The promise of sunrise beckoned me out of the house and into an unseasonably mild January morning. There was light fog around, lending a melancholy or mysterious mood to the scenery. Walking a bit, I gazed out across a small lake and watched geese warily watch me. I strolled through a nearby cemetery as the sun slipped nearer the horizon. A small pond reflected colors left over from autumn, tree branches, and grass green from recent warmth. The sun began to shine through bare trees and the fog burned off. The fog-touched morning magic was gone.
A change in the weather came this week. We transitioned from days that were sunny, hot, and dry to days of dark, cold, and wet. The rapid change made for lovely sights in the wetlands and ponds. Mists rose and were shaped by chilly breezes, staged before an emerald background of fresh new leaves. Soon the weather will change again that is one of the things we can really count upon, isn’t it?
Back on Monday the morning was foggy, lending a wonderful soft mood to the landscape. I took a little drive that day hoping to find interesting scenes and wound up in a Cleveland Metroparks area. I continued my travels that day and headed south and into the rolling countryside. One of my favorite areas presented itself in a wholly different way from how I am accustomed to seeing it. A farmer’s grazing field showed off a pair of naked trees silhouetted against a featureless sky, foreground of colorful weeds and grasses and background veiled in fog. A weathered barn I love to look at was also set off by deep red-brown dead weeds made more colorful by heavy dew. It was a good morning to slow down and look around.
It was a cool, wet, and foggy morning in Northeastern Ohio today; sometimes that’s all right. This sight on the West Branch Columbia River in North Olmsted caused me to abruptly pull off the road, grab my camera, and shoot a few photos in the light drizzle.
While I generally don’t relish dragging myself out of bed early only to head off to work, some mornings are better than others. Recent changes in the weather made for beautiful scenes along my commuting routes yesterday and today. Golden sunlight filled dew-drenched grasses and weeds with diamonds. Ground fog lent a sense of soft mystery to this dawning day. And deer arrived with the morning.
I left the house this morning to take a nice pre-work nature photo walk around Hinckley Lake, hoping and expecting to see the low sun shining through morning haze. I also wanted to capture images of herons, imagining them backlit by that golden sunshine. As I left home it was sunny; when I got to the lake a few minutes later, the fog was so thick I couldn't see half a mile! Oh well, perhaps some moody shots. I got those and more.
While I was walking the lakeside path I saw the morning's first heron arrive, searching for breakfast. The big bird swooped down to the lake, alighted, and waded slowly in the shallows, a hundred feet or so away. I watched, shot some photos and moved closer. Herons are every bit as wild as their prehistoric look may suggest. Their call is a raspy "graaakk." They are also amazing to watch. Herons' wings span many feet and a few beats lift the magnificent creatures up and away with amazing grace and speed. That first bird grew wary of the human watching and took off. I began my walk back, photographing plants and flowers along the way. I came around a curve in the path and up popped the heron, springing off the shore and into the air — I'd been distracted and did not notice the bird until it was alarmed. I continued my hike back toward the parking lot, this time watching the lake for the heron I'd spooked twice already. Yes! The bird had found a new hunting spot not far ahead of me and I approached quietly, seeking a clear place from which to photograph. As I watched, the heron stabbed at the water catching a fish. Through the brambles I squeezed off a few shots with my camera, recording the last moments of life for the fish and a life-sustaining meal for the heron. Respectfully waiting for the heron to swallowing its prey, I walked a little closer, stopped, and shot some photos. Walked a bit closer still, stopped, and shot a few more images. Finally I got close enough for a couple of full-frame portraits of our big friend and that was enough… off it went! With a few wing-beats the great blue took off across the lake. I had just enough time to roughly frame the scene, firing off three or four photos and that was it. It was a fine, if brief morning adventure.
Heavy fog transforms the scenery at Hinckley Lake. I have a fine collection of shots from this morning that look like classical Japanese watercolors, even a few images with delicately colored tree blossoms floating before a moody, gray background.
The fog was burning off but still supressed most colors of the lake and trees. Foreground objects, however, retained their character in fine, soft light. A line of boats awaited park visitors and sunshine that really never arrived this day.
I headed home happy, even though I'd next need to head to the office. A lovely, foggy morning this was.