2020 in Review (a little late)

The year started with three weeks in Miami, Florida in February on a solo trip. Most of my time was spent bicycling, walking on the beach, photographing, and exploring.

I was gearing up for a big year with my business, Cincinnati Urban Adventures when the pandemic hit.  Suddenly, I was alone with my grief – no travel – no business – no boyfriend.  I went to a local shelter and brought home Grayson, who has been a comfort.

I had two trips previously planned before the pandemic hit – one in May to Utah and Idaho, and the other in August to various destinations in Oregon.  I ended up cancelling the flights for both and drove 4400 miles round-trip out west to Utah and Idaho.

I’d already explored Bryce and Zion Nat’l Parks in Utah years past, so this time I went to Arches and Canyonlands. 

On the drive to Idaho, I spent a couple of nights in Salt Lake City for hiking and also had a masseuse come to my Airbnb for a 1 ½ hr. massage to treat myself on my birthday.  I hiked a 6 mile roundtrip, 3,000 ft. elevation change trail while there.  This was at the top…

Next was Idaho.  This is the Snake River Canyon near Twin Falls, Idaho (where Evil Knievel attempted jumping the mile wide chasm with his rocket, but failed).

Shoshone Falls Park, Twin Falls, Idaho

I visited Sun Valley, Idaho, which I found to be gorgeous.  I rented an e-bike and explored for miles.  I also hiked a lot.  I stayed away from people because of the pandemic.

Then I drove up to Stanley, Idaho in the Sawtooth Mountains and stayed in this cabin on a small river.

There was time spent with friends throughout the remainder of 2020, doing mostly outdoor activities (because of the pandemic). Lots of hiking and also get-togethers at our homes for patio dinner/cocktails.

Madison, Indiana

Rough River Lake, Kentucky for our annual ladies long weekend. I reserved a 5 bedroom/3 bath home on the lake. We rented a pontoon boat and had fun!

Bengals football game

A visit to my cousin’s place in central Ohio. He has built quite the mansion/castle – it has hidden rooms, so many things to look at – very eccentric!

Birds in my backyard…

An outdoor Thanksgiving with family…

My dear friend helped me put up my Christmas tree.  Holidays are rough when you’ve lost your parents, spouse, and only child.

Christmas with my brother and sister-in-law…

All things considered, I was doing pretty well with everything I was going through.   I tried to be grateful for what I had.

2018 in Review (a little late)

2018 began with a photo shoot for Cincinnati Refined.  This is called Broomball.  Players wear gym shoes instead of skates and use a broom-shaped stick to slap the ball into the opposing goal.

Here are additional shoots I did for them.  This annual event was called the Polar Plunge…burr.

The Benison Event Center in Hamilton, Ohio.  At one time, it was a bank.

The Monkey Bar & Grille in Maineville, Ohio (a suburb of Cincinnati)

Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, Ohio

Wine Over Water, held on the Purple People Bridge (a pedestrian only bridge), featuring wine merchants from around the area, live music, and general mingling fun in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The UniverSoul Circus was a quite spectacular!

The annual Flying Pig Marathon.  This was the women’s champion.  I got a little emotional while taking this photo.

The Camargo Hunter Trials in Indian Hill, Ohio was a great event for action shots!

I was very busy growing my business, Cincinnati Urban Adventures.  I had hired two freelance Tour Guides in 2017 and together we took 1000 people on tours (anywhere from 1-12 people per tour unless it was a private tour).  By the end of 2018, I had hired an additional 3 guides and we took 1700 people on tour.  We moved into first place on Trip Advisor!

I did a handful of photo shoots for my business Sherry Lachelle Photography…

A senior photo shoot

For a friend’s new business website…

On June 2nd, my husband of 22 years, passed away from Cardiac Arrest.  I gave him CPR until the medics arrived.  This is the last photo I took of he and our dog, just a few weeks previously.

We lived on 5 acres in the country (only 40 minutes from downtown Cincinnati) and for the following 11 months before selling our home, I had the huge task of selling most everything he/we had accumulated through the years.  Some of the big items were a boat, Harley, hot tub, jeep, truck, car, tractor, log splitter, and so much more…4 bicycles, 3 chain saws, 3 lawn mowers, 3 ladders, snow blower, power washer, welder, hunting, fishing, golfing stuff, so many tools.

