Thursday, November 12, 2015

Just Ducky at Beaver Marsh

Beaver Marsh on a misty morning in October. Love the way the marsh grass turns bright rusty red. Flotillas of geese dotted the marsh when I started shooting, then took off in noisy waves, leaving the wood ducks in charge.

This log, about thirty feet or so off the boardwalk, seems to be a favorite roost for the wood ducks. They were jostling on and off of it for most of the morning.

Girls rule the heights!

The boys were hassling each other, lots of wing flapping, lunging, and squawking.

Lovely ducks. Can't wait to see what else will show up at Beaver Marsh as the waterfowl migration continues. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Fall at Sulphur Springs

October was a great month for shooting, but apparently not great for getting things up on the blog. So  over the next couple of days, I'll be posting photos from a few of the lovely places I visited last month.

Today, It's Sulphur Springs Falls. Located in South Chagrin Reservation of Cleveland Metroparks, it's one of the prettiest and most accessible falls in this area.

From the bigger picture...

...closer up... the tiniest detail, it's always worth shooting, no matter what the season.

I'd love to get some snow and ice shots of the falls, but the road to the Sulphur Springs picnic area is inevitably closed when I visit in the winter. Probably to keep idiots from slipping off the road into the ravine or crashing through the ice into the stream. I'd be careful, honest!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Chasing Trains

Had a blast chasing trains today - specifically, Nickel Plate Locomotive 765, which has been operating on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad tracks for the last couple of weeks, and will be back next weekend, October 3 and 4.

765 is an impressive steam engine: big, inky black, billowing smoke, and thundering down the tracks. It's whistle is pretty distinctive, too, quite different from the diesel engines used by CVSR.

Here is 765 at Brecksville Station. It's being pulled back to Fitzwater Yard by a diesel on the other end of the train. If you look closely, you can see the plume is flowing forward over the front of the train.

Kind of like the look of this old locomotive in black. That's the Rt. 82 bridges in the background, the one some knuckle headed neanderthals wanted to blow up.

One of the CVSR diesels, pulling the regularly scheduled scenic train. It headed south while 765 was at Fitzwater.

765, headed back south. I was standing about 15 feet from the tracks, and the whistle is deafening! The plume's flowing the right way now.

Same shot, color. The old-time sepia works better, I think.

Mid-afternoon, 765 made another run, this time south of Boston Station.  I caught it at the Furnace Run Bridge across from Bolanz Road.

For more details about 765, see The CVSR website has details about and tickets for the runs next week: If you're a photographer, check out Duane Stephen Loya's 765 page at

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sunflowers and Shorebirds

Spent some time shooting in Avon Lake and Lorain with my friend Lisa. The first set of photos is from a glorious field of sunflowers planted in memory of a young girl who died of brain cancer.

It's a beautiful field of sunshine:

Backlight from the morning sun creates a lovely glow.

You can find more information at

We decided to hit the Lorain Impoundment, which is a d-shaped area extending into the lake, basically a dump for harbor dredge. It's grassed over now and there's a perimeter path, with a pretty good view of the lake and lighthouse. The impoundment is a birding hotspot, but was pretty quiet when we got there around 10 am. We did flush an eagle, pretty cool, except all I got was a very blurry shot. We walked the perimeter, disturbing an impressive number of grasshoppers, almost like walking through a popcorn popper.

Here's the lighthouse, at the mouth of the Black River:

One kayaker, three fishing rods?

 A Ring-billed gull, slumming among the cormorants:

Great Blue Heron, doing the same.

Sail boat returning to harbor.

Lorain did a great job on the pier - it's paved and has a few benches along the way. Excellent view of the light house, too.

We had lunch at Jackalope's at Spitzer Marina - no idea what Jackalopes have to do with boating. Good meal and nice view of the harbor.

All in all, quite an enjoyable day.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wine and Hot Cars

Old cars are the best, and an old car show at a beautiful winery? Who could resist? Gervasi Vineyard has a cruise-in on Wednesday nights all summer long. The love lavished on these classic vintage automobiles is visible in every glossy painted curve and chrome highlight.

'50 Mercury, glowing in the evening sun.

Ultra-modern hood ornament:

Someday I will remember to shoot the nameplate on every car, so I know what the detail shots belong to. Not today. Nice duck/quail, though. Maybe a Ford?

Austin-Healey, darned happy to see us. This one is kind of cute, although some car faces are more on the creepy side.

Sweet paint, polished with love.

I'd love to show you a shot of this Auburn - it's a gorgeous car - but some guy with a tiny camera was apparently photographing every single dust spot on it and I couldn't get a shot around him.

100.1 miles and hour. Not with me in it.

Gervasi has some pretty little cottages on the grounds, surrounding a big pond.

Doublemint swans (sorry, couldn't resist), preening madly. From the looks of all the feathers on the ground, seems like they've already preened out an entire swan's worth.

Gervasi has three restaurants on their grounds. If you go, you might want to make a reservation - everything was packed when we arrived. Here's the website: Definitely worth a visit if you're near North Canton.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Got 'Em!

Went back to Beaver Marsh in CVNP looking for kingfishers and found the whole family. Both shots below are at the limits of my longest lens, and cropped to boot, but I'm happy to have caught these guys. They move pretty fast, and rarely stay on the same perch for more than a minute.

Found a few more interesting critters. Here's a red squirrel overhead, chattering away.

Eastern Phoebe - like the bird's pose, entirely too many sticks in the background.

Better. Apparently the phoebes nest under the boardwalk and hunt from the shrubs on either side.

One of many bullfrogs in the marsh - which explains the presence of so many Great Blue and Green Herons.

Still no otters, so the search goes on.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Early Worm Gets the Bird, but not the Otter

Took a quick hike at Beaver Marsh in CVNP early yesterday morning. Lots of runners, hikers, dogs and other birders and photographers out.

This intrepid hunter was about 25 feet off the Ira Road Trailhead path. They're usually pretty spooky, but this guy just didn't seem to have a care in the world, even when some guy on a cell phone stood next to me, chatting away.

This is the best I could do with this green heron. He resolutely refused to move from behind that branch.

Young wood duck, already showing spectacles. Look at the intricate patterning of the feathers on his chest.

Great Blue Heron stink eye. Something in the marsh wasn't meeting with his approval.

The waterlilies were closed tight when I arrived and just started to open when I left.

Still hoping for otters and the rumored kingfisher. And maybe a nicer shot of the green heron. Maybe if I roll out of bed a little bit earlier...