Cameradventures: Stebelton Park At Rock Mill

Today I drove down to Lancaster, Ohio to scout out a suggested location for an upcoming Senior Photo shoot. Having googled the site, I was surprised to know that in the 20 years I’ve lived in Ohio, I’ve never seen or heard of it before today, being as close as it is (So many wonderful spots to see in this region alone. Someday I’ll go back and re-shoot Hocking Hills).

This place intrigued me and I particularly wanted to get a good look and shot of the waterfall.

The drive down only took about 20 minutes, but it was quite exciting. Coming from Columbus, I chose to take the backroads which turned out to be more of a roller coaster ride than anything. I couldn’t take a photo while driving, but trust me when I say that at 50 mph, this road twisted, turned, rose and dipped like nobody’s business. Maybe next time I’ll have a passenger video record it.

The entire trip only took about 30 minutes from my house. When we arrived, I grabbed my camera backpack and tripod and took in the view around me (I forgot to take a picture of the covered bridge or the mill’s entrance before heading down to the waterfall), then headed to the trail.

Here’s the view to the right, once you exit your vehicle.
There’s also a nice area for relaxation before or after your walk.

I found a great spot for overhead photos of the mill and waterfall with which to include the model/subject, but noticed that perfect positioning will prove to be a little tricky when trying to get everything into frame (from here, you can easily walk down to check out the touring and information section inside). Although I didn’t walk around the inside of the mill, I learned that the stair climb was frighteningly steep between floors. Again, another photo opportunity lost. As I always say, “we learn as we go…”

The path to the middle level of the building. Great for single/couple pics.

After a careful walk down the unimproved trail further over, I finally made it to the bottom (sorry, I was NOT going to attempt to take photos on my way down). Since I’m strengthening and rebuilding my leg muscles after surgery, I had to walk gingerly on unstable, mid-sized rocks and uneven terrain. It’s definitely not something you’d want to tackle with casual shoes like the flip flops I saw one visiting couple wearing.

My legs warned me to turn back, since the angle of elevation forced me to lean back a little during my descent. I’m glad I took a chance and continued to the bottom. It was worth the risk…

The ground level view to the right of the waterfall.
Nice opportunities for waterfall pics.
I wanted a uniquely composed shot of the mill.
This is my favorite photo of the bunch.

I wanted to set my tripod up and get a few long exposure shots, but I decided to wait until my return, when it would be closer to sunset. Besides, some satanic mutated insects were buzzing around me with the fluttering sound of baseball cards in bicycle tire spokes.

I swung at them until my camera almost fell out of my grasp and THAT, was enough for me to give up.


I double-timed it to the top, which was a really bad idea because the climb was as brutal on my lungs as it was my legs and back. I wanted to stop several times but my fat cells and the killer flies told me to stay the course and burn those calories.

Right choice. BAD decision.

When I got to the top I quickly collapsed against the “No Trespassing” gate for the adjacent wooded area, drenched in perspiration and sucking in wind until my heart rate slowed to about 500 bpm. I slowly walked to a park bench where I sat until a nice couple came checking on me, eventually starting up a conversation about the area and similar scenic areas.

Before we parted ways, they asked me if I would be so kind as to take a picture of them with their camera. The wife said she would love to have a good professional picture, “like I must have taken”, for their memories. I smiled and offered to take a pic with my camera and touch it up. When they asked how much it would cost, I told them I couldn’t and wouldn’t take their money. This delighted both of them to no end. We ended up making two different poses and I gave them my card so they could contact me later to receive them.

I know I could have charged them $10-$20 dollars and could always use the money, but… …well… …you know.

The kind couple who helped me catch my breath after climbing out.

Well, that’s it. My first photo journal/session blog post. I’ll take a peek at other photo journals to see if there’s anything I should/shouldn’t do to make mine more appealing. I could l do the research now, but I’m too tired and in desperate need of a shower, massage and some Twinkies.

…at least I’ll get the shower.

See you soon!

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