I was devastated.  My son was devastated.  He was closer to Randy (his step-dad) than his own father. 

Later that year, my son and his girlfriend announced their engagement.

I went to an outdoor concert with friends and it poured rain the entire time.

Went boating with a girlfriend…

I visited a friend in Dunedin, Florida for a week in December…

I was so happy my son joined me at my brother’s house Christmas Day. His fiance chose to stay at her family’s.

After Randy’s passing, so many things reminded me of him, coming across food items he liked while at the grocery, hearing a Harley’s rumble, and of course Face book gives you reminders.

There were other family and friends get-togethers throughout the year.  I tried my best to cope with the grief and have a happy and full life. 

2017 in Review (a little late)

2017 began with me on assignment at the Casino in Cincinnati for Cincinnati Refined.  A very colorful and loud party to photograph.

I continued finding much joy taking photos in my free time…like the sunrise captured in this church window a couple of minutes from our place in the country.

and Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati at night…

The Licking Riverside Historic District in Covington, Kentucky with a beautiful view of Cincinnati’s skyline.

Get-togethers with friends…

Over-The-Rhine, Cincinnati, Ohio

Family time…

My brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and niece.

I was busy growing my new business, Cincinnati Urban Adventures.  Friends accompanied me on trial runs for some of the tours.

The Carew Tower, Cincinnati, Ohio

My husband, son, and a girlfriend were models on my Over-the-Rhine Sights and Bites tour for my website.

I hired a few models for my Beyond the River tour in Covington, Kentucky.

Here are some of the photos shoots I did for Cincinnati Refined…

Cumberland Falls, Kentucky
Eighteen at the Radisson – a revolving restaurant on top of the Radisson Hotel
Cabana on the River, Cincinnati, Ohio
Diner en Blanc (everyone wears white and brings everything for the party including chairs/tables, decorations, food, drinks)
Taste of Cincinnati, an annual event
The Renaissance Festival
The Circus School, Cincinnati, Ohio
Danger Wheel
The Thanksgiving Day Race – I got up very early to be downtown in time and it was cold!
The La Boheme Opera at the Aronoff Center in Downtown, Cincinnati

I began managing an Airbnb located in Covington, Kentucky…

I had a few photo shoots for my own company, Sherry Lachelle Photography. A senior photo shoot…

A family photo shoot…

I was the Tour Guide and Photographer for a wedding with 40 people.  It was 5 hours long, but everything went smoothly.

And I photographed my first gay wedding – 2 beautiful ladies.

I attended an annual weeklong Urban Adventures meeting in Portugal and arranged a trip to follow for a few friends.  They met me in Lisbon, Portugal, where we saw the sights for a few days before moving on to Seville and Granada, Spain.

The La Alhambra, Granada, Spain
The Plaza de Espana, Seville, Spain

Cheers – Salud!

My husband and I were able to get away to Florida for a week in December.

As you can see, my year was very busy, filled mostly with photography and growing my business, with a little travel sprinkled in.

2016 in Review

For the past few years, I’ve looked back through my photographs and selected a few (this year many) that tell my story for the year.  It’s a great way to document some of the joys and beauty that fill your life.   My 2016 began with a trip in January to visit friends in Grand Cayman Islands.  For such a small island, there are lots of unique wildlife.  This Iguana was out by the pool…

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We went for a hike and this blue-throated Anole’s vibrant colors caught my eye!

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Not sure if this is an egret, a stork, or something else?

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One of the highlights was swimming with the Stingrays.

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I learned how to stand up (and paddle a little) on an inflatable paddle board…

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After returning to Ohio, we had a beautiful snow.  That’s our small shed.

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I didn’t have to endure the cold for too long because I took a small group (three people) to Central America for two weeks in February, through my Travel Spirit Meetup.  We visited Antigua, Guatemala.

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and Lake Atitlan, Guatemala…

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We then flew to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua and that’s me horseback riding on the beach.  I wanted to gallop and that I did!

