CLOUDLAND CABIN JOURNAL - APRIL 2012 Journal Archives
Part B - April 17th - present (see part A here)
Cloudland Cabin Cam, April 29, 8:39am - warm and cloudy, with a hint of blue showing through (last post until May)
Journal updated Sunday morning - rabbits foot was not good luck
April 2012 Print Of The Month
04/17/12 EVENING UPDATE. We're camped tonight next to the White River at the state park just below the Bull Shoals Dam. It is a glorious night with clear skies and millions of stars shining brightly down upon us. Even though there is no moon, the cold waters shimmer from starlight. I just took the dogs out for a hike through the campground, and noticed a couple of things. First, there was not a single campfire in the entire campground. And I wondered if we had lost the art of the campfire. I have not set in front of one in a very long time, but have vowed to do so at least once a week whenever I'm able to, hopefully more often. I've lost myself in hundreds of them, solved the problems of the world, chased many dreams - and ended a few in despair. The crackle of the fire brings music to the wilderness, and the flames dance and play. So many times while digging out dirty laundry from this hike or that camping trip, woodsmoke aroma has taken me back to the fire.
The other item I noticed was that my feet were getting wet - 10pm and already the ground was soaked with dew. We are here to get a photograph or two of the river, of the landscape, of the LIGHT. Heavy dew early in the evening might signal a bit of fog in the morning - we photographers like fog!
I spent some time downstream fighting the worst swarm of mosquitoes in years while trying to capture the brilliant afterglow of the color the sunset left behind on both the water and in the sky. It was kind of funny - the bugs were so bad that I could not stand still and had to keep in constant motion to keep them all from landing on me and drilling at the same time, and so I paced back and forth behind the tripod and camera while the exposures were happening, stopping only for a moment to inspect what the camera saw and recorded - I was tripping the shutter by remote control as I paced.
I have a confession to make. I preach to all who will listen to spend your time taking pictures at the ends of the day when the quality of light is greatest, and to avoid the harsh and flat midday sun like the plague. Get up EARLY to work, slumber through the day, then seek spectacular light as darkness draws near. Yet today, while screaming down the highway at 55mph, I caught a glimpse of a scene that looked really good. It took me nearly five miles to make the decision to stop and turn around and go back to see if what I saw was worth a picture. It was a field of yellow flowers - 'tis a grand year for these little jewels - with rolling hills beyond, a pond, red barn, HORSES, and a blue sky filled with puffy white clouds. Who could resist? I stood along the highway for quite a while waiting on 1) the clouds to move away from the sun so the scene could be lit up to match the bright clouds; and 2) and on the horses to do something interesting - or do nothing at all, but to just stand still. And so it all eventually came together as the big rigs whizzed right on by. The scene was bright and colorful, yet tranquil and serene. I like it, and it was certainly worth the ten-mile detour.
In a few hours I'm hoping the fog will gather and the sun will arrive and something exciting will happen.
04/18/12 And there was fog this morning! In fact it covered the landscape like a soft fluffy blanket for at least an hour after first light, and I got to wander around the shoreline and through open forest all I wanted before the harsh sunshine of a crispy-blue day broke through. I took three pictures. First was a shot of "Big Spring" - water bubbles up into a side creek and then flows into the White River less than 100 feet away. When I first started taking pictures this morning, the river level was lower, but within a few minutes the White River had risen enough so that there was actually water flowing TOWARDS the spring outlet instead of the other way around! (more generators running)
Away from the river a little bit I found a tiny cedar tree growing right in the split trunk of a giant tree of some sort - I was so interested in this little guy that I forgot to look up and see what the big tree was - I'm sure Don Kurz or some other tree person will know what it is. Things like this always bring joy to my soul - I like to see the underdog get a good start, and in this case the tiny tree was already six feet tall! And there was another tiny treat at this location - while I was putting my camera gear away I noticed a bunch of small red bits of color on the ground. WILD STRAWBERRIES - yippie! Soon there were no small red bits of color on the ground, only small red bits of color in my belly.
I spent the rest of the golden hour, or in this case the foggy hour, pointing my lens at a group of silhouetted trees in an open forest just across the road from our campsite. The fog added a great deal of character to what was already a interesting group of trees to me. I just LOVE trees, especially when they are in silhouette like this - it seems to give them so much personality.
Yesterday we took the dogs on a romp through these trees and it seemed like every tree had at least one resident squirrel. We've not seen squirrels up on Cave Mountain in several years - they just up and left, perhaps they all moved to a state park where there is always free snacks! Aspen used to LOVE to chase squirrels - all day - all the next day - and all the day after that. He and Lucy used to catch one every now and then, and he would have the most surprised look on his face. Aspen has been getting in much better shape these past couple of months, and boy oh boy you should have seen him light up when he saw his first squirrel in the forest - he nearly pulled my arm out of the socket! He ran for I bet an hour, going from one squirrel to another, but I never let him get too close.
