Winter Photography Workshop, The Holden Arboretum, January 30, 2016

If you would like to improve your winter photography skills, join us on Saturday, January 30, 2016 for a one-day Ice Photography Workshop at The Holden Arboretum in Lake County, Ohio. This is a popular workshop that we have conducted for more than 15 years.

Icicles, Cuyahoga River Gorge, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Icicles, Cuyahoga River Gorge, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Stebbins Gulch, Holden Arboretum
Stebbins Gulch, The Holden Arboretum

The workshop begins with a slide program on winter photography at Holden’s Visitor Center. We’ll cover winterizing your digital camera equipment, the best smartphone and digital camera settings for winter photography, fine-tuning your winter exposures using in-camera histograms, and specific tips for finding, lighting and composing great photographs of icicles, ice patterns, snow scenics, and wildlife in winter at the best locations in Ohio.

Photographing Icicles in Stebbins Gulch (iPhone 5 Photo)
Photographing Icicles in Stebbins Gulch (iPhone 5 Photo)

After the slide program, we’ll carpool a short distance and enjoy a hike through Holden’s winter woods to Stebbins Gulch, a rugged gorge with 80-foot sandstone cliffs, frozen waterfalls, and picturesque icicles, if the weather is seasonally cold. We’ll descend into the gorge (knee-length rubber boots are highly recommended), shoot for a couple of hours, then hike out of the Gulch and return to Holden’s Visitor Center to socialize and enjoy a hot drink.

Icicles in Stebbins Gulch (iPhone 5 Photo)
Icicles in Stebbins Gulch (iPhone 5 Photo)

There will also be an afternoon session on Saturday, February 6 from 2-4 pm at the Holden Visitor Center to share and critique your favorite photos from the Stebbins Gulch photo shoot, and we’ll share some techniques for fine-tuning your winter photos using Adobe Photoshop CS6/CC and Adobe Lightroom 6.0/CC

Group Photo in Stebbins Gulch, January 16, 2015 (iPhone 5 Photo)
Group Photo in Stebbins Gulch, January 16, 2015 (iPhone 5 Photo)

This workshop is limited to 16 participants, and you should have a basic knowledge of digital photography and be familiar with the controls and operation of your smartphone camera, digital point-&-shoot or SLR camera.

To register for the program, visit Holden’s website at: http://www.holdenarb.org or call Joy Totedo at (440)-(602)-3833.

 

Picture Ohio! – A Brambling in Medina County, Ohio

Brambling - Blog (1 of 2)
Brambling, Allardale Park, Medina County, Ohio

Yesterday afternoon I received a phone call from Dan Bertsch, the recently retired Chief Naturalist at Medina County Parks in northeast Ohio. Dan had called to invite me to visit his home in Medina County to view and photograph a male brambling, a Eurasian finch that has taken up residence nearby and makes frequent visits to his bird feeder. I’m not much of a bird lister, but this opportunity to see a bird that was last seen in Ohio 28 years ago was not to be missed, so after a business meeting mid-morning in Wooster I drove over to Dan’s home to admire this very rare avian visitor.

Brambling, Allardale Park, Medina County
Brambling, Allardale Park, Medina County, Ohio

Dan lives in a beautiful farmhouse adjacent to Allardale Park, and the brambling was making regular visits to a well-stocked bird feeder just outside his kitchen window at the front of the house. Across the street, dozens of birders were lined up along the road, with binoculars, spotting scopes, and numerous tripod-mounted Canon and Nikon super telephoto lenses all trained on the busy bird feeder. In addition to the male brambling, there were at least a dozen other bird species visiting the feeder, including tree and house sparrows, goldfinches, juncos, house finches, chickadees, tufted titmice, cardinals, white-breasted nuthatches, downy and red-bellied woodpeckers, and an occasional blue jay.