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and we watched the surfers…

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We then moved on to Granada, Nicaragua for three nights…

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Next, we flew to Panama City, Panama…

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As a freelance photographer for Cincinnati Refined, I had 30 photo shoots this year.  The cool thing about working for them is that I can pitch ideas and if they like it, I’m given the assignment.  Here are a few of the shoots…

View of Northern Kentucky from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati…

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The Asian Food Fest at Washington Park in Cincinnati…

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Jazz in the Garden at the Taft Museum of Art

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Top of the Park restaurant/bar overlooking the Ohio River from Cincinnati…

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84.51 building in downtown Cincinnati…

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One of the dishes served at The Golden Lamb Restaurant in Lebanon, Ohio

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Kellie Pickler from American Idol at the Pink Ribbon Luncheon held at the Duke Energy Convention Center.

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Calysta Bevier (from America’s Got Talent)

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A welder (a somewhat unusual assignment for me, but fun)…

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Indoor water park at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio

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The Cincinnati Dinner Train experience.  One of the perks…my husband was able to join me for a free dinner/ride.

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Cincinnati Prime Restaurant Grand Re-Opening…

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Shawnee Lookout Park, North Bend, Ohio

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Horseback riding at Salt Creek Ranch in Metamora, Indiana (there’s the hubby on the right)

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Shawnee State Park, West Portsmouth, Ohio

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Thanksgiving Day Race, Cincinnati, Ohio

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Lights on the Hill at Pyramid Sculpture Park, Hamilton, Ohio

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Through my own business, Sherry Lachelle Photography, I had quite a few real estate photos (here are three of them)…

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My third wedding reception for friends…

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A family photo shoot…

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Another family photo shoot, but the little boy stole the show…

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Senior Photos for my beautiful second cousin

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One of the most time-consuming and important accomplishments this year was starting a business in partnership with Urban Adventures, called “Cincinnati Urban Adventures“.  I give tours of Cincinnati.  This group of guys (most from the UK) were loads of fun!

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This is a wine tasting/foodie tour and I have a beer/tasting foodie tour also.

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My longest trip this year and a truly amazing experience was taking two people through eight countries back in June for a month.  We began in Bulgaria (three Cities)…

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Rila Monastery, Bulgaria

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We then headed to a variety of Cities in Romania.  Peles Castle was amazing!

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Bran Castle aka Count Dracula’s Castle in Romania

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These next photos are also in various Romanian cities…

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I took photos of at least three brides in different cities throughout Europe on this trip…

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Sibiu, Romania has its eyes on you!

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We then flew to Helsinki, Finland

Temppeliaukio Church aka Rock Church

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We took an over-night cruise to St. Petersburg, Russia and had 72 hours to see what we could.  The Hermitage Museum was amazing!

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Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

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Peterhof Park and Palace

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We took a bus to Tallinn, Estonia…

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A bus to Riga, Latvia…

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Another bus to Vilnius, Lithuania and one of the highlights was Trakai Castle…

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Next up, a bus to Warsaw, Poland…

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And then a train to Krakow, Poland…

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Where of course we went to Auschwitz.  Unbelievably sad and horrific…

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I took a long weekend /solo trip to Cleveland and Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio and got paid for my photographs.

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The Rock n Rock Hall of Fame in Cleveland

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Cuyahoga National Park

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Later in the summer, just for fun, at Serpentine Wall along the Ohio River in Cincinnati…

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Fountain Square at night, Cincinnati

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A car show

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Canoeing at Green Acres Canoe in Harrison, Ohio (and got paid for this one)

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A Bengals football game.  We had nose bleed seats, but I had my zoom lens…

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Of course there were family get-togethers.  My son and his girlfriend at our home for a Bengals watching party/bon-fire etc.

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and at a holiday party…

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Jake trying to catch frogs in the Koi Pond…

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Kate walking the tight-rope…

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My husband and I spent a week in the Cape Coral/Ft. Myers, Florida area in mid-December…

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I read or listened to almost 50 books.  A few of my favorites, in no particular order, were: Flowers for Algernon, A tree grows in Brooklyn, The invisible bridge, The red umbrella, My name is Lucy Barton, The Shoemaker’s Wife, These is my words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, Lilac Girls, Me talk pretty one day, Salt to the Sea, Someone knows my name, and Plainsong.

