Tag Archives: Ohio State Park

Tall Pines In Fog

 

Tall Pines in the fog near Rose Lake – Click image to enlarge

 

As I’ve mentioned many times in this blog, one of my favorite photography destinations in Ohio is Hocking Hills State Park about an hour’s drive southeast of Columbus.  Until recently, one area of the park I hadn’t photographed is Rose Lake which is mid-way between Old Man’s Cave gorge and Cedar Falls.

Art Wolfe is one of my favorite photographers and the evening before my trip to Rose Lake I was watching one of his Travels To The Edge episodes titled “The Southwest: Zion and Canyon de Chelly.” At the end of the episode Art is photographing a grove of aspen trees in the fog which he said were perfect conditions for photographing the aspens.  As it turned out, the day of my trip to Rose Lake was very foggy, and when I arrived at the trailhead just before sunrise the area surrounding the lake was completely fogged in.  The hike to the lake from the trailhead is about ½ mile and passes through a forest of tall pines.  As soon as I saw the tall pines I immediately thought of Art photographing the aspen’s so I was very excited to be able to photograph in these conditions.  The fog acted like a giant lightbox providing very even lighting, and as you can see in the image above the fog gave the scene depth and a sense of mystery.  Since this image was taken in the fall, the red, orange, yellow and green leaves added a nice touch of color.  I spent close an hour photographing in these tall pines before finally making my way to the lake.

To see more of my photography of Rose Lake and Hocking Hills State Park, please visit my gallery here.  If you have any questions about this website or my photography, I’d love to hear from you.  Please click here to email me.

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Saltpetre Cave Cave Nature Preserve

Interior of Cave 2 with waterfall – Click image to enlarge

 

Saltpetre Cave Nature Preserve is a small but beautiful area located in Hocking State Forest, Hocking County Ohio.  The preserve gets its name from the fact that the mineral saltpetre was mined from the caves a long time ago.  Potassium nitrate is one of several nitrogen-containing compounds referred to as saltpeter.  The major uses of potassium nitrate are in fertilizers, food additives, rocket propellants and fireworks; it is one of the constituents of gunpowder and why it was mined from the caves originally.

Within the preserve there are 4 caves and 7 distinct recesses. The view above is from the second level interior of cave 2 which has 3 tiers in all.  I used an external flash to light the dark interior of the cave to reveal details in the cave walls and ceiling.  I don’t normally carry flash equipment with me when I’m hiking, but since I knew I would be photographing inside the caves, I brought my flash on this hike. Without using the flash, the cave’s interior would have been completely dark compared to the bright exterior.  If you look closely at the top left of the image, you can see some saltpetre in the ceiling of the cave.  The waterfall you see at the right side of the image is seasonal and only occurs if the has been enough rainfall.  I was fortunate to visit the preserve after an inch or so of rain had fallen in the area so the waterfall was definitely a  bonus and adds a lot to the image!  Moving outside the cave and down the hill I captured the image below by positioning the camera low to the ground with a wide angle lens and close to the lichen and moss covered tree roots to create a more dramatic image with the waterfall in the background.

Lichen and moss covered tree roots with waterfall – Click image to enlarge

 

To visit the nature preserve you must obtain a permit issued by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  The permit should be requested at least 14 days prior to the day you want to visit.  Information about obtaining the permit can be found here.

If you have any questions about this website or my photography, I’d love to hear from you.  Please click here to email me or leave a comment.

Posted in Ohio State Park, Photographic Technique Also tagged , |

Light Painting Ash Cave

Ash Cave after being “light painted” – Click image to enlarge

 

Located in the southernmost reaches of Hocking Hills State Park, Ash Cave is beyond doubt one of the most spectacular features in the entire park. It is the largest, most impressive recess cave in Ohio, and is named after the huge pile of ashes found in the cave by early settlers. The horseshoe-shaped cave is massive; measuring 700 feet from end to end, 100 feet deep from the rear cave wall to its front edge with the rim rising 90 feet high. When there has been enough rain, a small tributary of the East Fork of Queer Creek cascades over the rim forming a beautiful waterfall.

