#1057. Sticktoitiveness

By Lani Edwards | Opinion

Nov 07

For someone who has lived almost their entire life on the bottom tip of Africa, surrounded by a buttocks-numbing icy ocean on the one side and a flat rock that had your back on the other, coming to America was an assault on the senses.


Living in Cape Town you are spoiled by all the natural beauty that surrounds you every day. Yet I managed to never lose the oh-shucks- it’s-purty feeling when coming over Kloof Neck and the whole of Camps Bay opened up like a bag of candy. Or watching dawn stirring to day, from the slopes of Table Mountain, while a caracul passes you by and hundreds of sugarbirds are feasting on the pincushions. It was, and still is, a magical place for me and will always but always, be the place that I call home.

Apple Valley Lake
Alum Creek

I find myself in, very much, a non-destination part of the world currently. A big change from living in a bucket-list-tourism-driven city to a flyover piece of cultivated soil, better known as the Rust Belt. Charming. Does want to make you board a plane immediately and rush over to Ohio, doesn’t it?


I’ve been trying to live life for the last few years without expectations and thus far, have been pleasantly surprised more times than not. When I stepped off the plane in March of 2019, I was met with a dreary, brown, grey and chilly world that almost made me long for the howling southeaster that will blow you off your feet. It only took me the drive home from the airport to start seeing beauty in the starkness of the barren countryside.


In Cape Town we don’t really have seasons. We have summer which is filled with sunny days, traffic jams, sauvignon blanc and the aforementioned rude southeaster. Winter is known for mild temperatures, not so mild consumption of red wine, cloud pornography and rainy days. Autumn and spring is basically non-existent and in total lasts for about 3 and a half hours.

Honey Run Park
A find on one of the backroads

Ohio started charming me when she gave me the gift of cyclic life. Never have I experienced the ebb and flow of seasons until winter melted away into the luminous green and gentleness of spring; spring stepped aside for steamy summer with thunderous skies and the smell of ozone; summer disappeared into the colour-riot of autumn with leaves crunching under your feet on crisp, clear-blue-sky days. I’m about to welcome winter for the second time since arriving. It is a time of respite from the onslaught of smells and sounds that imbues the other seasons. It is a reset button.


The abundance of woods and water was the second offering I didn’t expect. I can drive 30 minutes in any direction and discover an untouched piece of wilderness far, far away from endless cornfields or bustling industry. Even the journey proves to be charming and full of surprising delights that is completely foreign to me. I take immense pleasure in the barns dotted everywhere, the horse and buggy I get stuck behind on a blind rise, the rolling hills, the ever changing sky.

Sundays are the best day of the week to spot Amish in Holmes County
Modes of Transport – Holmes County Backroads

It is a diverse landscape. From flat farmland with corn soldiers standing guard, valleys and hills with forests and waterfalls, glacier caves and ancient monoliths tucked away around a curve, all the way to the north where the wind whips up waves on the lake, big enough to surf.

Lake Erie

What I’ve discovered so far in Ohio might possibly be just the beginning of a love affair with a non-place on the travel map. Does it give Cape Town a run for its money? Maybe just a teeny-tiny smidge…now, if it had that big, flat rock, throw in a few quality wine farms and my hair stylist, we might have a serious contender.


​Never miss a post

​Like what you are reading? Subscribe below and receive all posts in your inbox as they are published. Join the conversation with thousands of other creative photographers.

  • pascaljappy says:

    Dear Lani, when you are done with Ohio, would you mind moving to some other area to document it and show us? 😉 It’s a very selfish ask, I know, but you brought it upon yourself with those photographs 😉 😉 😉

    • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

      See what I mean, Pascal? Give a woman a camera, and she’ll come back with BRILLIANT photos – images that completely blow you away!

      There would be absolutely no point in asking Lani what her gear is, because it is perfectly obvious to anyone who isn’t a complete numbskull that SHE’s who/what took these photos, and the gear is all but completely irrelevant.

      Anyone wants an argument — put up yer dukes! — show us what yer made of! — see if YOU can do better!


      • Lani Edwards says:

        Oh I forget that, apparently, gear matters (or not in my case) 😉
        Nothing like you guys shooting with swanky tackle and makes I’ve never heard of….I’m obviously to be pitied!
        All my stuff is Canon. See? I’ve just ruined the dream.

        • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

          Wasn’t taking pot shots at your gear, Lani – I’ve no idea what you ☹️

    • Lani Edwards says:

      Sign me up immediately!!! I’ve been stuck in the same place for the last 9 months and cabin fever is imminent.
      I’ll take one for the team 🙂

  • philberphoto says:

    Lani, please don’t do this to me. Cause in the covidian times, any instance I have trouble breathing, I freak out. Your images are, quite litterally, breathtaking, and my smartwatch went ballistic with strange measurements and values on all my metabolic parameters. Not only that, but calling you a storyteller would sell you short, because, just as your images would grace any wall, including those of top-rated art galleries, your writing style would grace the New-Yorker. Wow, what a post! Please send me the details of your fan-club so that I can apply for a life membership. Do DS members get a discount?

    • Lani Edwards says:

      I’m dreadfully sorry for causing you distress Philippe 🙂

      Thank you so much for the praise – it helps to know that what I create in my bubble, can get the blood pumping in a good, healthy way….and to know your watch is still working.

      Fan-club…this made me laugh out loud!!!

  • Dallas says:

    Hi Lani, wow what great images and text, I’m in ore of the tree root images. Congrats.

  • I am a buckeye as well and live apparently close to you in Dublin, Ohio. I too find a lot of beauty on the blue highways of Ohio, plus Columbus is a great and progressive city. Thanks for sharing. Find me on Instagram photodog28 or on Flickr at Albert W Erickson.