In between, I prepared new and old recipes, hiked, biked, ran a 5-K fundraiser, went motorcycling, lots of girls’ nights out, and dinners/parties with my husband.  The older you get, the more you want to squeeze in!

I hope next year is as good as this one was!

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our family to yours!

Niederman Family Farm Holiday Light Display

It’s almost that time of year again…Christmas!  Time to be with family and continue old traditions or begin new ones.  Last night I was on assignment with Cincinnati Refined to take photos of the Neiderman Family Farm Holiday Light Display in Liberty Township, Ohio.  If you live in the area, I highly recommend a visit.  It’s free, but donations are appreciated.

You begin the 5 block walk (configured in a square) here…

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Bible verses are displayed with colorful holiday lights!

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The manger scene is beautiful…

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Adventures on a Tiny Island in Ohio

Lake Erie has a tiny two by four mile island — “Put-in-Bay“, known as Ohio’s premier summer-time party spot, located only 20 minutes by ferry from mainland.  Every year my friends and I organize a long weekend away that usually includes relaxation, hiking, good food, fun, and a hot tub!  We enjoyed our trip to Put-in-Bay so much last year, we decided to return for this year’s annual get-away.

This shot was taken early Saturday morning just as the sun was rising…

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Friday morning we drove from Cincinnati and caught the 12:30pm Miller Ferry ride (during high season they conveniently leave every 30 minutes) to the island.  We left our car parked (it’s free) in their lot and carried our bags on board.

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Once on the island, having reserved a golf cart (the preferred method of transport on the island) through Miller Marina, we were able to fit six women and all of our stuff on it!  Yes…it was only for the weekend!

Miller Marina in Put-in-Bay offers public transient dockage with a private club atmosphere and family friendly setting. It is located one block West of downtown Put-in-Bay, close to island attractions, yet far enough away from all the distractions. Miller Marina offers grills and picnic area, pavilion, modern restrooms/showers, WiFi and golf carts are available for rental.
 

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We stayed at the Island Club Condos aka Put-in-Bay Condos at a beautiful end unit with a view of the pool and Lake Erie to the left.  Our two-bedroom/two-bath condo was perfect!

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Put-in-Bay’s split personality ensures that everyone has an unforgettable time…think Gatlinburg and Key West on steroids! While exploring the island with your fun mobile, make frequent stops for shopping, dining at one of the colorful outdoor cafes while listening to live music, and cooling off at a swim-up bar with a frozen tropical beverage in hand. When or if your senses become overloaded from the people watching and intoxicating excitement, hop back on your cart to experience the other side of Put-in-Bay, where you’ll find serene and tranquil spots to gaze at the sailboats gliding by on the glistening blue lake.

When we weren’t out exploring, you could usually find us out on the patio enjoying nature…

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Farm Life in Rural Ohio

I arrived to my Cousin Steve’s farm late on Tuesday evening after spending the afternoon exploring the gorgeous Amish countryside in Holmes County, Ohio.  His farm is in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, almost 1 1/2 hrs. Southwest of Holmes County, on the way back to Cincinnati.  I’ve only visited once before, a few years ago, so I was looking forward to it!  As we brought my overnight bag into his home, the setting sun caught my eye, glowing gold behind bottles on his kitchen windowsill…

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Steve took me on a tour of his place.  His cute bunny rabbits…

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His friendly horse…

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and inquisitive cow…

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Five Hours with the Amish

Monday afternoon I decided last-minute to take a 3 1/2 hr. drive Northeast of Cincinnati to Holmes County, Ohio to visit the Amish countryside.  On the road by 11am Tuesday, the drive took me past rolling pastureland, through small Midwestern towns, with names like Utica and Stillwell.  Listening to an audiobook on tape, I would alternate my attention from the book to the passing scenery.  I was excited to finally have a peek into the somewhat guarded and secretive life of the Amish.  I spotted my first Amish horse and buggy in Danville, about 30 minutes from my first stop in Millersburg.  When I finally arrived at the Chamber of Commerce in Millersburg to pick up some information, the excitement was building.  My route was to travel 7 miles on to Berlin, 4 miles to Walnut Creek, 6 miles to Sugarcreek, 8 miles to Farmerstown, and 4 miles to Charm.

