A Primal Experience

Later wishing for a more serious camera, I stuffed a small travel zoom into my pocket as I left the house just in case something of interest was spotted. Loading the 14′ Hornbeck and associated fishing equipment I was on a quest for central Ohio’s elusive Smallmouth Bass in the river near our home. The small camera was a concession. When fishing, it’s important not to be encumbered by “serious” photographic equipment. Either fish or photograph, it’s hard if not impossible to do both justice.

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A cloudy, cool, and quiet late October afternoon offered conditions where you would almost expect the fish to jump into the boat but even so it had been over an hour since two reasonable sized fish had paid attention to any of my offerings. I was thinking about calling it quits for the day. But perhaps just one more pass along the west bank of the river was in order. You never know.

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It was then that a small dark brown fury creature with a white chin was spotted enjoying a mid-afternoon snack. A Mink! As I moved closer it showed no intention of abandoning it’s meal, which turned out to be a recently deceased and very large Channel Catfish. It alternately glanced my way then pulled and tore at the hapless creature’s flesh each time backing away with a healthy mouthful.  A unambiguous reminder that in nature almost everything is dinner for something else. The Mink looked ferocious and seemed even larger when fully engaged with the catfish so I was glad to be in the canoe.

The catfish is considerably larger than the Mink. What caused it’s death is unclear. (Scioto River just below Griggs Dam)

The Mink may not have been the only creature that stopped by to enjoy the catfish.

There are also Coyotes, Racoons, Bald Eagles, and vultures in the area.

It’s hard to imagine any of these other creatures trying to horn in while the Mink worked on the carcass.

The Mink with it’s distinctive white chin.

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Over the years we have seen a number of these fascinating creatures along the shore of Griggs Reservoir. They usually move quickly with short pauses as they explore the shoreline rocks and exposed tree roots for their next meal and we are often in a moving canoe when one is seen. Getting a good picture has always been a challenge. Never has one stayed in the same spot for so long. The reasonably fresh catfish sushi was apparently just too enticing.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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Richer In Nature’s Moment

Not long ago, after a few days of rain, I found myself walking through an area with numerous wooded ravines. Many of them spoke with their unique faint song as water flowing down from above burbled and gurgled over rocks and logs. Each nameless song affected me as music of the purest kind. Certainly not rich in tonality and melody like that encountered in a concert hall but perhaps with a more quiet seductiveness. The next day while walking in the same woods that song was gone.

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That same rain caused river levels to rise then after a few days of dry frigid weather they started to recede. As with the burbling and gurgling water there was no deliberate intention and no audience was requested but the receding water level in backwater pools left beauty in the ice.  The message in this “art” was undoubtedly as varied as the people who might chance upon it. I smiled realizing that it’s beauty rivalled anything I could create. Today the weather is warmer and I haven’t been back to look at the ice.

Spears, (click on images for a better view)

Six Dots

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Much of nature’s beauty is subtle, fleeting, and then gone. I’m blessed to be here just long enough to share in the celebration. Contemplating my being on the cosmic scale of space and time it’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that I’m here at all, but here I am, listening to the flow of water over rocks, looking at nature’s hand in ice, richer in nature’s moment.

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Thanks for stopping by

 

 

The Wisdom of The Moment and Time Passing

Recently on a cold blustery day, after a storm blanketed the landscape with ice and snow, we found ourselves walking through the woods along a high ridge where for thousands of years people long since gone, had come with all their hopes, dreams, aspirations, and those they loved, to quarry flint, for arrow heads, knives, and other tools.

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Around now flooded quarry pits, in the magic of frozen crystalline beauty, it was hard not to sense their presence and hear their voices as they spoke the wisdom of the moment and time passing.

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Ice and snow, Flint Ridge State Park.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

First Ice

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Today as we walked along the river,

the hard dry frozen ground

held wilted still green plants.

