Rhododendron Cove

If you're anywhere near Central Ohio, do yourself a favor and make time to travel down state route 33 South. There's gems located everywhere along 33, and one I'd been missing for the past three years of visits is Rhododendron Cove. Until early April, this current project didn't have a working name, but had a goal in mind. My long morning spent wandering around the cliff-side of this nature preserve is what spurred me to call this project "Ohio Uninterrupted". 


I arrived at Pump Station Road about a half hour before sunrise, since the DNAP page for Rhododendron Cove indicated a "strenuous hike". Considering the large format gear is already adding its own layers of complexity, I allotted some extra hiking time. About fifteen minutes in, I could see that the trail was going to start getting vertical very quickly. There was a fine layer of fog rolling in, and just a hint of sunlight beginning to peak through the haze. The above two sheets were made in what I'd call the first part of the day's shooting. In both photographs, that trusty blue filter was making for crazy long exposure times (about two minutes each), but establishing the mood of the early hike. 

As I followed the trail upward, I started to see an abundance of trees and flowers that didn't look like they belonged in Ohio. The large 4-8 inch blades of the Rhododendron form a tunnel in narrow portions of the trail, making it feel like you're walking through a primordial forest. Not only are no pets allowed here, the added challenge of the steep hike keeps it from high foot traffic. The effect on the plant life is night and day from any local/state park you might be used to visiting in Ohio. Makes you wonder just how much of an effect we have on the places around us, doesn't it? 


By the time I'd reached a leveling-off point on the trail, a couple of hours had passed. The sun was alone in a rare, blue skies Ohio day (we get maybe a dozen of these a year!). This meant a change of plan when it came to exposure, filtering, and in the case of the above two photographs, even processing. Harsh, dappled lighting made for the second half of the day's shooting. It's not often I like the photographs made in this light, but the last photograph in today's blog post is my favorite from this visit to Rhododendron cove. There's identifying plant life, leading lines in the trail, and is chock full of triangles (I love finding them while composing on the ground glass). 

If you'd like to check out any of these fantastic State Nature Preserves (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!