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Exploring the Beauty of Ohio and Beyond...


About the photo: Driftwood on one of the beaches of Presque Isle. "A life that hasn't a definite plan is likely to become driftwood." -David Sarnoff

For those of you who follow me on Facebook, many of these photos will probably look familiar. I originally wanted to provide my website/blog only followers with an opportunity see how I spent my Thanksgiving Holiday and my #optoutside for Black Friday. However, an event happened that made me decide to tweak this into my Christmas blog. 

So, what was that event…I bought a camera. Well to be exact, I traded a lens that I wasn’t using against the new camera I’d been looking at since late last year. When I applied for the Greater Columbus Arts Council grant back in January of this year, I had no idea I had cancer. I planned to trade in the lens plus use the grant money toward buying the camera. At the time, the value of the lens and the cost of the camera would still have left me with a large out-of-pocket expense. Fast forward about two months when I get the grant approval, I also now know I probably have cancer (we were still waiting for the final diagnosis). I made the decision to switch the grant to matting and framing supplies because I didn’t see a lot of new photos in my future at that point. The lens sits on the shelf. It just wasn’t the right time.

Fast forward 8 months. For some reason, on the first Saturday in December, I decided to talk to the camera shop about the lens again. Its value is significantly higher than earlier this year…and…drum roll…the camera is on sale. Without going into numbers here, let’s just say the difference between the trade-in and the final cost of the camera made it an easy decision. It was the right time.

What does this have to do with Christmas? Beyond that this was a nice “gift” for Rose Klockner Photography LLC, and gives its owner something to look forward to taking photos with next year (or even maybe this year, yet 😀), I think there is a much deeper tie in. Things happen for a reason at the time they happen. I have never believed that what happens in our lives is random chance. Two thousand years ago, a couple was uprooted from their home and forced to travel a long distance to their ancestral home because some king somewhere decided it was a good time for a census. The woman, very pregnant, I’m sure, at some point, thought, “this is the last thing I need right now.” However, that very census, as chaotic as it made their lives, put them in the exact spot and at exactly the right time in history to fulfill a promise first made some four thousand years before. Many of us will celebrate that journey and its ultimate outcome in just a few days. I remember learning these verses, that speak of the right place and time, as a child for Christmas Eve services many years ago…

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans[a] of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. Luke 2:6-7

But when the time had fully come, God sent his son, born of a woman, born under the law, that we might receive the full rights as sons {heirs}. Galatians 4:4

I still believe in God’s timing two thousand years later. Is something as simple as selling a lens at a better time really just a coincidence? What prompted me to contact the shop that day? Was it just fate that I live in a major city with one of the top centers of excellence in medicine and one that pioneers new treatments? Was it luck that I made it in the immunotherapy trial with just a few weeks to spare before it closed? Is it by chance that I work for an amazing company that is like family? Did I "just happen” to choose photography as a hobby years ago? I’ve just seen too many “coincidences” in my life. I believe there is a plan.

Take a moment, this holiday season, to re-evaluate the coincidences in your life; the things you’ve been able to do, the people you’ve met, the jobs or opportunities you’ve had, even the things or people that have helped you through bad times. Whether or not you adhere to the Christian faith, is there room in your life to accept that there may be something greater than chance or fate guiding you and that may be worth exploring?

So, how does my Thanksgiving/Black Friday trip tie into all this? With no big plans for the Thanksgiving holiday and the hubby having to work, we both decided that me attempting a do-over of a  trip to Presque Isle State Park in Erie, Pennsylvania was a good idea, both for body and soul. It was originally scheduled for the end of October but canceled because of all the problems going on with my thyroid due to the immunotherapy treatments. Click here if you missed that update. While talking with a volunteer photographer at the park on Friday, it became clear that the earlier date probably would not have yielded the kind of photos I wanted. It would not have been the right time for the trip.

Erie, Pennsylvania is about 3 ½ hours from Columbus and the I-271 Express lanes around Cleveland makes it a pretty easy drive; although I did drive up on Thanksgiving day when there as less traffic. I took time alone to give thanks out in God's beautiful world. My Thanksgiving dinner was at Cracker Barrel; dining with fellow travelers somehow seemed appropriate for this year that has been such a journey.

My current energy level allowed me to spend most of Thursday afternoon and then Friday morning into the early afternoon on Presque Isle. “Presque” means “almost an island” and indeed, had I arrived much earlier on Thanksgiving day, I would have had a wait while they cleared roads from a storm on Wednesday that had threatened to cut off the peninsula because of flooding. There are many areas to the island, and it has a wide diversity of ecosystems; from shoreline and beaches on Lake Erie and the bay, to sand plains, dunes, ridges, new and old ponds, marshes, wetlands, and new and old-growth forest. If you visit, stop by the Tom Ridge Environmental Center when you arrive or leave. For my style of photography, the beaches and the white birch trees was where I concentrated my efforts. I hope you enjoy them.

Desolate, But Not Without Hope
A silent beach awaits the joy of beachgoers next summer.



Desolate, But Not Without Hope

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Large parts of the island are covered in white birch, so it was a lot of fun, but a lot of work, to find isolated shots like this because they tended to grow in big groves of many trees. Chose not to go B&W on the first several photos because I love the subtle accents that the deep orange, almost rust-colored, leaves add this time of year. I also wanted to show a grove of the trees, but it can be a difficult shot. This needed to be black and white to give the trees center stage.

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    Presque Isle - White Birch Cluster

Trees on Sand Dunes
From some of the many beautiful beaches.

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    Trees on Sand Dunes

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Driftwood on Beaches.
I cannot get enough of driftwood. I just marvel at the power of water to uproot and transport these behemoths and then the power of wind and sand to polish them over time.

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A bit of fall color could still be found on the island. Actually, according to the park volunteer I spoke with on Friday, the island doesn't have a lot of fall colors as it only has a few hardwood trees. Cottonwood, which helps with erosion, and White Birch are the main trees.




This lone tuft of beach grass caught my attention as I walked to the beach.

…and last but not least, the lighthouse. It is closed this time of year, so it forced me to find an interesting angle due to the fence that surrounds it. There is a second lighthouse, but due to the flooding from the storm, I was not able to get a photo of it.

I drove home to Columbus on Saturday stopping at a few parks along Lake Erie in PA and OH. Several of the smaller ones were closed for the season. Unable to watch or listen to the OSU vs Michigan game, I put on Christmas music and checked the score when I’d stop. By the time, I reached Columbus, I was craving peppermint ice cream and felt ready for the Christmas season. December (and January) has had and (will have) many opportunities to spend time with family and friends. My next blog will probably be late January when we know more about the immunotherapy treatment’s progress and hopefully I’ve had the chance to do a little photography with the new camera.

I want to wish everyone happy holidays, Merry Christmas, and have a blessed New Year!



Presque Isle Lighthouse (PA)

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