Linda Grashoff's Photography Adventures

A Trip to Sheldon Marsh, Part 1

August 16, 2022

This past Friday’s trip to Ohio’s Sheldon Marsh was instructive. It’s a lesson I’ve been exposed to many times, but never seem to learn. The lesson is this: You can have a wonderful time taking photographs, being outdoors in perfect weather, and spending time with people you like—and still be disappointed with your images at download. In this case, the people I like are Mic. and his wife Leah. The photos are most of the ones shown below. The captions to the photos are on the dark side. I’m saving Part 2 of the Sheldon Marsh photos for those taken at the beach on Lake Erie, at the northwest tip of the park. I’m pretty happy with them. That narrative will not be a downer. So don’t go away; things get better. And be sure to take a look at Mic.’s blog in the coming days.

1 This was the second time Mic. and I and our spouses met up to enjoy nature in our chosen ways. The path through the woods was inviting.

2 The light was often agreeable.

3 But good compositions were hard to come by. This is one of many photos I couldn’t get to work to my satisfaction.

4 I thought at the time that a photo of this nurse log would be one of many favorites of the day. It turned out to be the best of the photos taken in the woods, but even with a lot of lightening and darkening to bring out the feeling I had seeing the log, the result is marginal—not to mention unprintable for all the noise.

5 Well okay. My strength has never been in capturing larger vistas. How about something more intimate? The elements were there: decaying log, greenery, mushrooms . . . But it just didn’t come together for me in a hoped-for way.

6 Many logs and stumps were cut clean with saws. This stump harbored interesting companions, but maybe it was the light that held this image back—just not strong enough to bring out the details.

The rest of this tree and many others that left clean-cut stumps may have been used for lumber. The property next to the park is called Sawmill Creek Resort. Maybe there used to be a sawmill nearby. This is one of the few photos of the day (that isn’t of the beach) that I feel proud of.

8 The very large swamp is absolutely filled—perhaps overfilled—with lotus plants. We saw big swaths of plants that were brown, as if they had been sprayed with a herbicide.

9 By the look of all the snags, the swamp must have grown larger in the recent past. Note waterfowl in the bit of open water. I didn’t see him until I put this photo on the blog page. I like this photo well enough, and I’m proud of its having a foreground, middle ground, and background—hard for me to achieve.

10 In the spring, according to friends and the Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve website, birds are abundant here. Mic. is the one who noticed this great blue heron. She looks a bit unkempt; I wonder if she’s been spear-fishing. I hope she was not disappointed with her catch.

11 Nearly back at the car I noticed these two leaves on the paved walk. I didn’t know yet that I would be disappointed in the day’s photographs. Still, the words “memento mori” sprang to mind. A harbinger of my mood at download?

17 responses

  1. I think that we photographers have all had the experience of getting home from an outing and discovering that we failed to capture something exciting that we thought we’d captured. I agree with you that #7, with its abstract interplay of so many curves, is the standout of the group. Regarding noise, you could try a program like Topaz DeNoise to salvage a noisy image that you otherwise thought good (which you said wasn’t the case for #4). The greener leaf in your final picture looks like it could be a from a cottonwood tree.

    Liked by 1 person

    August 17, 2022 at 7:36 AM

    • Thanks, Steve, for the recommendation for Topaz DeNoise. Glad you like #7, too. Both those leaves in #11 are from cottonwood trees. The one on the left has just seen a bit more of life (or death).


      August 17, 2022 at 11:32 AM

  2. logokane

    I always get a lot out of your images. Not about photography, which I know nothing about, but from the content (whatever that means).

    But today’s image of the cut stump with swirl cracks hit me especially. I am trying to resume drawing. The stump image is resonating in the direction the drawings are going and will be an inspiration.

    I wish I could go with you on a nature walk. Wonderful that you are staying so vital.

    Liked by 1 person

    August 17, 2022 at 9:32 AM

    • Thank you, Lois. I hope you don’t mind that I removed the more personal information from your comment. I’m sure you will find your footing and again find pleasure and fulfillment in making your lovely drawings.


      August 17, 2022 at 11:22 AM

  3. Do you know how many photos of leaves on a paved background I have? Neither do I but it’s a lot. A big lot. A helluva lot! And for some reason, I can’t stop myself from taking more. It’s a disease I tell ‘ya. A plague! I’m in a 12-step program for it!!! Nice shot btw.

