Sugarcreek Photography Gallery; A Hidden Gem in the Heartland!

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Sugarcreek Photography Gallery; A Hidden Gem in the Heartland!
Sugarcreek Photography Gallery; A Hidden Gem in the Heartland!

[The image Mom's Tools (above) was made by my friend, Beth Larsen.]

On a Saturday, March 16, 2024, I drove to Bellbrook, Ohio, to visit photographer friends who exhibit their work at the Sugarcreek Photography Gallery.

The Gallery sits on the main street of Bellbrook, a quiet town of 7500 residents about 15 miles southeast of Dayton, Ohio.

Twelve photographers exhibit their work on about 160 linear feet of wall space, so, it’s a BIG gallery.

What’s notable is the wide variety of genres and uniquely individual styles.

The one thing all these images have in common is that they are all of extraordinarily high quality in terms of composition, creativity, photographic technique, and presentation. I’ve never seen so many gorgeous photographs in one place!


See the

Sugarcreek Photography Gallery Video 



Among photographers exhibiting here are my long time friends Bill Woody, Beth Larsen, and Judd Plattenburg.

Each is an exceptional photographer with their own unique style and an ethic of life-long learning. I’ve enjoyed traveling and photographing with these friends on multiple occasions and it was a pleasure to see a body of their work exhibited at The Gallery.

In this post, I'll share images created by Bill, Beth, and Judd, as well as a images made by Bob Hawkins, Bill and Marty Welch, and Jeffery M. Smith, who I just met on this visit to The Gallery.

In addition to the work of photographers featured in this post, you can see the outstanding work of all the photographers who exhibit at The Gallery by visiting their website HERE

Bill Woody

Pictured here is my friend and photographer, Bill Woody, along with two of his dance photos. Bill's diverse body of work ranges from landscapes made in The Palouse and The Smoky Mountains, to dancers photographed at Silo City in Buffalo, NY, and dancers with the Cuban National Ballet in Havana.

Photographer, Bill Woody, at Sugarcreek Photography Gallery in Bellbrook, Ohio

Dance on the Malecón, © William Woody

As part of Rad Drew and Ramses Batista's Beauty and Greace workshop in Havana, in February 2024, we had been looking for a place to balance the dancer with the iconic Morro Castle fortess in the background. This seemed to fit best. Several other trials missed a bit, some missed a lot. The curve of the dancer seems to wrap the fort. – Bill Woody

Dance in the Silo, © Willam Woody

This is a dancer and fabric photo from one of the Silo City workshops. The specific room earned the name, “the white room." Having dancers is GREAT because one can give a direction to “fill the space below the Silo exit in that shape." With good dance collaborators, this is the result! It is amazing how the shapes of the dancer and the structure align! – Bill Woody


Beth Larsen 

Beth Larsen's work is top shelf and I love that she is always taking on new challenges in her photography. She is skilled in a variety of photograhy techniques and enjoys night photography, photographing dancers in Cuba, and recently took a course in light painting.

This image is one of her recent light paintings that is currenlty on exhibit at Sugarcreek Photography Gallery.

Mom's Tools, © Beth Larsen

This image is a light painting of my grandmother's thimbles and thread. I enjoy photographing still life images that evoke emotion in the viewer. The light painting technique allows the photographer to control the light on the subject.  – Beth Larsen


Judd Plattenburg

Judd's work has a special dynamic feel to it. He's an outdoorsman who carries his camera on nature trecks sharing sights rarely seen by many of us, and he's open to creative approaches such as doing long exposures with off-camera flash as he did in the photo of the Afro-Cuban dancer made in Havana.

Fountains, Dayton's Riverside Park © Judd Plattenburg

I paddled down the Mad River in a kayak, and timed it so that I would be paddling into the fountains just as the sun set and the fountains would be going off. The fountains turn on for 10 minutes on the hour all summer long. I had to lean out of my kayak and shoot it with an iPhone just before getting soaked with water.  – Judd Plattenburg

Afro-Cuban Dancer, Havana, © Judd Plattenburg

Conveying the energy and dynamic motion of Afro-Cuban dance in a photograph can be a challenge, but Judd has succeeded with this image made during a dance rehearsal in an abandonded theater in Havana. By using a slow shutter speed and off-camera flash, Judd recorded the movement of the dancer and the flash illuminated her face at precisely the right time to provide a focal point that conveys the dancer's ecstatic state.