Out of the north

the wind had a bite

as fast-moving clouds

playing with the sun

and us

giving first

just a hint of warmth

then not.

While ducks swam in frigid air,

small birds hid,

and the river continued its flow

leaving near waters edge

the seasons calling card.

RSP

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An Autumn Bouquet

The image of a flower bouquet kept entering my mind as I thought about this post. Something enjoyed only briefly and then gone. Perhaps it’s the realization that today images are everywhere and the best we can hope for is a fleeting appreciation before they pass into time. So no iconic Ansel Adams images here, just glimpses of autumn in Ohio. If the reader soon forgets the images but is left with a positive feeling or inspiration the carries them into the day with a smile, we will smile.

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In no particular order, the photos were taken during the past week and are from a hike on a “new to us” trail along the western shore of Alum Creek Reservoir in Alum Creek State Park (AC), and also hikes in Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park (BD), Clear Creek Metro Park (CC) and Griggs Reservoir Park (GR), an easy to over look city park just mile a from our home. The fungi pictures are a reminder that even with most wildflowers gone until next year there is always something to discovery during a walk in the woods.

Beech leaves cast subtle shadows, CC.

Eyelash Cup, GR, (Donna). As with all images click on the photo for a closer look.

Fall color along the Big Darby, BD.

Serenity, GR.

Cracked-cap Polypore, BD, (Donna).

Windfall, CC.

Lemon Drops, BD (Donna).

Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

White-egg Birds Nest, AC, (Donna).

Cove, AC.

Unidentified yellow mushroom, CC, (Donna).

Dark jelly fungus, CC, (Donna).

Leaves, BD.

Unidentified fancy mushroom, BD, (Donna).

Road through Clear Creek Metro Park.

Creek, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Polypore, CC, (Donna).

Path through the woods, AC.

The beautiful underside of Common Split Gill, BD, (Donna).

The Big Darby, BD.

Bridge, AC.

Orange and yellow, BD.

Leaves and stump, AC.

Alum Creek Reservoir cove.

Tiny “parasols”, CC, (Donna).

Eastern Wahoo, BD.

Fence, BD.

Picnic table, GR.

Trees at waters edge, DB.

Leaves, AC

Shaggy Mane, BD

Leaves on fallen tree, AC

Solitary leaf, BD

Leaves along the shore of Alum Creek Reservoir.

Polypore, AC, (Donna).

Woods, AC

Path, DB.

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Walking a wooded path

with little more than

the colors of an autumn day,

the earthen scent of fallen leaves

touched by rain,

and the sound of a solitary woodpecker,

I awoke in the richness

of the moment.

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Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Maine Musings

Every couple of years we travel to the coast of Maine. It always seems like our stay is too short. The below images around Stonington as well as Mt Dessert Island are in celebration of our recent visit. For photographers enchanted by rugged natural beauty the coast of Maine offers endless photographic opportunities. As if the natural beauty wasn’t enough, exploring the trails of Acadia National Park often treats one’s senses to the fragrance of salt air and balsam. Not something we get to enjoy in Ohio. Our too brief stop in Stonington left us feeling that our next visit will have to encompass more than just a few hours and there are always more places to see and explore on Mt Dessert Island. Plenty of reasons to return.

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Landscapes:

Along Ship Harbor Trail, Mt Desert Island, (Donna).

Friendship Sloop, Southwest Harbor.

Granite along Ship Harbor Trail.

Harbor Scene, Rockport.

The narrows, Ship Harbor Trail.

Dingy, Southwest Harbor.

 

Ocean walk, Bar Harbor.

Ship Harbor Trail.

Stonington chair.

Balanced rock. This very large glacial erratic left behind by the receding glaciers 10,000 years ago has fascinated Bar Harbor visitors for years.

Undated picture of balanced rock perhaps from the early 1900’s.

Waiting for the boat, Bar Harbor.

Northeast Harbor.

Lobster boats, Stonington.

