Take a hike!

And I mean that in the nicest way, of course.

I took advantage of the beautious weather and some free time to take my own advice. This is a great time of year to get out. It’s not too hot or buggy yet, but spring is definitely in full bloom, if perhaps moving on toward summer maturity. The novelty has worn off a bit, but now is a good time to slow down and soak it all in: the fragrant if invisible flowers, the pungent aroma of decomposing wood from nearby fallen trees – pretty much like walking by a freshly spread bed of wood chip compost; most of the trees are fully filled in. The sounds of countless songbirds and scurrying chipmunks seem to punctuate every turn on the trail.

Today was a two-parter: I noticed the nearby cemetery was especially colorful with all sorts of flowering shrubs and trees in bloom. I’ll make a separate post with that. Even in midday sun there’s always opportunities for interesting images at a cemetery. I don’t always succeed, but hey, I’m working on it.

Second was a visit to the Gorge Park and the adjacent Glens hiking trail. It’s a moderately challenging trail — definitely NOT ADA compliant. There are a few potentially dangerous spots, so I’d think twice about bringing small children. Anyway, on to the pix:

This limestone-and-other-stuff formation is known as “puddingstone,” so named for its Swiss cheese texture, which reminded explorers of English pudding, which you might have guessed by now is nothing like the Jell-O brand of pudding you and I probably grew up with.

This is the famous Mary Campbell Cave, where a 12-year-old girl named – wait for it! – Mary Campbell was kidnapped and kept by a local tribe. She survived and named the cave in her honor. Or something like that.

A former colleague of mine referred to chipmunks as “rats with racing stripes.” Seems appropriate. Sometimes I wish this camera came equipped with a few rounds of .22-caliber ammo. If you saw the damage chippies have done to my garage, you wouldn’t think that cruel at all!

A fern grows in stone.

This is a good example of when a flash would be handy. That or some major bracketing. This was shot from within a fairly deep overhang. The detail of the overhang is lost in the shadows because the camera’s auto exposure set itself for the much-lighter background. But if you bracket for the shadows, the background will probably wash out because of overexposure. What to do, what to do?

… The answer, of course, is some handy-dandy strobe flash fill. Especially helpful in dark caves and other spots lacking natural light. In most cases, I’d prefer to use natural light. But if you need a little help, don’t fight it.

Despite improving water quality, the mighty Cuyahoga River seems to still be the favorite home of big lunkers like these, “Carpusi Enormusi.”

There is no shortage of interesting rock formations along this stretch of the Cuyahoga River. And when crews blow up two more dams, the receding (and much interesting white water) river promises to expose more interesting rock.

A closer look at this formation.

And now for some moving pictures:

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