M. Tate Photography: Blog https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog en-us (C) M. Tate Photography [email protected] (M. Tate Photography) Sat, 26 Mar 2022 05:57:00 GMT Sat, 26 Mar 2022 05:57:00 GMT https://www.mtatephotography.com/img/s/v-12/u574244951-o759986483-50.jpg M. Tate Photography: Blog https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog 120 120 Eleuthera - Day 1: Arrival https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2022/2/eleuthera---day-1-arrival The beautifully blue waters of The Bahamas...

We did it.  We took the plunge and planned a last minute escape from the cold and snow here in Ohio.  Our first big trip in what feels like forever and we decided to head for the island of Eleuthera in The Bahamas.  Most people have not heard of Eleuthera, which is a somewhat remote out island.  This means it's on the outer edge of The Bahamas; if you sailed straight off the eastern coast of it, the next land you would run into would be Africa.

The island is 110 miles long with a population of only about 11,000.  North Eleuthera, where we stayed, has even fewer people with only a little over 3,000 residents.  The geography of it is long and skinny and at its widest point, it's only a mile from coast to coast.  It is much narrower than that in most places, which often makes it possible to see both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea at the same time. And the biggest selling point for me...it boasts 125 mostly secluded beaches.

We chose Eleuthera because of its seclusion and its vibe for adventure.  It delivered heartily on both counts!

Just managing to get there was more of an adventure than we bargained for.  After dealing with strenuous COVID protocols (both U.S. and Bahamian ) and obtaining approval for special health travel visas from the Bahamian government, we experienced some rough weather and flight delays.  As a result, we nearly missed our connection in Miami and we were off to a rocky start.  Finally, we arrived at what is the smallest airport I've ever seen.  Ironically, the island has three different airports, with two of them serving commercial flights.  We were staying almost right in the middle of the two, so we flew into North Eleuthera Airport (ELH).

ELH handles two flights on Sundays and it's exactly what you might expect - a giant parking lot for a plane and an old, rundown building.  There are no places to sit and no terminal...everyone just stands outside and waits on the plane after they've cleared security.  After passing through customs and filing a claim for our luggage, which was LOST, we were not off to the stress-free start I had envisioned when planning this trip.  The only thing that had gone according to plan at this point was the fact that I was at least standing in warm sunshine.  This was a welcome relief from the 11-degree weather we felt leaving the house that morning.  As we made our way outside amongst the crowd of people, a friendly, older Bahamian man looked at me and asked if I had a rental.  I had a little difficulty understanding what he was asking at first, but once I did and said "Yes - with Alenda..." which was the name of the lady I had arranged a rental through, he smiled and pointed to a short, stout lady sitting on a bench.

Alenda came as one of the recommendations from our AirBnB hosts.  There are no major car rental companies like Enterprise or Hertz on the island.  Most rentals are through locals who have a handful of cars at best.  (Also note that if you ask for a Jeep, they call all SUV type vehicles "Jeeps" and you are not likely to end up with an actual Jeep.) We had a Honda CRV and, as I had requested, she gave us one that already had plenty of scratches down the sides.  I had read that the roads to the island's many beaches were mostly random dirt paths through jungle growth and that the paths were so narrow, you were unlikely to escape without scratching the vehicles.  Locals call this "earning your Eleuthera stripes".  (This also turned out to be totally accurate and I'm so glad I asked for a vehicle with extra ground clearance and scratches!)

Our communication had primarily been via email and Alenda messaged me the day before we left, asking if I happened to be going to the store before heading to the airport.  She explained that her son had a Valentine's Party at school and wanted to bring a small gift of Valentine's chocolate for his teacher but she wasn't able to find any more on the island.  She offered to reimburse me if we could bring her some. (First clue of how remote when we say we're talking remote!) TC ran to Walgreens to grab some before we left, picking up a couple extra boxes as gifts for both Alenda and her little boy.  We were happy to greet her with them and her smile when realizing we had bought extra presents for her made giving up the precious space in my backpack worth it.  She later emailed me photos of her son presenting the chocolates to his teachers and his smile was priceless!  A really grounding reminder of how there are so many things we take for granted here in the States that are downright special to people elsewhere.

Leaving the airport, we followed Alenda as we headed towards Gregory Town, which is about 25 minutes away.  She knew exactly where we were staying and said she would point out of the car window so we wouldn't miss our turn into the driveway.  I'm super glad she did because even though the hosts provided specific directions, we surely would've missed it.

The first thing you learn quickly on Eleuthera is that NOTHING is marked.  It is rare to find a road sign with a name.  This is not an exaggeration.   Directions are along the lines of "look for the white fence, slow down...it's across from the sand pit" or "turn left at the abandoned school bus" - that kind of thing.  There is one main road, Queens Highway, with barely noticeable dirt paths hidden in thick brush which may be a driveway, another road, or nothing at all.  It is quite the adventure trying to get your bearings and learn landmarks - all while driving on the left side of the road.  BUT, we did find our AirBnB, with Alenda's help, and we ventured down what looked to be an extremely rough, narrow dirt path with some pretty deep holes.  We started to wonder if Alenda had pointed at the wrong path, but about halfway down, we saw an open gate and knew she had steered us correctly.

