December 15, 2019
It was cold, but the sun was shining when I went back to Schoepfle Garden last Sunday morning. My toes felt frozen by the time I turned toward home, but I had had a delightful time poking around the garden. It was fun to photograph ice; I’m usually in warmer climes at this time of the year and don’t see much of it. The color of the river was unusual, clear at the margins, murky green toward the middle, and in some places blue, reflecting sky.
1 Sycamores like to grow right on the edges of the river.
2 Another, older, sycamore: I was taken by how fiercely it clung to the shore.
3 Day-lily leaves die so gracefully—
4 as do some palm fronds (photographed in Florida in February).
5 The shale shoreline always gets to me. Here is it graced by leaves, mostly oak, and what I think is frozen foam.
6 These water-lily leaves in the Front Pond were surrounded by ice that was freezing in interesting ways.
7 Ice was forming in similar patterns in other parts of the garden. This is water in what I call the Peace Pool.
8 The water flow was so slow that ice even formed on the edges of the river.
9 Water, now frozen, filled a groove in the shale shore at one of my favorite spots.
December 8, 2019
It was cold and dreary last Sunday. I missed being out with the camera, though, so I drove out to Schoepfle Garden. My favorite time to take photographs is in the morning, but it wasn’t a good time for me that day. Arriving at 3:30, I had only an hour before the park closed. It gets dark early in northern Ohio, and I had unfounded hopes that I’d have some interesting light before it was time to leave. Instead, the sun never peeped out, as it does on some cloudy days just before sunset. But. I was out in nature, and I had my camera. That combination gave me all I needed. I noticed trees I’d never really looked at before. The first three photographs here attest to how one of them fascinated me. The lack of foliage everywhere meant I could look down from the cliff to the river and see its course far better than when leaves still abounded. Other treasures found me, too.
1 This tree has been through a lot. I was sure it was dead.
2 So I looked up, expecting to see only more trunk. Hah! The tree was not dead. What a trouper!
3 Do you know Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree? This is a giving tree: Algae, a woodpecker hole, and the trails of bark beetles testify to its generosity.
4 You know how you hear an unfamiliar word and for days afterwards you hear that word over and over? Overhearing people talk earlier in the week about Winterberry trees, I wondered what they looked like. Days later I took this photograph, then read the identifying tag: Ilex serrata, Winterberry.
5 According to its tag, this is a specimen of Cornus kousa, Kousa Dogwood “Milky Way.” I wonder if “milky way” refers to the candy bar. Where the outer bark has flaked off, the next layer resembles the nougat of a Milky Way candy bar. Ohhh, that’s probably just me; I loved Milky Ways when I was a kid. Probably someone thought the flowers and bracts among the leaves looked like stars in the sky.
6 The Back Pond, focussing on the tree reflections
7 The Back Pond, focussing on leaves in the water. If you follow the Back Pond link, you may be happy—as I am—to know that the eagle has been removed. But now they’ve added a second aerator. (?????)
9 The willow, April 17, 2016
10 The willow, April 17, 2016
11 The willow, March 26, 2018
12 The willow, April 14, 2018
13 The willow, May 27, 2019
14 Looking downriver last Sunday
15 Looking upriver last Sunday
16 Beach leaves hold on long after oak and maple leaves have carpeted the forest floor.
17 The appearance of Table Rock always changes between my visits.
November 10, 2019
Fall color was past its prime by the time I got out to Schoepfle Garden October 29. Still, some lovely remnants remained. Besides photographing them as is, I played around with intentional camera movement (ICM) again. That I took the fourth photo here is thanks to Steve Schwartzman, who asked in the comments section of the last post, “In any of these, did you zoom your lens while you moved the camera?” I had not, but at Steve’s prompt, I tried it on this trip. Will try it again. What fun.
September 16, 2019
Leptothrix discophora was in splender when I drove out to the Schoepfle Garden August 11. I didn’t see huge patches of it, but enough medium-size patches to satisfy me. The handiwork of L. discophora and other iron bacteria was also in evidence as great gushy trails down to the water. Along my walk I dallied over some rocks I considered first among equals. Number 9 is mudstone that held some kind of salts that left pits as they washed out in the river.
