Two people hiking at Logan’s Ash Cave in the winter (photo by Arthur O’Leary)
Ohio Life

Photos that Capture the Beauty of Winter in Ohio

Ohioans may not always love this time of year, but these four photographers show the wonder that can be found here as temperatures drop.

Snowy Spectacle

As the father of a young child who keeps him busy, Columbus-based nature photographer Arthur O’Leary frequently spends time thinking about how to compose a photo before setting out to create it.

“I try to tell a story and have a vision of what it’s going to look like before I go there,” he says, “which is usually when I produce my best images.”

That was the case with this lookout from Hocking Hills’ Ash Cave, the largest recess cave in Ohio. O’Leary had been there before and knew that if he used a wide-angle lens, he could get an encompassing view.

“I was envisioning a snow-globe type photo,” he says.

He also wanted to include people in the image to give a sense of scale. Luckily, on the day he visited, there was a fresh snowfall and a couple taking a hike with their dog.

“It was my first time using an ultra-wide lens, and I was able to pull it off,” he says. “But I had my back up against the very back of the cave.” 

Kayaker on Lake Erie passes buy large chunk of ice (photo by Daryl Mummey)
Ice Encounters 

Daryl Mummey lived in the Summit County city of Hudson for years before moving to Willowick along the Lake Erie shore a few years ago.

“It’s opened up a whole new world of outdoor adventure,” he says, “fishing and photography, beach-glass collecting and all kinds of stuff that I’ve never experienced before.”

Mummey kayaks on Lake Erie in the summer, but he has discovered that the icy season is when paddling along the northeast shore of our Great Lake takes on a different dimension.

“When the ice shoves come in, it creates a whole new shoreline that has a lot of little coves, and there are ice bridges and caves … The key is being able to get beyond [the ice] and then approach it from the water side.”

A creek that runs into the lake near his home creates a path for Mummey to get to the backside of these enormous ice chunks to see where the lapping of the water carves ice landscapes like the one captured in this photograph.

Man standing in the middle of a several tall pine trees at Oak Openings Preserve Metropark in winter (photo by Eric Ward)
Pine Perspectives 

Living just south of Toledo in Perrysburg, photographer Eric Ward says Oak Openings Preserve Metropark is high on his list of spots to visit when northwest Ohio gets a good snowfall — specifically for the neatly ordered rows of tall pine trees planted in a small portion of the park.

“Whether it’s photographing them or just walking through and enjoying them, I think they are at their most beautiful when we’ve got a nice powdery snowfall with very little wind,” Ward says. “The bark on those pines just captures the snow as it builds up along those edges. Without wind to blow it off, you get so much texture that shows itself.”

This photo is one of many that Ward has created at the park over the years. In this image, one of Ward’s friends stands in the distance at the center of the composition, dwarfed by the parallel lines of immense trees that run into the distance.

“Having this lane of space leading to him and just the powder coming down behind him highlights him a little bit more,” Ward says, “and gives the viewer a sense of scale.”

Ice fishermen at sunset on Nimisila Reservoir in Green (photo by Rhonda Coe)
Frozen Moments

Rhonda Coe got her first camera in 2017 and was out every day for the following five years creating photos. She captured this image of ice fishermen set up on Nimisila Reservoir near her home in the Summit County city of Green in January 2022, after a deep freeze had rolled into the state and safely iced over the body of water.

“It was the first time that I had seen that lake fully freeze, and I’d lived in this area since 2006,” she says. “We ended up having a ton of ice fishermen who were setting up their tents on the lake, which I thought was cool-looking.”

Coe went out as evening was falling to create this photo of one group of fishermen on the ice just as the sun was about to dip behind the horizon.

“We had snow all week long, so you could see the footprints out to their tents,” she says. “They started lighting up their lanterns in their fish tents, and I thought: ‘That’s it’ … that combined with the beautiful sunset and the snow. ”