“Taum Sauk Eternal”
Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens @ 40mm, ISO 200, f/14, 0.6 sec
Hi everyone. Here is the last in my planned succession of image postings of Mina Sauk Falls of the Missouri Ozarks. This photograph may be my favorite of the day. The textures of the rock and the patterns of the lichen suggested to me that this would make a nice black and white. I added a light Orton effect to enhance these contrasts and bring out the highlights a bit more. The pool of water might be my favorite aspect of the image.
I had another great Saturday exploring and photographing in the Ozarks. We really had some magnificent lightning displays from thunderstorms that went through the region in the afternoon. I hope none of you had any damage or other worries from these storms. I started my day with an actual plan and had to make changes due to the weather. I started my day in the Labarque Creek Watershed, thinking the storms we had on Thursday may have filled the drainage creeks and there would potentially be lots of falls, cascades and other water features to shoot. I also realized that the spring ephemeral wild flowers would be really getting going. Well, the water flow was next to nothing. The rain from early in the week had either drained quickly or was not enough to get things flowing. The spring ephemerals were exactly what I expected. Spring beauty, rue anemone, Dutchman’s breeches, hounds tooth and blood root were all present in the thousands. I wish I had actually spent more time shooting these, but I had other plans as well.
My plan after Labarque was to head to the nearby Shaw Nature Reserve to photograph the early happenings of the Red-shouldered Hawk nest located there. I hauled all my photo equipment and my spotting scope and my chair and snacks, set up, had an opportunity to take a few shots when the rains came in. So, I packed up and started back home. I knew the weather would also interfere with my plan to photograph a local Great-horned Owl nest that I was planning on visiting in the late afternoon and evening. I went back home, ate dinner and checked weather.com. There looked to be a gap between 5:00PM and 7:00PM where the chance of rain was significantly lower. I suspected that the 0.5-1″ or so of rain we received this afternoon may be enough to really get the ephemeral drainage creeks of Labarque flowing. So, I packed up and headed back to Eureka, knowing it still might rain for another few hours and I may not even get out of the car. When I arrived, it was barely sprinkling so I put my rain gear on and covered my camera pack with its rain cover and with my hiking pole and trusty Tilley to keep my head dry, I started on the trail – anxious about the weather and quickly cover the mile or so to the features I most hoped would be filled with water. The situation was not perfect. It rained about half the time I was on the hike. I was able to pull the camera out and do some shooting, but the light was very low, even for shooting moving water! In a couple of brief deluges I carried myself and my gear to a small cave to wait it out. This was one of the most memorable hikes of my life. The light, sky, fog water and life all around me seemed to be changing by the minute. At least half a dozen frog species were singing and the Eastern Towhees were constantly telling me to “Drink your Tee!”. I heard the ever-vocal Red-shouldered Hawks and the hoots of Barred and Great-horned Owls.
Finally, when the light was so low I couldn’t get anything shorter than a 30 second exposure, I headed back to the car. Upon reaching the top of one of the steep ridges I saw a spectacular display of warm colors as the sun was able to break through a bit near the horizon and juxtapose itself with the cumulonimbus clouds and associated displays of lightning.
I apologize if this is boring any readers, but I am using this blog as a journal in as much as anything else. I haven’t really looked at any of the photos I took today. Hopefully the images will be close to what I hope they can be. If not, I will always be looking forward to the next hike in the Missouri Ozarks.