Ohio has a reputation for being a bland place. Why wouldn’t anyone want to go and photograph the ocean views of California, or go to the Grand Canyon, or photograph the Maine’s iconic fall leaves? Ohio has none of these things!
Now, wait just a minute. I’d like to set the record straight about Ohio. If you know where to go and what to look for, then this state is a photographer’s dream come true. We’ve got it all, from prairie to mountain foothills, scenic natural areas, active urban areas, and on top of that, there is a diverse culture that will let you photograph a variety of ways of life. Here are a few of the spots that I’d recommend that any Ohio photographer checkout!
Places for Nature Photographers
This state is a natural goldmine, which is perfect for any landscape, nature or wildlife photographer. Make sure to check the following places out:
- The Mohican State Park: At this Central Ohio state park, you’ll find a variety of things – two waterfalls, lengthy hiking trails, a deep gorge with a scenic overlook, the crystal clear Clearfork of the Mohican River, nearby Pleasant Hill Lake with a beautiful dam and much more. The Clearfork River is especially interesting as it is shallow enough to wade in most areas, packed with fish, and lined with boulders and beautiful but rare hemlock trees.
- Hocking Hills State Park and Forest: This is actually a massive system of parks and natural areas in Southern Ohio where opportunities abound. Among the forest, you’ll find caves, rivers, lakes and plentiful wildlife. If you like to hike, make sure to check out the remote Cantwell Cliffs for amazing landscape photos and also be sure to visit the unusual Rock Bridge formation and the Rock House caves.
- Dawes Arboretum: Dawes Arboretum near Newark is an incredible venture in landscaping. Even if you prefer the untamed wilderness, this is still a great place to visit. You’ll find miles of paths that wind through enormous themed gardens, including one of Ohio’s only cypress swamps, a sight you’d normally expect to see in the Deep South. There are also architectural treats, including Asian architecture dotting the beautiful Japanese Garden.
Exploring Culture and History
Ohio is absolutely packed with little-known historical and cultural monuments, festivals and more. You’ll definitely want to research the topics that interest you before you set out. However, there are a couple of major cultural and historical attractions that draw enthusiasts from around the world.
First is Amish Country. Amish Country in Ohio is actually quite large, spanning multiple counties in central Ohio. Berlin, Ohio, in Holmes County, is the epicenter of Amish Country — and it’s a great place to use as a starting point for forays out into the gently rolling countryside.
Within Berlin, you’ll find a lot of tourist attractions, including Amish food and handmade crafts, but if you really want to explore the Amish way of life, travel the back roads surrounding this small town. Those winding dirt roads are where you’ll find the Amish, hard at work on their farms. Visit during the harvest season to capture sweeping vistas of carefully shocked hayfields or show up in the spring to watch the newborn farm animals frolic through the pastures.
Another great place is within an hour’s drive of Berlin — Roscoe Village, just outside of Ohio. This village is known for historic architecture, historical reenactments, and one of the last known canal boats, a popular mode of transportation before the advent of railroads. Check out the Roscoe Village website to learn more about the architecture or to see which events you might like to attend.
Other Great Places to Visit
The list of places to visit in Ohio is simply too long for me to list in one or even 10 posts, but I’ll give you a quick list of ideas.
- Urban photographers will enjoy Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati. Cleveland gives you quick access to “oceanfront” views out over Lake Erie, while Cincinnati puts you in close proximity to the massive Ohio River.
- If you’re looking for prairie, the western half of the state is much flatter than the eastern half. Photographers interested in rough terrain will do best in the eastern half of the state, particularly South Eastern Ohio, which are the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
- Don’t forget about festivals! Ohio has numerous county fairs and the massive Ohio State Fair in Columbus during the summer. You’ll also find various reenactments around the state, American Indian pow-wows, aviation shows and more.
The bottom line is that no matter what your interests as a photographer are, you’ll find something interesting in Ohio. As an Ohioan, you’ll never run out of material for your art!