The AirBnB we stayed at is owned by a couple named Robert and Molly.  There are two A-frame structures; one is Molly and Robert's house and beside it there is a smaller A-frame which is the AirBnB.  The way they have it situated is wonderful because you have complete privacy but they are also close by in case you need anything.  Molly greeted us when we arrived, then we let ourselves into our bungalow.

When I'm planning a trip, I will search relentlessly for the AirBnB listing that is exactly the vibe I am looking for.  Walking into this one, I was not disappointed.  It was quaint but modern and immaculately clean.  There was a small kitchen with all the basics, a lovely outdoor shower, and the view was incredible.  The villa sits atop cliffs that are about 80 feet above the Caribbean Sea and there is a small deck with a table and chairs overlooking the ocean.  I had read many reviewers talking about being able to watch sea turtles from the deck and was hopeful they would still be there.  To our delight, they were!  (More on that later...)

The weather was quite windy; you could hear the waves crashing amongst the rocks and there was a warm ocean breeze blowing in through the sliding glass door.  Heaven.  Our initial thought was to check-in and then go find a beach before sunset, but without our luggage, we only had our carry-ons which were full of camera equipment.  Still in our travel clothes, we were feeling a bit hot.  We hung out until Customs called to tell us the luggage had finally arrived on the second plane (thankfully) then we headed back to the airport to pick it up before they closed.

On the way back, TC noticed a house that had a gazebo-type structure on the waterfront and it had a sign at the end of the driveway that said "FOOD - OPEN".    We were starving and decided to give it a try even though it appeared to be empty.  The gazebo structure was actually a bar and there were a few tables sitting on a deck overlooking the Caribbean.  We later discovered the name was El Karaka Glass Window Bar & Grill.  

There was a lively younger guy behind the bar who took our order and serenaded us while dancing to Janet Jackson cranked up to 11.  He told us his friends called him Nero - "as in dinero".  It suited him and was our first intro to some of the lively and friendly Bahamian culture.  We settled on fish wraps and ordered some conch fritters as a starter.  He promised us they were the best we would have on the island and this turned out to be true.  I admit I was skeptical but the food there turned out to be shockingly good.

There was one other patron there, probably in her late 20's or early 30's.  While we were waiting on our food, we talked about how she had been surfing at Surfer's Beach earlier that day (on the Atlantic side) and the conditions were ideal because the wind was blowing from the west, instead of the usual east.  (This was already a spot on our list of things we really wanted to check out but, sadly, the weather did not cooperate for us.)  She had been living there while working remotely for a bit and we tried to glean some insights as to the best beaches and restaurants from a local perspective.  Most of them were the same things that kept popping up over and over as I had researched the island so I felt like we were on the right track with that.

As we were wrapping up our meal, Nero was joined by another guy named Chicago - although clearly not from Chicago based upon his very Bahamian  accent.  Chicago's personality was equally as big and friendly as Nero's.  He asked where we were from and when I said Ohio, he immediately responded with "O-H!" I was floored and asked him how he knew that.  He laughed and said he had a good friend from Akron.  (This turned out to be one of several interactions with strangers on the island who were Buckeye friendly!)  Just goes to show you're never far from home - even when you're on a remote island in The Bahamas!

Bellies full of delicious seafood, we said good bye to Nero and Chicago and headed back to our villa for the night.  We were exhausted from traveling and had a big day planned on Monday.  We made a quick stop at the 7-11 and spent entirely too much money on a handful of items like coffee, creamer, and English muffins for breakfast.  As TC aptly noted, Whole Foods would've been less expensive.  But, this was expected, being on an island.

What was not quite as expected was exactly how remote this island felt and how difficult it was to locate things...and I felt confident I had prepared for this.  I was armed with maps and books and notes with all sorts of local intel, but being there in person was an experience difficult to anticipate.  There's a saying there that is "Eleuthera - it's not for everyone." and it's immediately apparent on why that might be from the moment you arrive.  If you're looking for all-inclusive type resorts or an island that is easily traversable, this is not the island for you.  Remote is exactly what we were looking for and we were feeling up for the challenge.  As we fell asleep that first night, we were filled with anticipation about the week lying ahead of us and the adventures that awaited.  We drifted off with the sliding glass door open and the soothing sounds of ocean waves crashing just outside at the edge of the cliffs.  There are few sounds I can think of that are more relaxing and the stress of the day's travel to get there all melted away.  Island time had begun to settle in.

View from our villa... View from villa... Giant rocks beneath the cliff where the turtles live!