    • Lani Edwards says:

      Howdy neighbour 🙂
      Maybe we’ll bump into each other one day on the byways of the Buckeye state!

      Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings, Albert.

  • Lash LaRue says:

    Swept away, Lani; the variety and the depth of these images leave me in awe of your eye and skill. Many cheers!!

  • Lad says:

    Lani, These are wonderful images, and so varied at all times of the year! I appreciate (and share) your delight in vividness. You can make Ohio sing! (Try Nebraska or West Texas next. 😉 ) Not that we have your skill to make use of it, but one lesson I take away is that there is beauty and photographic interest in any place on earth. Thank you so much.

    • Lani Edwards says:

      Dear Lad,

      I had a lecturer that always said, if you can’t make a picture regardless of where you are, you cannot call yourself in good conscious a photographer.
      That sentence is always in the back of my mind wherever I find myself in the world.

      Never been to Nebraska and zoomed through West Texas a few years ago: I’ll accept that challenge gladly!

      Thank you for the kind words.

  • Ian Varkevisser says:

    Superlative, I hear full orchestral versions of Vivaldi’s 4 seasons ringing in my ears as i read through your blog. Were he alive today and looking to put together an audio visual representation of his masterpieces I am sure he would have no hesitation in collaborating. Bravo Mrs E.

  • Ian Varkevisser says:

    And oh by the way your ‘Snowy drive on backroads’ images are right up there with Kenna.

  • Clifton Whittaker says:

    Beautiful and inspiring, Lani. But your surprises aren’t over yet. There is a place called Magee Marsh on the edge of that big lake to your north. Not far from Toledo. In the early part of May (10th – 15th) the most amazing abundance of warblers collects there to rest and feed before making the flight across the lake. There is a boardwalk through the best parts and the birds are so close you can get great photographs. I hope you will give yourself a real treat and visit that place when the bird migration is at it’s peak. You will never forget it.

  • PaulB says:


    Your images prove the point; “It is amazing what you can see, if you take the time to look.”

    Keep exploring and making images. You have a wonderful eye.


    • Lani Edwards says:

      Dear Paul,

      Big thank you from my side.

      Half the fun of making these images was the exploring part. I also want to capture all that I see before the jadedness sets in…which is normally the case if you live somewhere.

  • Georg says:

    Fantastic images, Lani. Wonderful processing and tonality. All these places are within a short drive from us here in Medina. I note the presence of water in many of your images, which is influences the regional palette in Northeast Ohio. You are a true artist.

    • Lani Edwards says:

      Hello Georg!

      I shall bask for the remainder of the day in the warmth of your compliments! Many thanks.

      I’ve driven through Medina and couldn’t stop myself singing the song: A Funky Cold Medina, especially the one line ‘Put a little Medina in your glass, and the girls’ll come real quick’.
      I know…silly :))

  • JohnW says:


    This has to be one of the most stunning collection of images ever to grace Dear Susan. I’m still drooling after the umpteenth time looking at them. Put a gun to my head and force me to choose a favourite … the first Amish image; I keep coming back again and again and again to that image. And the shot of Lake Erie … gorgeously, gloriously moody and that muted colour pallet. So, there! I have two favourites.

    Some years ago I spent a month in SA, Namibia and Botswana. Flying into Cape Town I thought the pilot had taken a wrong turn at the jetstream and wound up back in Vancouver. When all this madness ends and the border reopens drop by if you can. I think you’ll find a lot of similarities.

    • Lani Edwards says:

      I would love to see Vancouver, John! Has been on my wish-list for absolutely ages so yes, the moment this virus sees it’s derriere, I might just come knocking.

      Thank you for your extremely kind words. Much appreciated!

  • Nancee Rostad says:

    Wonderful images and text, Lani! Obviously you have a very artistic eye and have used it to your advantage in Ohio, of all places. Each state offers its own visual rewards, but I’d never have guessed that Ohio had such varied subjects. As Pascal suggested, you must travel more and find new delights to document for us. Ignore the “boys” and their constant questions about gear. We “Canon” using girls believe that less (gear) is more – right? Kudos to you!

    • Lani Edwards says:

      America is such a vast country with extreme visual candy and I have loads of exploring to do here. Ohio though, charmed me quite unexpectedly.
      Have camera, will travel 🙂

      Thank you, Nancee!

  • Steve Mallett says:

    Lani, beautiful images, everyone a winner but the two b&w snowy ones do something special for me. Almost pencil-sketch-like. I want to learn how to process like that! Truly fab.

    Oh, and I seem to remember driving through Ohio almost 50 years ago without stopping and there seemed to be endless miles of f*** all in every direction but it could have been another one of those states I wasn’t interested in. I was obsessed with deserts at the time.


    • Lani Edwards says:

      The f***all is quite prolific through most of this state but there are hidden gems to be found, much to my delight!

      I can’t wait for that white, fluffy stuff to start falling and to most folks’ dismay, are hoping for a bumper crop 🙂

      Thank you Steve for the kind words.

  • Claude Hurlbert says:

    Lani, your vision is so original and your processing so completely fascinating! Every time I see your photography it feels so absolutely fresh. I sense the a unity that runs throughout your photography that I am still trying to define, but I am starting to guess it is beyond definition–your seemingly endless creativity, your spirit which seems open to new paths, ways and techniques. In other words, the talent that created these images (and this writing) is so obvious and, well, inspiring. Seriously, what a great post! Claude

    • Lani Edwards says:

      Thank you VERY much, Claude.
      I’m one of those togs that shoot to edit – to me, that’s where I can really flex my creative muscles.

      I am extremely flattered that you find both the images and the words, inspirational. Much valued feedback – thank you.

  • Zelma Van wyk says:

    Lani you are just such an incredible artist with words and photos Love your work

  • >