Category Archives: Weekly Photo Challenge

Chippy Wins a Blue Ribbon

Last  October, on the last glorious day before fall gloom appeared, I captured a photo of a Chipmunk enjoying the day as much as I was. Spotting a dash and flash under the leaves, I got ready and he provided me with a charming cute wildlife portrait.

I plunged into photography as a serious hobby just over two years ago. From another photographer’s blog, I picked up the idea of entering a photo exhibition through our local photo club. There was no time to prepare so I just grabbed some photos I had and jumped in. They were horrible, but I crossed a threshold of participation that motivated me to improve a skill I thought I could achieve. Two more shows  received my entries last year and I managed to bring home some ribbons.

The Wilderness Center of Wilmot, Ohio, a Northeast Ohio Nature Preserve holds an annual FotoFest as part of Earth Day. Nature Photography as I see it on the trail makes this show a perfect fit for me. I left little Chippy out of my home photo show earlier in the year, intimidated by grand landscapes, tall ships and the like, but I thought he might be a hit at FotoFest.

With 5 photos in a show with over 140 really good photos from 40 photographers, I raised my hopes to dare to think that if I came away with an honorable mention, that would be something. In the anything goes category, I put in a personal favorite, an abstract I titled “Forest On Watercolor”. My name was called for honorable mention, that was a good and surprising start.

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Forest on Watercolor

Later my name was called again for a butterfly photo I titled “Slurping at the River”. I thought it was my best entry, but I also knew that I critically errored with my mounting. With two honorable mentions I passed expectations.

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Slurping at the River

I’ve learned that if photo does not make an initial impact to grab attention it has no hope. Then, if the composition is right, the lighting is right and the technical aspects are right, then you are competing with the others. I titled my last entry “Hide N Seek Chippy”. It had impact. It had cuteness, a chance at being a crowd favorite. It also had light in the eyes, a perfect catch light and maybe a chance at catching a judge’s eye too.

With the last category to go, I thought that if It did not receive the third place ribbon I’d be done. Chippy wasn’t called. While the winner was being announced, I was ready to go to my grandson’s first birthday party. And then I heard, “ And the winner is, “Hide N Seek Chippy”.  I was so surprised that as I moved forward I did not realize that they announced that it was also the shows Judge’s Choice Award winner.

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Hide N Seek Chippy

Reflecting back, I feel pretty good that with a little persistence and practice (every shot for me is practice, some turn out better than others), I was able to produce some photos to be proud of with my mid level hobbyist equipment. In the process I meet and appreciate new photographers, people really enjoy the shows, and I’m challenged to keep trying new things to get better.

I’m getting  a new set of images ready for the next exhibition.

This weeks WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is  – Reflecting

Wildflower Fest – Hepatica

While pleased to find the early blooming Bloodroot from yesterday’s post, I was quite excited to find these Hepatica growing close by. I was prostate, head down hill on this good earth when I found them to get my shots. I couple of other hikers passed me by while in this earth bound position and told me they were quite relieved to see me move and stand up. This all ended up in a little mother earth nature lesson. Amazing to me how people just pass on by never seeing what is really on this earth along the trail.

I do wonder if they would have left me if I really wasn’t moving?

Hepatica is named for the 3 lobed (like our liver) basil leaf which I do not show. Lying down hill has some mobility limits.

Earth is this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge of the week. Check out the other entries.

Wildflower Fest – Surprise

Trout Lillies are always a pleasant surprise. They come and go so quickly. There is an added surprise to if you wish to spot it. The flower takes its common name from its spotted leaves like a speckled trout, not from its yellow flower. Justice for the trout, but maybe not so fair for the Lilly.

WPC – Surprise. Everyone likes a pleasant surprise, check them out.

Against the Odds

The odds of such a beautiful weather in Northeast Ohio today was a good start. Trail comradery matched the day as I perused the trails with many birdwatchers sharing what they had seen and where. Coming out of the woods to cross the dam of the 10 acre pond at The Wilderness Center, I spotted an unusual sight swimming with the Canada Geese. Another birder was similarly focused. Neither of us knew what we were looking at, so a little teamwork ensued. Using my camera to freeze some detail and her birdwatching app, our discovery was a Blue Goose. Or, the dark morph of the Snow Goose. It had been adopted by this flock since, according to All About Birds, it does not migrate through Ohio. Snow geese are the color of their name. So, you get the picture; it was a day Against the Odds WPC challenge of the week. O, and the birder? turns out she’s from our neighborhood. What are those odds?blue-morph-snow-goose

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Blue Morph – Snow Goose

Matte Finish

I’m reposting for this weeks Weekly Photo Challenge. I guess I was ahead of my time, but this photo of shadows fits the theme perfectly.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Shadow

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Matte Finish

Each reflection shows it character.

Repurposed: O & E Towpath Trail

One of three hiking trails I weekly walk is the Zoar Valley Trail, part of the Ohio and Erie Canal Tow Path corridor. The trailhead I use begins near the Historic Village of Zoar and accommodates hikers, bike and equestrian traffic. The river increasingly is used as a recreational waterway. Eventually this trail which begins near Cleveland, travels through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and 4 county park systems will reach the Ohio River following the old canal route. The portion I routinely walk has served as canal, fish hatchery and a sawmill trace. It has been nicely repurposed , which is the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme of the week.

Zoar Valley Trail