[email protected] (M. Tate Photography) https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2022/2/eleuthera---day-1-arrival Mon, 14 Feb 2022 00:30:00 GMT
SPRING Reset! https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2021/4/spring-reset Carrots

Spring is a time for renewal and growth, when we stretch our tired winter bodies and eagerly turn our faces towards the warm(ish) sunshine.  After the very long year of 2020, I have felt even more desperate to break out of hibernation mode.  I'm sure I am not alone in that.


This also feels like the right time to hit the reset button on my photography.  After a long hiatus, I started to work on the website a bit early last Fall, but that was quickly derailed by the other demands.  Things are starting to feel more normal, slowly but surely, and I've had my camera out more and more searching for Spring vibes.  Admittedly, Spring has never been my favorite season but this year it feels different and I've challenged myself to seek out anything that feels  like Spring goodness to me.


Baby Cauliflower I visited Victoria & Jesse recently to check out the beginning of their little homesteading activities.  They've been preparing the gardens and growing all of their plants from seeds.


Watching them work so hard and establish themselves has been heartwarming.  New beginnings, growing things from scratch...this checks the boxes on exactly what Spring should feel like.  They've even added a new puppy to the family, Baby Nero!


It also gave me an excuse to dig out my camera to capture seedlings, soil, daffodils and Wellies!  


Hello, S P R I N G !


Sugar Snap Pea Seedling

Sunny Daffodils Baby Nero

[email protected] (M. Tate Photography) https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2021/4/spring-reset Mon, 05 Apr 2021 22:00:00 GMT
Chasing Sunsets - A Rooftop View https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2015/9/chasing-sunsets---a-rooftop-view Downtown Columbus

I think this may defeat the whole purpose of the Chasing Sunsets tour, but I can't decide if I want to reveal the exact location of the next spot or not.  It's true.  Besides the complete gorgeousness of the skyline at night here, the thing I love most about this spot is its absolute lack of people.  It's not a secret place by any means, it is the top of a parking garage downtown, but every time I've been there, there have been one or two people there at most.  On this particular evening, there was one other couple there and they left soon after I arrived.

It is quiet.  It is peaceful.  You can be still and hear the hum of the city in the distance.  Every once in a while a car will pass beneath you, or you may hear a siren somewhere, but by and large - this spot is extremely tranquil to me.  It's hard to believe it's downtown.

The view in the top post is looking slightly southwest.  So while the buildings themselves aren't actually backlit by the setting sun, you do catch the reflections of the sides of the buildings.  You also have a wide open view of the western sky.  If you happen to be here on a night where we have a spectacular sunset, you are going to be in for a treat.

This wasn't the first time I had been to this spot, but I usually come to take in the city at night.  Anyone who follows my Facebook page will know how much I love a good nighttime shot.  There is something so pretty about a city at night.  But on this trip, I came specifically to check out the sunset.

This is not a far drive for me, so when we hopped in the car at the last minute to head downtown, I was beyond excited about how the sky was shaping up.  The perfect mix of clouds and light made for a promising delivery.  It's always a gamble on what the light in the sky is going to decide to do, but on this evening, it was one that paid off.

Heading downtown...

In fact, when we hit the new downtown ramp heading into the city, the sun was positioning itself on the horizon between the buildings.  When I'm chasing down a sunset and see this shaping up, I'm beside myself with giddiness.  I snapped the shot to the right directly through my dirty car windshield.  Nothing technically perfect, but I enjoyed that view nonetheless. 

Sometimes people hear me talk how much I love watching light change and I'm pretty sure they think I'm off my rocker.  But it's true.  If you've ever paid attention, you know that the light in the sky changes radically in the last hour before sunset.  The sky can (and usually does) look extremely different in increments of just a few minutes at a time.  I think these photos capture some of that.

We stuck around until well after dark because I love this spot so much.  It is an excellent place to set up a tripod and patiently wait...just soaking up the warm evening breeze and the gorgeous sight of the Columbus skyline.  And yes, in case you haven't guessed, this is definitely one of my favorite spots!  It's not at all crowded; it's free; it's beautiful; and it has an open view westward.  Yep.  I think if you can't tell from the photos and want to know where on this one, I'll let you message me or leave a note in the comments below.  :)


Night Falls

[email protected] (M. Tate Photography) Cbus Columbus Explore 614 Ohio chasing sunsets cityscape parking garage views rooftop view skyline urban sunset https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2015/9/chasing-sunsets---a-rooftop-view Fri, 11 Sep 2015 01:55:22 GMT
Columbus Commons - Rusted Root Concert https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2015/9/columbus-commons---rusted-root-concert Rusted Root ConcertColumbus Commons, Downtown Columbus - 9/4/15

The crowd starts to fill-in pre-show, even though it was raining...

