A leisurely road trip to Schoepfle Garden Metro Park in Birmingham, Ohio was rewarding both in its journey and its destination. We enjoyed the long, relatively slow drive on state and county roads through green countryside, windows down to admit the warm late-spring air. Schoepfle Garden was its usual beautiful self — a mix of woodlands, naturalized and formal gardens — and presented us both with many gorgeous subjects for photography. It’s late now, so I’ll post only one image, through I am sure you will soon see several more from this little trip. Until then, see “Shadow Lightning” as I saw it!
We got around early today and set off for what we hoped would be a “day to ourselves” — a relaxing time away from work and worry for the two of us. The journey was a good one. We visited the Carlisle Reservation of Lorain Metroparks and had a fine (if warm) hike along a meadow trail. I also got my first look at the John Nielsen Observatory there; it’s a place built in cooperation with amateur astronomers to serve their needs and those of Parks’ star party guests and looks to be in an excellent location. I’m still gathering observatory design ideas for possible future developments. It was getting on towards lunch time when we left Carlisle so we headed to nearby Oberlin. We were surprised and pleased by stunning new business developments there including a fresh new building that features condominiums up and businesses down. Looking at the new development, right off the town square, made us feel as if we were in some trendy section of a much larger city. After good lunch at the newish Aladdin’s Eatery, we began a loop towards home with a planned stop at the Caley Reservation nature preserve of Lorain Metroparks. Almost exactly two years ago we visited Caley and were delighted by the presence of large numbers and a wide variety of dragonflies. This year we saw not so many of the little beasties but I noticed two that were unfamiliar: one had black wings with blue tips and the other was decorated in brown and red-brown colors. The former escaped un-photographed. The latter posed nicely and several times for a number of shots. The heat, humidity, and blood-loving insects were setting in so we stayed not long. A thunderstorm to the south added dark drama to the sky. It was a very good day away.
Last night was Halloween. Today was All Saints Day. She and I set off for the Carlisle Reservation of Lorain Metro Parks for a hike in the woods. What should we encounter but the quiet settings for the System's Halloween Fair which draws thousands of family visitors each year. Among all of the oddities seen along the trail oddest, to my eye, was a swampy area, called Pumpkin Lagoon, populated by dozens of Jack-O-Lanterns all hovering above the still waters! It would have been spooky by night; by day it was simply surreal. The only photos I shot this day were of the carved pumpkin heads in that swamp. Do not take lightly the sight recorded, however… I don't remember seeing that black shape in the background and I don't think it's in any of my other photos! What's that!!
We just couldn't get organized! She wanted to go on a nice autumn bicycle ride but we got up late Sunday, it was cold, we couldn't figure out what to wear… there was a litany of reasons but we just didn't get ourselves together. We decided to do another walk. So we visited the Bridgeway Trail in the Black River Reservation of Lorain Metroparks. We weren't sorry. The broad paved path is 2.5 miles in length, according to the maps, and we walked out and back from Bur Oak Picnic Area with a couple of short side-trips for a total mileage of 4.9 miles, according to my GPS. The people we encountered were nearly all outgoing and friendly and it wasn't crowded. We got the best of the day… mild temperatures and filtered sunshine. All around us were woodlands, grasslands, and the clear waters of the Black River. Lots of opportunities for photography. We got the usual nature photos we so love to do –Sweetie is getting really good at that!– but there was also the big, decommissioned iron railroad trestle. I shot it digitially and in color but it seemed bland. Then I dropped out the color values using Photoshop and, recalling my long career in fine art black & white, got myself some images I liked! At any rate, it helps my ego … Sweetie is getting really good! A fine day, indeed, that found us walking again.
True to recent weather conditions, and our luck, tonight's astronomy class star party was canceled due to poor sky conditions. Our final "cloud date" is this Friday but weather for the week is predicted to be unfavorable. We'll see!