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.
7 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?