The last week of July for me was special. After my recent solo travels to Minnesota, I was able to have a long weekend road trip with my family. Partially funded by a client who needed some photography in Ohio, Jen and I made the most of it. We planned it all out and got to take both kids to caves and a waterpark while staying at an Airbnb in the Hocking Hills area. I’d never visited but it’s a beautiful part of the state that lives up to its name with all of the hills we drove over and around the bends visiting places like Ash Cave at Hocking Hills State Park.
On our way there, we stopped at Seneca Caverns in Bellevue, Ohio. This cave is located in northeastern Seneca County, Ohio, USA, just outside Flat Rock, and is one of the area’s largest underground caverns. I was excited to use my 20mm lens f/1.8 lens on my Sony A7RIV. This combo is a monster for this kind of exploration. Given how tight everything really was, shooting this wide allowed me to capture a lot of detail in low light. Below are some of my favorites.
I used some different software to render this black-and-white drawing effect below. It completely changes the atmosphere of how it used to look.
This place has a saying. “The Caviest Cave in the U.S.A.” Besides this cave and what followed, I’d only been at Marengo Cave in Indiana.
After packing the kids up we headed to our next stop, chasing daylight by this point. We only stopped in for a few moments at our Airbnb before heading out again. Our guests were really nice and provided some good directions on where to explore the area, which led us to explore Ash Caves in Hocking Hills State Park.
We arrived just before sunset and I made sure to get all the images I could while we still had time. I learned afterward that Ash Cave has a seasonal waterfall that often runs in spring, winter, and autumn months, so visiting in July we were fortunate to see it.
When I say we made the most of it, I mean we stayed out as late as possible and let the boys go wild. This place was incredible and I don’t think I’ve ever felt as small as I did standing in this place. Using a wide-angle lens can’t justify the sense of space the place gave off while walking around.
Elon wearing his new “cave exploration” hat we got him at Seneca Caverns with his hard hat light activated. The next day we planned on doing a lot of walking around and exploring this location, which included Cedar Falls, so it was time to get some sleep.
We arrived the following morning at Cedar Falls and after a couple of hours taking it all in and letting the boys explore, we encountered two people walking around above the falls. This last photo shows one of them sitting down with his feet over the edge.
After this spot, we planned to visit Olentangy Caverns in Delaware, OH. We all needed the air conditioning and a chance to sit down and were actually looking forward to our long drive ahead. This location, besides the cave, had all kinds of fun things for the kids to do, even a giant maze! The cave itself was like night and day compared to Seneca Caverns. No real climbing except the stairs down, and then pretty much anyone—even our 1-year-old—could have an easy time walking around.
I didn’t take pictures of much else here except the cave. After some more exploration and a long drive, we got some good sleep. This basically concluded my photography part of my trip. The next day we took the kids to Kings Island and made it back home well after midnight driving from Ohio to Michigan. Totally worth it!