I had read that the Amish don’t like having their photograph taken, so when I saw this gentleman coming down the road in Farmerstown, I jumped out of my car, pointing to my camera as I gestured my question.  He shook his head “yes”.

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This couple was passing my vehicle on a back country road in Charm.  The outside corners of their lips are turned upward in a small smile….

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I couldn’t have picked a nicer summer day to be taking my tour.  The sky was a brilliant blue with puffy white clouds and a light breeze brought scents of freshly cut grass and wildflowers through my open car windows.  A couple of times my eyes pricked with happy tears for the beauty I was bearing witness to.

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Everywhere I looked, well-tended farms sat on hillsides or in the valleys surrounded by green and blue.  The only sound within these peaceful communities was the clip clop of the horses’ hooves making contact with the road as they transported the Amish to and fro…

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Ash Cave and Cedar Falls

The weather forecast for Day two of our Hocking Hills hiking adventure predicted rain late in the day, so unlike the previous day, we left our rain coats, umbrellas, and waterproof camera bags back at the cabin, because we started out early.  Mistake!  While taking in the amazing scenery at Ash Cave it began to pour rain.  Fortunately for me, I was lagging behind taking photographs, under the shelter of Ash Cave, while my girlfriends were caught in the deluge.  Not a bad place to get stuck for 10 minutes!

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We ran into a photographer who was kind enough to take our photograph before the rain.  Even Evan (the dog) posed for the camera…

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The 1/2 mile trail at Cedar Falls leads to the waterfall….

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The sloped forest hillside afforded beautiful photography opportunities…

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Our cabin’s location (only a few miles from Cedar Falls) made it convenient to head back there for lunch before our afternoon hiking at the stunning Rock House, which I’ll save for tomorrow!

 

Hocking Hills Autumn Splendor

A quick two-day mid-week trip to Hocking Hills State Park for hiking followed by soaking in a hot tub with girlfriends was just what the doctor ordered!  Located in Southeastern Ohio, 2 1/2 hours from Cincinnati, the rugged cliffs, breathtaking gorges, cascading waterfalls, and flourishing forests of Hocking Hills State Park, afford visitors a pristine outdoor wonderland.  Our first hike was to Old Man’s Cave.  The well-marked one mile round trip trail, includes both man-made and natural steps.  The view from inside the mouth of the wide cave looks down onto a small stream and stone bridge…

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Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year to visit this park…

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Beautiful Woman

I had the opportunity yesterday to photograph a beautiful woman.  Her name is Carrie Kondor and she was referred to me by the Yoga instructor that I recently took photos for.  Carrie is starting her own business.  She teaches meditation, yoga, and some type of healing; wherein while the person is lying down, she beats a drum to open their chakras.  She reminds me of a cross between Carly Simon and Seane Corn (whom she admires).

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Doesn’t she have a great smile…so full of life!

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She arrived with a variety of outfits and colorful scarves…

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The Search for Autumn

My latest assignment for Cincinnati Refined was to find the most colorful “leaf popping” streets within selected Cincinnati neighborhoods, so off I went, on a 40 mile journey and was amazed that I only found a few colorful trees!  It seems that Autumn is arriving late.  This was the most vibrant tree…

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A peek at a bit more of “the” tree…

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On the way home, this bean field and sky shouted for me to stop…

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So…I’ll be going out again next week hunting for Autumn!

Foggy Morning

I woke before dawn and made my morning coffee.  Peering out the window, everything was encased in fog.  I hastily threw on a jacket over my pajamas, grabbed my tripod and camera, and wandered down the lane in my house slippers to capture the beauty.

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Do you have a favorite?

Unwind and uncork a bottle at these 3 Local Wineries

Meranda-Nixon Winery

If you’re lucky, like I was, when you arrive at the Meranda-Nixon Winery, you’ll be greeted by one of the proprietors’ friendly dogs.  You may even see one of their beautiful horses as you gaze at the lush vineyards.

Vineyards at Meranda-Nixon Winery

Horse at Meranda-Nixon Winery

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