Little Rocky Hollow

Little Rocky Hollow was one of the first permit-only state nature preserves (SNP) I visited this year. I woke up a couple hours before dawn on a chilly, early Spring morning, and had little idea what to expect of this 200+ acre plot in the Hocking Hills region. Upon parking the car, I was met with a thin layer of fog carrying the acrid smell of rotting flesh. As I hiked a few meters onto the trail, the source of the odor became clear. The deer carcasses made for an ominous entryway and interesting "warm-up shot" for the day. The above photograph was made with the Schneider Super Symmar-XL 150mm lens, a super wide for the 8x10" format.  The subtle vignette of the lens (without center filter) and bellows extension factor helped boost the contrast of this morbid, but flat scene. The wide angle of view also helped accentuate the trail of fur and bone as it lead into the entrance of the hollow. 

After the first negative was exposed, I was focused on that unsettling feeling the rest of the morning. Every frame captured had an off-putting note to it. About a quarter mile hike down into Little Rocky Hollow, I started noticing the odd shape and direction of rock formations. The steep angle at which the rock protruded from the ground looked to me like a meteorite. Framing up the massive rock with my Schneider 355mm G-Claron lens, it really did start to feel like I was documenting an intergalactic deposit. (below, left)

Along the two mile hike there were several opportunities to take a textbook waterfall photograph. I took none of them. My head was still stuck in a deep, dark place. Climbing my way back up along the rim of the hollow, I even began to see Lovecraftian horrors in the trees. The wide field cast by my Fujinon-W 250mm was barely enough to contain this deep one, seen above (right). After clenching the cable release in terror for two minutes, I'd had enough. It was time to make my escape. 

Little Rocky Hollow was definitely a unique photographic experience. I'm planning a second trip, hoping the late Summer sun offers me a fresh view of this interesting slice of Hocking Hills. Or maybe I should head back during the eclipse? Better yet, how about Friday the 13th?