Taking pictures in Columbus without common sense

I’ll be the first person to tell you that my book smarts far outweigh my legitimate, survival-based common sense. I can manage my life, my finances somewhat and dress myself, but some things I am just not adapt at.

Wednesday evening I didn’t have anything to do but I was feeling froggy and wanted to try out my new 50 mm f/1.8, so I scoured the internet for sunset locations around Columbus that I haven’t been to.

(for the record, the top of the CSCC parking garage, North Bank Park and anywhere along the Scioto Mile are prime locations for that kind of stuff around the downtown area — I encourage them)

Back to the point. I had read that the Overlook Deck at Highbanks Metro Park had an 100-foot elevated observation deck of the Olentangy and thought that would be a really cool spot. I’ve only ever been to the smaller parks around Columbus and figured it’d be a quick in and out spot and nice to get some fresh air. Yes, this is the part where it all goes horribly wrong.

For starters, I have never hiked in my life. The hills of Camp Ohio in Mt. Vernon have given me some kind of wherewithal to walk up steep paths, but other than that I don’t seek out to hike somewhere usually, it’s not my thing. I don’t know why I thought this was a good idea.

I’m not going to try and justify it — yes I am — but I also wasn’t wearing any socks. Yes, borderline disgusting I know but my feet feel overheated and worse sometimes with socks than when I’m bare-footing it inside my shoe. Giving them more airflow to breathe is so much more comfortable. Though with the added comfort creates an awful odor that normally only I or Emily have to smell. She tolerates me gracefully, bless her heart.

I got to the park around 8 p.m. and with golden hour about to set in I definitely didn’t give myself enough time to get where I wanted to. The Overlook trail is about two miles or so according to the park map, but I figured where I wanted to reach would only take me half that time.I was correct in that thinking, but the only part of that I got wrong was the entire thing.

Instead of going east on the Dripping Rock Trail and connecting with the Overlook right away, I went west, all the way down to the Big Meadows Picnic Area where it intersects with the Scenic River Trail and the Big Meadows Path. Carrying camera equipment with no socks on and a book bag on my back.

Fun stuff.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Highbanks layout (still probably more familiar than me) take a look here at the park map.

The point of this all is a few things:

  • Never take me hiking or go hiking with me, you’ll end up lost.
  • Prepare yourself camera-wise and direction-wise beforehand, sometimes it’s important to make a plan and not be sporadic like I was.
  • If you get going on the wrong way, take a couple pictures just to document that the hike wasn’t for nothing besides experience and exercise. Learn from my mistakes.
  • Finally, if it’s not too late, never give up on the night.


So while it was almost 9 p.m. before I got back on 23 and headed south towards Ohio State, I definitely didn’t want the entire night to go to waste. Instead of heading back to my apartment, I went downtown to my favorite spot near the Scioto Mile and walked around a little.

This is where I achieved poetic justice.

Driving downtown Columbus at night you can definitely find a lot of things picture-worthy, but at this point I was just looking for something long exposure-related as that tends to be my go-to with Columbus’ bright lights around the Arena/Gay Street district.

It doesn’t really offer much of a story, but I found gold on a foot bridge that runs over Long Street, connecting with the parking garage for AEP and the U.S. Court of Appeals.

My feet still blistered, my inner-self feeling a little more humble, the night still turned out pretty cool.

bridge above long st-1
Long St. facing west towards North Bank Condos at dusk.

The last real thrill came when I went down the stairs the other way. There was a homeless man asleep on the stairs. He had to have been sleeping there before I even arrived.

I hope he gets the help he needs; it sure put my night into perspective.

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