Where to begin? The metro parks are a wonderful collection of 17 parks in and around the Columbus area, spanning seven counties. Each park is full of photographic opportunities, and is endlessly fun to wander, regardless of the season. Their facilities and programs are free, thanks to a 2009 levy.
Each park is unique in its own way, offering walking/riding/pet trails, nature centers, wildlife refuges, educational programs, and an array of options to get closer to nature—and photograph it, of course!
We often use the parks as locations for portraits, for walking (and photographing) the dogs, and testing out long lenses on the sneaky birds and other critters. The Metro Parks also hold an annual photo contest, usually toward the end of the year. There are different categories for amateur, professional, and young (12 and under) photographers.
Think the parks are dead in the winter? Think again! Some northern animals (notably, birds of prey) migrate to our area in the winter to avoid even colder climes. The best part about winter wildlife photography is that it’s easier to spot the animals when there’s no foliage! And if you want some winter fun, the parks have trails for cross-country skiing, hills for sledding, and ponds for ice skating. Add a camera, and you’ve got a fun afternoon ahead of you with some pictures that might surprise you! Check out their twitter feed for a [nearly] daily update of what’s available.
There is a photography group that cooperates with the Metro Parks, called the Lens and Leaves Camera Club. The focus of the group is on nature and wildlife photography, and membership is open to all. They meet regularly, have photo contests and scavenger hunts, and host events throughout the year. Meetings are on the second Thursday of every month, at 7 pm, in the Beech-Maple Lodge at Blacklick Woods Metro Park.
If you love what the Metro Parks do and provide, you can help! Check out the volunteer-based Friends of Metro Parks to see what you can do to lend a hand.
We’ll be highlighting each park in turn, so stay tuned!
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