This month was more challenging than I anticipated. Due to work schedule and other obligations I was unable to get into the city to photograph. However I was able to drive through a park on my way home from work one evening and took time to enjoy the winter wonderland. I hesitated to post in this forum because it wasn’t really the “urban” challenge I set for myself. But in lieu of city shots, I am posting these images of a metro-Cleveland park. After all, even urban areas have parks and forest areas set aside for human enjoyment and relaxation/rejuvination. A bit late, I know, but all shots are in the urban Cleveland area during the month of February. Enjoy.
Please feel free to comment/critique/suggest ideas. Hopefully I will be able to shoot more urban looking photos in March. Have a great month everyone!
Welcome to a new year! As indicated in my last post, this year I will be focusing on urban photography. Besides expanding my skills by delving into new territory photographically speaking, I hope to learn more about this, my adopted city. I grew up in the south and am told I still speak with a bit of a southern drawl. Relocating to Cleveland, OH, a city situated on the shores of one of our great lakes, Erie, is a culture shock to say the least. I work in the city but at times still feel like a stranger. Choosing to focus on the seasonal changes in the city seemed like a no-brainer for me. Little did I know how very different nature photography is from photographing city sights!
Unlike the organic lines, lights, shadows and shapes found in nature, urban landscapes are a juxtaposition of straight lines, harsh angles, crisp shadows, and all things concrete and metal. As you will see, I found it difficult to frame shots that didn’t look wildly distorted, tilted, and/or contrasty. I intentionally shot some photos at angles to hide the fact that I couldn’t get a good perspective no matter how hard I tried.
Another challenge to me was simply where to begin. I quickly discovered that going out to shoot photos in the city bewilders me. There is simply too much of everything: buildings, interesting streets, storefronts, lights, automobiles, etc. This month’s post is a hodgepodge of photos from different areas of the city. The black and white photos of the bridges and tavern were shot in an area known as “The Flats.” The color photos (with b&w thrown in) were shot in “Little Italy” and “Cleveland Heights.” Going forward I will choose one area of focus and concentrate in that area or on one subject. Otherwise I will get flustered and too discouraged to see this through to the end. Yes, this year will be quite a challenge. I hope you will feel free to offer constructive criticism as the year progresses. This project is a work in progress and is truly a learning experience for me. In other words, HELP! 😉
The photo that heads this post was shot a couple of years ago from a lakeside park looking east toward Cleveland after the sun had set. My plan is to use this as the header of each post in this challenge throughout the year, unless of course I get something better.
I hope you enjoy this months photos. I have mixed feelings, but look forward to improving with each month’s post.
As indicated last month, with this 2016 challenge I will highlight one photograph to “play” with, try something new, or edit in some way that will help me grow as well as enhance the image. This month I chose to experiment with the image I shot looking through the front window of my car (while stopped at a traffic signal). The window was still frosted around the edges as I peered at the red car in front of me.
I downloaded Picassa, a free post-editing program that I think will enhance my post editing skills, experimented with it and the following photo is what I came up with. Of course I never wrote down the steps to achieving the following photo so can’t comment much on it. I just fiddled with a few settings and here you see the finished product. Next month I will take better notes. Let me know what you think.
My first post processed print using Picassa!
As you can see, I have a LOT to learn this year. I look forward to reading your comments and seeing your images, too. Have a great 2016!
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.
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 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.
This is the month when North Chagrin Reservation morphed into a lush garden. You will see in the early part of the month things have thawed but the trees are not yet in full foliage. But today, even though the clouds gathered and the rain fell, the splendor of this place was in full bloom! This month’s portfolio depicts the transformation from very early spring to the full-blown season. And by the way, I didn’t count the number of photos I am posting so forgive me if I exceed the suggested limit. It’s just that everything is so lively and beautiful now. 🙂
It finally began to feel like spring this month! When I first began shooting photos for this post there was still thin ice on the ponds, which you will notice in these pics. But as the month progressed and the weather warmed, the ice melted, migratory birds returned, and spirits soared. My biggest excitement thus far was the return of the Great Blue Heron! There were also flowers that bloomed and buds on trees. Spring is finally HERE!
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!