Tag Archives: Winter

Snow Rollers

Snow Roller - Click image to enlarge

Snow Roller – Click image to enlarge


A strange and rare winter weather marvel appeared earlier this week called Snow Rollers. Snow Rollers are weird cylindrical snow formations that are formed naturally as chunks of snow are blown along the ground by wind. Once the “seed” of the snow roller is formed, it begins to roll, and pushed by the wind it collects additional snow from the ground as it rolls along leaving a trail behind it.

Unlike snowballs made by people, snow rollers are sculpted into different shapes such as doughnuts and hollow tubes. Some snow rollers have been seen to grow as large as 2 feet in diameter. For snow rollers to form the ground must be covered by a layer of ice to which the snow won’t stick, the layer of ice must be covered by wet, loose snow with a temperature near the melting point of ice, and the wind must be strong enough to move the snow rollers, but not strong enough to blow them apart.

Many snow rollers - Click image to enlarge

Many snow rollers – Click image to enlarge

The precise nature of the conditions needed to form snow rollers makes them a very rare phenomenon. I have never seen or heard of Snow Rollers, so I just had to go out and photograph them despite the subzero temperatures. I waited until just before sunset to take this shot so that the light of the setting sun would light up the snow roller showing its many layers. I positioned the camera low and very close to the snow roller to create a more dramatic effect using the trail. The actual air temperature when these shots were taken was about -5 degrees, brrrr!

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 General Photography, Photographic Technique Also tagged , |

Upper Falls In The Winter


Upper Falls In The Winter - Click image to enlarge

Upper Falls In The Winter – Click image to enlarge


Upper Falls at the east end of Old Man’s Cave Gorge is a beautiful sight in the winter with snow covering the ground, but it’s a hard subject to photograph because the area around the base of the falls is very plain and doesn’t have any rocks or other objects to add interest to the scene. Despite temperatures close to zero degrees on a recent visit there, I took the time to look for a more interesting view, and found this composition right at the bottom of the stairs that lead down into the gorge. I’ve walked past this spot many times and never thought to photograph this view. Framing the falls with the footbridge at the top, and a nice view under the footbridge of Upper Falls Cascade, some icicles at the upper right, and the snow covered tree roots at the bottom creates a much more interesting image of Upper Falls.

The Upper Falls Cascades, shown below is just above Upper Falls where Old Man’s Creek begins its run through Old Man’s Cave Gorge. Over thousands of years, Old Man’s Creek has carved many unique features such as The Devil’s Bathtub out of the gorge’s Blackhand Sandstone. This image was captured about an hour and a half after sunrise, and as you can see the warm orange glow of the rising sun is reflecting off the water flowing over the cascades.


Upper Falls Cascades reflects the light of the rising winter sun - Click image to enlarge

Upper Falls Cascades reflects the light of the rising winter sun – Click image to enlarge

To see more of my photography of Old Man’s Cave Gorge and Hocking Hills State Park, please see 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.

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

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 , , |


Upper Falls Cascade in winter – Click image to enlarge

Today is the first day of winter here in central Ohio, and winter has REALLY arrived.  We’ve been experiencing snow driven by wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour and after a very mild late fall it is really winter outside today!

The image above is of the Upper Falls Cascade at the beginning of Old Man’s Cave gorge in Hocking Hills State Park.  Old Man’s Creeks flows over the three cascades you see here just before Upper Falls.  If you’ve read my blog before, you know that Hocking Hills State Park  in southeastern Ohio is one of my favorite photography destinations.  A foot bridge crosses directly over Upper Falls and this view is just on the other side of the bridge.  The snow and ice contrast nicely with the green Hemlock trees forming a nice frame for this shot.  I used a polarizing filter to reduce the reflections on the water and enhance the colors.

Old Man’s Cave gorge is a great place to photograph at any time of the year, and I think it’s an especially beautiful place in the winter time.  All along its ½ mile length icicles form everywhere offering an almost unlimited number of compositions.  The image below is one such example.

Icicles in Old Man’s Cave Gorge – Click image to enlarge

If you do visit Old Man’s Cave gorge in the winter, be prepared for the cold and use extreme caution when the gorge is icy.  On my very first winter photo trip to the gorge, I fell before I made it down into the gorge….my feet went out from underneath me without warning, the camera and tripod flew up into the air, and I hit the ground before I knew what happened.  Fortunately, I didn’t break any bones and even though the camera hit the ground pretty hard it wasn’t damaged at all.  I was lucky and had a lot of fun photographing the rest of the day.

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 |

Hayden Falls

Hayden Falls, a winter view - Click image to enlarge

Hayden Falls might be one of the best kept secrets in the Columbus, Ohio area since many people wouldn’t expect to find such a beautiful waterfall in a scenic gorge tucked away in a heavily populated area.  Over hundreds of years Hayden Run carved a small but impressive gorge on its way to the Scioto River, dropping 25 feet to form Hayden Falls. The amount of water flowing over the falls varies greatly throughout the year, it can be a roaring torrent in the spring or after a hard rain, completely dried up in midsummer, or frozen solid in the winter.

Living within walking distance of the falls, I have photographed them often and during all seasons of the year. The best time to photograph the falls is in the early morning or late evening when the sun is lower in the sky especially in late spring and summer otherwise the bright sky above the falls will make your exposure difficult. I recommend using a polarizing filter to help remove reflections from the water and wet rocks, and using a tripod will allow you to make longer exposures to give the water a silky flowing look. My favorite time to photograph here is in fall when colorful leaves cover the rocks and swirl around in the splash pool at the base of the falls. In winter you’ll have the whole place to yourself, and it’s a great time to photograph the falls especially when snow is covering the rocks.  If it’s cold enough, the falls will be partially or completely frozen which will allow for some interesting and unusual compositions. The falls are very popular in the warm summer months so serious photographers will want to arrive early in the morning to avoid the crowds.

To see a gallery of my images of Hayden Falls, please click here.  If you have any questions, please click here to email me.

Hayden Falls is in Hayden Falls Park, part of Griggs Reservoir Nature Preserve and located at 4335 Hayden Run Rd., Dublin, OH.  43017 close to the intersection of Hayden Run Rd., and Frantz Rd.  The falls are very accessible via a wide stairway from the parking lot to the bottom of the gorge that connects to an elevated boardwalk going out to the base of the falls.  More information can be found here.


Posted in Photographic Technique, Weekly Column Also tagged , , |