Ladd Natural Bridge

Rolling hills and large geologic features aren't the first things that come to mind when thinking of Ohio. As someone that's spent most of his life in the state, the first word that I jump to is "flat". Today's state nature preserve (SNP) is anything but flat. Located deep in Washington county of SE Ohio, Ladd Natural Bridge is fairly recent addition to the Department of Natural Areas and Preserves. Prior to its donation to the state, this preserve was a paid attraction maintained by the Ladd family. Skip ahead almost thirty two years (whoa, I think we're the same age?!) and this natural arch is a prime example of Ohio Uninterrupted


Going into this early morning shoot, I had very little information to work with. There were only a few other blogs and photographs of this rock feature, and few other maps of the preserve. This made the small, 35 acre wide hike that much more fun to explore! With no real defined trail, I was free to roam and look for interesting angles to capture the 40' long bridge. Most of the challenge of this location is moving around the bridge vertically in such a tight space.

Having already photographed the heavily frequented Rockbridge, I wanted to put this arch into context of its environment. This called for heavy use of wide angle lenses, namely the 150mm (used below) and 250mm (used above). The wide field of view allowed me to exaggerate shapes I preferred (triangles), and even play with the scale of the natural bridge (big, but not the biggest in Ohio).


One last thing I'd like to mention on the technical side of things are the highlights. Were it not for use of a staining developer, the highlights in today's photographs would have been blown to smithereens. With Pyrocat HD it's pretty simple; I meter the shadows and expose for those. My meter reading for the highlights will dictate processing. Highlights less than 4 stops from shadows will get N+1 (extended) development, while just about everything else gets N (normal) development. 

If you'd like to check out any of these fantastic SNP's for yourself, remember most of them are free to visit, and usually only an email away from getting permission. Check out more of the Ohio Uninterrupted series by following the tags in this blog post, and see you next time!