Magnolia Warbler, Autumn 2012

Magnolia Warblers can be a blast to watch as they migrate through the St. Louis region.  Searching almost nonstop for tasty prey hidden on the undersides of leaves on shrubs and short trees, they will sometimes hover as well as take short looping flights following insects that have been flushed.

IMG_6840

“Magnolia Warbler, Autumn 2012”

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera,  EF400mm f/5.6L USM lens, ISO 640,  f/5.6, 1/1000 sec

Location Spotlight: Bryant Creek Watershed

Located in the south-central Missouri Ozarks, Bryant Creek drains approximately 600 square miles, nearly half of which is comprised of high quality pine and deciduous timberland.  As is much of this part of Missouri, the remainder of this geography has been clear cut for use as cattle ground.  Bryant Creek is a fascinating little waterway and makes a great companion to the North Fork of the White River, its nearby companion to which it ultimately feeds.  I have not seen nearly enough of Bryant Creek or this section of the White River.  Both Ozark streams provide homes for river otters and the critically endangered Ozark Hellbender population.  Considered a losing stream, Bryant Creek is robbed of its limited water supply by the karst topography and several sections are often dry.  Reversely, major flash floods can be a threat during heavy rains and this stream is often sought out by lovers of white water.  During our autumn vacation, this view was along the roadside not too far from Hodgson Mill.

IMG_1836

“Bryant Creek, Autumn 2012″
Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF17-40mm f/4L USM @ 24mm, ISO 100,  f/11, 1/4 sec

One of the major sources of water into Bryant Creek and later, the North Fork comes from the discharge of the Hodgson Spring.  Listed in the top 20 most productive Missouri springs, this spring powered the restored grist mill pictured here.  Although no longer a working mill, its likeness is still used to sell stone ground, whole grain flours under the name Hodgson Mill.

IMG_1832

“Hodgson Water Mill – Autumn 2012 II″
Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF17-40mm f/4L USM @ 33mm, ISO 100,  f/11, 1/4 sec

The Oven Bird

The Oven Bird

THERE is a singer everyone has heard,

Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird,

Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.

He says that leaves are old and that for flowers

Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.

He says the early petal-fall is past

When pear and cherry bloom went down in showers

On sunny days a moment overcast;

And comes that other fall we name the fall.

He says the highway dust is over all.

The bird would cease and be as other birds

But that he knows in singing not to sing.

The question that he frames in all but words

Is what to make of a diminished thing.

-Robert Frost-

IMG_6864

“Ovenbird, Autumn 2012”

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera,  EF400mm f/5.6L USM lens, ISO 640,  f/5.6, 1/200 sec

So this is Arkansas?

Along the Glade Top Trail looking southward at what I believe are the northern hills of the Boston Mountains.  I look forward to exploring more of Arkansas one day.

IMG_1866

“View of Boston Mountains, Autumn 2012″
Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM @ 105mm, ISO 100,  f/11, 1/15 sec

The Nature Photographer Does Not “Sleep-in”

It’s the day before Thanksgiving.  I was fortunate again to be able to have most of the week off of work.  This day I decided I would allow myself the uncommon treat of “sleeping in” and catching up on some rest, allow myself some down time.  I rarely do this and I think it helps to “turn off” every now and then to help slow down, to say, it is OK to not be productive.  So that was the plan, and I even stayed up pretty late.  Then, just a scant few hours after I shut my eyes, I hear a voice, far off.  Eventually I realize it was Sarah trying to convey some sort of message.  I believe she had to repeat herself no fewer than four times before I comprehended – “The weather guy is saying this may likely be one of the foggiest days in St. Louis history.”  She knows I am a sucker for a foggy day.  Because we live so far from many of the great nature scenes, more often than not, I cannot get to a destination before the typical morning ephemeration has burned down.  Figuring this would likely be the case on this particular morning, I almost said forget it, and went back to sleep.  But, as Sarah knew, I would definitely have kicked myself repeatedly if I at least did not get out and try.  If nothing else, the least I would get is a nice hike on a beautiful morning.  I chose the relatively close Castlewood State Park.  Sarah and I had recently tackled a particularly scenic trail with bluff views along the Meramec River, and I knew that a thick fog could be used well for a dramatic composition.  Here are a few images I’ve had the opportunity to process so far.  My “immortal thanks” to Sarah for waking me and to Mr. Whitman for his lines that follow.

