Saturday, March 24, 2018

Blue In The Face

Earlier this week someone hit the Roebling Bridge causing authorities to be closed the bridge to all vehicles until repairs can be made.  Cincinnati photographers, myself included, have flocked to the bridge to take advantage of the opportunity to safely photograph the prototype for the Brooklyn Bridge.

The second winter storm of our new spring season moved in this morning. Hoping the weather would keep most photographers away, I woke at 5 am to head to Cincinnati. Early morning plus snowstorm equaled a win for me. It was just me and my friend Michelle. We took pictures until Michell was blue in the face. Literally, she was so cold she was turning blue! That is what I call a good friend, hang with me until she is on the edge of hypothermia. 

No Michelle's where hurt in the making of this image. :) 

Roebling Bridge pre-sunrise in B&W / Elle Pollard 2018

Friday, March 23, 2018

I'm a photographer, not an accountant.

I'm a photographer, not an accountant.  I am excited to team up with QuickBooks Self-Employed. No more piles of receipts like this and hours of data entry for this photographer.  Get 50% off for 12 months with this link:  


My old system of tracking receipts before QuickBooks Self-Employed / Elle Pollard 2018

Thursday, March 22, 2018

What if

What if spiteful words and actions could not hurt

What if instead of reacting, I reflect

What if I see the hurt I bare as a mirror, exposing my fears or self-loathing

What if I do not try to change the other person but amend the one I can, me

What if I use the experience to rise, expand my self-awareness and improve my core

What if I embrace the hate turning it into positive growth

What if I convert the self-torcher to self-love

What if I slay the bitterness with amorous awareness

What if the venom is no longer viable

~Elle Pollard
What if / Elle Pollard

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Monday, March 12, 2018

Friday, March 9, 2018

Common Misidentification

The misidentification of this species is common.  Encounters often happen in a scene where human gather to observe a passing coyote, like the one where I captured this image. Correct identification can be difficult. I am referring to the misidentification of the human species in the wilds. You will know them by their howls "wolf, wolf" when a coyote is present.  These humans fall into two sub-species categories, the imalwaysright urwrong, and the idontknowthat wowthanks.

When addressing the imalwaysright urwrong, it is best not engage once identified. This sub-species is abrasive, have been known to become aggressive when a "coyote" call counters the "wolf" cries.  I have found the best reaction is to remain calm, slowly back away while issuing a distracting statement, "and did you see the coyote, too?"  Discontinue all interaction. Do not make further eye contact. Immediately seek a new location.

The Idontknowthat wowthanks is better suited to adapt and comprehend when presented with a different call.   An additional factual statement like, "its ears are taller and pointed unlike a wolf's that are shorter and rounded," makes their head tilts inquisitively. This group will relax and be attentive as if they are trying to gain knowledge for future use. This amicable sub-species is safe to feed information, "the coyote's muzzle is narrow or slender and pointed, while the wolf's muzzles are shorter and blockier."  Most will remain open and eager to learn. However,  few have shown a submissive demeanor by dropping their head.  Speaking in a reassuring voice to the wistful human, "misidentifying wolves for coyotes is a common mistake."  Slow, pleasant movements and vocalization is the best reaction.

Understanding the differences between the two sub-species will aid in proper identifications.
Coyote in the snow, Yellowstone NP/Elle Pollard 2018

Friday, March 2, 2018

First Friday Photo Friend - Robert Coomer

This month's First Friday Photo Friend is Cincinnati's very own man of steel. Yes, it's true, an infant male landed in the middle of America's Heartland. The child was raised on a farm in  Brown County, Ohio.  As a young boy, he curated and collected scenes made with his toys.  Disillusioned with clean up time the child learned the extraordinary power of drawing his collections. This power would keep those toy curating moments memorialized.  As a young man, he journeys to UC College of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning wherein the photographic darkroom he discovered the power of chemicals, silver halide crystals, and red lights. It was then he knew what he was sent here to do. Today he grips a camera in one hand, a power tool in the other, standing in front a pile of metal plates our man of steel emerges. Sanding, painting and creating. Hours turn into days, and days turn into months. Finally, he is finished, giving the world Art in Decay.  He is Robert Coomer.

Years past and Robert grew to maturity... A short break will be taken as the writer seem to be choking on the last sentence. We will return momentarily...

Years past and Robert had grown to maturity when my paths crossed his on a hiking trail in Ohio. His  Lois Lane, Tabby accompanied him.  Each was wearing a camera pack, but Tabby does not shoot.  She was there for the hike and to support her husband. The instant I figured out that Tabby was carrying gear for Robert she gained hero status in my eyes.  Proving behind the Man of Steel is a superhero, a woman, Tabby.

