When I started my blog back in February I decided it was time to get back into photography. I have always loved taking pictures and have been called “the paparazzi” on occasion. I have taken pictures of every sunset while on vacation because of how caught up I get in the beauty of a good sunset. I was born in a small country town (that i visited frequently while growing up) and grew up in a suburb of a large metropolitan area. So you can say that I have been blessed with the best of both worlds while growing up, country and city. With that being said, I am not only obsessed with sunsets, but nature in general. With the weather permitting, I prefer to be outside. So you will notice that most of the photos I take are of nature or architecture. I am always blown away and inspired by the beauty you can find in a simple tree or flower.
About a month ago I was given the opportunity to be part of a project at my full-time healthcare job. The task was to capture a skyline photo of the city where our office is located. However, our main office has two satellite offices, all of which are at least a 45 minute drive from each other. I looked at this as an opportunity to hit every possible photo worthy location in between my destinations searching for the perfect skyline photos. So I took a vacation day from work, mapped out my route, and set out on an adventure. Between working full-time and taking classes for my second college degree part-time, I don’t get much time to just explore.
I must admit that I am a little ashamed of myself for having lived in the same area of Ohio for over 27 years and not being aware of all of the beauty that I found in one day off with my camera. This adventure took over 6 hours, 100 miles of driving, 5 miles of walking, and 500 photos. I had the perfect playlist mixed with my favorites like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Metallica, Jason Aldean, Johnny Cash, Lamb of God, Of Monsters and Men, and The Civil Wars.. Just to name a few. All of this mixed with my favorite pair of Chuck Taylor’s, aviators, 70 degrees and sunny, and a big smile on my face.
My first stop was Garden Station, which I admit, I had no idea existed until the night before I set out on my adventure. Thanks to something I came across on Facebook, I discovered this wonderful place. It started as a tiny piece of land in downtown Dayton, OH that was a haven for the homeless to camp out. Someone decided to turn this into an artistic destination, and as an amateur photographer, and someone with a Bachelor in Fine Arts degree, I am so grateful for this. All of the maintenance and artwork is done by volunteers. When I pulled up I thought it was closed, until I saw a volunteer working on clearing the dead landscape left from the harsh winter we had in the Midwest. So I parked in what I’m pretty sure was an illegal parking area and decided to try to be as quick as possible at snapping photos while watching for a cop to drive by and give me a parking ticket. I must say that I am amazed that something so beautiful could be in the middle of one of the most depressing areas of Dayton.
My next stop was Riverscape, also in Dayton. This is where I captured the perfect Dayton skyline photo. While I was there I encountered an individual who asked me if I was taking photos for school. When I said that I was taking them as a personal hobby he said “I like that.” This was an inspiring moment for me, knowing that I wasn’t just some weirdo walking around with a camera. Also, while I was there a local musician had a set time to play her own music and I enjoyed a quick little acoustic session from her. I must say, she has an amazing voice. My timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
After that came Greenville. Greenville is a small country town with a main street surrounded by corn fields. Everyone knows everyone and always knows what everyone is up to. So here I am wearing skinny jeans and Chuck Taylor’s with purple and blue hair and a camera. Every single person who drove by or walked by gave me a friendly stare wondering who I was and what I was doing. I remember thinking “I should have worn my cowboy boots for this” (yes, I own a few pairs). It is an absolutely beautiful town where I felt as though I had travelled back in time. It is also the home of the legendary Annie Oakley. Not only is it home to Annie Oakley, but also the famous Gum Wall at Maid Rites, a loose meat sandwich shop. This town is so small that all stores only take cash for payment.
While on my drive from Greenville to Charleston Falls Preserve I had a euphoric moment when the song “Girl from the North Country” sang by Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash started playing. It was the perfect song with the perfect rhythm, corn fields on all sides, and the wind in my hair. It was a moment that I didn’t want to end.
“If you go when the snowflakes storm
When the rivers freeze and summer ends
Please see if she has a coat so warm
To keep her from the howlin’ winds.”
“Please see if her hair hangs long
If it rolls and flows all down her breast
Please see for me if her hair’s hanging long
For that’s the way I remember her best.”
“I’m a-wonderin’ if she remembers me at all
Many times I’ve often prayed
In the darkness of my night
In the brightness of my day.”
My last stop of the day was Springfield, OH. Springfield has seen rough times and there were not a lot of places to park or take decent photos. However, I was still amazed by how much was there. I have always been under the impression that Springfield was depressing, but downtown it looks like any other thriving city.