Picture Ohio! Hubbard Valley Park – A Treasure Trove of Trilliums in Medina County

White Trilliums, Hubbard Valley Park, Medina County, Ohio
White Trilliums, Hubbard Valley Park, Medina County, Ohio

April is one of my favorite months for wildflower photography in the Buckeye State. Having endured 4-5 months of winter, during which most of Ohio’s natural landscapes are tones of gray, brown, and white, it’s a delight to see patches of green, my favorite color, reappear in fields and woodlands. Beginning in late March or early April, for the next few weeks, dozens of species of ephemeral spring wildflowers race to bloom and set seed throughout Ohio before drooping in the deepening shade of the forest canopy in early summer.

The Trillium Trail, Hubbard Valley Park
The Trillium Trail, Hubbard Valley Park

A few days ago, while searching for new locations for spring wildflower photography in the Buckeye State, I discovered Hubbard Valley Park, part of more than 6,000 acres of land that make up the Medina County Park District in northeast Ohio. The Trillium Trail, a 1.25-mile path that loops through a beech-maple forest north of the 20-acre Hubbard Valley Lake, is a treasure trove of spring wildflowers, highlighted by one of the finest displays of white and sessile trilliums I have ever seen in the Buckeye State.

White Trilliums and Beech Tree, Hubbard Valley Park
White Trilliums and Beech Tree, Hubbard Valley Park

The Trillium Trail is a loop trail, but the best wildflowers are in the woodlands adjacent to the trail north of the 20-acre lake. From the northeast corner of the parking area, follow the paved trail northeast to a footbridge over Hubbard Creek. A few more yards brings you to a junction with the 1/2-mile Sugar Woods Loop, marked in yellow on the trail markers. There are some nice wildflowers along this trail, but the best wildflower displays are along the Trillium Trail, marked in blue, which turns left at the trail junction and follows the edge of the bluffs  to the west along the edge of the lake. As you pass a grove of pine and spruce trees on your left, you’ll see the white trilliums, Trillium grandiflorum, covering the bluffs near the trail. The steep slopes of the bluffs create great angles for photographing vistas of the trilliums. The white trillium, also called the large-flowered trillium, is Ohio’s state wildflower.

Appendaged Waterleaf Foliage, Trillium Trail, Hubbard Valley Park
Appendaged Waterleaf Foliage, Trillium Trail, Hubbard Valley Park

The white trilliums are the stars of the show, but there are many other species of spring wildflowers along the Trillium Trail to admire and photograph. One of my favorites is appendaged waterleaf, Hydrophyllum appendiculatum, whose large clumps of maple-shaped leaves may be seen along the edge of the  trail. The rose-purple flowers of wild geraniums, Geranium maculatum, were beginning to open when I visited the park yesterday, and I plan to return to photograph these beautiful flowers when they are at their peak next week.

Sessile Trilliums, Hubbard Valley Park
Sessile Trilliums, Hubbard Valley Park

The Trillium Trail emerges from the woods near the western end of the lake, continues down some wooden steps, crosses an open grassy area, then ascends a few more wooden steps into a small, isolated section of woods. Along the trail in these woods is the best display of sessile trillium, Trillium sessile, I have seen anywhere in the Buckeye State. Thousands of these flowers carpet the woods. Most of the flowers are deep maroon, but here and there were a few of the yellow-green variety, shown in the photo below.

Red and Yellow-green Sessile Trilliums, Hubbard Valley Park
Red and Yellow-green Sessile Trilliums, Hubbard Valley Park
Sessile Trilliums, Hubbard Valley Park
Sessile Trilliums, Hubbard Valley Park

Yesterday, April 30, was completely overcast, with no wind – perfect conditions for photographing vistas of spring wildflowers  in the woods. Avoid bright sun, which is the kiss of death for wildflower photography. Bright sun on a windy day is even worse! Bright sunlight washes out the delicate textures of white flowers, and every tree, shrub, leaf or blade of grass casts a shadow creating visual chaos that ruins any attempt at creating an effective composition. Also avoid very wet conditions, which produce dark gray or black streaks on tree trunks and branches, as well as specular reflections on leaves. You can use a polarizing filter to minimize specular reflections, but using a polarizer will double or triple your exposure time, as well as producing a color shift that can be difficult to adjust in post-processing. A touch of dampness is fine, but try to avoid days when the trees, shrubs, and flowers are soaking wet.

Each of the photographs shown above was made with my Nikon D7200 and Nikon’s new 16-80mm f/2.8-4E lens, mounted on a sturdy tripod. I always use a tripod for wildflower photography, which often requires a setting of f/11 or f/16 to render the foreground and background in sharp focus, using an ISO of 100 or 200 to maximize image quality. I use an electronic cable release and the Mirror Up setting on the D7200 to minimize vibration during the exposure. I also carry 70-200mm f/4 and 12-24mm f/4 Nikon lenses, and a Sigma 150mm Macro lens for close-up photography and flower portraits.

The trilliums should be good for the next few days, after which they will fade from white to a beautiful pink color, also well worth photographing. Hubbard Valley Park is located at 8454 Hubbard Valley Road, Seville, OH 44273. The GPS coordinates for the parking area are: 41.040517N 81.849721W. You can find more information about Hubbard Valley Park and download a map from the Medina County Parks website:

www.medinacountyparks.com

I would like to thank fellow photographer Dave Longfellow, President (2015) of the Cuyahoga Valley Photo Society, who was visiting Hubbard Valley Park with his wife when I arrived there at midday yesterday. Dave is very familiar with the Trillium Trail and told me about the amazing display of sessile trilliums near the northwest corner of the lake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Close Menu