I was intrigued and wanted to know more about Robert's work.  After a bit of internet investigation, I realized Robert was more than the photographer he led me to believe. But what is he hiding?

One night in a parking lot,  under a solitary street lamp I was chatting with a friend when out of the darkness Robert appeared. I decided it was a good to time question him about my suspicions and the rotten art he spoke.  A smile buried deep under the mask of his beard appeared as he answered,  "Art in Decay is my newest body of work, and probably the most artistic. My goal is to build a believable artifact of time, connecting the subject of my image, to the strata that I am printing on. I want the viewer to look at my pieces, especially the steel work, and believe they were made from pieces from within the photo. Maybe I stole a piece of metal off the tin roof of the old house or barn and printed on it?"  Then he turned and opened the back of his SUV. The light flickered, and the wind blew as he shuffled through large felt wrapped bundles.  Unsure what was going to happen next my body began to shake. I forgot my coat and was cold. With the strength of a man that has done the task a hundred times before, Robert started to reveal Art in Decay.  Metal plates made the images come alive. Captivated by the beauty of the industrial print.  I could not look away, it was as if I was entranced by some unknown power.

Our steely man has assumed the disguise of a plaid wearing, mild-mannered photographer. He carries the camera, post to social media, sells his work in galleries and art shows.  But far away from civilization he uses his powers. A piece of steel scarred with pits and rust rises from months of neglect.  Debris fall to the ground as Robert uses his hand to pick up the metal. Utilizing a power-sander he is faster than hand sanding, more powerful than a sanding block and able to leap two steps in a single bound.  Chaos erupts in the workshop. For hours metal panels are single handily sanded, cleaned, painted and even washed in acid.  As the dust settles, our hero uses his laser eyes (aka a big printer)  to apprehend another piece of the Art in Decay collection.

The infant of Brown County is now the Man of Steel, fulfilling his call to art.  Robert battles the never-ending need to take his photography to the next level through his print production.

Please note some details in this blog post have been fabricated. I have never seen Robert leap over two steps in a single bound.  I may have molded my story to give the appearance I am friends with Clark Kent assuming a pseudo name, when in fact I was indeed referring to my friend  Robert Coomer.  For complete information check out his work at the links below:

Completed art piece of  Robert Coomer / photo by Robert Coomer

Metal print in acid bath / photo by Robert Coomer

Distressing bolts with fire to burn off oils / photo by Robert Coomer

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Moody Fog Mumble

Time and time again, I am told my fog images are people's favorites. It appears I excel at moody. Can't say I disagree. This image of a creek flowing to full capacity seems to parallel life. The past week rain clouds hung over Ohio causing flooding along the creeks and rivers. Life will have storms we must endure.  During these turbulent times, I find getting out in the field and photographing in the rain is therapeutic. Tears and rain become indistinguishable and aid in washing away the apprehensions. The flood can bring new growth if we are open to embracing the lesson at hand.

Old Man's Cave Trail, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio in fog/Elle Pollard 2018

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Ultimate Polar Plunger

The comical polar plunging otters were entertaining to watch and a rush to photograph.  The North American river otter (lontra canadensis) has two layers of fur. A dense undercoat traps warm air, along with their waterproof topcoat otters are able to swim the frigid waters of winter.  So we have it straight from Mother Nature herself, dressing in layers is a good thing.
North American river otter, lontra canadensis/Elle Pollard 2018

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


An impending blizzard shortened my trip. I decided to leave before I was left stranded and waiting for roads to open. Traveling home on the leading edge of the storm the roads were good to me, few significant hazards. Crossing South Dakota the road became a slushy-snow mix east of the Missouri River. Focus entirely on the task of navigating my way safely. Well, almost entirely focused, I could not help but notice the changing light around me. The morning sun was burning through the clouds creating a soft filtered light that illuminated the frost covered farmland making subtle color pop. Every fiber of my being wanted to document this simplistic beauty. Without a second thought, I took the first exit.  A fresh layer of the powder welcomed me to the empty country roads.  Wondered the dirt road, I soaked up the vast open space. While some people may see nothing, I saw an extraordinary grace. I know winters are harsh on the plains. The winds are sharp and unrelenting. However, in the bitter surroundings, I found an unembellished allure of tranquility that was peerless to another I had seen before.

