Ohio’s sultry summer days have slowly yielded to cool autumn evenings. For many Buckeye residents, including myself, this seasonal shift awakens a creative side, inspired by fall’s varying hues of red, orange, yellow, purple and brown.
Photographing the state’s explosion of fall color
Thanks in part to digital technology, photography has become an increasingly popular pastime and there is no finer time than fall to bring this passion into focus. Whether using a digital or film camera, here are a few easy tips to help make the most of your fall foliage photo sessions:
Pay attention to the time of day. The best photo opportunities occur in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is low in the sky, enhancing the mellow illumination of autumn. Professional photographers also say an overcast sky lends greater richness to nature’s fall color palette.
Capturing the fall fireworks show. Keep in mind that most cameras are unable to capture a distant view in the same way as your eyes. Improve your chances of getting the picture you want by getting closer and keeping the amount of sky to a minimum.
Getting creative with close ups. Choose a cluster of brightly colored leaves and move in close for a stunning snapshot of autumn. If photographing a loved one, fill two-thirds of the picture frame with your subject, which will still include plenty of fall color in the background.
Some of my favorite fall photo locations include Mt. Gilead State Park along the water, the Rocky River Reservation within Cleveland Metroparks, and just about anywhere in the Hocking Hills region
Autumn leaf collecting
Some of my fondest childhood memories revolve around my Grandma Schneider, who loved the outdoors. Together, we collected many brightly colored autumn leaves with which we made a variety of crafts. A favorite of mine, even today, is creating waxed leaves.
When collecting leaves for this activity, it’s best to gather those that have just fallen and have not begun to dry. Note: For this next step, an adult should be on hand if children are involved. On a heat-safe surface, place a layer of newspaper followed by a sheet of wax paper. Put your leaves on top, cover them with a second sheet of wax paper then a few more sheets of newspaper. Gently press the entire area with a hot iron. Immediately remove the leaves from between the paper or wait for them to cool and cut around the leaves. They now can be used to decorate greeting cards, create a mobile, collage and more.
I have found that sweetgum, maple, redbud and birch leaves work really well for this project.
Agriculture remains a large part of the fabric that makes up Ohio, and harvest time brings that truth home. Seasonal festivals are brimming with fall goodness, featuring bushels of squash and apples along with rows of golden pumpkins. It never fails that I leave these homespun outings vowing to learn how to whittle, take up quilting, or become more adept at pie making.
An early fall favorite for many is the Johnny Appleseed Festival, September 17-18, in Medina County. Among the everything-apple theme, festival goers will find more than a 100 crafters, a corn maze, horse-drawn wagon rides through the orchard, and lots of apple-based treats, including apple pie!.
One of the state’s largest outdoor craft and history festivals takes place at Malabar Farm State Park in Richland County. Ohio Heritage Days, September 24-25, features more than 70 craftspeople in period clothing, demonstrating the arts of spinning, weaving, woodworking, broom making, molasses boiling and more.
Indulge your taste buds and taste for history during the Apple Butter Stirrin’ festival at Historic Roscoe Village in Coshocton County. During the mid-1800s, this town flourished along the Ohio & Erie Canal, which played an integral role in the development of our young state. From October 14-16, enjoy costumed vendors selling their harvest wares, sample apple butter and other seasonal treat as you stroll these streets of yesteryear.
Learn more about fall color in Ohio by visiting ohiodnr.com and find out about its festivals at discoverohio.com or by calling 1-800-BUCKEYE.
Wherever and however you choose to enjoy Ohio’s outdoors this fall, take time to get in touch with your creative side, as the sights and sounds of the season won’t be here for long.