Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens @ 40mm, ISO 200, f/11, 1/4 sec
It wouldn’t be a trip to the St. Francois Mountains in January through March without finding some Ozark Witch Hazel in bloom. These small shrubs love the sandy, acidic soils found along streams in this region. The flowers of these guys really put out some fragrance! If you find yourself in a large patch of these during a particularly warm day, the smells of vanilla and other sweet spices and floral notes can almost be overpowering. In this image, I tried to feature a branch of one of these plants that carries both new blooms from this year along with spent fruit cases from last year – many of which that still hold seed. I used a gold portable reflector to increase the warmth of the branch and its flowers. This branch is featured nicely in front of a couple of picturesque falls that can be found high on the set of falls and cascades that make up Mina Sauk.