Friday night, we braved the storms to head downtown to Columbus Commons.  I've wanted to catch a Rusted Root show for YEARS, so when I found out they were putting on a free concert right here in Cbus, I wasn't about to let a little rain keep me away! Not only was the show completely free, but it was happening in one of my favorite downtown spots.

For those of you not overly familiar with downtown, Columbus Commons is a city park/green space located on the site of the old City Center Mall.  It's an awesome space with lots of free events going on all the time.

This is the first time we've been down there for a concert and we were not disappointed.  Pre-show there were five different food trucks to grab a bite to eat, along with a little Mexican place called Tortilla, and of course my beloved Jeni's.  Beer and a limited cocktail selection was also available.  Parking was a breeze at the garages ($5) and the rain kept people away until right before the show so we managed to snag an awesome spot right near the stage.

Once I realized how close we were actually able to get, I immediately regretted the decision not to bring my Nikon camera.  I didn't want to chance it with the rain, so I had to settle for iPhone pics.  I did scramble for my other camera once we were back to the parking garage but I didn't have time to set up a tripod to get proper photos.  Nonetheless, it was still a great vantage point to watch the encore (photo above, video snippet below) and I was surprised at the sound quality, even from there!

Between the food, the relaxed atmosphere, watching hula-hoopers and people of literally all ages (from 2-60+ years old) dance and have a great time, it was thoroughly enjoyable.  What a great way to close out summer festivities!

I'm definitely looking forward to checking out more events down there.  If you want to do the same, you can find the Columbus Commons Events Calendar here:  http://columbuscommons.org/happenings/event-calendar/

Another reason to love Columbus!

Tiny Buddha on Amp Sound Check Michael Glabicki

Rusted Root - 9/4/15 Blue Diamonds snippet Beginning of the Encore


[email protected] (M. Tate Photography) Cbus Columbus Columbus Commons Columbus Music Scene Columbus rocks Explore 614 Rusted Root concert https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2015/9/columbus-commons---rusted-root-concert Wed, 09 Sep 2015 02:33:16 GMT
Chasing Sunsets - Port Columbus https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2015/8/chasing-sunsets--port-columbus Port Columbus International Airport

Ok, so I am behind on my blog posts here.  I've continued to check out various sunset spots throughout the summer; I just haven't had a chance to sit down and post about them.  I will attempt to catch up this week since summer is all too quickly dwindling!

The next stop sunset spot I decided to check out was Port Columbus and, frankly, it was a bust.  I've heard buzz that you can get some great sunset views from the top of the parking garage and, as a bonus, you can also see the Columbus skyline.  Sounding like it was right up my alley, I decided it was worth a quick trip to Gahanna to check it out.

I was actually kind of excited about this one as I grew up not all that far from the airport and I remember going there to watch planes with my grandparents as a kid.  There used to be a place off of the entrance from Hamilton Rd. where you could pull in and watch the planes go right over you as they land.  That has been blocked off so you can't pull in that spot.  There is another place where you can pull over, but it's not quite the same.

There were a few drawbacks that made it not such a great spot to catch a sunset.  For starters, the skyline is a bit far away unless you've got a great zoom lens and a tripod.  Even at that, I'd probably strive for a night shot because the skyline is also slightly southwest, so there's no backlighting from the sun.  As you can see from the below photo, that is one seriously bland sky.  For me, there wasn't a ton going on in terms of various sunset shots from the top of the parking garage.  I do love watching planes take off and land so all wasn't lost.  But for $3 to park for an hour, probably not a place I will attempt again for sunset watching.

My favorite photo op ended up being the back road into the airport because it has an entire series of underpasses and slight rolling hills to the road. (Pictured below.) I believe it is called Sawyer Rd.

This is one place I can cross off the list for recommended watching.

Port ColumbusView from the top of the parking garage

Columbus SkylineAs seen from the top of the airport parking garage.



[email protected] (M. Tate Photography) airport chasing sunsets columbus ohio port columbus https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2015/8/chasing-sunsets--port-columbus Mon, 24 Aug 2015 01:24:18 GMT
Stopping to Smell the Roses https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2015/7/stopping-to-smell-the-roses Whetstone Park of Roses My next outing had me stopping to smell the roses - literally.

The beautiful Park of Roses in Clintonville is definitely worth a stop if you've never been. It's gorgeous, it's free and it has a vibe all its own.  The Park of Roses is actually part of Whetstone Park, and while the rose gardens are exactly that, rose gardens - there is a playground, shelter houses, etc. adjacent to it. 

Initially, I was hoping to find a good westward facing spot to catch a sunset here, but there isn't one at the Park of Roses itself.  It is always worth taking the time to stop though, just to take in the spectacular blooms and fragrances.  It's actually one of the largest municipal rose gardens in the United States and it's right here in our backyard!  

I've been here various times of the year but, believe it or not, I've never been when the roses are in full bloom.  (I know - leave it to me.)  Full bloom for the 12,000+ roses begins around mid-June and lasts through mid-September.


