Tag Archives: McConnells Mill

Taking time

Little falls at Alpha Pass


Life sure gets busy. And stressful. Tis the season I suppose. I took some time for myself this morning, well me and my camera, and headed out to McConnells Mill State Park. I love nature. You can breathe deep and rest your soul. It was just what I needed.

The above was near where I parked at Alpha Pass. I hiked down the path and cut across to the waterfall. I traversed the rocks further down to capture this photo. The leaves are blanketing the ground, which adds some color to the photo.

I’ll post more from this morning’s hike later in the week. Make it a good one people and remember to breathe deeply every so often.

~ melissa michelle

Playing with shutter speed & filter

The dam at McConnells Mill


McConnells Mill is one of my favorite state parks to visit any time of the year. I can visualize my next photo and know exactly what I want to capture. This morning I wanted to use my variable neutral density filter. I moved it to pretty dark (maybe 8 or 9) so that I could leave the shutter opened longer, 30 seconds for this exposure. That’s how I can get the smooth, swirling water flow. It’s just something fun to photograph.

I’ll post more from this morning’s shoot this week. But for now, enjoy the rest of the weekend and have a good week.

~ melissa michelle

Stress break for your viewing pleasure

Alpha Pass


I was going back through some photos and found this one I took at Alpha Pass in McConnells Mill State Park on April 29. Sometimes when I go back to look through photos I find treasures! This is one, I think. I often struggle with the lighting at this waterfall because at the top it’s usually very bright but darker at the bottom.

I wasn’t able to get out this weekend because on Memorial Day I fell hiking and hurt my hip and tailbone. I took it easy this past week in order to heal quickly (I hope).

Maybe next weekend I’ll get back out there with the camera – I’m missing it! But for now, enjoy the peacefulness of this waterfall.

~ melissa michelle


One of those days

Long shutter at McConnells Mill


I took this photo back on December 26, 2014. My beau had given me a new camera for Christmas and so I was out the day after to give it a workout. This is a favorite photo of mine which I took at McConnells Mill.

I didn’t get out this weekend to take photos. For one, it was too cold. Secondly, I just needed to rest this weekend. I’ve been pushing really hard lately and am a little stressed. This photo relaxes me and reminds me of a great day out with my camera.

So yesterday and today it’s all good to just relax and not do too much. I guess a person needs to do that every so often. I feel lazy and like I’m wasting time. But as long as I don’t do it every weekend I think it’s okay.

Take care and relax.

~ melissa michelle

February, already?!

Alpha Falls - McConnells Mill State Park

Alpha Falls – McConnells Mill State Park


January went by really fast! It’s 1Feb today and I’m left wondering what happened to January! I didn’t get as much done as I wanted to last month so it’s a good thing we get an extra day this month! Yes, leap year.

It made me sad when my employees were saying they hated we were getting an extra day in February because this meant one more day of getting through winter. I guess I wasn’t looking at it that way at all. I was just excited we get an extra day to live, make a positive impact, and to accomplish more.

I absolutely loved yesterday – it was over 60 degrees for the last day of January! I made sure I got outside to take photos. The one above is from Alpha Pass, a small waterfall (mostly frozen right now) in McConnells Mill State Park. The photo below is the water the runs into Hells Hollow (also part of the park).



I love the reflections on the water in this photo. As I was walking along the pathway I was thinking about it being the last day of January and that I am behind on getting things done. But I tend to live my life with no regrets . . . . so I quickly changed my thoughts to this moment in time and how good my life really is. And, I have an extra day this month to enjoy it!

~ melissa michelle

Chasing waterfalls

McConnells Mill small waterfall

McConnells Mill small waterfall

McConnells Mill small waterfall, closeup

McConnells Mill small waterfall, close up

McConnells Mill small waterfall, different view

McConnells Mill small waterfall, different view


This photographer enjoys photographing the outdoors. It’s so nice to be outside now rather than turning up the furnace and watching it snow! I visited another state park today, one of my favorites, McConnells Mill. I hiked a mile in passed the covered bridge to this gem. With the snow melting, the water is flowing heavily down to the creek.

I set the camera on the tripod and slowed the shutter to create a favorite technique – slowing down the water. I love the effect . . . almost makes my photos look professional! I’m learning!

I hope all of you enjoyed your weekend. I sure did, as usual, making the most of every day I’m still here.

