Chicago – February 2020 – Incognito Photography

While most of the photos on this blog were taken with a Canon DSLR camera there are times where a large camera doesn’t work, like when you are trying not to be noticed on the streets of a city like Chicago.

The previous ‘point and click’ camera has too many issue, so it was time for a new one – a Canon G5X. This is the first attempt at seeing how it performs in the field. As it is new most photos were taking on ‘Auto’ while learning the additional functions.

And now for the tougher test – night time.

It does not perform like a SLR, but with some learning it will do the job.

Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina – January 2020 – Walkway to Glacier Heaven

If you thought Buenos Aires was far south, you haven’t seen anything yet. We made a 3 hour flight further south to El Calafate.

Which my phone said was here

We have come to far southern Patagonia in Argentina to see Los Glaciares National Park for a few days. It is home to the 3rd largest ice fields in the world (after Antarctica and Greenland).

To my amazement though the surroundings are desert, so the drive out felt more like Southern California than what I think of as glacial areas like Alaska.

With our mid day arrival, and an hour and a half drive to the park we only had time on this day to do the walkways.

We had our first glimpses on the drive into the park.

This was well worth the trip out for the afternoon, as the walkways are well built paths that take you to various levels very close to the snout of the glacier Perito Moreno.

The walkways was an excellent way to start our visit to the park, but there is much more to see in subsequent postings.

Logan, OH – March 2019 – Last Ice Posting of the Year (Hopefully)

With winter hopefully coming to an end soon it was a good day to check out Hocking Hills State Park, and the numerous waterfalls throughout the park.

For this hike we started at the top of the gorge, where the aptly named Upper Falls is located.

As we made our way downstream we passed numerous ice formations on the gorge walls.

While the icicles are all bumpy, the icy spots on the trail were perfectly smooth, and very slick.

The day was mostly cloudy but we did have a peak of the sun highlight the lower falls and rock formation near one of the trails exiting the gorge.

Much like snowflakes, it seems no two icicles are the same.

The stream continues down the gorge with numerous small waterfalls.

We reached the lower falls before heading off for other trails.

Broken Rock Falls is at the end of a short side trail. Despite the narrow path for the water to travel over the wall, it came down with significant noise.

We moved on to Cedar Falls where the path to the falls took us past more interesting formations on the gorge wall. It seems the ice here was ‘stuck’ to the wall, as opposed to the numerous icicles elsewhere, although there were some here too.

The light mist that comes over the edge causes the light coating.

Cedar Falls is one of the nicer ones in the park.

Another waterfalls was hidden around the corner from the main falls, and all of the people. Note the two logs framing the sides covered in ice as well.

Our final stop was Ash Cave. We saved this for our ‘grand finale’, however the cone at the bottom wasn’t nearly as tall as in previous years.

Still it is an impressive falls.

A close up of the ice ‘cone’ at the bottom with the mist of water barely visible in the center.

All in all it was a great day in the park, and my phone says I climbed the equivalent of 54 stories of a building! Exercise and photography, what could be better.

Columbus – February 2019 – The Ice is Back

This weekend is a bit of a repeat from last weekend with visits to icy places and botanical gardens (to recover from the cold)

While Columbus doesn’t have anything close to Lake Erie, they do have a few streams that have enough drop to have small waterfalls, including Indian Run Falls in Dublin.

The falls are very small, but with enough splash onto the rocks for some nice ice formations.

As noted in the Cleveland ice posting it had warmed up and rained (a lot) but it is now very cold again, resulting in frozen puddles, with interesting patterns frozen in them.

Further down river is Hayden Run Falls, the best in town. There is a nice boardwalk to get back to the falls, crossing over the flooded bottom.

After a short distance you arrive at the falls. The Featured Image for this posting has a closer photo of the falls.

Everything within 200′ of the falls had a nice coating on it from the continual mist coming off the water, although mostly on the side facing the falls.

The ravine walls had numerous icicles all over them

As we made our way back down the boardwalk we could hear the ducks quacking away.

Our last stop was Griggs Dam. Again with all the recent rain and snow melt off there is flooding, so the dam’s for the reservoirs are running at full capacity.

With this being a dam, and not a waterfalls there is little spray to cause ice formation right at the dam, but just down stream the trees along the banks were covered in ice.

They aren’t Niagara Falls, but a nice way to spend a few cold hours on a Sunday morning.

Cleveland – February 2019 – Frozen, but Thawing

As usual in winter in the midwest the weather is all over the place. Last week was sub zero Fahrenheit, and by Sunday it was nearly 60 degrees.

