Saturday, April 21, 2018

A week in Ohiopyle country

As always, click the photo to enlarge

Water rushes over Cole Run Falls near Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania. This region is rich in beautiful water features, and many of the streams are traced by thick stands of great rhododendron, Rhododendron maximum.

I was in this area all of last week, co-instructing a photo workshop along with Debbie DiCarlo. It was our third expedition this year, and more are to follow. CLICK HERE for a complete listing and descriptions. Finally, our Facebook page features trip reports and images, and IS HERE.

We have a lot of fun on these trips, and hopefully everyone learns a lot - and returns with some great images. While there may be a theme - waterfalls and wildflowers on this one - we'll ignore nearly nothing, and try our hands at many types of imagery.

Just one day after I made the first image, last Monday, this is what Cole Run Falls looked like on Tuesday! A snowfall commenced early Tuesday morning and continued throughout much of the day. We didn't mind. It was a rare spring snowfall, and a chance to capture some gorgeous landscapes capped with snow.

Water rushes around a boulder in a small mountain stream - name unknown, at least to me. We were driving by and had to slam on the brakes and get out for some photos when we saw this scene.

A long exposure streaks the waters of a rushing brook, its waters swollen by recent rainfall. Ohiopyle State Park and vicinity is an extraordinarily beautiful place at any time of year, but may be at its aesthetic best in early spring. April showers fill the streams, and the area's numerous waterfalls cascade torrents of water. We're definitely planning on repeating this trip next year.

The never-ending winter of 2018 had the spring flora a bit tardy, but plants were beginning to pop. This large-flowered trillium, Trillium grandiflorum, was in fine fettle, one of scores covering a wooded slope. Most were not yet open, but would be in a "normal" spring. Nonetheless, it was not hard to find showy specimens.

Red trillium, Trillium erectum, was just coming on and we found a few showy flowers. Next spring, with luck, this patch will be in full bloom. Not only is it in the shadows of the amazing Cucumber Falls, but the colony features a number of cream-flowered plants.

A striking feature of the violet flora are huge numbers of the showy round-leaved violet, Viola rotundifolia. In places, drifts of plants covered trailside banks.

A diminutive Carolina spring-beauty, Claytonia caroliniana, springs from a mossy bank. For a middle Ohioan flatlander, it's nice to see this species of high elevations. It is quite localized in the Buckeye State - NE Ohio - and I seldom get to clap eyes on it, at least compared to our abundant Claytonia virginica. Note the plant's fat egg-shaped leaves - quite different than the narrow straplike leaves of C. virginica.


We weren't really after birds, at least photographically, but certainly saw and heard plenty of species. This is a broad-winged hawk, which I shot on our Monday scouting expedition. The group got to see and hear them on another day, fortunately.

While encamped on the banks of the Youghiogheny River along some turbulent rapids, awaiting kayakers and flyby common mergansers (the latter nest along local streams), this Louisiana waterthrush flew in nearly at our feet. We were ready, and able to make some images. We also saw and/or heard black-and-white warbler, yellow-rumped warbler, yellow-throated warbler, pine warbler, and a real heavyweight, the Swainson's warbler. The latter seems to be fairly common along local streams.

Finally, the rushing waters of the "Cascades", turned to silk courtesy of a 10-stop neutral density filter and 30 second exposure.

If mountains, waterfalls, stunning streams, birds and flowers tickle your photographic fancy, think about coming with us to Ohiopyle in 2019.

2 comments:

Auralee said...

At Glen Echo Ravine last Sunday, a birder I was with identified Spring Beauties off the ridge trail. Is there another flower that looks like that, or do we have an unexpected treasure here in Clintonville?

Auralee said...

Never mind--I just looked up the flowers of Claytonia virginica. I will have to go back and look at the leaves this weekend.

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