This week, with some time off from the “day job,” I have been visiting some spots I haven’t been to in a number of years, hoping to check out some local fall color action. As usual, I always seem to end up with something more interesting than what I had initially planned for. In my visit to Stony Creek Metropark (surprised me there was actually a Wikipedia entry for this!), I was hoping to revisit some spots along the creek that I photographed long ago. The image I have is from October 9, 2004, photographed with my D2H camera – preserved with a whopping 4MP. I thought it would be nice to have a more detailed image with more up to date gear. Well, turns out this scene no longer exists.
The shoreline trees in this spot have been cleared, and the creek was running much deeper than in the past, so I don’t know if all the shoreline rocks were also gone. I didn’t even bother photographing the new spot as it didn’t have much appeal to me. I continued on hoping perhaps to find a different spot that was similar.
As I followed one of the trails, I came to a large clearing that had some waist to chest height prairie grasses. Mixed with these grasses were seed heads of flowers long past, but now covered with frost. It was pretty cold – our first dip down to 32 deg F this fall. Well, I thought this spot was just the coolest thing. The grasses provided for a pleasant landscape backdrop, and I began working the frosty seed heads into some compositions.
With my hopes of getting some fall creek shots diminished, and clear sky overhead, I decided to spend my time here instead as the light would soon become pretty harsh. There was a sign posted near here describing this landscape as what once was an Oak Savanna, around the time of Native Americans roaming here. But when European settlers came in, fires were prevented, and this landscape was turned into land for grazing cattle. The native grasses and wildflowers disappeared. The park, now a protected space, is restoring the oak savanna to how it once was, and using controlled burns to restore the native flowers and grasses. So this appears to also be a changing landscape over time, and it looks better now than one that was grazed upon.
I suppose change is certainly one thing we can count on. Landscapes are destroyed and renewed. Some are preserved, others are not. Even those under “preservation” are changing as trees mature and fall, oceans rise, and shorelines change. In the grand scope of time, it seems these places can be as fleeting as the photographs themselves.