IMG_2249

“Retrospection″
Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF70-200mm f/4L IS USM @ 116mm, ISO 100,  f/14, 1/10 sec

To think of time – of all that retrospection,

To think of today, and the ages continued henceforward.

Have you guess’d you yourself would not continue?

Have you dreaded these earth beetles?

Have you fear’d the future would be nothing to you?

IMG_2228

“The Beginningless Past″
Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF70-200mm f/4L IS USM @ 135mm, ISO 100,  f/13, 1/8 sec

Is today nothing? is the beginningless past nothing?

If the future is nothing they are just as surely nothing.

To think that the sun rose in the east – that men and women were flexible, real, alive – that everything was alive,

To think that you and I did not see, feel, think, nor bear our part,

To think that we are now here and bear our part.

Not a day passes, not a minute or second without an accouchement,

Not a day passes, not a minute or second without a corpse.

IMG_2269

“To Think of Time″
Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM @ 105mm, ISO 100,  f/14, 1/8 sec

To think the thought of death merged in the thought of materials,

To think of all these wonders of city and country, and others taking great interest in them, and we taking no interest in them.

To think how eager we are in building our houses,

To think others shall be just as eager, and we quite indifferent.

Slow-moving and black lines creep over the whole earth – they never cease – they are the burial lines,

He that was President was buried, and he that is now President shall surely be buried.

Tennessee

“That thing called ‘nature study’, despite the shiver it brings to the spine of the elect, constitutes the first embryonic groping of the mass-mind toward perception.”

-Aldo Leopold-

IMG_6794

“Tennessee Warbler – Autumn Migration 2012”

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera,  EF400mm f/5.6L USM lens, ISO 500,  f/5.6, 1/640 sec

The Prairie Plants

“No living man will see again the long-grass prairie, where a sea of prairie flowers lapped at the stirrups of the pioneer.  We shall do well to find a forty here and there on which the prairie plants can be kept alive as species.  There were a hundred such plants, many of exceptional beauty.  Most of them are quite unknown to those who have inherited their domain.”

-Aldo Leopold-

Please here my plea in considering using plant species that were/are native to your geographic area the next time you consider a landscaping project.  I have gotten a lot of pleasure from the couple of native wildflower patches I put into my yard.  If you are a nature photographer or an appreciator of Nature and all her diversity, this is an excellent way to continue these passions while contributing to the conservation ethic.  You may even suggest this to the companies you work for and organizations in which you are involved.

IMG_1930

“Autumn Explosion″
Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM, ISO 160,  f/16, 0.4 sec

Currently I Dream…

“The trophy-recreationist has peculiarities that contribute in subtle ways to his own undoing.  To enjoy he must possess, invade, appropriate.  Hence the wilderness that he cannot personally see has no value to him.  Hence the universal assumption that an unused hinterland is rendering no purpose to society.  To those devoid of imagination, a blank space on a map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part.  (Is my share in Alaska worthless to me because I will never go there?  Do I need a road to show me the arctic prairies, the goose pastures of the Yuckon, the Kodiak bear, the sheep meadows behind McKinley?)”

-Aldo Leopold-

IMG_1645

“Currently I Dream…″
Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF70-200mm f/4L IS USM @ 165mm, ISO 100,  f/13, 1.3 sec

Look for it…

“All this you surely will see, and much more, if you are prepared to see it, -if you look for it.  Otherwise, regular and universal as this phenomenon is, whether you stand on the hill-top or in the hollow, you will think for threescore years and ten that all the wood is, at this season, sear and brown.  Objects are concealed from our view, not so much because they are out of the course of our visual ray as because we do not bring our minds and eyes to bear on them; for there is no power to see in the eye itself, any more than in any other jelly.  We do not realize how far and widely, or how near and narrowly, we are to look.  The greater part of the phenomena of Nature are for this reason concealed from us all our lives.”

-Henry David Thoreau-

IMG_1883

“More Painted Leaves″
Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM @ 75mm, ISO 100,  f/11, 1/13 sec