Shawnee National Forest – Illinois

Water pool with rock cliffs and heavily forested area surrounding it

Clear, rocky streams and scenic canyons bordered by high sandstone cliffs and plants unique to Illinois. The trail consists of seven miles of interconnected trails, featuring strange and wonderful rock formations, such as Devil’s Backbone, Boulder Falls and a natural rock bridge.

Aerial view of river with rock cliffs and shrubs surrounding it

Looking for solitude?  Wilderness areas are some of the largest contiguous forested lands within the Shawnee, and together they make up about 10 percent of the national forest.

Rocky waterfall

This place has it all – majestic bluffs, a lush bottomland habitat, colorful cliffs and expansive views of the Big Muddy and Mississippi rivers. If you like to watch birds, this spot is haven for neotropical migratory songbirds during the spring and fall.

Scenic view from trail looking out at meadow and trees from a rock pinnacle

Majestic views await you at Inspiration Point, a National Recreation Trail, located at LaRue Pine Hills. With more than 170 bird species, it is a birders’ paradise. In the spring, the trail is bordered with wildflowers — blazing star, bellwort, bluets and spiderwort.

Natural bridge

Check out this rocky bridge, which spans 90 feet, while you’re visiting the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail. Located just minutes off Highway 127, it takes less than an hour to hike.

 

https://www.fs.usda.gov/attmain/shawnee

Hocking Hills State Park – Ohio

Discover the 7 different amazing hiking areas of Hocking Hills State Park 

Ash Cave – Hocking Hills State Park – 27291 Ohio 56, South

Cedar Falls – Hocking Hills State Park – 21724 Ohio 374 Scenic, Logan, OH 43138

Conkle’s Hollow- Hocking Hills State Park – 24132 Big Pine Road

Cantwell Cliffs – Hocking Hills State Park – Ohio 374, Rockbridge, OH 43149

Rock House – Hocking Hills State Park – 16526 Ohio 374, Laurelville, OH 43135

Hemlock Bridge Trail/Whispering Cave

 

https://www.thehockinghills.org/

Brown County State Park – Indiana

The Smokies of the Midwest

Nicknamed the “Little Smokies” because of the area’s resemblance to the Great Smoky Mountains, Brown County encompasses nearly 16,000 acres of rugged hills, ridges and fog-shrouded ravines. Glaciers from the most recent ice ages stopped short of the “hills o’ Brown,” but their meltwaters helped create the narrow ridges, steep slopes and deep gullies of Brown County State Park. Indiana’s largest park is a traditional fall color hot spot, with nearly 20 miles of tree-lined roads and many scenic vistas overlooking miles of uninterrupted forestland.

The park’s rustic Abe Martin Lodge offers accommodations that include motel rooms, cabins, dining and conference facilities and an indoor water park. Large campgrounds, hiking and mountain biking trails, interpretive services, a saddle barn for guided horse rides and a separate horseman campground with 70 miles of horse trails are some of the things that make Brown County State Park popular year-round.

 

 

https://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2988.htm

Love of the Lens – On Location

Badlands – South Dakota 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

A must see destination

By far my favorite, the Badlands National Park is located in the midst of the Northern Great Plains and named Mako Sica by the Lokata people. Here you can get lost….with of 244,000 acres of spectacular landscapes, native mixed grass prairie, a large variety of native wildlife, amazing fossils, wonderful skyscapes and compelling human and geological history.

The Badlands were formed by the geologic forces of deposition and erosion over 69 million years ago when an ancient sea stretched across what is now the Great Plains. After the sea retreated, successive land environments, including rivers and flood plains, continued to deposit sediments. Although the major period of deposition ended 28 million years ago, significant erosion of the Badlands did not begin until a mere half a million years ago. Erosion continues to carve the Badlands buttes today. Eventually, the Badlands will completely erode away.

Hiking in Wisconsin – Devil’s Lake Loop

Weekend Trail ConditionsIce Wall of Pine Hollow SNADevil’s Lake has over 29 miles of hiking trails for any skill level including amazingly scenic sections of the National Ice Age Trail.  The trails vary in condition and difficulty from easy to challenging and are not maintained in the winter months. Steep climbs or descents and stairways are common on Devil’s Lake’s hiking trails.

 

For more information visit: https://www.devilslakewisconsin.com/activities/hiking/

Love of the Lens – On Location

Winter at Indiana Dunes State Park, Michigan

Rarely do I get the opportunity to shot at a location at the Dunes without a single person present.  It’s easy….just show up when wind chills are below zero.

So often we think of a beach scene as sunny and warm.  Here ice mounds are not budging against the heavy waves being thrown at them.  Birds take flight.  Hiking trails stand lonely.

The unsung beauty a beach in it’s off seasonDSC_0032DSC_0035DSC_0019DSC_0022DSC_0023

Love of the Lens – Tips and Techniques

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Using Light Creatively

A photograph is simply reflected light. So knowing how to capture reflected light is key and in nature light is dynamic, changing even from minute to minute.

Bad weather is often not so bad and can create a dramatic scene.  Storm clouds add movement and the color can reflect from different angles creating a range of colors.  The cloud will also diffuse light so that the landscape is darker and the photography can focus on the brightly lite sky.   Add an extra touch of warmth in post production and  you’ve good something to talk about.

So next time a storm is approaching, gear up accordingly and capture some terrific images.