A lone tree stands frosted in farm fields as a blizzard approaches/Elle Pollard 2018 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Instagram Live

I want to thank those who joined me for my Instagram live feed while I took today's sideroad trip through eastern South Dakota farmland.  I hope this image captures the essence of the roads you traveled with me.  If you have missed my live feeds or do not know, let me fill you in.  When I am in the field and service available, I have been logging on to Instagram for live video broadcasts.  Instagram notifies my followers of the live video.  You can type in messages, and if I am wearing my glasses, I can see them. It's fun. I have oodles to learn about the live video still. Join me sometime!

Friday, February 2, 2018

First Friday Photo Friend - Tom Croce

The past 15 months I have called Ohio home.   As stated I ventured out to visit different photography groups and meet people I kept hearing the same thing over and over, "You need to meet Tom Croce."    He has the awards, magazine covers, published a book, selling in art festivals and leads workshops. No wonder why everyone is talking about Tom.  I had, in fact, met this Tom Croce.   He was the first Ohio photographer to reach out to me.  Little did I know that he would become a cornerstone of my Ohio network.  I quickly learned he is everything people said about him and much more. He is unpretentious and approachable; two attributes not often found in a photographer with such fan fair.  He is kind and patient when working with other photographers and with his workshop participants. And his artistic abilities expand far beyond photography.  

Tom finds inspiration in the photographer, Clyde Butcher.  "We both started out as architects before opening a photography business" Tom would go on to explain when Clyde moved to the swamps of Florida he went out and looked for the beauty in the gator-filled waters. That motivated Tom to start looking in his backyard and has become passionate about finding the beauty right here in Ohio. "I strive to show in my pictures the beauty and value of life because I believe pictures can matter beyond their expressive ability they have the ability to affect change. I try to make pictures that are not just a record, but an artistic reminder of the reasons we want to conserve, and if my pictures can help in that efforts it gives meaning to the work", remarked Tom when asked about his work.  Living what he teaches he volunteers with local conservation groups.  Volunteering at the Arc of Appalachia, a non-profit forest and ancient Native American earthworks conservation group.  He also leads a special wildflower photography workshop during their annual Wildflower Pilgrimage.This year's workshop is sold out. If you want to do a workshop with Tom, you will need to sign up fast. 

Over this last year, Tom and I have spent countless hours talking shop, bouncing ideas off each other, discussing industry trends and who inspires us.  Unknowingly this guy played a big part in helping me move through my struggles of transitioning to a new state and culture.  Always introducing me to his circle of friends, tossing my name in the hat to do critiques and talks for the local photo clubs.  He even lets me crash his workshops, one of my favorite things to do if we happen to be working in the same area. I have jokingly said Tom is my brother from another mother but in the joke lies the truth. He is more than a good friend, more than a colleague in the nature photography industry. He is more like family.  I can never thank him enough for his friendship.  
 Enjoy Tom's image below that he took during his recent trip to Texas. Click on the links below and follow Tom. He is set up for a fantastic year.  Don't miss it.

Photo by Tom Croce

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

After the Rain

Lousy weather is my idea of a fun afternoon at work.  I can't get enough of the light that follows a storm. When I was in the Smoky Mountains earlier this month, there was rain, ice, and snow.  The trip started off with rain. Soak to the bone and sporting wilderness hair I was a happy girl, even if it was 34 degrees. Before you think I lost my mind let me explain; when the showers end the magic starts. The rain naturally saturates all the colors. When conditions are right, steam will rise from the fields and roads. Because of the moisture in the air sunsets can become vivid as if the photographer went overboard with the saturation tool.  Sticking around for a rainstorm to clear is almost always worth the wait. The Smokies did not disappoint. The sun filtered through the clouds enough to dance across the raindrops clinging to the trees. The wet indian grass was a fiery amber color.  Then the steam rose from the field, completing the scene.   Don't blink or you may miss this marvelous event in nature for it dissipates as fast as it began.

After the Rain/Elle Pollard (c) 2018

Monday, January 29, 2018

Ludlow Falls in Snow

Ludlow Falls is another of my local waterfalls.  The golden morning sun had begun to reflect around the aqua green frozen fall.  I had to try to capture the colors. Snow blanketed the rocks, but warmer temperatures had thinned the ice on the creek.  This combination made it difficult to move around the bottom of the falls. Careful considerations were taken before each step.  I perched atop one of the highest rocks, out of the way of stray tree branches. Few choices in the location where available unless I wanted to take a polar plunge in the big pool.   I set up my tripod and worked with what I had in front of me.

Ludlow Falls in Snow/Elle Pollard (c)2018

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Ice Column

From Sunday's Hike, unnamed hollow and unnamed falls in Hocking Hills.