June 30, 2019
Once again I must thank Stephen Tomasko for sending me information about a photography show curated by Paula Tognarelli, executive director and curator of the Griffin Museum of Photography. (Thanks to Stephen, I answered the Griffin’s earlier call for entry to Abstraction Attraction. See my December 10, 2019 post.) Now my photograph “The Magic of Leptothrix discophora” has been accepted into the exhibition In Your Mother Tongue: A Word and Image Dialogue. If you were reading this blog back in August 2014, you may remember reading the poem that accompanies my photograph in this show. Like the photographs for Abstraction Attraction, all 45 entries are displayed in the Passageway of the Lafayette City Center in Boston. (The Passageway links Macy’s with the Hyatt Regency Hotel.) In Your Mother Tongue is up now through September 14, 2019.
June 9, 2019
It’s happened again: the feeling that I’ve gone stale, taken my life’s quota of decent photographs, and all that’s left is to repeat myself. It doesn’t help that we’ve had so much rain that I can’t even get close to the river, let alone walk across it to the other side, where all the good photographs are. (You may recall the fence on the other side of which the grass is always greener.) I was in Schoepfle Garden yesterday hoping to discover something. I was prepared to try intentional camera movement if nothing came along. And it didn’t. ICM is always a crapshoot (think of the ways you can read that word). So when I downloaded, I didn’t expect to find a lot of treasures. But I did think I’d find a few. What I found was very few—so I tried going black and white with the best ones. The B&Ws may be my favorites. I wonder what you think. I also wonder if it will ever stop raining long enough for me to get next to the river. I need to get out of this slump . . . maybe a completely new location . . . or is that the fence with the greener grass on the other side, too . . .
May 28, 2019
Many of you know that I don’t photograph flowers—except when I do. Two photographs of flowers play bookends here to the rest of my haul from walking in Schoepfle Garden a week ago Saturday. In between are lichens on a low retaining wall and some favorite trees along the Vermilion River. Elsewhere in the park, I wasn’t surprised to see this stump; the tree had been visibly ailing. But I was surprised that someone had painted the edges of the stump with orange paint. Drawing closer, however, I saw that it wasn’t orange paint but a bright-orange fungus. None of my photographs of the fungus up close came out. I wonder if the brightness could have thrown off my camera’s focussing ability. Had I done more chimping, I might have noticed that the fungus was not in focus. Maybe I would even have thought to try manual focus. At least the section of the stump that is spalted turned out. The next photograph is in monotone because it was too confusing in color. Moving in, thus cutting down on the number of elements in the frame, the subject could handle color. I found some Leptothrix discophora along the river, but we’ve had so much rain that it was quite young (previous films having been washed down toward Lake Erie) and probably is all gone by now. Even though this film is very young, you know you’re looking at L. discophora when the water reflects the surrounding foliage so brilliantly. The opening flower photograph is of dogwood, but I don’t know the name of the closing flower. Maybe one or more of you do. The last image is a crop of the previous one. Click on it to see it larger.
May 22, 2019
Last April I posted three photographs of a rock I see whenever I go to the Schoepfle Garden. In the Comments, Alan Goldsmith asked if I’d thought of photographing the rock from the same place every time. I confess that I’d only been trying to find the most interesting composition each time. But his comment lodged in my brain, and I have since tried to stick with the same view or two when I visit. So here are two photographs I took of the rock Saturday. Following those are some photos I’d taken of the rock from the same vantage points on June 2 and July 14, 2018.
Shortly after posting photos of this rock last April, I named the rock Table Rock. Now I can keyword this specific rock in Lightroom and call up its photos easily. But there’s another advantage in naming features in the landscape. For me, attaching words increases the intimacy I feel with the named thing. I can’t say why this is so. Perhaps some of you have some relevant ideas.
November 3, 2018
This summer and fall have seen far too much rain to produce much in the way of colorful Leptothrix discophora films. But I miss them, so this post delves into photographs I took of this evidence of iron bacteria along Ohio’s Vermilion River between 2008 and 2010, before I’d started the blog. Some of these photos may be repeats of other dives into the archives. I hope that since I can’t remember if I’ve shown them, you can’t either.
July 29, 2018
Two weeks ago I made my way to the Vermilion River, something I do less often than I used to now that we are living back in town. The river still charms me, I’m happy to say, and I was in special good luck July 14 because the river’s water level was low and its banks embellished with iridescent patches of Leptothrix discophora. When the water is low, I get to wade across to the other side, where I usually can find more colonies of my favorite bacterium (photos to come). The wade itself is a treat, though, and I love seeing the ripples filled with sunshine at my feet.