Winter waterfall photos to help you to think "COOL" during this early heatwave.

May 08, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

​The temperature reached a high of 87° yesterday in Hudson, OH and it felt just great; at least it felt great to me.  After having lived in Chicago and the Cleveland area all my life, weather events like this are not that unusual.  Temperatures in both cities can get unusually high and unusually low in any season of the year.  It’s just always been that way.  Yet it happens every year when we get a stretch of unusually hot weather early in the year that people start complaining already about how hot it is.  Granted, I may complain a little in the middle of August when we get a long stretch of hot and humid weather that is just relentless.  But this is May and we just emerged from a brutally cold winter.  Are our weather attention spans so short that we have forgotten how relentless that cold was? 

Well, it got me thinking of some of the images that I took this winter when it was brutally cold outside.  It was so cold that I probably should not have been outside taking pictures.  (Thank goodness for remote shutter releases).  I travelled out to a few of my favorite running routes to grab some photos.  One of the routes included a section of the Buckeye Trail that takes us past Blue Hen Falls and Buttermilk Falls in the Cuyahoga Valley.  During the summer months you’re restricted to the winding trails along the river to get from Blue Hen Falls to Buttermilk Falls. During this cold winter pretty much everything was frozen, so you could get between the falls by walking on the ice over the stream.  

The Trail to Blue Hen Falls in the Cuyahoga Valley National ParkThe trail to Blue Hen Falls splits off from the Buckeye Trail after you cross the wooden bridge over Spring Creek. Wooden Bridge Over Spring Creek in the Cuyahoga Valley National ParkThis wooden bridge spans Spring Creek, which is the creek that feeds Blue Hen Falls. Blue Hen Falls - Frozen WaterfallThis image was produced by taking 5 bracketed shots to capture the full tonal range of the frozen waterfall. It felt a bit erie seeing everything frozen still, yet still able to hear the water running under the ice.


On my trek from Blue Hen Falls to Buttermilk Falls a passed by this tree that had been carved over the years with peoples names.  I noticed someone had carved "Jack" into the base of the tree.  Leslie and I always try to take a photo of Jack's name whenever we come across it on a sign.  Unfortunately most of those signs seem to be the names of bars.  

Jack's Name Carved in a TreeI noticed that someone had carved the name Jack into the bark of this tree. It caught my eye and I had to take a photo of it.

Because the weather was so cold, I noticed some very interesting ice crystal formations in areas where there were holes in the ice and the stream was running beneath it.

Ice CrystalsThese ice crytals formes near areas where there were holes in the ice and the stream was running beneath the ice. Ice Crystals It was a bit unnerving at times when I could hear the water running under the ice beneath my feet.  I shot a quick video of one of those patches (below) and just hoped that I wouldn’t capture myself falling through the ice.  The water is shallow, so there were no worries about being swept under the ice or anything, but I didn’t want to get my feet wet for the walk back to the car in those temperatures. 

Water Flow Under the IceThe spring that feeds this stream keeps a steady flow of water under the ice, despite temperatures around zero.  At the top of Buttermilk Falls is a cliff wall where water drips down to help feed the falls.  This dripping water made some pretty cool looking icicles.  I took a shot looking at the icicles and another shot looking straight up into them.  

Falls at the top of Buttermilk FallsThe water that normally drips off of this cliff face yielded some impressive icicles. Looking Up into the Icicle FormationHere is a shot taken looking straight up into the icicle structure.

I also headed over to another favorite running route near the Everett Covered Bridge in Peninsula, OH.  We don’t actually run over the bridge on our route, but we run past it to get to Oak Hill Road.  For anyone who has ever driven up, cycled up or run up this road, you know what kind of hill this is.  It’s a beast!  It makes for a great hill workout, although we have never done hill repeats on this hill.  I save that for Initiation Hill on the North side of Peninsula.  Anyway, I digress.  Everett Covered Bridge is a really cool restored covered bridge to visit in just about any season, but I wanted to capture some images around sunset during winter.  I didn’t quite get the sunset I was looking for, but with a bit of post-processing I created some pretty cool images.  Needless to say, I didn’t have to worry about other people walking into my shot in that cold. 

Everett Covered Bridge from the bank of Furnace RunI shot a series of 10 bracketed frames to capture the full dynamic range of this image. A bit of post-processing was needed to help light up the bridge as the sun was setting. Everett Covered Bridge EntranceI bracketed these shots as well to be able to bring out the detail in the shadow areas inside the bridge. What a gem to have this restored bridge so close to us.

So for those who are already frustrated with our mini heat wave, perhaps looking at these photos will take you back to just a few months ago when the weather was so cold that the waterfalls and rivers froze over.  Stay cool!


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