Photography is an awesome hobby for enthusiasts who visit Hocking Hills, Ohio. Professional photographers also love to come and capture the amazing scenery and picturesque landscape. Great photos don’t just happen. Lots of factors determine a great snap, including time of year, having the right gear, and knowing how to use it to capture the perfect moment. Find some great pro tips for taking rocking Hocking Hills State Park photos any time of year.
Timing is Everything
A visit to Hocking Hills any time of year is a treat. Springtime brings waterfalls roaring to life after snow melts and fewer visitors make for greater access and visibility of the sights and sounds of Hocking Hills. Summer is a lush, beautiful season teeming with life but brings with it heat and massive crowds of people. Fall colors and cooler weather can be busy but also brilliant photos come to life. Winter is another amazing time of year but it can be a tundra and even dangerous to navigate the cliffs and ice on the trails. Some tips for picking the best season to visit and capture those beautiful Hocking Hills State Park photos:
- Come after rainfall or when snow is melting to capture the true essence and beauty of waterfalls around the park
- Weekdays are less crowded to capture the scenery
- Go early to capture sunrise photos and get the best access to the park or go later to take photos of the sunset and see the park at dusk
Hiking trails in Hocking Hills is sometimes challenging. Navigating cliffs and trails at different times of the year means being careful on the trails, especially with crowds of people. Consider what the best way to gear up is before heading out for a day of snapping photographs:
- Appropriate clothing and hiking boots
- Printed or digital map to navigate
- Water and snacks
- Hiking pack to carry supplies and gear
- Spikes for boots if going in winter to prevent slipping
- Hiking poles if needed for terrain
- A friend or partner for the journey (and for safety)
Don’t think that because you don’t come with fancy photography gear you can’t capture the snaps you want. The best way to pack for a trip is to have a decent camera and lens. Consider a 35 mm lens but 28-80 mm also works. A tripod also helps capture long exposures and a shutter release or filters for the camera. Many people use their phones now so going old school and bringing that professional camera can create some stunning professional photos that capture the essence of the region and park.
Get Out and Play
Heading into the park you might be excited to capture the best scenes and angles of those favorite spots. Consider the following tips to help you get close to your subject and get the right photograph:
- Use a wide-angle lens and get up close and personal with the subject. For greater impact, avoid capturing too much space in the photograph and try to make the main subject the focus of the shot
- Use a circular polarizing filter to cut through the haze and saturate colors in the photos. This will also help remove reflections and get transparent shots of water. Polarizers improve the contrast and colors in outdoor photos
- Use a lens hood to prevent lens flare and improve contrast in outdoor photos. Take better-backlit shots by shooting towards the sun and protect the lens at the same time
- Consider what will make the shot interesting to others who see it. Check shutter speed and slow down when taking photos. There is no hurry. Aim to get more good photos by stopping to think through them before snapping shots
- Get up as soon as the park is open to get morning light as background for photos. Crowds are smaller and access is better to sights without others around.
Where to Snap the Perfect Photo
There are so many favorite places to visit in Hocking Hills State Park, that it is hard to choose. Select a few to visit that capture your imagination and make you want to stop and take in the historic geological landscape. Here are some tips for visiting areas around the park.
Conkle’s Hollow features beautiful cliffs made of sandstone that rise from the ground into the sky. Capture the cool gorge which is one of the deepest in Ohio. Don’t forget to stop by the many waterfalls that flow fast and steady in spring on into summer over the cliffs.
Ash Cave is a large recess cave and inspires visitors every year to come to see the rim spanning 700 feet. A waterfall flows over the cliff and creates stunning views. This is a must-see area for photographers who want to capture the history of Hocking Hills State Park.
The cavern has several spots with rock cut-out formations that look like windows. Native Americans historically used it as well as pioneers for shelter and hideouts for criminals. This destination has inspired awe visitors for nearly a century before Ohio established Hocking Hills State Park. Watch this area come to life in spring and summer or come in fall to capture the beautiful colors surrounding the park as well as wildlife.
Even if visitors try to stay inside the park and take photos of caves surrounding the area, Lake Logan is also a beautiful natural resource not to be missed. Developed by the Ohio DNR in 1955, it is one of the best fishing lakes in the state. With beautiful fish teeming across the lake, it is also scenic with walking paths for visitors to enjoy the wooded countryside and visit Hocking Hills State Park. Stop to capture the sunrise or sunset on the lake and wildlife ranging from wild turkey to barn owls, vultures, woodpeckers, and more who make the lake their home.
Wherever you choose to visit Hocking Hills State Park is sure to leave you with amazing photos that capture the wild landscape of the area while also presenting you with opportunities to see it literally through different lenses. With these tips, you are sure to desire return trips to see all there is to see across the regions of Hocking Hills.