~ melissa michelle

More waterfalls


On Kildoo Trail

On Kildoo Trail


Today I’m sharing a few more photos from McConnells Mill. These are of a small waterfall viewed from a walk bridge and a favorite place of mine to photograph. It’s along Kildoo Trail, South of the Old Mill on the east side of Slippery Rock Creek. There’s a similar scene along another hiking trail like this at Letchworth State Park in New York that I hope to visit and photograph soon.


As I stated in the blog yesterday, the amount of water is significant which adds to the beauty of the area. I had the camera on a tripod which was sitting on the bridge and left the shudder open to blur the motion of the water. I very much enjoy using this technique and am better at this than trying to determine the opposite effect of a quick shutter for freezing motion (to capture a bird in flight or other action photos).


Let me know what you think of the photos. I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip to the park!

~ melissa michelle

Enjoying nature

Hells Hollow Falls Trail - walk bridge

Hells Hollow Falls Trail – walk bridge


I hope everyone enjoyed a blessed Easter weekend. For me it was a nice weekend escape given that the week was pretty hectic. I apologize for not posting much here last week. My goal is to always post every day the photo I’ve taken that day or previously. But sometimes after work I get busy in the evenings with friends or family or simply doing things I need to in order to accomplish my long term goals. However, this is a priority for me and I want to do better. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Easter Sunday I visited one of my favorite places, McConnells Mill State Park. I have posted photos from the area several times here on my blog. But there is a place five miles from the Old Mill (still part of the state park) called Hells Hollow Falls which has running water throughout the trail which is just under a half mile and a very easy walk to the falls. This is a rather difficult place to get to during winter; hence, why I have not taken photos of this part yet this year. I’ve seen many photographers and hikers there admiring the beauty of the falls. And as you may know, spring time is the best time of the year for rushing water over any waterfall, given the melting snow and spring rain. More water flowing down rock beds creates an awesome view and some great photography.

Along the trail to the falls are a couple of walk bridges over small areas of running water. The entire area has a ton of slate rock and boulders making breathtaking views when water flows around and over them (photo featured above).

At one point I was laying on the ground for a different perspective to photograph (not shown here). It’s fun, try it!

At any rate, my plan was to get to the end of the trail which is at the restored lime kiln, also sometimes called a furnace. Across from the kiln are the stairs which take you to the bottom of the falls and the best viewing. However, I was not anticipating this situation in the photo below:

Steps to Hells Hollow Falls

Steps to Hells Hollow Falls

That’s water flowing at the bottom of the steps! There was so much water that it flooded the area where normally I would walk across to photograph the falls directly to the left of those steps. But not to be defeated, I bested nature and photographed the manmade steps leading to the extraordinary flow of swirling water. Don’t worry, I did not descend the steps.

Across from the trail on the other side of the falls is a hillside and just beyond that is Slippery Rock Gorge Trail. This moderately difficult trail is 6.2 miles (one-way) to Eckert Bridge which dead ends as a parking area, famous for kayakers to put into the water. There you can pick up Kildoo Trail that is one mile back to the covered bridge and Old Mill. These trails are also part of the North Country National Scenic Trail. If you enjoy a challenge in hiking and being outdoors I highly recommend these trails to you.

But I digress. On the hillside across from the steps there were other “falls”, icy ones.

Icy Falls

Icy Falls

I thought this was really fascinating to look at and I was amazed at how much the ferns and hemlocks added color to the area and my photos.

I truly enjoy being out in nature, hiking on the fallen leaf lined trails and rocky paths, while photographing the sights around me. It sure beats the weekday concrete jungle of the city. Although, don’t get me wrong, the city lights glowing in the night hold their special splendor as well. But for me, time spent walking in nature helps to recharge this photographer’s passion.

~ melissa michelle

Playing with water

Ice formation

Ice sculpture

Slow shutter to blur water

Slow shutter to blur water

More slow shutter work

More slow shutter work


I visited McConnells Mill Sunday (3/8) and took the photos above. I wasn’t sure which one I enjoyed the most so I’m sharing all three with you and you can decide the best capture.

Whereas on Saturday I worked with a fast shutter speed to capture a very clear photo of the dog running through the snow, Sunday I slowed down the shutter speed to blur the motion of the water. I love this technique (although the ice sculpture one used a faster shutter to show the water flow from the dam in the right side of the photo).

This state park is a favorite of mine and I’ve wanted to capture it in winter for a while now. This was the first chance I got that the temperature wasn’t below zero! It was good to get some fresh air and hike a little bit. The trails were still very snow covered and icy so I didn’t go far. I’m so totally over winter and snow and ice and cold!

~ melissa michelle