Other Photographers I Met on My Visit

In addition to seeing my friends and their work on my recent visit, I had the opportunity to meet new friends, too. I met Bill and Marty Welch who shared their amazing wildlife and landscape work; Jeffery M. Smith who is known for his landscapes and for his Dayton-area scenes, many of which adorn the walls of homes and businesses throughout the Miami Valley; and Bob Hawkins who recently began exploring still-life light painting. 

Below are examples of their work that can be seen in The Gallery.

Jeffrey M. Smith (Art of Frozen Time)

Jeff's Fine Art landscape photos feature scenes from Ohio, the Midwest, and our US National Parks.

Sunrise along Osage Orange Tunnel No.7
© Jeffrey M. Smith (Art of Frozen Time)

This spectacular autumn sunrise took place at Sugarcreek MetroPark, near Bellbrook Ohio. One of the park’s many features is the Osage Orange Tunnel. In the 1800s, farmers planted rows of these Osage Orange (Hedge Apple) trees creating a natural fence line. Today, this tree line forms a delightful tunnel giving park visitors a visual treat.  

 – Jeffrey M. Smith

Dayton Rainbow Skyline, © Jeffrey M. Smith (Art of Frozen Time)

This scene took place on 3 May 2020 where in moments before, the skies were grey, and winds blustery which drove me to ponder the wisdom of standing in the rain with my digital camera. When I started this 86-image panoramic sequence, the sun found a break in the clouds at the last possible moment. Realizing I had seconds left, I quickly pointed my camera into the sun. During this bustle, the rainbow unknowingly formed behind me. Perhaps it was the steady rain and the constant wiping of my lens, but I was engrossed in the technique. With my last planned shot I stepped back from the camera and finally noted the still off-camera rainbow, so I continued the panoramic sweep. Despite building a big picture, I nearly missed an even larger one.  – Jeffrey M. Smith

Marty and Bill Welch, A Natural Selection

Marty and Bill Welch of A Natural Selection, photograph with Canon equipment and travel far and wide to make extraordinary images of landscapes, wildlife, birds, the Aurora Borealis, and more. 

Dory in the Rain by Marty Welch, © A Natural Selection

I  Love My Mom,  by Marty Welch, © A Natural Selection

The Breach by Bill Welch, © A Natural Selection

Landing Gear Down, by Bill Welch, © A Natural Selection

Bob Hawkins

Bob created the two works below using a technique called light painting. Here's how he describes the process.

"It is technically challenging, but the results can be quite dramatic. Light painting is a photographic technique where the subject is “painted” with light from a handheld light source (such as a small flashlight) in a dark room during a long exposure. This fine control of light increases the three-dimensional nature of the subjects and allows highlights to be placed exactly where you want them to be. I may take as many as 20 separate photos into Photoshop to combine them into the final image. By studying the works of the old master painters one can turn a simple arrangement of a pewter pitcher, a wine glass, and a pear into an almost “painterly” looking photograph. The opportunities are endless!" – Bob Hawkins

Cherries, © Bob Hawkins

Dressing Up, © Bob Hawkins


You can see why I'm dazzled by this work!

Whether you’re a photographer looking for inspiration, a home or business owner looking for gorgeous wall art, or simply someone who appreciates quality photographic artwork, you’ll enjoy a visit to Sugarcreek Photography Gallery in Bellbrook, Ohio.

Road Trip!

Camera clubs, this would make a great road trip (with lots to photograph in the countryside along the way)! You'll have the chance to see a variety of extremely well-done photography from which to learn and be inspired.

The Gallery is just a stone's throw from Dayton, only about two hours from Indianapolis, and only an hour from both Cincinnati and Columbus.

Oh, and, after visiting the gallery, stop by McIntosh Pub and Grub across the street for a bite and a brew!

As always, thanks for being here and taking time with me. I hope you found this post to be enlightening and inspiring.

Maybe we'll see each other online or in the field in the coming months.



P.S. Subscribe to my monthly newsletter (HERE), and check out upcoming workshops and photo tours (HERE). – R

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