June 2008 Issue
Nine photographers share their favorite views of the Buckeye State.
The phrase “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” was clearly created to describe Ohio. One glance at the following pages proves that our good looks are widespread — from a field of flowers to a farmer working the land, from a cascading waterfall to the breath-taking beauty of ice on Lake Erie.Here, nine photographers share their personal scrapbook of memories.
No, Cleveland Heights photographer Jerry Mann says with a laugh: His image is not one of the Arctic Circle. It’s an early-spring meltdown in Cleveland’s Edgewater Park.
“I wanted to present another facet of what people perceive to be a pretty winter scene,” he says. “I’m not Mr. National Weather Service, but I do know that when the ice starts piling up on the Cleveland lakefront, it’s just so cool.”
Mann, who spent five years working in New York, returned to Ohio in 1992, happy to be home.
“I think about California and the perfect weather, and I think about Florida and the warm Gulf,” he says, “but what I love about Cleveland is the change of seasons. When I get tired of the summer, I look forward to the changing leaves and the smell of fall, and then I look forward to the first snowflakes. I love driving in the snow –– I’m just a little weird that way.”
The “patience is a virtue” adage is clearly one to which Billy Delfs adheres. “I spend a lot of time waiting for the pieces to fall into place,” the Lakewood photographer says.
In the case of the image Delfs captured in April –– a fisherman enjoying the first hint of spring in the Cleveland Metroparks –– that meant calculating the arrival of dusk and the impact of a rod and rippling water.
“Since most of the year it’s freezing cold in Cleveland,” Delfs laughs, “you have to take advantage of moments when it’s great to be outside.”
Randall Lee Schieber has called Mexico City and Tucson, Arizona, home. But it’s the Buckeye State’s landscape that captivates the Findlay native most. “Yes,” he admits, “those places are beautiful. But Ohio is filled with little geological gems a lot of people don’t know about.”
One of those jewels is Little Lyons Falls in Mohican State Park. Schieber’s favorite time to capture the water’s ethereal beauty is mid-day in early May when spring rains have cleared and the sun is high in the sky –– although, he cautions, too much light spoils the effect. “It’s the contrast in the day that produces that soft, silky feeling,” he says.
May is also the month when Schieber makes a pilgrimage to Kirtland’s Holden Arboretum to photograph its well-known vibrant pink rhododendrons. “That’s my favorite place to shoot these flowers,” he says. “Some of the bushes are twice the height of a human.”
“In a situation like this, it’s really hard to tell what you’re shooting when you’re shooting it because there’s really no time to think ...”
Photography, to Lawrence Hamel-Lambert, is a black-and-white issue. Maybe, he says, that mind-set was honed during the years he spent working at newspapers, back in the days when they were pretty much devoid of color. But the Athens photographer suspects his affinity is one born of respect.
“I’m more drawn to composition and the craft that goes into producing a really good black-and-white print, rather than overwhelmed by color,” he says.
Hamel-Lambert puts that philosophy into practice year-round as he searches for quiet little areas, he explains, “where your mind can take a breather.”
Three of those are the Schoepfle Arboretum in Birmingham, where he was drawn to the trees’ symmetry and the interplay of snow and fog; the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, where he came upon a quartet of leaves clustered at the base of Blue Hen Falls; and Richfield’s Furnace Run Metro Park, home to the stalwart trillium that caught his eye.
Kate Robertson doesn’t remember a time when she hasn’t held a camera in her hand. The Millfield resident’s foray into photojournalism began at age 10, when she happened upon her aunt’s Instamatic and began shooting.
A painfully shy child, Robertson found solace in nature, where she unearthed significance in every scene she encountered. “I wanted,” she says, “to perceive and learn about the world with my own eyes, with my own mind and in my own time and space.”
That sense of curiosity is evident throughout her work, which has also appeared inThe Washington Post and The New York Times. “If you have the eyes, if you have the heart, every place has its beauty,” says Robertson.
And that certainly was the case, she says, for the patch of zinnias Robertson spied in master gardener Liz Shaw’s yard in Darwin, Ohio.
“It was early, a time of day that just doesn’t feel like any other: There’s not a lot going on, the world is stirring from sleep,” she remembers. “And there they were, reaching like outstretched arms up to the sky –– so beautiful, so lush, so alive.”
At first glance, the Holden Arboretum coneflower seems a tad peaked. But a closer look reveals that it’s actually holding its own again a spring downpour.
“That’s why,” says Mentor photographerCarl Stimac, “I took the shot.”
For the last decade, Stimac has used his time with nature as stress relief. His wanderings have also taken him to one of his favorite places, Cleveland’s Lake View Cemetery, where daffodils dot the spring landscape. “The colors, he says, “are not to be believed.”
When it comes to shooting nature, photographer Andy Morrison doesn’t mince words. Instead, he waxes poetic about the early-morning and late-evening hours he spends looking for picture-perfect images.
“If you find a really nice spot, are really quiet and just sit there, incredible things start to happen,” says Morrison, a staff photographer forThe (Toledo) Blade. Moments of tranquility in northwest Ohio provided Morrison with the ideal backdrop for the Canada geese enjoying Castalia Pond where, he says, “on a cold, frosty February morning, as the steam rises from the water, it becomes an unbelievable place to be; and complemented the goslings sunbathing at McGee Marsh and the spicebush swallowtail butterfly greeting the sunrise at Kitty Todd Nature Preserve.
Megan Nadolski also believes there’s no time like the golden hours –– the 60 minutes preceding dawn and those before dusk when everything falls into place for her.
“That’s the only time a photographer doesn’t have to do any work to get the perfect light,” she says. “Found light is one of my favorite things.”
That’s not the Columbus photographer’s only profound discovery. Nadolski enrolled at the University of Georgia intending to become a writer, but one photojournalism class was all it took to change her mind. “I completely fell in love with the method of telling a story through a single frame,” she says.
Since then, Nadolski has focused on Buckeye State vignettes such as participants in a plowing competition at the Ohio State Farm Science Review agricultural show and a Bloomingburg farmer surrounded by his soybean crop; the precision timing of the Ohio State University rowing crew on the Olentangy River; and Bloomingburg colts exploring the world for the first time and a saw whet owl looking in wide-eyed wonder at the town of Chillicothe.
“I’m not the kind of photographer who can just be driving, spot something and snap a picture,” she says. “I have to spend time with my subjects, get to know them and see into their personality.”