The brambling was very skittish, and would only come to the feeder area when lots of house sparrows and other small birds were busy feeding on the ground. A serviceberry tree near the feeder provided lots of perches for the birds, but the brambling, despite its resplendent plumage, was often very hard to spot among the leaves at the base of the tree. A car coming along the road, or any sudden movement, caused the entire flock of feeding birds to take flight, albeit temporarily until they regained their courage to return to the feeder area. I used my Sigma 50-500mm zoom lens on a tripod-mounted Nikon D7200, at ISO 1600, f/8, and a shutter speed of 1/125th second. I was shooting through a plate glass window, and needed to position the camera carefully to avoid reflections in the glass, which reduced the image acuity slightly but allowed us to view the birds from a range of less than 20 feet.

A few minutes before I arrived, Jim McCarty, who writes about birds for The Plain Dealer, had visited to observe the bird, and his article about the brambling may be read at this link:   http://news360.com/article/328883497

A special thank you to Dan Bertsch for his hospitality and the chance to view and photograph this special bird on the last day of the year.

Thank you for visiting my website and blog, and my best wishes for a wonderful year in 2016.

Happy New Year!

 

 

Picture Ohio! – Marblehead Lighthouse, Ottawa County

Looking for a new Ohio place to photograph this winter? Check out Marblehead Lighthouse, a picturesque Buckeye favorite and the oldest operating lighthouse on the Great Lakes.

Marblehead Lighthouse
Marblehead Lighthouse

Directions: Marblehead Lighthouse is located at 110 Lighthouse Drive, Marblehead, OH 43440.  Marblehead is about 80 miles west of Cleveland, 125 miles north of Columbus, and 55 miles east of Toledo.

Tel: (419) 734-4424

Website: http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/parks/parks/marblehead/tabid/763/Default.aspx

GPS Coordinates: 41.536357N 82.712247W

Marblehead Lighthouse, located about a mile east of the town of Marblehead, is the oldest operating lighthouse on the Great Lakes. Built from local limestone in 1821, the 65-foot beacon is crowned by a red roof and red metal balcony. The lighthouse is said to be the most photographed structure in Ohio, and its image has appeared on a U.S. postage stamp as well as on Ohio vehicle plates. Next to the lighthouse is a picturesque keeper’s cottage, painted white like the lighthouse. The limestone shoreline around the lighthouse makes a good foreground for wide-angle views of this historic beacon. Since 1998, Marblehead Lighthouse has been operated as an Ohio State Park.

Marblehead Lighthouse is a popular tourist destination during the warm months, especially on weekends, so try to avoid these times, especially during the middle of the day, unless you want to photograph the lighthouse surrounded by crowds of visitors. The rocks below the lighthouse are a great place for photographing the sun rising over the Lake Erie horizon, and the lighthouse is photogenic from all four points of the compass. During the summer months, you can tour the interior of the lighthouse and climb the sixty-seven stairs of the spiral staircase ( very photogenic) to the top, which provides great views of Lake Erie and Kelleys Island to the north.

Sunrise at Marblehead
Sunrise at Marblehead

In cold winters, when Lake Erie ices over, the rocks at the base of the lighthouse are one of my favorite locations for photographing the ice as it breaks up in late winter, usually in early March. Sunrise, which occurs around 8:00 a.m.  right now but around 6:45 a.m. in early spring, is the best time for ice photography here, on clear or partly cloudy days. Be sure to wear Yaktrax on your boots to avoid slipping on the icy rocks, and don’t venture out on the ice unless it is extremely thick. Kelleys Island is about 3 miles north of Marblehead, reached by a twenty-minute ferry ride, and the Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve is nearby on Marblehead Peninsula.

Early Morning Near Marblehead Lighthouse
Early Morning Near Marblehead Lighthouse

The two ice photographs were taken below the lighthouse on the same morning, about 20 minutes apart, from almost the same position, looking in different directions. It’s amazing how much the light can change in just a few minutes around sunrise. That’s why it’s important to arrive well before dawn, so you can scout for good compositions and maximize your photography opportunities during the fleeting, early morning light.