Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Here are some of the images from this week. There are many more that I will be uploading when I return home. The weather is great. The water is Blue. Nothing quite like this at home in Toledo. It is frustrating dealing with all of the salt water and sand blowing around. Before you realize it, the lens has spots on it an hour after you cleaned it. Filters are nice, once they get dirty, remove them, and then you can take clean shots again. We passed Cuba and Guantanamo Bay today. Another 350 miles to go until we get to the Cayman Islands so we will be on the ship the rest of day today and all night tonight. Oh yeah, I wish I would have taken before and after pictures of myself. I looked like a ghost when I got on the ship, and now I look like a cooked crab, no joke. I might try and upload a few more before the end of the trip. Cheers.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Last year I joined the Toledo Street Hockey League. It is a non-profit league for people of all ages in Toledo. Not only does Tom run his own body shop, the rest of his time is spent volunteering for the league. T
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he rest of the labor involved organizing the league is by volunteers as well. You can feel the positive attitude everyone brings to the table when we meet. The coordination of efforts among the volunteers has allowed the league to continue successfully. We have generated several league sponsors to help support the league(we're always looking for more if you want to help ;-). The whole project is funded through the sponsors, league dues(only $30), and Tom(whatever extra after paying bills). It is the only inline hockey league that I am even aware of in Toledo. It started with Tom Robertson last year when he realized people needed an organized league to play street hockey in Toledo. He took it upon himself to create that league with the help of several individuals. I joined in the second season of the first year. It was nothing major by any means. We played on a run down tennis court with cracks everywhere. The conditions of the place were not great. Tom did not let that discourage him and he was able to get close to 200 hundred people involved between last year and now. The league has been featured in the local newspaper and on several news channels. Even the mayor of Toledo came out to watch our games. This year, we requested that we move to a new park, and the city approved the switch. The new location needs some work, so a few of us on the league committee have been working on getting the new site prepped for the upcoming season. With a much larger resurfaced playing area, the competition is going to get much better for those who know how to play well. It is a no contact league and a ball is used so that anyone can play with a relatively low chance of getting hurt. Being a huge fan of hockey, I was immediately interested in the operations of the league. I approached Tom and was greeted with a warm welcome and smile. After letting him know I would help him in any way possible, he put me on the Rules and Competition Committee. We had a couple meetings to decide how to structure this years season. With more people and teams playing, the league needed a new structure and new facilities in a desperate way. After some discussion, the committee agreed on some new changes and progress was made. Now that the weather has broken, so was the ground on the assembly of the new rink. With limited funds, it will take time before it is a masterpiece, but with some TLC is will be a great place to have some real fun. To extend my helping hand, I offered to be the leagues photographer. During a recent tournament, I skated inside the rink while the players were playing to take pictures. I also am documenting the progression of the league from its beginning stages to as far as I can go. It offers me the opportunity to learn sports photography, and gives the league a more legitimate ground in the eyes of Toledo. The new rink is at Ravine II park in Toledo. It sits just below the new suspension bridge and offers a great backdrop to the fun. Tom has put a lot of time and effort into the league along with several other members. He is a good guy that many of us consider a great friend now as well.

BTW-- Tom is the guy in the blue shirt using a grinder in the pictures.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Back to the park

