When I started my photography in 2001 I did all my shooting at Stony Creek Metropark. In my second year shooting at Stony, I ran into a bird watcher that told me about another park in the area that I had never heard of, and it was called Holland Ponds. It is a place that has a little gravel parking lot and a very small sign that could be easily passed by if you we not looking for it.
It’s a small park that has many ponds with easy access to the water edges, and woods and fields that were easy to navigate through when searching for plant life and wildflowers. One small pond had lots of duckweed with frogs heads popping up everywhere, and if you took your time and worked slowly down to the waters edge, you could capture a nice head shot of a frog. This frog shot was my number one selling print in the seven years I was in the art show biz. It has also been published many times.
Holland Ponds is also where I shot most of my dewy dragonflies, and I always teach photographers that if you want to have an easy time shooting dragonflies, go out right after sunrise on a cool dewy morning and search out dragonflies in the fields or pond edges. The cool temperatures and dew on the wings prevents them from flying away and allows you to set up your tripod and take your time composing the image. Here is another great shot from Holland Ponds that has been very successful for publishing and selling. This was shot in mid September at 7am at the edge of one of the ponds.
I learned about shooting backlighting with subjects at Holland Ponds, and have many backlit images that I have been happy with, but this one is my favorite. It was found at the edge of one of the ponds, and they are Sycamore leaves backlit by the early morning sun.
Lily of the Valley flowers were always a subject that I had a hard time finding a composition that I liked. They grow in a wooded area low to the ground, and are very cluttered with large leaves and flowers, and it’s hard to find the flowers in the right position with a clean background. It was at Holland Ponds where I figured out how to get a good shot of these flowers. I just used one of the large leaves as the background and solved the clutter problem. This was my best selling flower image when I was in the art shows.
I could go on and on with many great images that were shot at this small park, but what I really wanted to talk about in this post is how much the park has changed over the 15 years I have been shooting there.
Over the last 15 years I have been amazed at the growth of the plant life at the edges of the ponds that has made it impossible to shoot frogs in the duckweed, as the tall bushes now stop you in your tracks. The vegetation along paths at the edges of the ponds where I use to shoot a variety of wildflowers is almost as tall as me, and the path is hard to travel through.
The park is just not the same anymore, and never will be again, unless the city that owns the park cuts down the vegetation at the ponds edges.. I’m just glad I was able to shoot there when there were still opportunities to captures some of these great images. I spend a lot less time there now that things have changed.
I have to look for new places to shoot, but sad when we lose those places that held great opportunities, and good memories, but at least I have these images to remind me of those days spent at Holland Ponds.