Impromptu Nature Walk | Big Rock at Cherokee Park

A couple of weeks ago I was supposed to have a family session right after work. Well, life tends happen even when you’re not planning for it, and mom and dad found their little man pretty sick. With it being such a gorgeous day though, I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to go out with my camera. After all, the location they chose was a place I hadn’t been in about 20 years. It would be nice to know how to get there and see if it had changed much over the years.

We’re lucky in Louisville in that we have several parks, large parks. Cherokee is one of the largest with almost 400 acres of conservancy land and it was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in the late 1800s. It has a lot to offer, but I’m most familiar with the scenic loop and getting lost multiple times in one trip. So I headed to “Big Rock” and found myself being surprised. It was beautiful, which I expected, but I was immediately transported back to being a 12-year-old girl again.

I had my camera in my hands, but there were the memories of climbing out of a blue minivan, running across the grass to get to the rock bed, only to slip off my shoes and wade in the creek with my childhood friend, Samantha. Every step, I stopped to see what was around me. I knew I wouldn’t be walking back to the Big Rock because I didn’t have the shoes for hopping across wet rocks (and there was the camera to consider), but as much as it had a familiarity to it, I got to see it with new eyes. But I couldn’t resist slipping off my sandals and taking a few steps in the water. I also couldn’t resist emailing Samantha to let her know I was thinking about her.

Cherokee Park, Louisville, KY

As for shooting, it took a few tries to figure out my settings. When I photograph people I generally overexposed by +1/3 to +2/3 to get a brighter exposure for skin and hair. But that didn’t work at the park – even perfect exposure didn’t look right. All of the color was washed out and I wasn’t happy with the LCD images. So I sped up the shutter and had the image underexposed by -1. That’s when all of the color and texture appeared. I’ve always liked photographing flowers, but I haven’t been able to capture the rest of the green stuff in a way I liked. But this time, I really like what I discovered on my little nature walk.

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rachel - As usual, beautiful photos! Thanks for the educational bit too. Will help when I’m down at the lake trying to capture the color.

Diane Keller Leone - Cool shots