Once the sun arrived this morning my shooting was over, and we spent the better part of the day working our way east and then south a bit. We visited both Bull Shoals and Norfork dams, stopped to see the oldest public building in the state (Wolfe House), took a nap next to the White River at Calico Rock, and also walked around looking at the really neat old buildings at Calico Rock - there is a ghost town of sorts there within a block of the main highway. But the highlight of the midday was a trip to the ICE CREAM PARLOR! My lovely bride got a small scoop of chocolate, but I had one scoop of each - vanilla and chocolate.
We then visited one of my old haunts at Blanchard Springs Recreation Area - it kind of felt like the place was shut down and we didn't see anyone anywhere. No camping, no parking, no nothing! I did get to spend some more time down below Mirror Lake at the old Mitchell Grist Mill and the waterfall there - LOVELY evening light!
Then we headed back towards Calico Rock and spent sunset at City Rock Bluff, a beautiful spot overlooking the White River. I first visited this site back in the mid-1970s when working for the forest service. We are still here now and it is nearing midnight. I'm waiting for a few more stars to come out so I can see if I can capture a sky full of stars, the bluff, and the river far below. I also hope to make a side trip at some point during the night to take a picture of some other features nearby, under a blanket of stars.
I'll be back at City Rock Bluff in hopes of finding nice light at dawn, then we'll pack it all in and head home.
04/19/12 It is about 4am and I'm waiting for the second half of a picture to complete (I'm making a 20-minute exposure). The sky above is filled with a zillion stars, and the Milky Way is rising.
Hey Greg - it is AMAZING how many of you are up and flying at this time of the night! I started at 3am and there were no less than four jets in the scene at the same time. I think I finally got one frame without any - don't you guys ever sleep, ha, ha?! I remember that night in Colorado when we realized we were shooting into the Denver flight pattern.
Once I finish up here I will drive back to and photograph the big bluff above the White River in predawn and at sunrise. By the way, I was nearly eaten alive by mosquitoes last night, but they have all gone to bed now and it has been a delightful couple of hours to be outside with the incredible star field above and all around - even if you are not a photographer (and it does take some special equipment in order to photograph the night sky as we see it), I HIGHLY RECOMMEND spending some time outside in the wee hours of the morning on a crispy-clear night, especially in the winter. It will lift your spirit and enlighten your soul quite unlike anything else I know.
One funny note before I get back to the cameras. I have four thin layers on - it is in the mid-40s right now, but when you are just standing around doing nothing the chill creeps in. I took off my reading glasses a while ago and put them in a pocket. When I went to dig them out again to start working on this post I did not find the glasses until the 10th pocket, which included two pants pockets! I normally wear them on a lanyard around my neck, but I also have one of the camera remote controls on a lanyard around my neck, and also a composition framing thing that I made up on a lanyard around my neck. It is tough to work all three in the daylight without choking myself, but it is pretty much impossible to do that in the middle of the night with only starlight!
BACK HOME TONIGHT. I spent over an hour shooting the bluff and trees and fog and crescent moon and sunrise this morning - the light was changing fast and every time I looked up I had to shoot the scene all over again, or turn and shoot in the opposite direction because the light was so nice. After doing a quick edit of all the images from this morning I think I have at least tree completely different scenes from the same general location, all with beautiful light and fog and color. That makes about ten good photos from this trip, perhaps one or two more. My overall goal right now is to take at least two really good photographs each day - one in the morning and in evening. If I can keep that pace up I'll have plenty to pick from in late May when I sit down to select photos for the new book. I don't have room to post all of those images here - and in fact many of them won't even be processed until they are selected to go into the book - but I hope to keep posting a new image or two from each trip I make this next several weeks for you to enjoy.
We got back home this afternoon, and after unloading gear, cleaning our van inside, uploading photos to computers and backing them up, we made a quick trip over to Kennie's pond so Pam would wet a line. (We were within a few feet of one of the great trout rivers in the country for much of the past three days but never got the chance to fish.) I sat on the pond bank and soaked up some sunshine while Pam worked with the fish. She caught several nice ones, and I taught her the fine art of removing the hook and releasing them to fight another day. It was a great time to wind down and catch our breaths along with the fish!
