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Photo Shoot Report – Huffman Metropark

August 30, 2011

© jmillerphoto.com - Green Heron

This is the first of the series of photo shoot reports from my time back in Ohio.  I am purposely not putting dates on these because in nearly all of the other cases I made multiple trips to the same location.  I’m thus really giving a report on the place rather than on the days, though I will probably mention the sequence of days for the reports.

So there I was, minding my own business, getting ready to head out to the airport.  I had a couple of hours to burn before I needed to be at the airport, so I figured I would stop at each of the metroparks along the route from where I was staying to the airport.

This is the part of the blog post where I re-emphasize my absolute and undeniable love for the Five Rivers Metropark system.  Easily the best set of municipal/local government run park facilities I have ever had the occasion to visit.  Clean, well cared for, and diverse enough to cover the wide range of interests in the area.  Being able to visit the Metropark system was one of the highlights of my two years in the Dayton area and it was a pleasure coming back up to Dayton knowing I could spend my weekends and off-time out at the parks.  Three cheers for the Metropark system.

My plan was to stop at each of the parks on the path to the airport:  Eastwood, Huffman, Carriage Hill, and Taylorsville.  Just a quick stop at each and I’d be at the airport on time.  The camera was put away and I was wearing comfortable traveling clothes more suited for when I arrived in Texas than on my jaunt in Ohio. Eastwood was pretty as always, but nothing really caught my eye.

© jmillerphoto.com - American Rubyspot

Huffman Metropark, on the other hand, stopped me in my tracks.  I lived fairly close to Huffman Metropark when I was living in Ohio, but I never spent much time there.  The couple of times I visited when I first got to Ohio left me without much photographic inspiration, and there always seemed to be someplace else to check out as the months went by.  A good friend and I visited in late February of this year, but that was more of a bird trip than anything else (too cold for anything else) and at that it was the least productive of the places we visited.

I pulled into the park, looked skyward, and saw a bald eagle making the rounds, looking for breakfast.  So I got out of the car to see if he’d make another pass.  No such luck, but I had a quick conversation with a couple of folks fishing and walked a short trail near the river that my friend had shown me in February.  As I turned the corner I saw a life list add to my odonate list–an American Rubyspot.  Gorgeous damselfly.  And not just one but a bunch of them.  And of course I couldn’t just see this damsel and not take a picture of it.  So I went back to the car, grabbed the camera out of the backpack, the monopod and memory card out of the suitcase, and started making some images.

Further down the trail from where I had seen the American Rubyspot, I saw a Green Heron drop in and land on some wood debris across the small inlet.  Surely it will scatter when it sees me, right?  Nope, not so much.  He was certainly curious as to what I was doing, but if was afraid of me he wasn’t showing it.  From four or five different locations I scattered a long series of images of him.

As I walked away to tell the folks who were fishing about my find, he flew in as to say, “Yep…that was me.”  I love it when that happens, though of course I didn’t have enough light to do much with the closer shots.

After about an hour of shooting I managed to pick up images of the Green Heron, the American Rubyspot, an Ebony Jewelwing damselfly, and a couple of other damselflies that I am working to verify the id’s on.  Then it was back to the car to pull out the netbook and portable hard drive to backup the images I had shot before trying to repack everything before heading to the airport.  So much for the other locations that were on the list, but given the opportunities that presented themselves, I’ll save those for the next time I get the opportunity to head up to Ohio.

About the images:

The Green Heron (Butorides virescens) was an awful nice find.  The crop is reasonably significant, but it wasn’t like I could walk across the water to get closer.  The American Rubyspot (Hetaerina americana), as noted in the text of the article, was a life list add for me.  Beautiful damselfly with striking red coloration.  Both of these images, at a minimum, will make it up onto Flickr shortly.

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