This image of Ash Cave was taken about half an hour after sunset in almost complete darkness. I wanted the scene to be fairly dark so I could try a technique called “light painting.” Light painting isn’t a new technique, but I’ve wanted to experiment with it for some time and decided this would be a good opportunity to give it a try. After a few test exposures, I decided to use an exposure of 30 seconds at f/11 with an ISO speed of 800.  A good friend helped me by lighting the cave wall directly behind the waterfall with a powerful spot light while I fired an external flash several times to bring out additional details of the cave during the exposure.  I’m really pleased with this image, especially since it’s my first serious attempt at light painting. Now that I’ve gotten a little experience with it, I can’t wait to try it again…. I’ve already thought of a lot of creative uses for it!

To see more images of Ash Cave and other areas of the park, see my Hocking Hills State Park gallery here.

If you have any questions about this website or my photography, I’d love to hear from you.  Please click here to email me or leave a comment.

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Bieber Mill Ruin (a.k.a. Carpenter’s Mill)

About a year after Ohio became a state, the first mill in Delaware County was built at Liberty Settlement in 1804 along the banks of the Whetstone River, now called the Olentangy River.  By 1832 the community had grown large enough that it was granted a post office and the town officially became known as Carpenter’s Mill.  The post office remained until 1837.  In 1843-44 a 3-story frame gristmill was built, and a few years later James Bieber bought the mill.  Over the years the mill was very successful so a 3 ½ story stone mill was built next to the original frame gristmill that housed a sawmill on the first floor.  Unfortunately the old frame gristmill met the fate of many other mills and was destroyed by a fire.  Due to the proximity of the stone mill, it was also destroyed losing its roof, floors and massive beam structure in the fire.

Today about a quarter mile south of the intersection of US Rt. 23 and Ohio Rt 315 on the east side of the Olentangy River stands what is left of the Bieber Mill.  The skeleton of the original structure is quite impressive, with 3 feet thick walls made of cut limestone.  The side that faces the river is still intact and as you can see in the image below the mill was a very large structure.  The other 3 sides remain as well but have deteriorated.

If you have any questions about this website or my photography, I’d love to hear from you.  Please click here to email me.

Bieber Mill Ruin River Facing Side – Click image to enlarge

 

Posted in General Photography, Ohio State Park

Lower Falls Bridge

Since my previous post, central Ohio has continued to experience winter weather, and for the month of December 2012 we received 13.2 inches of snow, which is more than we got for the entire winter last year!  A lot of people around here don’t like winter, but personally I love it.  When it snows, an otherwise drab and barren landscape is turned into something special with all kinds of photographic possibilities, so I get the camera out and hit the trails!

 

Lower Falls Bridge – Click image to enlarge

The image above was taken last Saturday (12/29/2012) and is of the footbridge over Old Man’s Creek by Lower Falls at the very southern end of Old Man’s Cave gorge in Hocking Hills State Park.  Most of Ohio received at least 3 inches of snow the previous day so I planned to take advantage of the snow cover and photograph in the gorge.  I arrived at the gorge parking lot just after sunrise and was excited to find that I had the whole place to myself.  It was cold, but quiet and peaceful and there were no other footprints in the snow…a rare occurrence in a popular place like Old Man’s Cave Gorge.  The new fallen snow clung to all the trees, rocks and plants, making the gorge an even more beautiful place.  As I passed through the gorge, icicles were forming everywhere from the slow constant trickle of snowmelt.  In a few weeks, the icicles will be several feet long so I’ll be returning soon for yet another winter nature show.

 

Lower Falls – Click image to enlarge

For the image of Lower Falls above, I used a polarizing filter to eliminate reflections from the surface of the water revealing the rocks underneath so I could include them in my composition.  The polarizing filter also helped to saturate the color of the rocks and green foliage around the falls.