You can grab a map that actually helps you identify the various types of roses (there are 350+) that fill 13 acres, or you can do what I did and just meander through the gardens.  There was a very slight breeze the day we stopped and the fragrance was absolutely INCREDIBLE.  It was busy but not crowded, although the crowd was picking up as evening neared; they have free music there on Sunday evenings during the summer.  This spot is also super popular for weddings and photographers and it's not unusual to see both when you visit.

(*Tip: If you are looking for an outdoor spot to photograph children that isn't a playground, I like this spot for several reasons.  The height of the blooms makes for a great backdrop for little ones.  The spiral staircase  provides opportunity for some creative shots too.  It's stroller friendly and it's a reasonable walk for little legs compared to some of the other popular options, like Minerva Park.  The lack of visible playground equipment also doesn't hurt when you're trying to hustle before they lose focus.)

On my visit this time, I met a very nice lady who looked to be in her late 70's to early 80's.  She was by herself walking around enjoying the gardens and reaching in to deadhead the roses every now and then.  She told me it had been a long while since she had been there and asked if they still had the Sunday evening concerts.  She went on to reminisce that she used to come there with a man she once dated to listen to the concerts, but "when the summer music was over, so was the romance!"  Had we lingered longer, I have a feeling she could've shared some pretty great stories. :)  In any case, I'm glad we stopped to take in the gorgeous blooms and I'm glad my new found friend was able to enjoy the music again.

If you go, be sure to follow the main garden straight back to the black gazebo structure with the spiral staircase.  It's worth a quick trip to the top to take in an elevated view of the Formal Rose Garden laid out before you.

Note that there are actually three different rose gardens to visit - Formal, Heritage, and Earth Kind, as well as Herb and Perennial Gardens.  You can read about each one here:  http://www.parkofroses.org/about/the-park/.  Be sure to wander around so you don't miss them!



[email protected] (M. Tate Photography) https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2015/7/stopping-to-smell-the-roses Fri, 10 Jul 2015 05:04:41 GMT
A MidSummer's Night https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2015/9/midsummersnight A Midsummer's NightView of Columbus as seen from the Main Street Bridge Milestone 229 Restaurant w/LeVeque Tower and Ohio Supreme Court in the background

Some things never fail to captivate me.  A skyline view with beautiful lights and a river is one of those things.  I made the comment when I posted this on Facebook that I know that this is the shot of Columbus that everyone takes.  I've taken this same shot myself a few different times; each time it looks a little different and each time I am never disappointed when I walk across the pedestrian path on the Main Street bridge and I look up to see this view.

On this night, it was a lot warmer than the January walk across the bridge to get this shot.  In fact, the weather was perfection.  And if you haven't noticed my love affair with the city by now, you likely will by the time I'm finished with this post.

Columbus has a lot of things going for it, but few are more lovely than the Scioto Mile.  I suspect I'm not the only one who is anxious for the Scioto Greenways Project to wrap up sometime this Fall.  The last couple of years there has been a ton of construction going on along the river as they remove the dam just below the Main Street bridge.  Doing so is supposed to increase the flow of the river and create 33 acres of new green space along its banks for 

Looking down Front Street

recreation and development.  But man, oh man....it's not so pretty during the day time with all the fences and construction equipment.  Nighttime though, still seems magical.

I think I must not be the only one who thinks so because there are still lots of people out and about late into the evenings enjoying the promenade and Bicentennial Park.  Surrounded by the ambience from Milestone 229 restaurant, the Main Street and Rich Street bridges, and the award winning fountains, it's a beautiful place to stroll in the evenings. 

I love that for as romantic as it can be, you will also find lots of families and kids soaking up the city.  On this trip, I assume what was a father and son wandered into my shot of the fountains there and I couldn't have been happier.  It was completely heartwarming to watch these two...with the little one running around and then opting for a ride on Dad's shoulders.  It was one of those "happy accident" moments that you are all too glad to stumble upon as a photographer.  They wandered off into the darkness before I could reach them, but I love these photos nonetheless.


That's one of the things that I love about this city.  People of all ages out enjoying it...even late on a Sunday evening.  These photos were taken between 10-11pm on a Sunday night and it was as though you could feel the city winding down from the weekend and getting ready for a brief moment of sleep before Monday morning rolled around.  By the time I headed back to the car with camera and tripod in tow, the fountains finally shut off for the night and people were slowly starting to meander out of the park.

Another one of my favorite 614 spots.  Especially at night.  And especially in the summer.   

Soaking in the City Playing! Fountains at Bicentennial Park The Main Street Bridge - Pedestrian Path

[email protected] (M. Tate Photography) Bicentennial Park Cbus Columbus Columbus, Ohio Explore 614 The Scioto Mile cityscape urban parks https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2015/9/midsummersnight Wed, 01 Jul 2015 19:45:00 GMT
Chasing Sunsets - Scioto Audubon Metro Park https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2015/6/chasing-sunsets---scioto-audubon-metro-park Scioto River SunsetView from concrete steps at the boat launch.