Lake Erie tends to ice over quite a bit in the winter, and this year has been no different. Followers of this blog will note the main photo is the iced over Cleveland Harbor lighthouse after a particularly hard winter.

For this day the ice was melting somewhat, but still providing some interesting sights. The photo below is a security fence that was iced completely over, but has melted enough to be translucent.

There was some ice cover near the shore, but with large wet spots that seemed to attract the seagulls. The water provided a nice reflection.

While taking photos of the ice and water, I noticed that this shot got a perfect ‘T’ of airplane contrails in the sky. My assumption is an east-west flight had recently passed at altitude, and the northbound flight had just reached where the east-west contrail was present.

A close up of the birds on the ice.

Despite the look the water inside the breakwater wall is frozen and beyond it is open water.

The wall at Voinovich Park had some ice on it, but with perfect symmetry with the concrete.

The lighthouse has a bit of ice on it, but nothing like the main blog site photo.

The harbor in front of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame still had some light icing on it.

The life preserver is ready if needed.

Meanwhile over at Edgewater Park, the beach had a lot of ice on it.

The ice was very chunky.

The birds clearly congregated near the water, even if it was just pooled on the remaining ice.

The amount of seagulls all along the lake shore was staggering.

Our last stop was along Rocky River. Each spring (or thawing in winter) results in significant flooding in the valleys with the ice jams.

The ravine walls provided a small waterfall. It was a nice day for checking out the melting ice with a different look that the stark white normally associated with the winter ice on the lake (and river)

Coudersport, PA – May 2018 – Ice Mine

In the small north central Pennsylvania mountain town of Coudersport is a cool (literally) little tourist attraction known as the Ice Mine.

Technically it is not a mine, it is a small cave that due to some unique geothermal reasons cold air gets trapped in the mountain during the winter. Once summer comes the cold air begins to expel the warm air, causing ice on the moisture that seeps into the mountain.

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It had been a tourist attraction up until the 1960s when it closed, but has recently been re-opened.

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We showed up because of a huge sign in town saying ‘Ice Mine is Open’, but as we arrived we found that it was supposed to open the next morning as we were met with a sign that said ‘closed’. Still I drove up.

We did however have the good fortune of meeting Gary, the owner, who was more than happy to show us around.

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Sure enough on this 85 degree day ice was pushing up out of the ‘mine’, and the air temperature near it was about 45 degrees.

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The ‘mine’ is at the bottom of a 17′ pit, and goes down another 17′ into the ground. As a result of the perpetually cold environment the moss and other growth in the pit is more similar to Northern Ontario than Northern Pennsylvania.

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While not the most impressive sight around, it is still a very ‘cool’ experience, and Gary is a great guy who is proud of his hometown, and would welcome a visit – they are indeed now open for the summer. If you find yourself driving across historic U.S. 6 across northern Pennsylvania – go see him. And if you want to know more detail on how ice can form in the summer check out the wiki page

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Toledo – February, 2017 – Ice Sculpting Championships

An unusually warm February Saturday greeted the ice sculptures who had come to the Toledo suburb of Perrysburg for the 2017 National Ice Sculpting Championships.

In my prep work for going up I thought I had researched it and knew where I was going. My reading lead me to a ‘Lifestyle Center’ shopping center called Levi’s Commons. When I arrived I easily found parking, and could see the remainders of the carvings from the previous night, most had melted down to practically nothing. But the guide said they were to start at 11 on Saturday, so I went for an early lunch.

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I came back to… no ice, no sculptures. Finally after wandering around the stores for almost an hour I found a security guard who told me that the Saturday event was not at the shopping center, it was in downtown Perrysburg. Duh – I hurried off and was there in less than 5 minutes.

I first came upon a tent with about 50 carvings that had been commissioned by local businesses.

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With temperatures in the 60s each artist had a tent set up to protect them from the sun melting their works too fast. The one side of the street was lined with the tents and artists, electric chainsaws and Dremel tools buzzing.

Personally I am glad they had a hard time keeping them from melting, anything not to have a typical Ohio winter.

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Hocking Hills – January 2016 – Frozen Falls

After our brief stop at Brandywine Falls in northern Ohio the previous weekend and seeing how interesting the frozen waterfalls looked, we decided to go to Hocking Hills and check those out. As we headed down the first icy path I fell on my butt reminding me that sometimes adventure seeking is painful. But I recovered and we continued on.

