2009 Website Newsletter – 2


I will be conducting a book signing of Our First Family’s Home: The Ohio Governors Residence & Heritage Garden , Backroads of Ohio and other Ohio books at Barnes & Noble booksellers in Westlake, Ohio on Saturday, May 23, from 2-4 pm. For details and directions visit their website:                                 



Dwarf-crested Iris, Shawnee State Forest, Ohio
Dwarf-crested Iris, Shawnee State Forest, Ohio

Early May is a great time to visit Shawnee State Forest in Adams and Scioto counties, west of Portsmouth in southern Ohio.  Dozens of species of wildflowers abound in this hilly area, which is often called the “Little Smoky Mountains” of Ohio. Migrating songbirds fill the woods, together with some early butterflies.   This is the setting for Flora-Quest, scheduled for May 1-3, 2009.  Based at the resort lodge at Shawnee State Park, a variety of speakers and local naturalists and guides will provide presentations on the area’s flora and fauna, together with guided hikes throughout the state park and forest. I will be conducting a one-day digital nature photography workshop, with the emphasis on photographing spring woodland scenics, wildflowers, and butterflies, and the program will include a half-day shoot in the Shawnee State Forest. I’m also honored to be a keynote speaker for Flora-Quest: My presentation will be A Photo Tour of Ohio’s Natural Areas. For more information, visit the Flora-Quest website:


Burr Oak at The Holden Arboretum in Lake County, Ohio
Burr Oak at The Holden Arboretum in Lake County, Ohio

Photographing Trees, a one-day photography workshop at The Holden Arboretum on May 9, will provide tips on photographing the beauty and variety of trees with digital cameras, followed by an afternoon field session to explore Holden’s woodlands and display gardens in search of images of tree buds, flowers, bark patterns, and emerging spring foliage. We’ll meet again on May 20 from 7-9 pm for a review and critique of photos taken during the workshop. This program is designed for beginners and intermediate photographers. Call Vonna Zahler at (440)-602-3833 to register for this workshop, or visit Holden’s website:


Carvers Pond at The Holden Arboretum in Lake County, Ohio
Carvers Pond at The Holden Arboretum in Lake County, Ohio

I’ll be returning to Holden Arboretum on June 20 for another one-day photo workshop exploring Carver’s Pond, one of my favorite places at the Arboretum.  After a morning classroom session on digital nature photography, we’ll enjoy a woodland hike to one of the finest hilltop views at Holden, followed by a steep descent through the woods to Carver’s Pond, which has a fine summer display of water lilies, as well as many dragonflies, beaver activity, and early summer wildflowers. We’ll meet again on July 7 from 7-9 pm to share and critique photos taken during the workshop.  To register, call Vonna Zahler as noted above, or visit Holden’s website.

Marsh view, Acadia National Paerk, Maine
Marsh view, Acadia National Park, Maine

Boothbay Harbor on the coast of Maine is home to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, the largest public garden in the state, and the host for a two-day Digital Garden Photography Workshop on Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28, 2009. In late June, lupines, cliff roses, wild iris and other early summer wildflowers will be in bloom, plus a variety of horticultural displays, majestic ledges and stonework, pristine forest and tranquil water views in the gardens.  This will be an intensive, two-day workshop that will provide an in-depth introduction to digital nature and garden photography with an afternoon photo shoot and a review and critique of your photos.

For more information about Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, call (207)-633-4333 or visit their website at:


For more information on the workshop, call Ian Adams at (330)-920-7401 or send an email to ijadams@neo.rr.com and we’ll send you a PDF with more details about the program.

Gibraltar Island in Put-in-Bay, Ohio
Gibraltar Island in Put-in-Bay, Ohio

The Lake Erie Islands, near Port Clinton in northwest Ohio, are one of Ohio’s most scenic and popular locations, especially during the warm days of summer.  The photo above shows some of the tallest cliffs on the south shore of Lake Erie, on Gibraltar Island in Put-in-Bay.  Gibraltar Island is the home of  Stone Laboratory, part of Ohio State University, which carries out extensive research in the natural history of this area of the Great Lakes. On August 8-10 I’ll be conducting a weekend Travel Photography Workshop in this very attractive location.  For more information on the workshop, call Ian Adams at (330)-920-7401 or send an email to ijadams@neo.rr.com and we’ll send you a PDF with more information. You can register for the workshop by calling Arleen Pineda at (614)-292-8949 or via email at pineda.2@osu.edu.


How do you store your digital photos?  Can you find any photo quickly and easily? And if, God forbid, you suffered a “disaster” in the form of a flood or fire, do you have another copy of your important digital photographs?

I asked myself these questions during the past winter, and the answers were not very encouraging.  To begin with, most of my digital photos were stored on several external hard drives, but some were only on my computer’s main hard drive.  I had most, though not all of the images backed up on CD/DVD. Both the computer and external drives, plus the CD/DVDs, were stored in my basement office at home, my base for my environmental photography business.  Also stored there were more than 50,000 35mm, 6x8cm and 4×5-inch color transparencies, filed in nine four-drawer metal filing cabinets. Although my basement office is sealed against flooding, and has a couple of fire sensors connected to my security alarm system, a major fire could potentially wipe out almost twenty years of my professional photography efforts!

All computer hard drives eventually fail, and storing important information and digital photographs on your computer’s main hard drive is asking for trouble. In addition, digital photographs eat up lots of disk storage, which eventually will degrade your computer’s performance.  Today most professional photographers store their digital photographs on external hard drives, preferably using a RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) configuration which provides a backup of all data stored on the external drives.  RAID is efficient but can be quite complicated to set up and maintain unless you are a computer expert.