It was a fairly nice day outside today. With all the funds dried up, and running low on gas, I couldn't venture too far so I went to the park with the dog again. As I pulled in, the frogs and their singing was almost ear piercing. It was the only thing you noticed. It was my goal to get a picture of one of these guys while singing. These are not your standard bullfrog, or leopard frog, these are tiny little things. Maybe an inch or two at most. The woods are still pretty inundated with water, but its no more than 2 feet deep in most spots. I put on my boots so I could walk through most parts of the park. It is easy to find where the frogs are. Impossible to not know where they are at, but actually pinpointing them is another story. If you walk into a group of them singing, they all stop. They are so small, that unless you have an idea of where to look, your chances are better at winning the lottery. Finding a dry log out of the water, I sat on it for nearly 45 minutes just waiting. About 15 minutes after sitting down, they started up again. Seemingly only several feet away, I scanned the area with my camera lens with no luck finding them. Any noise made by myself, the dog, or an overhead bird made the frogs quiet down. Even after talking to a park ranger, who also got his feet wet trying to help, the goal for the day was not reached. In an ironic twist, I took more pictures in the last 30 minutes of the 5 total hours I was there. They weren't even really nature pictures, instead pictures of a rusted bridge and a playground. The pictures from today were good, but I did not reach my goal. Its ok, those frogs aren't going anywhere for a while and there will always be another day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Today was a perfect day. With a high of about 70F, it was a little windy to begin with but settled down for much of the day. At first I was going to walk through the park with my dog, but those places are starting to get old. As spring comes around, its time to start fishing again. It is perhaps the most enjoyable thing I can imagine doing. With the Walleye run ready to kick off once the river levels drop some more, I thought I would scope out my target areas while walking my dog. After going to Sidecut Metropark, I made my way over to Fort Meigs. There were a few people there trying to get first crack at things, but it wasnt anything exciting. Afterwards, I made my way to New Orleans Park. WOW! That place was teaming with people. You would have thought the season was well underway there. After walking down to the river, there were several hundred people in the river fishing. On both sides, people were catching fish and reaching their limit within 2 hours. It was a great site, except I am without a fishing license. I couldn't even push my luck because my equipment is at home. At any given second, you could find someone with a fish on their line. Millions upon millions walleye enter into the river to spawn, and at times you can feel them swim between your legs. The only way to legally keep a fish, is to catch it in the mouth. After spending the day down there talking with the locals and other depressed fishermen who left their gear at home, the realization that spring is here showed itself in the form of an apple red face. Seeing everyone bring in fish so quick brought back some good memories. There is nothing in the world like the feeling of having large fish on the line, wondering if it will still be there when your done reeling your line in. Oh, then dinner is tres bien!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Stormy Weather

Being asked to leave, I went to a friends house to play some Madden '09. I won the first two games, and was interrupted during the third to a tornado warning in the county. In standard fashion, I left and drove out to Maumee Bay to try and get a glimpse of the weather from atop the big hill. The terrain here is completely flat, so the big hill is really the only place to get a good idea of where the weather is at, or by looking at the storms over the lake. By the time I got on the hill, the storms had taken a twist and split around me leaving me hopeless for another storm shot. Instead of just wasting time driving back, I stuck around for the sunset. Sunsets after storms always tend to be great ones. With subtle tendencies in the air, and great expansive clouds breaking up the clear blue skies, the calm after the storm is as nice as the storm itself. With the new warm air around, the moisture on the ground started turning into a light mist/fog. It was getting dark out so it was hard to capture. Speaking tales of past, a lone winter tree was getting ready for the spring. The following day, heavy rains followed leading to the highest water levels in years. Nearly 10ft higher than its normal levels this time of year, the Maumee River spilled over its banks and shut down many roads. Great planning on the part of NW Ohio only left road closures as the main problem. Houses are kept well out of floodplain areas and out of harms way. Knowing the areas around town would be inundated with water, it was another great time to get out. Making my way down to the rivers edge, the 'muddy' Maumee, crested over river road making it impassible. Park Rangers, local authorities, and sheriff's were at road entrances just blocking people from venturing too far. Parking my car at next to theirs, I talked with a couple of the officers and kept taking pictures of the area.
I went to the Ohio's oldest golf course, located not even a mile away from the University of Toledo. It was built right on the Ottawa River and its floodplain. My last semester I studied this exact point in the river from a qualitative view. No more than six inches deep at the time, it was fairly easy to study. Going back, I could not even see where I stood before. More than 10ft below the surface of the water, the entire golf course itself was invisible. I have not seen the water so high before in my life. It certainly reaches into the 25 year floodplain of the area, if not 50. Last years winter was fairly dry. Contrast that to this years winter, if spring follows the plan, it should make for an exciting storm season and many more pictures. The spring storms have already showed their face, now it just needs to bring the heat.