The next stop on the Chasing Sunsets tour is one of my favorite metro parks here in Columbus - Scioto Audubon (or Grange Audubon).  It's located just west of the Brewery District downtown.

There are so many cool things about this park that it would be hard to cover them all in one blog post, so I am going to hit a couple highlights and then focus on the main mission for this trip, which is to find a great sunset spot!

City ReflectionsColumbus Skyline as seen from the boardwalk.

For starters, there is so much this park has to offer - there's the Grange Audubon Center, a separate dog park, sand volley ball courts, a deck with chairs to sit and relax, a small boardwalk over a pond, an old water tower which has been turned into an observation deck with a great view of the city, and of course outdoor rock climbing wall.  It's the only place in the city where you can rock climb for free with a killer view of the C-bus skyline!  Every time I go to this place, I find a new tidbit.

The wildflowers here are also gorgeous.  So, so many of them.  Sitting on the deck of the Audubon Center, in the Adirondack rocking chairs, and taking in the wildflowers is a peaceful experience in itself.










The boardwalk is also cool - if you go, take time to linger for a moment there and look for wildlife in the pond.  There are a ton of turtles in there!

The Scioto Greenway Trail also runs along the western edge of the park along the Scioto River.  A western spot facing the river is exactly what I was looking for and mission accomplished!  We had to walk quite a ways along the trail and it is mostly wooded (but paved and an easy walk) and eventually, following the path of the river, we came upon a boat launching spot.  There is a raised metal dock people fish off of, but it faces more southwest and the tree line obstructs part of the sunset view.  If you walk down just a little more, there are concrete steps you can sit on that go right down to the water.  This is a lovely spot to watch.

If you go down even further, there is a viewing platform right near the dam and it also has a great view.  I strolled right by a couple sitting in a little alcove over the water, enjoying a picnic at a table and taking in the view of the sunset over the river.  Simply gorgeous.  (I hope I didn't just blow their secret hiding place.)

Also, I should point out that once we walked all the way there (using the trail), we discovered there is actually a parking lot right next to the boat launch.  Of course there is.  I guess I had to find it the hard way!  The exercise was good anyway.  :) 

I opted to park myself on the concrete steps that led right down to the water.  The water on the river was very, very high and actually had come up to flood one of the picnic tables and trash cans.  I'm not sure how it looks when the water is at normal levels.  As I was ending the shoot, a father and son came in from kayaking.

It was extremely peaceful there.  It was a Tuesday night but the people were minimal.  There were cars in the parking lot but not many people at the boat launch.  In fact, it was so quiet that as I was sitting on the steps by myself as the sun went down, a little skunk decided to stroll out from amongst the bushes right on to the steps beside me!  I don't know who was more startled, me or him, but all ended well.  I made no sudden movements and he quickly went back under the bush from which he came.  I didn't really stick around long on the steps after that though.  The shots were captured and I decided I'd best let Mr. Skunk go about his evening in peace.

I've always liked this spot but didn't know about the boat launch.  It turns out that this is an amazing spot to catch a sunset over the water right in downtown so now I have yet another reason to be a fan of this park.  

I'll be back to this one.

View of Columbus from Scioto Metro Park



[email protected] (M. Tate Photography) https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2015/6/chasing-sunsets---scioto-audubon-metro-park Tue, 30 Jun 2015 22:00:00 GMT
Summer is for PEACHES https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2015/6/summer-is-for-peaches Tastes of SummerFresh Georgia Peaches from The Peach Truck

Fresh Georgia peaches in Columbus, Ohio?  Yes, please!

Few things scream "SUMMER!" like a good, juicy peach.  And not all peaches are created equal; even being from Ohio, I know this.  Georgia is the Peach State for a reason and if you've ever had a fresh Georgia peach, you know why.  Peaches are one of those items that, even when you scour the local farmers' markets, they don't always live up to the billing.

I'm a fan of Dill's Greenhouse in Canal Winchester and follow their Facebook page; they're my local go-to greenhouse.  One day, as I was non-chalantly skimming my newsfeed, I saw a post from Dill's announcing that "The Peach Truck" was coming in a few weeks.  I had no idea what that meant exactly, but what I did know is that I LOVE peaches and if there was going to be a special truck that sold nothing but peaches there, you could count me in.  I thought it was a little strange that this Peach Truck was only going to be there for a total of 90 minutes.  I mean, come on - how many peaches can you possibly sell in 90 minutes?!

So...I put it on my calendar and decided I would go grab a few peaches.  I live not far from Dill's and took the back road to get there.  I knew something strange was going on right away because the road that usually has next to no traffic (literally) had a steady stream of cars going both directions.  The thought crossed my mind momentarily but I quickly dismissed it.  "All of these cars can't possibly be coming from Dill's.  There is no way."  And then I turned the corner to spot the entrance to Dill's...the parking lot was packed.

A box of peaches from The Peach Truck I was in a bit of disbelief as I go to Dill's often and, while they do a great amount of business, I don't think I had ever seen it that busy.  Not even on one of their busiest Saturdays.  As I pulled in, I saw a guy rolling up a huge pallet full of boxed peaches and stacking them near the entrance.  As I approached the entrance, I caught the wonderfully sweet scent of peaches.  Oh my.  You could smell the deliciousness in the air.  I experienced a split second of sheer delight...right up until I stepped around the boxes of peaches and saw the line of people.

I couldn't believe it.  The line went as far as I could see - clear to the back of the greenhouse.  I started walking that direction and realized as I grew near the back that it was actually curving around the corner and stretched all the way across the back wall.  I had to laugh to myself at the sheer ridiculousness of this scene.  Here I thought I was just going to run over and grab a few peaches real quick.  In and out.  Not so much.

I wasn't going to let that stop me though.  So I went and hopped in the back of the line, which quickly filled in behind me.  People were coming in droves.  What was this peach madness?  Not long after standing there, a gentleman with a southern accent made his way along the line, passing out a brochure with a schedule and a little card that had info about the best way to store your peaches.  He was asking folks how they had heard about them.  Most people were responding with "Facebook" - imagine that.  The people behind me were talking to him about wanting The Peach Truck to come downtown on a stop as they were from Italian Village; I heard others say they were from Westerville and Grove City.  People were obviously there from all over Columbus.

The line did move fairly quickly, all in all I waited about 20-25 minutes.  In that time, I was offered samples of fresh Georgia pecans (that you could buy with the peaches for a special) and one of the Dill's workers came through to give non-locals directions on how to use the backroads to exit as to not have to fight the traffic on busy Route 33.  (So that explains the traffic!)  They seemed to have this whole thing down to a scientific process.  I couldn't believe that apparently everyone in the world knew about The Peach Truck besides me!   Homemade Peach Tea

As it turns out, apparently you can sell an incredible amount of peaches in only 90 minutes.  People were buying 2, 3 and 4 boxes at 25 lbs. each.  As much as I love peaches, I stuck to one box.  When I told the guy I only wanted one box for now, he smiled and said "Not a problem!  This can be the test box - so you can try 'em out and make sure they're legit."

Well, sir, I can now attest that those peaches are indeed LEGIT.  And I will definitely be back for more.  In fact, I am sipping some homemade peach tea as I type this.  

The hype is real, people.  If you are a fan of peaches, I highly suggest you check out thepeachtruck.com and find a place on their schedule this summer to get yourself some sweet Georgia goodness.

Summer is for peaches.

Summer is for peaches.



[email protected] (M. Tate Photography) columbus, ohio georgia peaches peaches summer summer is for peaches the peach truck https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2015/6/summer-is-for-peaches Mon, 29 Jun 2015 21:44:27 GMT
Chasing Sunsets - Hoover Reservoir https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2015/9/chasing-sunsets---hoover-dam Hoover ReservoirWesterville, Ohio

A spot that I used to visit frequently is also one I decided to check out for my "chasing sunsets" quest - Hoover Dam in Westerville.  As you'll notice with most of these Chasing Sunsets posts...half the battle is knowing where to go to catch a great view, but the other half of the battle is hoping the sky cooperates!  I've taken many, many trips to a spot only to have the sunset fizzle out on me right before what should've been a spectacular show.  My trip to Hoover Dam was one of those ones that fizzled out.

Although the sky did not cooperate, Hoover is one of those places that's always enjoyable for a stroll.  There are lots of couples, families, people fishing and usually some people running the steep stairs for exercise.  This trip was no exception.

Looking west from on top of the dam...

The photo at the very top of this post was taken from the stairs on the east side of the dam, looking west.  If there had been some more color to the sky, this could've made for a very pretty shot.  

The photo to the left was taken standing on top of the dam looking west.  If you look carefully, you can see the boats at the docks.  

The sun itself decided to play hide and seek behind that big wall of clouds, but you can faintly see its rays stretching far out into the sky.


Looking north from on top of the dam... The sky to the north actually had more color than directly westward on this night but it was still slight.  Nonetheless, it made for a peaceful scene.

One thing I didn't manage to grab a photo of was the little cliff swallows that were nesting in the structure at the top of the eastern stairs.  There was a large group of people checking them out when I was there, but it was easy to spot their cool little nests made from mud that stuck to the side of the concrete walls.  What neat little creatures!  Look for them if you go!

Hoover Dam is probably somewhere in the middle of the pack for a good sunset watching spot.  There are surely better vantage points along the Hoover Reservoir for better viewing but I do like the interest the structure of the dam itself provides.  One of those places I will surely revisit when I think I can catch a better sky.

Reflections of light caught in the water as it rushes over the dam...

Big Walnut CreekLooking south from the top of the dam... The rush of water as it flows over the dam from above...

[email protected] (M. Tate Photography) Explore 614 chasing sunsets columbus hoover reservoir ohio westerville https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2015/9/chasing-sunsets---hoover-dam Sun, 28 Jun 2015 21:00:00 GMT
Chasing Sunsets - Rising Park, Lancaster, Ohio https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2015/6/chasing-sunsets---rising-park-lancaster-ohio The SummitMount Pleasant, Rising Park

Ok, so the first stop on the sunset chasing quest took me a little outside of Columbus.  Technically, I drifted out of the 614 and in to the 740, to Lancaster, which is about 45 minutes from downtown.   Why would I hop in the car and go so far?  Well...there is a place there called Mount Pleasant, also known as Rising Park.  Mount Pleasant is a bluff that rises 250 feet above the city of Lancaster, and you guessed it...when you reach the top, there is a view that faces west.  Sounds like a pretty spectacular place to view a sunset to me!

View from Rising Park

View of Fairfield County Fairgrounds from Above

While it's not an overly long hike to the top, it is a hike nonetheless - and a fairly steep one. It's not paved and it's rocky, so definitely skip the flip flops!  The park was surprisingly busy for a Monday evening, and the weather was plenty hot and sticky, but the climb to the top was worth it.  When you reach the summit, you have beautiful views of the city of Lancaster below you, as well as a view of the Fairfield County Fairgrounds and the surrounding wooded hills.


We saw two relatively tame deer on our visit - one at the top near the summit, in the woods, and one in the woods following along the trail.  Lots of wildlife going on there.


Even with people around, it was very peaceful and tranquil for the most part.  There were several couples huddled together to take in the view and several people that were solo.  There is a railing at the summit to keep people a safe distance from the edge but many people seemed to ignore it and dared to find a spot to sit amongst the rocks.  (As peaceful as this looks, I wouldn't recommend it - there have been several rescues/falls and even a fatality from people who've slipped.)

Quiet TimeA solo hiker takes time to journal...


The only downside to this spot is the number of younger teenagers running around.  I'm not sure if it's like this all year long or if there are just more of them in the summer.  There were a couple of rowdy groups making quite a bit of noise, but they moved along fairly quickly.  All in all, I hung out at the summit for about 45 minutes or so and was able to grab a spot on the rocks for myself and enjoy watching the sky in peace.  


As far as the actual view for the sunset goes, this place is a dandy.  The sunset on this particular evening turned out to be not quite as spectacular as I had hoped; it had rained and stormed earlier in the day and sometimes those skies shape up to be the prettiest.  Not so much this night, but the view still made the trek worth it!  I plan on going back to catch some fall foliage because I know that has to be breathtaking.


Enjoying the ViewA couple enjoys the skies post rain...

Rain showers in the distance over Columbus...

Distant RainRain showers over Columbus as seen from Lancaster.

[email protected] (M. Tate Photography) Explore 614 Fairfield County Lancaster, Ohio Mount Pleasant Rising Park chasing sunsets https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2015/6/chasing-sunsets---rising-park-lancaster-ohio Fri, 26 Jun 2015 04:12:37 GMT
Chasing Sunsets https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2015/6/chasing-sunsets Old Towne East Sunset

 I love sunsets.  I absolutely love them.  I never tire of watching the sky magically change colors right before my eyes.  There's something so tranquil about being still and watching the sun wrap up its work for the day...saying good night with a random painting of color.  Living in a suburb of Columbus, sometimes it is more difficult than I'd like to find spots that offer a really good view of the sunset.  Between trees, houses, and buildings, I can catch glimpses of the sky but not usually a wide open view.


This led me to throw out a question to all my Facebook friends (on both my personal and photography pages) asking where their favorite spots to watch the sunset were here in Central Ohio.  Not one person commented.  Not one. Out of 500 and some people. That rarely, and I do mean rarely, happens.  How could this be?  Do people not have favorite sunset spots?  Or...even more unimaginable, are people not stopping to enjoy the sunsets?!  Say it isn't so.


I'm still trying to figure that one out.  In the meantime, I googled.  Then I Yelped.  Then I took to Trip Advisor.  Come to find out, there isn't a whole lot out there in terms of finding great sunset spots that are publicly accessible here in the Columbus area.  Now I'm on a mission!  I am determined to compile a list of great spots to watch in Central Ohio before the summer is out.


So if you love a good sunset as much as I do, follow along as we explore the 614 and surrounding areas for some spectacular sunset goodness! 





[email protected] (M. Tate Photography) Columbus Explore 614 Ohio sunsets https://www.mtatephotography.com/blog/2015/6/chasing-sunsets Sun, 21 Jun 2015 05:02:43 GMT