04/22/12 It was a wee bit chilly early yesterday morning as our photo workshop group gathered at the Steele Creek Recreation Area. We spent a couple of hours talking and setting up cameras and taking pictures of the magnificent and towering Roark Bluff as it appeared out of the thick fog. Most of the students thought little of splashing into the river and crossing to the other side to get a picture - hum, I wonder where they got that spirit from?! Eventually bright sunshine had burned off all the fog and the painted limestone bluff was reflected clearly in the calm waters of the Buffalo River below. We spent the rest of the day in our canvas gallery classroom processing their images and making some really fine prints. Bedfords Camera in Fayetteville has loaned us a new Canon Pixma-Pro One printer to use during these workshops, and the prints it is producing are really quite stunning - due of course to the great photography of the students! We also ate a bit of BBQ and my lovely bride's famous homemade Cloudland Oatmeal Cookies - fresh hot out of the oven!
I've been trying to get down to Hawksbill Crag this spring to photograph the rising Milky Way and today seemed like the perfect chance - I needed to have no moon and exceptionally-clear skies, something that does not happen very often. I was up and out at 2:30am and hiked in the darkness down to the Crag - bushwhacking through some pretty thick brush most of the way (the old trail from the Faddis Cabin has been closed off now for more than a year and is no longer available for use), but it was mostly downhill or level and so was pretty easy - always a treat for me to be out at night with so many stars above for company!.
When I arrived at the Crag I carried on a conversation with what I think was a young man who was camped there - he was standing next to his campfire. Normally this would be a good thing as I love to see other folks out in the middle of the night enjoying our great outdoors. The truth is that I was horrified by this - not only was camping at Hawksbill Crag illegal, but the moron had built a campfire ON THE CRAG!!! I have no authority and was powerless to do anything about this. No doubt there was no bad intent by this guy and his young lady friend, but sometimes common sense should prevail in such matters - DUH.
I continued on to my normal shooting location and set up my camera gear and started taking pictures. The Milky Way had risen in the east and was arching over the Crag just like I had hoped. For some reason there was almost no light pollution along the horizon - I can't explain this at all - just a faint glow, not a BRIGHT glow. I had planed and worked towards this moment for a couple of months - sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night and see a vision of the very scene that was before - I wonder if I also dreamed about it? No doubt I have been thinking about this for many years. And so it was upon me.
I did a series of long (10-15-second) exposures using a 14mm lens, f2.8 and ISO 6400 - this seems to be the best combination that works for me and records the Milky Way the way I see it (with longer exposures the stars will begin to streak, with lower ISO or higher f-stops there won't be as many stars recorded (or when there is a moon, or when the sky is not really clear like it was early this morning - a lot of ducks have to get all lined up for this to work properly! There are several different cameras made in the last few years that can record a scene like this (most cameras cannot though), including those from Nikon, Canon, and Sony - I have no affiliation with any brand and I purchase and use what are the best tools for me at the time (no endorsements nor recommentations to others). There is only one available that has a very high-resolution sensor that I require for making large prints, and that is the new Nikon (I'm sure the others will follow suit, but right now Nikon is the only one).
I spent an hour and a half taking pictures - the very same picture over and over and over again - tweaking the exposure and focus to make absolutely certain I got the picture I needed - heck I may never be able to do this again. The campfire over on the Crag slowly dulled down to just glowing embers - thankfully they did not stoke the fire while I was there.
I have found over the years of doing this type of night photography that it is almost impossible to take a long exposure like this of the clear night sky without getting at least one or two shooting stars in the frame - most of the time you have to zoom in to 100% pixel view on your computer to see them, but they are there. I suspect there are actually hundreds and hundreds of shooting stars like this every night - I frequently see dozens an hour if I just go out and look for them. That fact that one of the named "meteor showers" was going on during the night was really of no concern to me - I had read the best place to see them was on the opposite side of the mountain from where I was standing, and that was fine with me since I did not want to get any extra shooting stars in the frame - in fact I normally clone them out if they are too noticeable. I was there to shoot the Crag and the Milky Way and not shooting stars.
But then right at the beginning of one of my last exposures - about 4am - I happen to be over at my camera bag a few feet from the camera doing something and realized that the ground was getting LIGHTER. What? I figured the guy had put a big pile of brush on the camp fire, but when I looked up I saw one of the longest and most intense shooting stars I'd ever seen streaking across the sky in front of the Milky Way - and right through the middle of my 15-second picture - HOLY COW!!! (I have no idea if this particular shooting star came from the Lyrid "shower" or not.) These things almost always happen when the camera is not taking a picture. I guess all of my years of wanting, months and weeks of planning, and hours of working finally had paid off - although to most folks it was simply "luck." I will just smile to myself when I hear that.
On my hike out a little while later I had to pass within two feet of the tent that was set up next to the Crag - they pitched their tent right next to the trail. Hum. Someone inside must have heard my footsteps - I could hear all sorts of commotion going on, and I don't think it was a good thing. I believe they awoke and thought the Buffalo Bigfoot himself was upon them. I just snickered to myself and hiked on in the darkness. (There is in fact a message on our answering machine right now from a reporter in Joplin who wants an interview about Bigfoot - I'm not around the phone much and hardly ever get the chance to return phone messages - EMAIL is always the best way.)