After a few hours of on-line research, I settled on a DROBO, a data robot storage system developed and marketed by Data Robotics, Inc.  I purchased the largest version, with 4 1-terabyte Western Digital SATA drives, expandable to 16 terabytes, for a little over $1000. DROBO automatically makes a backup of all data entered, and there is absolutely no programming involved.  Simply transfer your digital files to the DROBO and DROBO does the rest. New, larger drives can be added when needed, and If a drive ever fails, DROBO goes to work to recreate the data from the other drives.

DROBO Data Robot
DROBO Data Robot

I spent a couple of weeks reorganizing my digital photos into about 40 major folders, then copied the folders to the DROBO, which used up roughly 25% of the available storage.  This represents about 6 years of digital photography, so there’s plenty of space left on my DROBO for many more years of work.  To guard against the (unlikely) possibility of the DROBO unit itself failing, I also plan to purchase an extended warranty.

To further ensure against fire, flood, or theft I installed backup software on my PC,  and periodically copy the entire contents of the DROBO (currently about 600 gigabytes) to a 750 gB Maxtor external drive which is kept at another location. The DROBO has a fast, Firewire 800 connection to my PC, which allows me to use the DROBO as primary online storage for my digital photographs.

So far, I’m very pleased with the DROBO, and so are many other users, because more than 60,000 DROBO units have been sold worldwide to date. For further information, visit the DROBO Robotics website at:



For the next couple of months, woodlands around the Buckeye State will stage a spring pageant, as dozens of species of wildflowers race to bloom and set seed before drooping in the deepening shade of the forest canopy in early summer. Ohio’s native trees and shrubs also share the stage in spring, beginning with the redbud, followed by dogwood a little later.  For Ohio’s nature photographers, it’s time to dust off digital cameras and lenses, charge batteries and head out to the woods to engage in a rite of spring – wildflower photography.

Wild Geraniums, Fowler Woods State Nature Preserve
Wild Geraniums, Fowler Woods State Nature Preserve

Spring moves north in Ohio, and some of the earliest and finest wildflower displays in southern Ohio occur in the Shawnee State Forest area, west of Portsmouth in Scioto and Adams Counties. I’ll be conducting a photo workshop in this area at Flora-Quest (see above) on May 1-3.  Northwest of Shawnee, in Highland County,  the Highlands Nature Sanctuary is another scenic location, with beautiful wildflower displays in mid-April along Rocky Fork.

In southeast Ohio, the scenic Hocking Hills are a favorite destination for nature photographers, though the waterfalls and rock formations tend to dominate the views.  There are fine wildflower displays along the trails in the six Hocking Hills state parks, but much more extensive stands of wildflowers may be found nearby at Zaleski State Forest, especially along the flood plain of Raccoon Cree, which winds its way through the forest.

In southwest Ohio, Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve in Greene County south of Springfield has some of the state’s most impressive wildflower displays, especially in early spring, when hepatica, squirrel corn, bloodroot, Dutchman’s breeches, violets, toothwort, mayapples and other wildflowers cover the limestone rocks along the gorge of the Little Miami River.  North of Springfield, Cedar Bog State Nature Preserve near Urbana has a display of bright yellow marsh marigolds that cover several acres in the wet woods, where a boardwalk provides great views as well as allowing you to keep your feet dry.

In central Ohio, the Columbus Metro Parks which include woodlands, such as Battelle Darby Creek, Blacklick Woods, Highbanks, and Sharon Woods have good spring wildflower displays, and further north, near Loudonville, Mohican-Memorial State Forest is another prime wildflower location.  North-central Ohio also has several state nature preserves with excellent spring wildflower displays, including one of my favorites, Fowler Woods State Nature Preserve, north of Mansfield, where one of Ohio’s largest stands of marsh marigolds blooms in mid-April.

In northwest Ohio, Goll Woods State Nature Preserve, near Archbold in Fulton County, includes some of the only remaining old growth swamp forest in northern Ohio, and a hike along any of the trails in April or May will reveal abundant displays of wildflowers.  Further east, the Toledo Metroparks offer good wildflower displays, including many unusual species. Northwest of Toledo, in the Oak Openings region of Lucas County, Kitty Todd State Nature Preserve has excellent stands of lupine, the host plant for the diminutive and very rare butterfly, the Karner Blue.

Wild Hyacinths, Mill Stream Run, Cleveland Metroparks
Wild Hyacinths, Mill Stream Run, Cleveland Metroparks

Northeast Ohio is blessed with an abundance of prime locations for spring wildflowers, including the Cleveland Metroparks, the Summit County Metroparks near Akron, Lake County Metroparks, the extensive Holden Arboretum near Kirtland in Lake and Geauga Counties, and the  Cuyahoga Valley National Park between Akron and Cleveland. I’m privileged to live in this diverse area, and wildflower photographs from these scenic parks and preserves, like the photo of the wild hyacinths shown above, have appeared in many of my Ohio books and dozens of my Wild & Scenic Ohio and Ohio Nature calendars over the past twenty years.


During the winter months I added more than 200 new images to my searchable website gallery, including:

– Almost 100 photographs taken at Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis;

– 60 photos of the Ohio  Governor’s Residence;

– More than 50 new photos of barns and an Amish barn raising.

We hope you enjoy these new photographs, as well as the return of spring in the Buckeye State.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu