Monday, January 1, 2007
Glen Helen Nature Preserve, Ohio
Temperatures fluctuate greatly with the seasons in southwestern Ohio. Summer highs are usually in the mid-80s to mid-90s F with high humidity. Winter highs often range in the teens and 20s F, but occasionally drop to single digits with overnight lows of zero to minus-10º F. Autumn and spring can be very pleasant, with moderate temperatures and humidity. Precipitation is always a possibility. Come prepared with sunscreen, rain gear, footwear that's rugged and comfortable, and outerwear suitable to the season.
A good, lightweight tripod is a must for the varied terrain and conditions. For landscapes, a wide-angle to telephoto zoom lens is useful, as is a polarizing filter. For photographers who enjoy shooting wildflowers, fungi and all sorts of flora on the forest floor, a good-quality macro lens should be included in their bags.
Many of the best photo locations are along the trails that wind through Glen Helen. Birch Creek (along which are found the Cascades, as well as other smaller falls and rapids) and Yellow Springs Creek are especially noteworthy for landscape photography. Photogenic plants are abundant throughout the preserve. Interesting limestone rock formations can be found in many spots. Foggy or overcast conditions are usually preferable for many of the most scenic spots, yielding beautifully quiet, intimate shots. On a clear day, early-morning light is best, but the preserve is heavily wooded, so except in wintertime, many spots don't get much direct sunlight. The best advice is to hit the trails and explore. Trail maps can be obtained at the visitor center.
Winter is a great time for scenic shots in Glen Helen. The creeks sometimes freeze over and many trails can become treacherous, but a fresh coating of snow can greatly enhance almost any scene. Spectacular fall color from the sugar maple, oak, ash, dogwood and other trees usually peaks around mid-October. A great variety of wildflowers lights up the whole preserve from mid-April to late May.
Contact: The Glen Helen Ecology Institute, (937) 769-1902, www.antioch-college.edu/glenhelen.
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