Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What holds back 6.3 billion gallons of water?

The O'Shaughnessy dam northwest of the City of Columbus. Megan and I checked out the this dam and 840 acre reservoir for the first time this past weekend after our frigid late afternoon visit to the Columbus Zoo.

The most interesting thing about the dam, to me, was the fascinating water patterns created by artificial waterfalls.

Although the above picture is rather artificial, further on down the spillway there were several "water steps" that looked as if they were meant to recreate the look of a natural waterfall. The pattern reminded me of a terrarium background that I had when I used to keep fire bellied toads ( Bombina orientalis) many years ago. The photograph on my background was probably taken on some tropical island. This day was anything but tropical, although not yet cold enough for ice to form around the fast moving water.

As far as natural history goes, I have been told that the limestone outcroppings are a sure place to see snow trilliums Trillium nivale, a species originally described and named by John Leonard Riddell M.D. from material he collected right here in Central Ohio. Ah, but those plants will have to wait a few more months!

This day, of natural interest, was a group of a dozen mallard or so ducks and the ubiquitous ring-billed gull. Although I tend to think of ring-bills as pests, I must say, it was quite fun photographing their soaring flight. I was able to practice my "panning" technique which I will hopefully perfect before our trip to Sanibel Island come March. And speaking of trips, I'll be headed to Wisconsin tomorrow to learn more about a data management system that may help us better track invasive species in Ohio. I hear that the high in Madison is going to be 9 tomorrow! Wish me luck....



  1. While we don't have quite the impressive architectural layout of such dams, Missouri does have several (artificial) lake resorts built around the dam systems. What was this dam built for? Btw, nice job of capturing that setting. You probably had to do a bit of climbing to get just the right angle ;).

  2. Hi Nate,

    Thank you for appreciating my photos.

    The dam and reservoir were created to supply the City of Columbus with water. The rest of the state is loaded with dams and reservoirs too, whose recreational benefit is enjoyed by all but whose major function is to ensure year round "navigability" (did I just make up a word?) on the Ohio River.

    Columbus has several large reservoirs and they make for great waterfowl stopover habitat.


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  4. Wow, very cool place! Love your photos and very interesting for sure!

  5. Thanks Tom,

    I'd like to go back here now that it has been cold and see if any this has ice over.


  6. Interesting patterns in your photos.

    Stay warm in Wisconsin -- or, is that an oxymoron?

  7. Awesome damn photos! Jeff and I are heading for Tahquamenom Falls tomorrow to see what they look like during the winter. :D We've had lots of snow and zero temps so the display should be fantastic. Nature...what a gift!

    Isn't it great when you catch birds in flight. There is nothing like snapping a pic while hearing the whooshing of wings.

    Thanks for the photo tip. I found I have an automatic highlight/shadow on my free editor but haven't found one I can play around with yet. Maybe it's there. This is my first time using it since Microsoft Picture stopped working because they no longer support it unless you buy the PRO edition.

    Have a safe trip!

    Hugs, JJ

  8. JJ-

    Wow, Tahquamenom Falls in winter, very cool. Do they totally freeze over? I need to go to your blog and see! I had the fortune to visit the U.P. in 2000 and we camped a night at Tahquamenom. Wonderful place. JJ-Check out Google Picasa- I love this program for manipulating, managing, and organizing my photos.


    I'm back, I made it, my face was completely numb a few times, but I really give credit to Megan who bought me these fantastic flannel lined cargo pants at the Eddie Bauer Warehouse Store. Those things are warmmmmmmmm when it really counts, like in a place like Madison.