June 2006 Issue
We Ohioans will be the first to agree that our state is a natural wonder of varying seasons, stunning landscapes and pristine flora and fauna. Starting this month, "Ohio's Natural Landscapes: A Photographic Journey of the Buckeye State" offers evidence this isn't merely local sentiment.
"We wanted to promote the natural wonders of Ohio," says exhibit director David FitzSimmons, owner of FitzSimmons Photography in Bellville. When nature photography is the subject, many people tend to think of work that comes from the western states, he adds, explaining that the goal of this traveling exhibit is to reveal just how diverse the Ohio countryside is and in turn promote the conservation of it.
The exhibitors come from a variety of occupational backgrounds, ranging from a professional photographer to a public information officer of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Wildlife.
Each, says FitzSimmons, has a unique perspective on Ohio's environment, but "they all have in common an appreciation for the conservation of nature."
A total of 40 pieces from five photographers - FitzSimmons, Jim Roetzel, Randall Lee Schieber, Art Weber, Steve Maslowski and Ian Adams - will be on view throughout the state. All of the work will be available for purchase when the exhibit ends.
"MY LOVE FOR NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY IS SOMETHING THAT GREW NATURALLY from being part of a family that was constantly outdoors. When I was young I was an avid hunter. Now I hunt with a camera. The image is a West Virginia White Butterfly on a Virginia bluebell taken in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park near the Bedford Gorge in the spring. The butterfly is one of the first of its species to appear in the spring, and the flower is one of the first to bloom. Although they coexist, it is rare to find them like this. A moment like this is difficult to capture, but I look for these coincidences and learn to pick up on patterns to get the perfect shot." - Jim Roetzel
Through June 18: Ashland University's Coburn Gallery, Ashland
June 30â€“Oct. 22: National Center for Nature Photography, Berkey
Nov. 1â€“Jan. 7, 2007: Ohio Wesleyan University Gallery, Delaware
Jan. 14â€“March 11: Zanesville Art Center, Zanesville
May 6â€“July 1: Holden Arboretum, Kirtland
July 7â€“Sept. 9: Xavier University Art Gallery, Cincinnati
Oct. 2â€“27: Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center, Portsmouth
Nov. 16â€“Jan. 6, 2008: Fellows Riverside Garden, Canfield
Jan. 19â€“Mar. 16: Aullwood Audubon Center & Farm, Dayton
Visit www.fitzsimmonsphotography.com and follow the Ohio's Natural Landscapes link for schedule updates.
"I THINK IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO TURN A CAMERA TO NATURE AND NOT BE FASCINATED BY ITS WONDEROUS VARIETY AND INTRICACIES." - Art Weber
1. "Nature photography is both physically and spiritually very gratifying. I feel better after going on a long hike into the woods. I also learn to see things differently and uniquely when I'm photographing the natural world. I was hiking along Tinker's Creek in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park when I stumbled upon a couple of seasonal ponds. The trees themselves had lost a lot of their colorful [fall] leaves, but the ponds below displayed these leaves along with the reflection of the surrounding trees in a dazzling array of colors. When the wind died down and the water was absolutely still, it was as if the leaves were suspended in mid-air and the water had disappeared. I was no longer simply looking at some leaves on the surface of a seasonal pond but something far more complex and exhilarating." - Randall Lee Schieber
2. "I think it's impossible to turn a camera to nature and not be fascinated by its wondrous variety and intricacies. That's especially true for close-up photography: The closer you look the more fascinating it becomes. "Photography is my way of sharing with others the beauty I see in nature every day. And, as I share what I see, I hopefully do a good enough job that people react to the visual beauty and become enthusiastic about preserving it. That's what this is really all about, not only being one of many photographers who record the incredible natural beauty we have here in Ohio, but through those photos showing what we can have forever if we work for it.
"My fascination goes for both the common and seldom seen. Many Ohioans have seen bullfrogs, but I'll bet not many have crawled on their bellies and looked them square in the eye. Actually, it's not typically possible, but this guy was found on an early May morning after a chilly overnight. He was pretty lethargic, but I wasn't. It's a good day in the field when you go to the office already wet and muddy and its only 8:30 a.m." - Art Weber
3. "During a discussion about bears, a biologist remarked to me, 'The real predators in this world are kids and teachers.' The biologist could not explain why the latter were on this short list - and I did not have to ask about kids. In my youth I fished and hunted with fervor, and, I daresay, deadly skill.
"Switching from predator to photographer began shortly after college, when I went to work for my father, also a photographer. I don't claim to be any nobler as a result of the switch, because I still use the same persistence and instincts as always, but with a different bag of tricks since my quarry is different.
"The camera still provides an excuse to be outdoors, which has, deep down, always been my goal anyway."
"The rich, varied natural heritage of Ohio provides an amazing amount of material for anybody who looks, regardless of their perspective."
"The Indigo Bunting is just a gorgeous bird and this was an especially striking field of Spiderwort in Hamilton County."
- Steve Maslowski