I stated in the previous blog that I was not going to post a “final” edition of this 2015 challenge. I changed my mind. Following are some of my favorite photos from each month of this year. I tried to make them representative of both season and location. Enjoy!
This is a wrap! Hope you enjoyed the changing seasons at North Chagrin Reservation as much as I did this year. I look forward to what this challenge reveals in 2016. Happy New Year!
You will notice this month that the images look more like a chilly autumn day than a blustery December winter. I am told that the unseasonable weather is in part due to the El Nino phenomenon. I suspect that global warming plays a role in the changing weather patterns as well. Usually by this time of year Cleveland, a city that sits on the shores of one of the northern Great Lakes, has seen quite a bit of snow. But this year has been unseasonably warm with a mere dusting of snow here and there thus far. Despite the uncharacteristic weather, the reservation is as inviting and beautiful as ever. I hope you enjoy these images as I wrap up this 2015 challenge.
A final post with the best or most representative photo of each month was suggested as a way to wrap up this year’s challenge. While the suggestion is an excellent one and would be a fitting way to end this year’s challenge, I am choosing to pass on that. To be honest, my mind and imagination is already at work planning and plotting how to approach 2016’s challenge.
For the coming year I plan to do something drastically different! I am a nature photographer, however my work takes me into the city everyday, most often the “hood” or what we used to call the “slum” areas. I prefer the term “hood” because it suggests places where people live and go to school and raise their children. I have never attempted urban nor have any experience with street photography. But when I am in the city, even in the low income, dilapidated areas, I see beauty. Maybe it’s in the intersecting lines of bridges and architecture, or patterns of light and shadow, or contrast between shabby and opulent, or even the surprising abundance of nature that is found in places where concrete and asphalt appears to obliterate everything natural. At any rate I am looking forward to stretching myself by expanding into new areas of photography. I will use the same format as I have used this year with the exception that from each month’s carousel of photos, I will highlight one photo for experimenting a different processing technique, hopefully something I’ve not done before. I hope you will join me on this journey into a new year’s monthly challenge.
May you have a wonderful new year. I hope to see you here in 2016!
It is hard to believe that we have reached the penultimate month of this wonderful photo challenge. November reveals stark changes from the lush, vibrant summer and early fall posts. Trees are denuded of their foliage, verdant colors have transitioned to golds and browns, and the wild life is sparse as birds fly south and mammals start preparing for their winter hibernation. Yet, beauty still abounds. I hope you enjoy this month’s entry in the challenge. I hope, too, that you get a sense of the magic of this place. Enjoy.
Wow. What a change a few days makes! We are now definitely into the fall here. The temps have begun to drop. We saw our first snow fall of the season yesterday and it has still been “spittin’ ” snow today though there is no accumulation. The jackets and coats have come out and the thermostat was turned up to warm the house. Personally I experience a little grief about this time every year. I thrive in the spring and summer months, so this transition into fall (and eventually winter) triggers a bit of melancholy. Having said that however, spending time at the reservation reminds me of the glory of every season, which boosts my sagging spirit. I really tried to capture the fall feeling and gorgeousness of this place this month.
As an aside, today is my birthday. I don’t do big parties or celebrations. We tend to find simple, meaningful ways to mark life events around here. With that in mind, my birthday treat to myself was to drive out to the reservation and spend hours this morning roaming, meditating, photographing, and rejuvenating. Some of the photos posted today were taken this morning. What a wonderful way to start the day! I hope that you, too, find meaningful ways to spend your days. Enjoy this month’s collection.
It is hard to believe that we are already to September with the Changing Seasons Monthly Photo Challenge. I took time to review the preceding eight months of going to the reservation with the intent of “noticing” the changes, photographing what I noticed, and sharing images with you in the hopes that you, too, would fall in love with this wonderful, magical place. This month witnessed the apex of summer — North Chagrin is as lush as it will get, the flowers are going to seed, the first hints of autumn are emerging, birds are beginning their migration south — but it’s beauty and wonder never wanes for me. I tried to capture the feeling of this transition to autumn in the photos this month. Exciting for me is the fact that I saw and captured fowl that I have never seen before at the reservation. What fun! This month I organized the images into two galleries simply because I could not limit myself to just 20 (or less) photos of this place that I love so much. Please forgive my self-indulgence. North Chagrin Reservation is THE place I go to when I can (2 or 3 times weekly) to revive my soul and energies. 😉
First are images of the end of summer flora and fauna found at North Chagrin. Enjoy!