Ice Column/Elle Pollard (c) 2018

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Emboldening Boulders

Sunday I had the pleasure of taking some lesser known trail in Hocking Hills with a great group of photographers.  Typically I am out alone or with one other. I love to challenge myself when I am with a group. I want an entirely different point of view, tricky when four photographers are shooting the same waterfall at once. These are my opportunities to grow.  This time I took the back seat, watched as photographers scattered. I was on the hunt for the original and unique image. Captivated by the large lichen and moss-covered boulders in the hollow.  I decided to make them my main point of focus, letting the massive frozen waterfall be an element in the background.  It's my version of cheering for the underdog.
Emboldening Boulders/Elle Pollard (c) 2018

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Friday, January 19, 2018

A Doe, a Deer, a Female Deer

Another Cades Cove image. A doe standing in a snow covered field with the Smoky Mountains behind her.

Female deer in the Great Smoky Mountains/ Elle Pollard (c) 2018

Call For Photography Related Question

Ever wonder how I got the shot?  Want to pick my brain on an issue that has been plaguing you?  Here is your chance.  I will be starting a new series on my blog answering your questions.  Send your photographic query to   I'll start answering them in my Tuesday blog posts in February.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Lessons from the post

The old lichen covered fence posts is as much a part of Cades Cove as the cabins and deer. Due to a snow and ice storm, no traffic was allowed in the cove. I was able to take all the time I wanted and move as I pleased. Shifting from one post to another, looking at all the angles until I settled in the perfect spot. I parked my tripod and bum in the middle of the road. I would adjust the framing by moving my gear ever so slightly.  Changing camera settings, and double checking the focus. Stopping periodically to warm my hands.  It was a slow and deliberate process I often forget to enjoy.  It took that cold day in Cades Cove to make me realize how utterly fulfilled I am out in the field, surrounded by nature and behind the camera.  This is my lesson from the old fence post; fully embrace the tasks at hand, for it is those processes that make the final image complete.

Lichen Covered Post, Cades Cove, SMNP/ Elle Pollard (c) 2018

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

West Milton Falls in Snow

I arrived home from my latest trip to a beautiful snowfall. Before I could download all my memory cards, I was out the door to my favorite local waterfall, West Milton Falls.  Steam rising from the fall was so thick I could not see the water at times.  It was time to think outside the box. I moved to a new location across the creek.  I found snow covered rocks for the foreground.  While I could no longer see the largest fall, I was able to capture some of the cascades in the background by lowering my camera closer to the ground.  Because of the dense steam, I had to look downstream. The result was a fresh perspective from a location I photograph often. 

West Milton Falls in Snow  /  Elle Pollard (c) 2018

Friday, January 12, 2018

Journey to Understanding

My office falls silent. The air is thin, a bit harder to breathe. The only light I can see comes from the computer monitor in front of me.  Unsure how I ended up in an old Lightroom catalog, but there he sits on my screen. Dad.  I work each slider in the develop module nothing is bringing the photograph to life. Something is wrong; it does not feel right. A pile of work and deadlines sits on my desk, but I can not pull away from this image.

You know when someone has passed away you wish you could have had that one last special day with them? I had that gift with Dad. I was given two weeks jammed packed with giggles, long car rides, exploring new places, and sharing our passion for photography. We did not know those were our last days together, but we lived them to the fullest.   When I think of him, it is not childhood memories; it is those two weeks. 

Dad did not have the energy he did the year before. I would often find him sitting surrounded by vegetation. Sometimes working his macro skills other times lost in deep thought. This day I photographed him seated in the prairie grass in Wind Cave National Park. Above average amounts of rainfall made hills and prairies greener that June instead of the typical dried brown grass, making our excursions all the more memorable. 

Frustrations with the inability to convey my emotions in the image pulled me out of my trip down memory lane.  I open a different photography program, Topaz, for one of my favorite black and white conversions. Quickly I ruled out black and white. My most active memories of that summer involved color.  At that moment I understand what is wrong with the photograph. It is a picture, light captured on a sensor recording him at that moment in time.  That is what he was to me then, not now.  Now, Dad is an abstract, always with me but never seen.  He is the memory I invite to ride in the passenger seat everytime I hit the road. Dad is who I am talking to in the field when people think I am talking to myself. Dad has moved beyond the picture. Therefore I push the photograph into graphic art using a painterly post process. This post most likely will be one of the very few if not the only time I will publicly show a no-long-a-photograph-graphic-art-because-I-can't-paint image, but it feels right. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wordless Wednesdays

Wordless Wednesdays is another new feature of my blog and social media. Giving me a chance to post images from my extensive backlog of work once a week without stressing over the words.  My task will be to title the picture well to give you, the viewer, the necessary information.

