the joy of trail walking in the Arboretum. Gail told me she was once an inveterate backpacker, but gave it up a few years ago. She confided, “When I turned 76.” Everyone should look so great and be so active when they are approaching octogenarian status. Backpacking is obviously a very healthy habit. Thanks, Gail, for taking the time to pose for my camera. You can read more about my Fabulous Friday Faces project HERE in my SmugMug gallery. Click on the gallery below to enjoy a few of the sights we saw in the Arboretum on this wonderful very-unlike-November-day.

That’s it for tonight’s post, friends. I’ve run out of time and energy. Tomorrow I will post the third part of this series of Fall Trail Walks. I hope to see you then.

Trail Walker

One more beautiful day

I don’t know how many more days like this one will come our way before this wonderful season ends, but I’m guessing it won’t be many. Therefore, this week I am going to share a series of posts from today’s visit to the Holden Arboretum. The fall colors are past their prime, but they are still glorious. Here is today’s gallery:

I am puzzled by the beautiful color of the sugar maple tree. Do you remember the sugar maple tree I posted last week that was completely bare. The one in today’s gallery is just a short distance down the trail from that bare one. It’s an enigma to me why one is bare this week and the other still in full color. I even went back to check the signs under the trees to see if I had the species wrong, but they are both sugar maples, the source of yummy maple syrup. I can’t explain it, but maybe someone can. If I find out, I will let you know. 🙂

“Nuff said for today. The pictures really speak for themselves. I hope you enjoy them. Thanks for joining me along the trail today. If you love fall like I do, come back tomorrow to see the second in this series of posts.

Trail Walker

Transformation: October 22, 2015

The sky was gray, and I needed a hooded jacket to keep off the showers, but the trees in the Arboretum more than made up for the gloomy weather. Since my visit last week, there has been an amazing transformation. I am going to let the pictures speak for themselves, so let’s go trail walking, friends, and enjoy the amazing views the Arboretum has to offer.

Come on, Trailwalkers, let’s climb the Emergent Tower next. We will get a wide-angle view of the transformation from the top of the Tower:

There was a crowd on the Tower today, but it wasn’t huge, so we had time to linger at the top. I hope you enjoyed the view, and I would love to hear your comments.

Thanks for joining me today. The Arboretum is one of my favorite places.

I love sharing it with you!
Trail Walker

What is your happy place?

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Happy Place.”

Lily pads and the willow tree
Lily pads and the willow tree

Whenever I feel the need to get away, I pack up my camera bag, pick up my keys, and head out to the Holden Arboretum. Almost anywhere outdoors with walking trails is a happy place for me, but my first choice is the Arboretum, which has many spots to choose from, depending on the weather, the time of day, and how much time I have to spend there. Quick visits to the Butterfly Garden or lengthy rambles along the trails, the Arboretum has provided many memorable moments for me.

Because it is not far from where I park my car, I almost always visit Lotus Pond (pictured above). The huge golden willow, lilypads, and quiet water, populated with frogs and dragonflies, call out to my camera, so I pause there. It gives me a sense of peacefulness and always provides a digital image or two for me to share with others who might not have access to their own happy spot that day.

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

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