Winter photography can definitely be a challenge due to the cold temperatures, snow and ice so be prepared with the right clothing and equipment.  Some winter photography tips to keep in mind:

  • This may seem obvious, but dress warmly with layers and wear waterproof boots.  Also buy “shooting gloves” which double as mittens and fingerless gloves, and don’t forget a hat!
  • Make sure your camera batteries are fully charged, and carry a spare battery in an inside pocket to keep it warm.  Batteries will lose their charge more quickly in cold temperatures.
  • When taking your equipment from the cold into a warm car or house, it is very important to keep condensation from forming on your equipment, especially on (and inside) the camera body, lenses and filters.  If it isn’t possible to let your equipment gradually warm up to room temperature, put your equipment in a plastic bag.  Doing this will allow condensation to form on the inside of the plastic bag, and not on or inside your equipment.
  • Your camera’s metering system is designed to make everything it sees mid-toned, and this can cause problems when shooting scenes with a lot of snow.  Without some exposure compensation the snow will look gray.  The easiest thing to do is to spot meter the snow and add about 1 to 1 ½ stops of exposure.  This over exposure will ensure that the snow looks white, but it won’t over expose other objects in the scene.  Use the camera’s histogram to help you determine if any more or less compensation is needed.
  • Use a polarizing filter to help control/reduce reflections especially if a stream, lake, or waterfall is included in the scene.
  • If possible, plan your photography for the so called “magic hour” of light around sunrise and sunset.  The warm golden light at sunrise and sunset combined with the cold blue tones of snow and ice can produce magical effects.
  • Think creatively:
    • Look for interesting color contrasts.  For example, red objects against white snow always look very strong.  Frame your shot carefully.
    • Less is often more so keep your composition clean and simple.  Look for interesting trees, buildings, and other objects.  Simple, clean objects like these framed against a white background of snow make very strong images.
    • Think black and white – stark gray skies and snow covered objects can look very eerie and mysterious in a black and white image.

Winter is a great time for photography so be sure to get out there and take advantage of it!

 

You can see more of my photography of the Hocking Hills and Old Man’s Cave gorge in my Hocking Hills State Park gallery here.

If you have any questions about this website or my photography, I’d love to hear from you.  Please click here to email me.

Posted in Ohio State Park Also tagged , , |

Fall Color

Beautiful fall color around Rose Lake – Click image to enlarge

One of my favorite photography destinations in Ohio is Hocking Hills State Park about an hour’s drive southeast of Columbus.  While researching the internet for places in Ohio for nice fall color, I found several comments that indicated Rose Lake in Hocking Hills was a great place.  Although I have photographed in Hocking Hills many times, I had never gone to Rose Lake so I thought it was definitely time for a visit.  “Officially,” the lake is named the Hocking Hills Reservoir since it was man-made via the creation of a dam.  Rose Hollow is the valley that contains the reservoir so that’s why the lake is locally known as Rose Lake.  It is also sometime referred to as Fisherman’s Lake.  The lake is approximately at the midpoint of the trail between Old Man’s Cave and Cedar Falls on the Upper Gorge Trail.

The day of my trip to Rose Lake was very foggy and when I arrived at the fisherman’s parking lot before sunrise, the area surrounding the lake was completely fogged in.  The hike to the lake from the parking lot is about ½ mile which passes through a forest of tall pines.  The fog acted like a giant lightbox so I was excited to be able to photograph in these conditions.  As you can see in the image below, the fog gave the scene depth and a sense of mystery.  The red, orange, yellow and green leaves also added a nice touch of color.

 

Tall pines in fog – Click image to enlarge

I spent about an hour photographing around the lake before the sun began to “burn off” the fog.  As the fog gradually lifted I was able to see the trees on the eastern side of the lake.  Once the sun hit them fully, the trees lit up like they were on fire.  The color was beautiful!

 

Brilliant color after the fog lifted – Click image to enlarge

To see more of my photography of Rose Lake and Hocking Hills State Park, please visit my gallery here.  If you have any questions about this website or my photography, I’d love to hear from you.  Please click here to email me.

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Cedar Falls

Cedar Falls – Click image to enlarge

Located in Hocking Hills State Park in southeastern Ohio, Cedar Falls is one of my favorite waterfalls in the park.  Since the park is only an hour and a half drive from home and a great place for photography, I tend to visit often.  If you park at Old Man’s Cave gorge, you can hike through the half mile long gorge, which itself features 3 waterfalls (Upper, Middle and Lower Falls),  and then hike about 2 miles from the lower end of the gorge to Cedar Falls.  Old Man’s Cave gorge is a beautiful place so take your time as you hike.  In addition to Upper, Middle and Lower falls there are several cascades and many other photographic “opportunities.”  In winter, the gorge is a fantasy land of icicles and frozen waterfalls.