    Liked by 1 person

    August 17, 2022 at 10:57 AM

    • Thank you, Ken. Yes, I have a bunch more, too. Maybe not as many as you. But if you count photographs of pavement with or without leaves, I may have you beat. I’m not ready for the 12-step program, though. Just can’t give them up yet.


      August 17, 2022 at 11:24 AM

  4. While I acknowledge your disappointment with some of your photographs, Linda, these are a pleasant reminder of our visit to Sheldon Marsh with you and David. The colors and play of light and shadow in #4, the nurse log, are wonderful and something that I missed. When I look at the interplay of the lines and curves in #7, I think of the time scales shown; the growth rings spanning many years, the checking and cracking occurring over perhaps a few months to a few years, and finally the marks of the saw that took only a few tens of seconds. And, of course I like the great blue heron against the bright chartreuse green of the sunlit marsh.

    Liked by 1 person

    August 17, 2022 at 11:03 AM

    • Thanks, Mic. Probably the reason you didn’t stop to look at the nurse log is because the light was too difficult and you knew it. The play of light and shadow in that photo come more from Lightroom than the sun. Yes, I was seeing the lines in #7 as layers, too. Thank you for making the great blue heron photo possible. That’s actually one photo that came out better than I expected it to.

      Liked by 1 person

      August 17, 2022 at 11:29 AM

      • …more likely that it was one of probably many things I missed when I went chasing the sound of the lake. 😧

        Liked by 1 person

        August 17, 2022 at 11:37 AM

  5. mrgporter

    I love your sharing the experience of photographing and then responding to the results, Linda! You’re a hard taskmistress!


    Liked by 1 person

    August 17, 2022 at 12:19 PM

    • Perhaps, Marjorie. But it would be nice to be up to the task. Glad you got something out of the narrative. I wasn’t so sure I was talking to more than other photographers.


      August 17, 2022 at 1:52 PM

  6. First — woodlands aren’t easy to photograph with all the chaos and complexity and clutter alone, and then on a sunny day too (extreme contrast range). So be gentle with yourself. Second — I always try to remind myself that if I have a single photo that I like from an activity with the camera, it’s a success. I’ve got something to show and put on my blog… so considering that you have 11 photos in this post, it’s an 11-fold success! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    August 18, 2022 at 12:11 AM

    • Alex, thank you for your explanations about why I might have had a hard time photographing in the woods. I will remember that. And thanks for the reminder that I don’t need to post so many photographs.


      August 24, 2022 at 9:20 PM

      • I hope I didn’t sound like I was saying that you post too many photos — that was not my intention.


        August 28, 2022 at 12:00 PM

        • Not at all! I said to myself, “Oh, good; Alex says I don’t have to post so many photographs.” Thanks again, Alex.


          August 28, 2022 at 1:13 PM

  7. That lesson is familiar! It seems to me that usually – not always – it’s either a socially enjoyable experience or an aesthetically successful one, not both. Once in a while, it’s possible to make photographs you’re happy with while you’re out with other people, but it’s the exception, in my experience. And as much as I’m motivated to make photographs, I know that sometimes the better choice is to be with people. You know all this so I’ll stop. The post isn’t a downer. We aren’t required to be cheerful all the time, right? I think it’s interesting to put images out there that you’re not completely happy with and talk about why. Most of us never do that, so kudos to you!
    #7 & 11 are my favorites. Sheldon Marsh looks like a pleasant place to walk and a hard one to photograph. Do you know the book, Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey? In the frontispiece, he gets at what’s so captivating about the desert. It’s the “comparative scarcity of the flora and fauna: life not crowded upon life as in other places but scattered abroad in spareness and simplicity, with a generous gift of space for each herb and bush and tree, each stem of grass so that the living organism stands out bold and brave and vivid against the lifeless sand and barren rock.” He really has a point, and that quality makes the desert an easier place to photograph, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    August 22, 2022 at 12:07 PM

    • I have written many words in reply to your comment, but I don’t like any of them. So this will be brief. No, I don’t know Desert Solitaire, but I’m glad you do and gave me that nice quote. I guess the real question is why I posted photos I don’t like. I’m still waiting for an answer. Thank you, Lynn for taking the time to look at this post and analyze it.

      Liked by 1 person

      August 24, 2022 at 9:22 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.