This path, which was to lead us to Old Man’s Cave and the Lower Falls, was icy the entire distance but if you got off the trail onto the dirt it was much safer. Eventually we made it to the bottom and had our first view of an ice ‘sculpture’. There were seeming frozen waterfalls everywhere, with numerous streams of frozen water coming off the ledges. Eventually we made our way to the Upper Falls which provided even more opportunities for observing a variety of ice forms.

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Most were frozen from the top down, but in some instances where the water was hitting the ground in a pool and splashing up there would be little ice castles built on the ground. After moving to Ash Cave we found one of these ice castles that was over 6′ high.

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Other than a bruised ‘ego’, visiting Hocking Hills in the winter is a wonderful experience.

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Cleveland – January 2016 – Motorcycles, Cars, Planes and Harvey Pekar

The International Exposition Center in Cleveland, better known as the IX Center is a 1 million square foot exhibition hall. Originally built in 1942 as a GM factory building bombers for World War II, it served for many years after that as a tank plant. When the tank plant closed it was eventually repurposed into the convention hall, complete with a 125′ tall ferris wheel that is enclosed in a glass atrium rising above the main roof.

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We have attended numerous events at this location including car shows, boat shows, RV shows, home shows and others. This day we were there for the Progressive International Motorcycle Show. Ohio, despite the cold winter weather, has one of the highest per capita motorcycle rider population in the country.

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This show featured the world’s leading manufacturers including BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidsosn, Honda, Indian, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Triumph, Yamaha and others.

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In addition to the new bike displays, there were numerous vendors with accessories. The highlight of the show was a collection of helmets painted by local tattoo artists. While we were there two of them were working on their latest creation. Another area had a collection of custom ‘artistic’ bikes.

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After the motorcycle show we headed across town to the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum, located at the Western Reserve Historical Society in University Circle on the east side of Cleveland. The Crawford was recently remodeled and I wanted to check it out.

Cleveland has a long history of auto manufacturing and it is celebrated here. Founded in 1965 it’s collection of vehicles include antique carriages, early Harley Davidson’s, a P51 Mustang Airplane hanging from the ceiling that was used in the famed Cleveland National Air Races of the 1920s and 1930s.

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It is most known for it’s collection of cars over 100 years old, as well as the aforementioned Cleveland based automobiles, including a 1932 aluminum bodied Peerless.

A recent addition is the refurbished carousel from Euclid Beach Park, an amusement park that was located along the lakeshore that closed in the late 1960s.

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It is just a short distance from here to the Cleveland Heights Library where they have a small display on Harvey Pekar. Harvey is sometimes referred to as the Poet Laureate of Cleveland, going through life with a cynical attitude and skill in writing and illustrating underground comics. He is most known nationally for his series of combative guest appearance on the David Letterman show. If you haven’t seen one try this…


He will likely either amuse you or offend you, but not both. But he is ‘true Cleveland’

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So Harvey was a loyal supporter of the Cleveland Heights library, and in reward after his death they had a small statuette made for him. We had to make the pilgrimage to see Harvey’s statue.

Having completed our pilgrimage we made our way home, stopping by the frozen Brandywine Falls on the way. After passing the ‘closed trail’ sign with everyone else, we had a magnificent up close view of the ice covered waterfalls.

Another great day road trip was now complete.

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Loudonville, OH – January 2016 – Winter Ice Carving Festival

The first full weekend of the year found us in the small town of Loudonville in northeastern Ohio. This small town is a popular tourist spot in the summer with canoeing, as well as a full service Ohio State Park Resort, Mohican.

For winter they now have a festival to pull in some tourist trade. This winter ice carving festival was to feature nearly 20 ice carvings but as I checked the weather forecast it called for unusually high temperatures in the mid 50s, so I thought if we were going to go we should go early since they might melt. How true that thought became.

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We arrived in town mid morning and did find a number of ice sculptures along Main Street along with a shed in the middle of their park where someone was still carving. It was disappointing that they were melting so fast, but it did add a surreal abstract effect to them.

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Having seen all of the sculptures we made our way to the town museum that highlighted two things; Charles Kettering and Flxible Buses. Kettering, a Loudonville native who was an engineer (186 patents) and businessman. He founded Delco and was in charge of GM research for 27 years, developing among other things the electric starter, leaded gasoline and Freon. Flxible built buses in Loudonville from 1913 to 1996, but they still have a loyal following who come to town once every two years for a gathering, including plans for summer 2016 – we will be there.

Overall a nice day but had the weather cooperated it could’ve been better. C’est la’vie.