The second gallery depicts the profusion of birds that make North Chagrin Reservation their summer home, or maybe a “passing through” place between the wilds of Canada and points further south. I am excited to share these photos because there are many that are first time photo ops for me. One, the Green Heron, I have tried to capture (photo-wise) for years. This was the year for that beauty! But you will also see multiple shots of an Osprey, also a “first catch”, as is the Cormorant. Then there are the beautiful usual geese and Great Blue Heron (that has already headed south by now, I believe). The Red Winged Black Birds are ubiquitous year round. Enjoy!
So that does it for September! Next month will be full of autumnal colors, I am sure, as October will be the first full month of Fall. Thank you for stopping by and perusing the photos of this wonderful place. I hope you have enjoyed it.
It has been a wet, cool summer; the wettest on record I am told. Despite that however, the Reservation is lush and lazy as one would expect in the month of August. I found it more challenging to photograph this month. There were many other demands on my time. But I think these photos will give a sense of how the changing seasons continually transform this special place. And you will notice that the frogs are back! They are in a different location, but even so the kids love to crawl on the sculptures, frogs and snake. Enjoy!
This month has been abnormally rainy and cool for this part of the world. It hasn’t felt much like July at all. Sunny days are few and far between. Although the days are dreary more often than not, the excessive rains created lush landscapes throughout the area as evidenced by the following photographs. These photos were taken this morning. I was pretty much alone as I walked through the meadow and along a paved trail to Sunset Pond. Although the sky was overcast I was able to get a few good shots. Regardless the weather, North Chagrin Reservation remains one of my favorite places to “get lost” in.
It is hard to believe that this month marks the mid-point of the year. The official start of summer (for those in the northern hemisphere) is just a few days away. North Chagrin Reservation seemingly burst into a lively, lush, and beautiful “Gan Eden” (Garden of Eden) overnight, coming after a long, bitter-cold winter. This continues to be the place I escape to when my work day ends in the city and I need to recharge my battery. The sounds of nature abound — birds chirping, bees buzzing, water rippling, breeze rustling, crickets chirping. Did I miss anything? I wish I had the capacity to add the accompanying sounds for each of the photos in this month’s portfolio. Alas you will have to use your imagination. At any rate, I hope that these images do justice to this special place.
Spring is just around the corner and most of us in this neck of the woods are anxious for its arrival. Winter on the Great Lakes is brutal and lasts too long for this southern gal’s liking! No matter how many winters I survive here in the north country, seeing snow–and lots of it–still on the ground in March (and sometimes April!) seems a cruel thing to endure. For the third month of this challenge, I have more snow pictures. Sigh . . .
But change is coming. In the midst of winter, walking on snow made crunching sounds. There was a silence in the woods broken occasionally by a distant bird calling its cohorts. A cold breeze would rustle the branches from time to time, but all was generally quiet. Meditative. Even though I complain about the seemingly never-ending winters here, in all honesty I love my weekly winter walks in the woods. I go there every chance I get. But too much of a good thing is still too much!
Now I am noticing significant changes as we reach the cusp of a new season, things I never noticed in earlier years. Despite all the snow you will see in the following photos, there was a change in March! I still have to wear winter coats and scarves, gloves and boots. But the sounds are quickly evolving suggesting transformation and renewed life. Crunching sounds of boots on snow have softened as the snow has softened and begun to melt. One hears running water everywhere. Snow is melting and forming small puddles that create rivulets that run down hills to larger creeks that are no longer covered in ice and hidden by snow. The cacophony of chirping birds would be annoying any other time of the year, but now signal the activities that precede nest-building, mating, laying eggs, and hatching chicks. For the first time I have seen deer on the reservation. They have always been here, but they, too, signal more activity as spring approaches. Yes, there is still snow at the reservation, but one also recognizes a change is about to occur!
Enjoy the following photos and see if you recognize differences from the previous two months of this challenge! They were taken over the course of the month since February’s posting so some look like they were shot in the dead of winter (they were) and others suggest emerging life!
North Chagrin Reservation continues to be my favorite retreat from the busyness and intensity of my work. I stroll the pathways, and occasionally forge my own paths. And although I never leave home without my camera, I go to this place to soak in the fragrances and sounds of forest and ponds. Animal life is abundant, and on those occasions when I sit, listen, observe, and just be mindful, wildlife shows itself in its beautiful wildness. Often I don’t even shoot my camera. (More often, though, I do!) As little as 30 minutes in this beautiful setting renews me on all levels. There are numerous parks, all beautiful, in this area. There is even a really big lake (Erie…hehe), but North Chagrin Reservation is where I go to be revived. And I visit this place quite often.