Just past Lower Falls at the lower end of the gorge, follow the well-marked trail along Old Man’s Creek for about a mile and Old Man’s Creek will merge with Queer Creek.  At this point, the trail makes an abrupt turn to the east and enters a new valley laden with Hemlock trees bounded by steep rock walls with many grottos and waterfalls.  See my previous post titled “A Hidden Gem” here to see one of those waterfalls.  This area is a spectacularly beautiful place and well worth the time and effort to see and photograph it.

A intimate view of Cedar Falls – Click image to enlarge

Cedar Falls itself is the greatest waterfall in the park in terms of volume.  The falls were misnamed by the early settlers who mistook the Hemlock trees that surround the falls for Cedars.

Tributary waterfall near Cedar Falls – Click image to enlarge

You can see more images of Cedar Falls in my Hocking Hills State Park gallery here.  If you have any questions about this website or my photography, please click here to email me.

Posted in Ohio State Park, Weekly Column Also tagged , |

Rockbridge Natural Arch

Rockbridge Natural Arch – Click image to enlarge

Located in the Hocking Hills region of southeastern Ohio, the Rockbridge State Nature Preserve is home to Ohio’s longest natural bridge, and of the 12 known natural arches in Ohio Rockbridge is the only one with a town named after it!  The natural arch or bridge is 95 feet long, 3 feet thick, varies from 7 to 26 feet in width and arches 40 feet above the plunge pool of the waterfall behind it.

Rockbridge Natural Arch – Click image to enlarge

The bridge originated as a typical Hocking Hills alcove carved into the soft middle layer of Black Hand sandstone at the head of a short box canyon cut by a small tributary of the Hocking River.  Wind, rain and percolating groundwater worked together for thousands of years, carving a deep cave-like recess in soft Black Hand sandstone.  Gradually erosional forces worked along a natural joint plane some distance behind the brink of the cliff, and over the centuries this ongoing process widened the crevice.  Today all that remains of the overhanging ledge is the narrow rock arch.

Waterfall with steaks of sun – Click image to enlarge

From the Nature Preserve’s parking lot it’s approximately a 1 mile hike to the Rockbridge natural arch. The trail is fairly flat at first and then goes up hill once you enter the woods.  Photographically, the best time to visit is early morning or evening when the sun is lower in the sky.  Since you’ll want to photograph the arch from below, the sky will be too bright during the mid-day hours and it will be almost impossible to get a good overall exposure.  To capture the full length of the arch, a wide angle lens with a focal length in the range of 15 to 25mm is needed.  Move around underneath the arch as many good compositions are possible from either side of the ravine.  I would also recommend visiting in the spring when you’ll likely have a waterfall to include in your composition.

More information about the Rockbridge State Nature Preserve can be found at:

Ohio Department of Natural Resources – Rockbridge State Nature Preserve

Hocking Hills State Park – Rockbridge State Nature Preserve Trail Map

If you have any questions about this website or my photography, please click here to email me.

Posted in Ohio State Park, Photographic Technique, Weekly Column Also tagged , |

Indian Run Falls

A winter view of Indian Run Falls - Click image to enlarge

Indian Run Falls is nice 10’ to 15’ high waterfall located in Indian Run Falls Park, a Dublin Ohio city park.  Hayden Falls, the subject of a previous post here, is close by.  Early history of the area indicates that the land around the falls was the site of a Wyandotte Indian village on the west side of the gorge in the early 1800’s.  Today, nature trails wind along both sides of the gorge and several observation platforms provide views of the falls.  There is a bridge spanning the gorge that would provide a great view of the falls, but unfortunately it has been closed for a number of years.

