Almost always the best nature and landscape photographs are captured in what I like to call “the margins of the day,” that being dawn and dusk. Even an hour before sunrise and an hour after sunset, when most photographers aren’t up or have packed away their gear for the day, the beauty of gradual light enhances the natural subject.
The following Pictures You Can Hear video and images were captured on the morning of October 20, 2009 at The Inn at Cedar Falls, in Hocking Hills, Ohio.
The sacredness of the light. To crunch about in the woods. To take in sunrise on the hilltop and then marvel at the sight of the Milky Way after nightfall. These are the visual gifts that feed the spirit and move the soul.
When all else in the “outside world” is ripping at the seams and falling in tatters, it is comforting to know that all is well, and right, in nature and at The Inn at Cedar Falls.
Not only knowing, but “being in” the subject can often be the difference between an ordinary image and a extraordinary photograph. I immerse myself in October in Ohio. Not just the usual colorful, landscape photographs of seasonal color but the often overlooked details that speak of the haunting light of the season. Another summer departed. A winter about to begin. For a brief time the calming light of fall resides over subject and artist in pleasing though melancholy tones before retreating into even deeper shadows that are yet to come.
Episode seven in my series of “Photographic Moment” video tutorials. “Season of the Good Light” provides some practical tips on capturing the Ohio landscape in autumn, including white balance and ISO settings, shutter speed, aperture and composition. This video was shot on location in the tall grass prairie of Sugarcreek MetroPark.
I’m happy to announce that one of my photographs has once again made the cover of Ohio State Parks Magazine. The most recent issue – fall/winter 2009 – features an image I captured while in Hocking Hills State Park during a weekend in early November. I was there with my two favorite fellow sojourners when venturing out to the woodlands and hollows of Hocking, my daughters Emma and Chloe. Over the last five years this is the fourth issue one of my photographs was selected for the cover of Ohio State Parks.
With all the emphasis currently on our system of National Parks, thanks to another exceptional series airing on PBS by Ken Burns, it’s easy to overlook the beauty and the gifts offered through our local and state parks. I’ve visited and photographed many National Parks, including Great Smoky, Grand Teton, Glacier, Zion, Capital Reef, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands and Rocky Mountain. All of these strikingly beautiful parks present natural scenery that is beyond breathtaking, there’s no doubt. However, it’s the local, visual treasures found here in my home state of Ohio where my creative spirit and nature-loving soul feels the most at home. Especially Hocking Hills. That’s where my love for nature and landscape photography first took flight during a winter hike with the nature photography club from the Dayton Museum of Natural History (now Boonshoft), so long ago when I was 13 years old.
The State Parks in Ohio are now under a considerable amount of pressure to reduce services and cut costs. It’s a shame. If our National Parks are truly “America’s best idea,” (did you know that Ohio has a National Park ? It’s Cuyahoga, between Cleveland and Akron) then state and local parks and natural areas are the second best idea. In some ways these smaller versions of their big cousins are even more important to protect and preserve due to the fact that they represent places where most people make “first contact” with the beauty and wonder of nature. I’ve always said that the City of Dayton’s best recreational asset is the Five Rivers MetroParks. Considering the shrinking population and economic base in the Dayton area, we are VERY fortunate to have a relatively large number of local parks which are easily accessible, well-managed and each in their own way, provide the essential connection to the healing powers of our natural environment.
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