Lobster pound, Southwest Harbor.

Stonington waterfront.

Stonington cat.

Along the Ocean Path, Acadia National Park. This is one of the best trails for seascapes but getting a people free picture can be a challenge.

Gulls and boats, Southwest Harbor.

A view of Northeast Harbor from Thuya Gardens.

Margaret Todd off Bar Harbor.

Rainy afternoon, Bar Harbor.

Ocean Path.

Harbor scene, Bar Harbor.

Incoming wave, Ocean Path.

Peapod, Stonington.

Ocean Path.

Lobster boats, Bar Harbor.

Dories, Stonington.

Harbor scene, Southwest Harbor.

Ebbing tide, Stonington.

Unloading the catch, Stonington.

Salt air and balsam along the Ocean Path.

Kim’s Pride, Stonington.

Window, Southwest Harbor.

Friends, Northeast Harbor.

Boat lift, Stonington.

Reflection, Northeast Harbor.

Windows, Stonington.

Cliff along Ocean Path, Acadia National Park.

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Nature:

We saw several non-breeding Black Guillemots as we explored the coves and harbors.

Calico Asters, (Donna).

Female Common Eider with small crab, (Donna).

Colorful fungi, (Donna).

Greater Yellowlegs, (Donna).

Red Squirrel cuteness, Bar Harbor.

Gull with crab at low tide, (Donna).

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Thuya Gardens, (Donna).

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, (Donna).

As we hiked a trail in Thuya Gardens, this salamander just avoided my foot.

American Lady, Thuya Gardens, (Donna).

Another view.

Wild Rose, found along many of the ocean side trails.

Asters

As the tide goes out there’s the enchanting world of tide pools to explore, Wonderland Trail, Acadia National Park.

Tide pool detail, (Donna).

Tide pool.

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We hope you enjoyed this brief interlude from our usual central Ohio posts. For a moment this morning as we walking along Griggs Reservoir in the misty rain, except for the lack of salt air, it was hard not to imagine we were back in Maine. Thanks for stopping by.


So Close To Home

Usually when one thinks about life in Columbus, shopping malls, the local college football team, and rapid urban development come to mind. Columbus, with its multifaceted economy has escaped the malaise of many midwestern cities that relied on manufacturing and heavy industry for their prosperity so outlying farm fields continue to give way the strip malls and housing developments.

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Still, embedded right in the center of the metropolitan area, there is nature.  During outings along the Scioto River or on Griggs Reservoir I can’t help but feel blessed. Recently while fishing (catch, photograph, release) the surprisingly productive waters for Small Mouth Bass and otherwise being on or near the river and reservoir I’ve been treated the sights and sounds of Belted Kingfishers, Great Blue Herons, Black Crowned Night Herons, Great Egrets, Osprey, Spotted Sandpipers and even an occasional Bald Eagle.  After time spent in these places I can only hope that the treasure I get to enjoy endures and is here for those that come after me.

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Black-crowned Night Heron taken while fishing in the reservoir. A not real common bird!

Another look.

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The river:

The Scioto River.

The Scioto River below Griggs Dam is a favorite spot for fishermen.

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.   .   .  and for good reason.

A beautiful Scioto River Small Mouth Bass.

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The reservoir:

An Osprey looks on as I fish in the reservoir.

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Fishing in the reservoir is very good also.

Okay bear with my enthusiasm but just wanted to show the above fish wasn’t an accident.

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Immature Black-crowned Night Heron along the reservoir.

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron? If I’m right it’s our first sighting ever along Griggs Reservoir, exciting to say the least!

While paddling Spotted Sandpipers often frequent the water’s edge.

In late August Green Herons seem to be more common along the river and reservoir.

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Thanks for stopping by and sharing in my enthusiasm. I hope that where ever you live you are blessed to have a special place so close to home.

Taking a break along Griggs reservoir at Hayden Run Falls.

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