None of the observation platforms provide a very good view of the falls so to get the best view, especially if you want to photograph them, it is necessary to climb down into the gorge, and then hike several hundred yards along Indian Run to reach the base of the falls.  It is worth the effort since you will have a view of the falls that not everyone who visits will get.  Walk along the east side of the gorge and you’ll find several places off the nature trail where you can safely climb down into the gorge.  Use extreme caution however, since the sides of the gorge are very steep!!

A close-up of an Indian Run cascade - Click image to enlarge

 

Photographing the falls is best done during the “magic hour” of the morning or evening when the sun is low in the sky otherwise the mid-day sun will create an extreme contrast range with areas of deep shadow, bright sky and reflections off the water making a good exposure difficult.    Photographing the falls on an overcast or misty day is also a good option.  In addition to the falls, there are many opportunities for photographing various creek scenes along Indian Run.  Above the falls there is a very nice 10 foot high cascade, and several other smaller cascades (one with a bridge overhead), that are especially interesting to photograph.  Making some close-up compositions, focusing on the intimate details of the cascades will create some interesting imagery.  To get the best results, I highly recommend using a tripod and a polarizing filter.  Using a tripod will slow you down and force you to look through your viewfinder and think about your compositions.  It will also allow you to use a slow shutter speed that will give the water tumbling over the rocks a silky flowing look emphasizing the motion of the water.  Using a polarizing filter will help you to reduce or eliminate reflections on the water so you can show detail under the water that would otherwise be hidden by the reflections.  These details will make your images even more striking.  Enjoy photographing Indian Run Falls!

You can see more of my Indian Run Falls images in my gallery here. If you have any questions about this website or my photography, please click here to email me.

 

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The Marblehead Lighthouse

Sunrise at the Marblehead Lighthouse - Click image to enlarge

Recently while going through some old photographs, I found an envelope full of photos I had taken of the kids at the Marblehead Lighthouse.  Given their ages at the time, I guessed that the photos were taken in 1992, so it had been 18 years since I last visited the lighthouse.  I thought it was definitely time for another visit, this time without the kids!  After some research I decided that the best time to photograph the lighthouse would be at sunrise, and on the late July day I planned to be there the moon would also be in a position in the sky so that it could be included in my images. In order to get there before sunrise I had to leave home at 3 AM, ugh! I remember looking at the clock in the car at 3:30 AM and thinking “This is crazy, you haven’t been to the lighthouse in almost 20 years, hopefully you can find it in the dark!”  Fortunately I kept going and as you can see in the image above it was worth the effort. When I arrived, it was very quiet and peaceful around the lighthouse and a another early riser was just starting to paddle his kayak out to watch the sunrise. I was blessed with a beautiful sunrise, with clouds to reflect the warm red, orange, and yellow colors of sunrise which enhanced the charm and character of the Marblehead Lighthouse.

The Marblehead Lighthouse is the oldest, continuously operational lighthouse on the Great Lakes. Found on the northernmost tip of the Marblehead Peninsula in Ohio, this popular lighthouse’s history began in 1819 when the fifteenth U.S. Congress decided that the area was too dangerous to be navigated without some sort of beacon.  Funding was allocated for the construction of a light tower at the entrance to Sandusky Bay at Bay Point, Ohio.  Construction began in the late summer of 1821 and was completed 11 weeks later in November. Called the “Sandusky Bay Light” until 1870, the tower’s illustrious history boasts the first female lighthouse keeper in the United States (1832, Rachel Wolcott, wife of the first light keeper Benajah Wolcott), a rare three and one-half order Fresnel lens and a functional iron staircase dating to the early 1900’s. A masonry finish covers the original limestone exterior of the lighthouse. Inside you’ll find a brick stack constructed in the late 1800’s to raise the tower’s height by fifteen feet. The view from the top showcases several Lake Erie islands and a view of the Cleveland shoreline on clear days. The keeper’s house was built in 1880 and is now a museum staffed by historical society volunteers. A total of fifteen keepers have tended the light. The United States Coast guard is now responsible for the maintenance of the beacon.

You can see more of my Marblehead Lighthouse images in my gallery here. If you have any questions about this image or my photography, please click here to email me.

To find out more about the Marblehead Lighthouse, visit the Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society or the Marblehead Lighthouse page at LighthouseFriends.com.

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