Clear Fork Gorge - Mohican
One of the main reasons I started this Ohio Uninterrupted project was to discover landscapes that I wouldn't have otherwise visited in Ohio. At a surface level Ohio doesn't look like much, but there's a subtle beauty to its landscape. Each new state nature preserve has it's own unique features and quirks, and hopefully worth a few good sheets of film. Today's featured SNP absolutely blew me away, so much so that I didn't even make it to the official preserve site!
Clear Fork Gorge occupies only a few dozen acres of Mohican State Park, which encompasses over 1100 acres of gorgeous natural forest. The gorge for which the preserve is named is massive, dropping down nearly 300 feet to the clear fork of the Mohican river. Given the name, I thought following the signs for the gorge overlook would lead me to the right place (it wasn't). Thank goodness I followed the signs, otherwise I wouldn't have arrived early enough to catch a dense fog rolling through the gorge.
When I first pulled up to a parking spot, the gorge barely had any shape. There was only a white haze with patches of hemlock on the foreground. By the time I'd set up the camera, a few gusts of wind raked the fog through the trees. At first I thought a wide lens would suite the scene, but it was too patchy. Incredibly dark corners and diminished the presence of the morning fog. I could feel a few drops of rain at this point, so I immediately went for my longest lens, and took a peek at the ground glass. A blue filter and a couple minutes of exposure late, the above photo was made.
Moving over to the second gorge overlook, the rain had picked up a little more in frequency, but nothing unbearable for a camera made of wood, brass, and glass. This second overlook featured a stone staircase and lower ledge, which opened up a view further through the haze. After some fiddling around with lenses, I arrived at my widest lens to allow more of the foreground to frame the photograph. At the end of this nearly five minute exposure (see below) the mist was gone, and so was the magic in the gorge.
Only once I'd arrived home later that morning did I realize where I was working wasn't the actual nature preserve. The overlook was about 1/4 mile East of the preserved old growth forest. In a way, though, it didn't bother me. What I'd already seen and felt that morning while making a pair of photographs was plenty to tide me over until the next time. While only a half an hour visit, my short stay at Mohican State Park made a lasting impression.
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!