Excursion 24, Part 1 (Sleep in Heavenly Peace)

In which our intrepid ventures out on Christmas morn…

In November 2013, I finally purchased my first DSLR camera, a Canon EOS 70D, something I had been itching to do for several months at that point, although the Canon Powershot SX50 HS superzoom camera that I had been using is in some ways better suited for roadside photography.  But I felt it was time for me to step up.

Work and the Polar Vortex combined to prevent me from taking the camera on a test ride for some weeks, but one possibility did intrigue me:  going on on Christmas day.

[Remember that you can click on each image below to see a larger, better image.  Also, the EXIF data for each image contains GPS coordinates that you can use to locate the exact place where the photograph was taken.]

Neither living alone, as I do, nor being non-religious, as I am, typically have anything but disadvantages, but they did give me the freedom to go out on a drive across the Ohio countryside on Christmas Day to test out my new camera.  I figured that most people would be indoors, celebrating with their loved ones, which would mean little traffic or bother for me—which basically turned out to be true.

I was eager to test out the camera and also the GPS accessory I had purchased for it, so that anybody could look at the EXIF data of one of these photos and find out exactly where it was shot.  Because I was learning how to use this camera, there was a lot of trial and error, with an emphasis on the latter, but I hope people will be a bit forgiving of me for this photoset.

 

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I decided to head to the east, some miles north of I-70.  In the end, my trip first made a sort of parabola with one base at Columbus and the other end at Cambridge (basically this photoset), then headed northwest more or less towards Coshocton, after which I headed home.  With my new camera, I also mustered up a newfound resolution to try to take advantage of the early morning hours—something that I, a night person only slightly less than Dracula is, was hitherto rather loath to do.  So you actually get to see a bit of Ohio sunrise, somewhere northeast of Buckeye Lake.

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If these pictures look a bit frigid to you, well they should.  It was about 17 degrees Fahrenheit when I photographed this barn and the temperature barely got above freezing that day.

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I liked this lonely and abandoned farmstead.  Places like this resonate with me.

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The scene is probably still better in color than in black and white, but one advantage of black and white winter shots is that the leafless trees really tend to stand out against a sky.

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These particular leafless trees were a bit of a surprise to me.  These are actually redwoods, which I thought grew only in California and Oregon.  A nearby sign provided a bit of clarity, identifying them as “Dawn Redwoods,” which is the one type of redwood that grows outside of the U.S.—Dawn Redwoods, the smallest of the redwoods (though they can still grow to 200 feet), are actually from China.  This species of redwood is quite endangered in the wild (only around 5,400 trees in the largest dawn redwood forest), although it has been planted in parks and yards across China.  These dawn redwoods are part of a Dawes Arboretum project to be able to study and preserve the trees germplasm.  There is also an attempt in North Carolina to create a small Dawn Redwoods preserve in the wild, but it will be closed to the public for another 20 years.

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A frigid Ohio countryside.  If you click on the larger image, you may be able to make out the horses and the oil well in the large field to back left.

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I suppose this cemetery photograph, taken southeast of Newark, speaks for itself.  The cemetery is probably associated with a nearby Lutheran Church.

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Farmland in the winter so often has a desolate feel to it—the empty fields seem like wastelands and the leafless trees like skeletons.

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Here is a close-up of the scene before, revealing a rickety farmstead.

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I am not sure why, but I have generally avoided taking photographs of firebreaks, but I thought looking down at this snow-covered firebreak, bisected by a bitterly cold stream, was interesting enough.

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This round, rusted barn seemed to have a lot of character to it.

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Its companion.

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As you can see from these photographs, it was a cloudy, gray day, but I will say that from time to time the clouds did have some very interesting textures which made the sky sometimes redeemable.

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I wasn’t ever sure if this old home was still inhabited or not.  I will say that that’s one heck of a lot of firewood stacked up on the porch there.

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Streams and gullies were generally pretty busy on this day.  Recent snowfalls and meltoffs had created some flooded regions, something that I would encounter a number of times this winter.

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The Brushy Fork Metal Works.  Despite its fairly grandiose name, I think this business is basically a welding contractor.  But it has a nice cabin-y building.

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I have to admit that I was tickled pink to come across a massive automobile junkyard near Hopewell, Ohio (Miller’s Auto Wrecking).  I’ve mentioned in a past blog entry that the high walls around such junkyards (designed to prevent theft) were always irritating to me as a kid, because I could never see all the cars.  But this junkyard is situated in a bowl-shaped depression with a road running right through the middle of it, allowing the passer-by a wonderful glimpse into this vehicular graveyard.

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This is probably one of those things that would only ever interest me, but it’s my blog, dammit.

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It is probably a good thing it was Christmas.  If they had seen me, they would have thought I was crazy, taking pictures of a junkyard.

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