Linda Grashoff's Photography Adventures

Too Much Water but Enough Shale

July 21, 2019

A week ago Sunday David and I walked downriver along the Vermilion. We’d had very little rain in Oberlin for maybe two weeks and expected the river to be low. We had forgotten that, even though the locations are only eight miles apart, weather at Schoepfle Garden—where we approach the river—and weather in Oberlin don’t always match. Alas, they must have had rain we didn’t. The river was too high, too fast, too wide, and the bedrock shale probably too slippery to walk across. I prefer the other side because it is where I always find lovely outbreaks of Leptothrix discophora films as well as interesting shale formations. On the less-interesting side we saw a little film, but nothing spectacular. Casting about for something that would warrant the rather tortuous trek along the river, I became fascinated by the shale at my feet where we usually cross over. Even there, the rock fractures along lines that look human made. I’d love to know why it does that.














26 responses

  1. Fine series, Linda! Wow for nr.10 🙂


    July 21, 2019 at 4:06 AM

  2. (just figured out that is’t’s nr11… )


    July 21, 2019 at 4:11 AM

    • Thanks for the wow, Harrie. I took several shots like #11. There is an inch or so of water on top of the shale, and focus was tricky. I liked the rock formation a lot, though, so I kept trying.


      July 28, 2019 at 7:44 PM

  3. It’s number 11 that does it for me too. Those perfectly straight fractures are rather curious, aren’t they?


    July 21, 2019 at 10:48 AM

    • They sure are, Michael. After I created this post, a friend sent me a link ( to an article that may or may not answer our wonder. Here’s the possibly relevant sentence: ‘In slate, the heated and compacted minerals slowly flow and align themselves perpendicular to the axis of compression, to create “cleavage,” which is the tendency of the rock to break along straight lines.’ Well, it’s talking about slate, not shale, and I’m not sure the cleavage they refer to is what I’m photographing and talking about. Did some Googling myself, but am no closer to the truth.

      Liked by 1 person

      July 28, 2019 at 8:17 PM

  4. In my opinion, this would be a very fine day of shooting. Good color and light and extraordinary subject matter. Well done, Linda.


    July 21, 2019 at 6:27 PM

    • Thank you, Ken. It was a disappointing day, but I’m glad I was able to retrieve something from it that you like.


      July 28, 2019 at 8:18 PM

  5. I think my favorite is #3… with that bit of plant life photobombing the shale. And the blue/purple. But they’re all sweet. As always, fun to see through your lens.


    July 21, 2019 at 9:22 PM

    • I wasn’t familiar with the word “photobombing,” Gunta. Thanks for getting me up to speed. And thank you for your kind comment.

      Liked by 2 people

      July 28, 2019 at 8:22 PM

      • I’m rethinking the use of the word since I believe it’s generally meant to be something the photographer did not intend to include. I suspect that you actually included the bit of green quite intentionally and I really like the effect in that particular image. But glad to have introduced you to a word the kids use these days. I suppose it can be quite apt.

        Liked by 1 person

        July 29, 2019 at 8:24 PM

        • Actually, Gunta, I tried to find an angle that would eliminate the foliage, but when I couldn’t, I decided just to accept it. I’m so glad you like it!

          Liked by 2 people

          July 29, 2019 at 8:39 PM

  6. George Rogers

    the shots make me nostalgic for childhood hikes into ravines in W.Va. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 22, 2019 at 12:45 PM

    • Thanks, George. Some tributaries of this river wind through some beautiful ravines that I’ve only seen from the road above them. Very steep, very lush.


      July 28, 2019 at 8:24 PM

  7. 12 gives me the feeling of abstract mountains in clouds .

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

    July 22, 2019 at 8:16 PM

  8. We have to be flexible, don’t we? I’m glad you were, and made this interesting series. Fractured in a coherent way, right? 😉 It’s strange. Thanks for showing the context in the first two photos, I am always curious about that. I like the progression of images….in #6, that rock and the reflections make a nice composition with the shale “steps. I love the sway of line in #7, and the little leaf – you are always leaving the bits that drop into the frame and they are always looking so perfectly placed, though I know you didn’t touch them. Like in #9 again. And #10, the leaves just please me so much there, on the rocks, so right together. (Why wouldn’t they be?) Along with some others I would pick #11 as a favorite if I had to choose just one. That bold geometry plays against the little mud squiggles. What are those, do you know? And the green wash from the reflection is nice. I love the angle in #13, the slant of it, a raking angle that highlights all the textures. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    July 23, 2019 at 1:20 PM

  9. Yes, we do have to be flexible—otherwise we’d miss some of the really good ones. Yes, fractured coherently! I usually forget to show context, but this time I wanted to show how the river was too high and fast to walk across. It’s usually safe to cross on Labor Day, though last year it was not. The swayed line in #7 makes me think of California. Leaves are so often little jewels in a composition. You can’t avoid them in the woods, but it’s nice when they don’t distract. You’re right, I don’t place the leaves—I wouldn’t know where to put them. I think the squiggles in #11 are bleached or mud-covered dried-out algae. I could be wrong. I usually put my own favorites first and last, so you know what I think of #13. Did you read my reply to wildlifereveries? Thank you, Lynn, for your detailed comments. I always enjoy reading them even it it takes me forever to reply.

    Liked by 2 people

    July 30, 2019 at 5:15 PM

    • A Paul Klee mountain in it – interesting, yes. 🙂 And California. 🙂 Dried out algae makes sense. It’s nice to look through these again, a week later, and that’s a benefit of answering comments a little late. :-). Good stuff Linda!!

      Liked by 1 person

      August 3, 2019 at 3:17 PM

      • Well, here’s another late answer, Lynn. (I’ve got to stop spending so much time away from the computer.) Remember, above, how I said I never move leaves? I moved one—in Photoshop. The leaf in the last photograph on the post titled Ohiopyle Falls Revisited (the current post as I write this) was too low and too far to the right for my liking, so I moved it. Maybe it should be a tad bit more to the left, now that I look at it again. Thanks for writing again; so happy you like this “stuff.”


        August 14, 2019 at 2:28 PM

  10. I’m late to the party (been traveling) but I’ll put in a good word for #11 too.

    Liked by 1 person

    August 11, 2019 at 10:27 PM

    • Thanks, Steve. Looking at #11 now—after not seeing it for a while—I think I don’t like the reflection of the tree in the bottom right. What do you think?

      Liked by 1 person

      August 12, 2019 at 5:23 PM

      • I see what you mean. The tree reflection does distract a bit from the geometry of the rocks. In retrospect, do you think there was a way to have positioned the camera to avoid that reflection?

        Liked by 1 person

        August 12, 2019 at 6:39 PM

        • What I don’t remember is whether I turned my polarizing filter to try to get rid of it. And I don’t think I walked around it enough. I really liked the vertical framing. Ah, well. I’d say I could return and try again, but after another big rain, the shale is sure to have changed its appearance. It’s very flakey and gets disturbed by rushing water. I will look anyway, the next time I go there, which I usually do only once a year.

          Liked by 1 person

          August 12, 2019 at 8:51 PM

It's a pleasure to read your comments.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.