11.06.22: Boulders in creek

Moss-covered boulders line a creek bed in Hocking Hills State Park, Logan, Ohio.

Moss-covered boulders line a creek bed in Hocking Hills State Park, Logan, Ohio.

Photographing rocks in the Hocking Hills

Tech specs

  • Date/time: Sep 3, 2006 9:52 AM   
  • Camera: Canon EOS 20D
  • Lens: 10.0-22.0 mm 
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • Aperture: f/20
  • Shutter: 3 second
  • ISO: 100

The Hocking Hills is an area of unique geological formations for the state of Ohio.  When I have an open day I’ll pack up my camera, some lenses and a tripod and leave well before daylight for the Hocking Hills, a region in southeast Ohio that’s a couple of hours from our house.

I can usually find some nice  scenes while walking the many trails through numerous parks in the region.

I photographed this scene during an early September 2006 visit to Hocking Hills State Park, one of the larger parks in the Hocking Hills region. I had been walking trails for several hours, photographing different interesting scenes, when I came upon this creek bed filled with boulders. I liked how the boulders formed a path between the cliffs and hills that lined the creek bed. The remains of a fallen tree provided a contrast in texture and helped lead the viewer into the scene. The blanket of moss created a sense of undisturbed isolation. 

I’ve visited the same spot many times in the years since, photographing the boulders and creek bed at different angles. And I’ll probably do it again.

The Hocking Hills is a great area for photography. Its terrain is much different from the mostly flat land in other areas of Ohio. Blame it on the Wisconsin glacier that covered Ohio from 85,000 to 11,000 years ago. It flattened the area, but southeastern Ohio (about an hour’s drive from my house) was outside the glaciation of the ice age and remained ruggedly hilly and forested.

The same glacier that flattened much of Ohio is responsible for creating the Hocking Hills, one of the most geologically unique – and photogenic – areas in Ohio. The ruggedly hilly section of southeastern Ohio features gorges, cliffs, caves and waterfalls created when torrents of water from the melting glacier rushed through that area.

According to Wikipedia: “When the glacial torrents found cracks in the hard capstone, the water poured through to flush out the soft middle layer. This left long tunnels where the gorges are today. Eventually, the weight of the tops caused them to come crashing down. The ‘slump rocks’ in the gorges today are what’s left of the hard top layer. In just a few centuries, the rushing waters of the glacier carved the soft middle layer of sandstone into the myriad dimples and wrinkles that decorate the cliffs and grottos today.”

The waterfalls, deep, rocky gorges and towering, forested hills make Hocking Hills State Park one of my favorite areas for photography. It’s about an hour’s drive from my house, but it’s worth the trip.

Old Man’s Cave Trail, where I found this scene, is named for a hermit who lived in the large recess cave in the gorge around 1800. It’s a beautiful gorge that features several large waterfalls, a series of rapids and small waterfalls and the gigantic cave that gave the park its name. The cave is located on a vertical cliff about 75 feet above the stream and measures 50 feet high, 200 feet long and 75 feet deep. The trail, like others in the region, is filled with large slump rocks in and around the stream.

 I liked how the boulders formed a path between the cliffs and hills that lined the creek bed. The remains of a fallen tree provided a contrast in texture and helped lead the viewer into the scene. The blanket of moss created a sense of undisturbed isolation. 

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