I am not a city girl by any stretch, but one of the benefits of living close to the greater Toledo area is that they have an extensive and varied metroparks system.
My dad, who is 87 years old, has been very sick for the past couple of months. For almost two weeks he’s been in a rehab facility in Sylvania, OH. This morning I planned to go visit him and I took my camera along, thinking to spend a bit of time at one of the parks after our visit.
I chose Secor Park because it was in relatively close proximity to the rehab center and also because it boasts the National Center for Nature Photography. Imagine my disappointment when I drove into the park to see the Photography Center was closed.
In my rush to get out of the door this morning while trying to remember my various errands and things I needed to take, I remembered my camera but forgot the insect repellent and/or my Off clip-on. This was a mistake I regretted almost as soon as I got out of the car.
I had parked at the Meadowview Area and contemplated my choice of hiking trails. I had a choice between the Trillium Trail and the Swamp Trail. I chose the Trillium Trail thinking A.) there would be more wildflowers and B.) Fewer mosquitoes. Unfortunately, neither one was the case.
Undeterred by the buzzing and biting mosquitoes, I started on my walk. I was determined to put into practice some of the things I have learned from the many photography books and newsletters I’ve been reading. With no beagles to pull me along, I tried to pay attention to things such as light and shadow, interesting forms and colors, all the while keeping my ears open for birds or other animals.
I thought the sun and shadow on these ferns made an interesting image, though it didn’t transfer to the photo as well as I had hoped.
Here is a very green and inviting back road through the park.
I would like to know how to get things in focus all the way to the edge of my photos.
I spied this cemetery through the trees but it was surrounded by a fence and no way to access it that I could see. Too bad, I love cemeteries! I think they are very interesting places!
I don’t think this is naturally occurring in the wild.
About the only wildlife I saw were fox squirrels. They were everywhere! Most of them looked very suspicious. I saw so many that I finally stopped taking photos of them.
(Please click on any image to see a larger view.)
I finally came out into a meadow area – less mosquitoes! – where there was a proliferation of milk weed, all of them hosting some different type of insect.
The path then turned back into the woods and soon ran along this creek from whence the mosquitoes that were tormenting me originated, I assume.
This was the only area I spied interesting avian life and unfortunately it was high up in the leaves and I could never get focused on it. I tried for quite some time but finally, fearing I was losing far too much blood to the mosquitoes, I gave up and moved along down the trail.
There were many interesting stumps of wood and fallen trees.
The best photo of the day — a chipmunk!
The Trillium Trail was supposed to make a 1.3 mile loop, ending back at the Meadowview parking area. Somehow I must have missed a turn because soon I was seeing things that looked familiar. Leave it to me to get “lost” on a 1.3 mile loop trail! I turned around, went back to the road and from there I could see my vehicle just a short distance away.
I walked around the meadow trying to find something interesting to photograph. The only birds I saw in this area where a pair of chipping sparrows and they had no interest in sitting still for a photo op!
I only explored a very small portion of Secor Park. There is certainly much more to be seen and many more trails that could be hiked. Photography-wise, the trail I took probably wasn’t the best choice as it was in too much shade and the sun and clouds played peek-a-boo the entire time I was there, which meant the lighting would go from bright to dim in a matter of moments. I realize from these photos that I still have A LOT to learn. I can’t say I’m terribly proud of any of these images. But as I keep reading in all the books – practice makes perfect! So, I’ll keep practicing.
Someday soon I hope to go to Oak Openings Preserve – also part of the Toledo Metroparks System – as I hear they have many different species of birds that I wouldn’t see in my own backyard.