Red-backed Shrike South Africa

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Ice Fall

As the Midwest and east coast starts to thaw from the polar vortex people are inclined to hit the trail to shake off the cabin fever and check out the frozen waterfalls. The breath-taking beauty of the ice pillars can turn dangerous as the temperatures rise. Last year I headed out to Ohio's cherished Hocking Hills region after a cold front had moved through to photograph the frozen fall of Ash Cave.  It was not long before there was a steady flow of people.  I decided to step aside to enjoy the splendor with my eyes while people explored the cave and ice pillar.  Then a loud deep pop filled the cove as the ice broke free from the cliff above. Tons of ice crashed to the ice pillar below. A blood-curdling scream came from the icy rubble. Two young women had moved in closer to the ice formation right before the break. I quickly scanned the scene; I knew there were four additional people there with me. "One, two, three …. Three. Where is the fourth? Where is she?" I said to myself as I felt my heart grow heavy. I feared the worst had just happened. Then the sound of the most beautiful voice broke the screams, "I'm ok! It's alright" repeated the woman closest to the fall as she ran out from behind the ice to embrace her hiking companion.  Not only was she alive but she escaped without injury. I took a minute to recompose myself and captured one more image of the scene, after all, I am a photographer. Feeling the most profound gratitude for the positive outcome, I packed my gear and headed home. 

Before and after images of Ash Cave morning of January 10, 2017.

If you head out during this warm spell, check the trail in front of you. Watch overhead for icicles that may have formed on the rocks, cliffs, and overhangs.  Half-pound of ice hits with 1,000 pounds of force according to Nationalsafety's Weblog. "That is the rough equivalent of a couple of people on a stiletto-shoe heel on top of your head," Andreas Schroeder, a physics professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago says.


Nationalsafety's Weblog:

Friday, January 5, 2018

First Friday Photo Friends - Dwayne Reaves

I am not only the sum of my work but the sum of those around me. With this thought, a new project starts this year. I will be featuring a photo friend on the first Friday of the month. These are the people who have touched my life and my work in some way. Collectively they have helped shape me into the person and photographer I am today. I’ll share a bit about them and their work with you. I want to encourage you to check out their work and show some love on their social media with likes, shares and comments. It's a tough world out there, let’s make it a little friendlier.
I thought Dwayne Reaves would be the perfect person for my first feature since he has been around since the early months of my trek into social media. I quickly found it was harder than I expected to make meaningful connection in the cyber world. Dwayne was not like every other photographer. He has a genuine interest in the photographer and their work. Through the past few years he would always send a note to check up on me if I had been hibernating from my social media. Several times it was the motivation I needed to get going again.
Dwayne’s passion for photography is unwavering. I have watched as life has hurled complications his way. He does not use them as an excuse to why he can’t. No, this man will find solutions and why he will. Last year we chatted about his equipment breaking. This would discourage so many. Dwyane kept shooting with the gear he had. Proving it is not the camera that makes beautiful images it’s the photographer. He would tell you, “you don't have to have an expensive camera to make a difference with photos … so many people think it is the camera when it is the person behind the camera and their attitude toward life.” Dwayne’s images are largely made within ten miles of his home in North Carolina. “Most people think you have to travel to far away places to take beautiful photographs, that is not true. There is beauty all around us.” His positive can-do outlook on life and his photography truly inspires me.
This is one of my favorite pieces of his work. He loves to photograph old homes and landscapes. If you watch his feeds you will see images of his beautiful daughter, a cherished rock in his life.

Please take a minute to check out Dwayne’s work at the links below and show him some love.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018


It’s that time of year it’s customary to set new goals. Typically, I do not partake and if I do I set the bar low. For example, 2017 my new year resolution was not to die. I am happy to say I achieved my goal. This year I am going to raise the bar. For years I have been told I need to let more of my personality show on my social media. That is past my comfort zone. But if life begins at the end of my comfort zone, it’s time to start living or maybe I should say writing. I am going to open a window into my life. Share with you my accomplishments, joy, adventures, frustrations, heartbreaks and fears. Anxiety of people not liking me and the grammar police picking apart my writing has paralyzed my efforts in the past. I enter this year with a game plan. Haters will be pushed out the door, I have no room in my life nor the time for them. Grammar cop will be handcuffed to my inbox and made to edit all my work. My 2018 resolution is to write and share more of me with you.
What are your New Years Resolutions?