It was still mostly dark when I got home although the break of day was not far off - since I was already wide awake I drove to the other end of the mountain and wandered out into a large pasture that a friend owns and set up shop near a lone pine tree. The Milky Way had risen above the pine and that view also was quite spectacular. There is a quietness, and a stillness, and a starkness to scenes like this - makes you understand quite clearly that we are just a tiny spec in the universe. WOW!
The stars were fading and giving way to bright (yet still dark) blue skies as dawn was beginning to happen. I hiked to a nearby barn in a smaller meadow and took a few photos of it - mostly to use as reference for future star parties with my camera!
I made a quick trip home to have a look at the photos and did a quick process of the image with the long shooting star, then I packed up a different camera and headed off to shoot early-morning light from on top of a tall bluff. This was the eight time I'd been to this spot in the past couple of months - still hoping to get the perfect light and the perfect picture. It was full daylight and getting hot by the time I reached the car for the drive back home for breakfast. It had been a glorious several hours of work and nature and admiration for the heavens and the earth. And then it hit me - today was EARTH DAY! It is great to have a special day to honor our earth, but I'm hopeful that everyone will pay tribute to the land we walk on, the water we drink and recreate in, and the air we breath, each and every day that we draw breaths. Do something extra-good for Momma Nature today - and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that......
Here is the Milky Way standing tall just as the dawn of a new EATH DAY breaks...(there are at least five shooting stars in this picture)
HERE is a report from a local visotir center today about the morons at the Crag: A visitor said she hiked to the Crag and there was smoke coming from the bluff area beneath Haley’s falls. She said she passed a group of boys on their way out caring coolers & camping gear. She thought they might have left their campfire smoldering…in this wind. She also said there was another camp site on top of the Crag with a rope going over the bluff, no one there but 2 logs still burning in their campfire.
04/27/12 We've had dark ominous clouds moving slowly by all morning - it looks and FEELS like rain, although it does not smell like it so there is no real downpour soon upon us. I suspect that even though they are predicting rain the next six days in a row that we probably won't get much since we need it so bad! But I'll take anything we can get. The landscape does remain rich and moist and radiant with fresh greens of springtime, although some scenes are easing on over into that monotone green all over - about a month early.
It also FEELS quite odd outside, like there is SOMETHING out there lurking in the thick brush. The light is just wonderful actually, and I should be out taking pictures somewhere but I am trying to catch up from being gone all week - have a photo workshop tomorrow and then I will be back on the road again so today is my only day to catch up, or at least try to. Anyway, Lucy especially feels like something is not quite amiss outside, and I suspect she smells it too. Kennie has been catching what he considers the largest bear he has seen in a while on one of his game cameras nearby - and he says the tracks are those of a giant bear. Could be the big bear is lurking around here just waiting for the chance to run in and grab something. It has been SO GREAT this past month to have Joseph living here while we've been gone, and even when we are out and about for short trips he has been here to watch over things. He kind of drifts from cabin to cabin since our neighbors have enlisted him to watch over their place too.
A couple of other wildlife notes of late. When I was up at Benny's the other day we saw hundreds of HONEY BEES working his red clover patch. We've not seen honey bees here in a very long while, and it is GREAT to see them back again! And I spotted a big bull elk up on our mountain last week that was already in velvet, with horns at least a foot long already. He will be one really big boy by July! (they drop their antlers each spring and regrow them)
I went on a nighttime photo binge this week, and went three days and nights without any sleep - well, except for a cat nap now and then during the day. I left here at 10pm the other night and spent the night trying to capture a star scene on a creek that I've been trying to get for a while. Only problem was that there was a van parked right where I had wanted to shoot, and I did not know if there were folks sleeping inside or if it was just a van that was parked for some reason. I tried to be as quiet as I could and let the rush of the nearby running stream hide my camera sounds. But every time I took a picture it seemed like the entire place LIT UP when the review picture came up on the LCD screen - man those were BRIGHT out there in the darkness! I worked that scene for more than five hours as the Milky Way rose in the southern sky - it was a striking scene, but I was not entirely happy with the results.
I napped in the van for about 30 minutes and then motored onto another location in search of photos. The light was so harsh right after sunrise that I ended up not taking a single photo all day. I did hike into another area that I wanted to photograph at night - just to check the scene out and make plans for the night. Then I hiked out, drove to another location, and hiked in to make more plans for another scene. I had not slept in two nights already, so got another 30-minute catnap in there somewhere, and I think a third one as well - so an hour and a half of sleep - better than no sleep!
About an hour before dark I hiked into one of the locations I had been to and made final plans for the nighttime shoot. I took a few photos as night began to creep in and stars appeared - the crescent moon and Venus were low in the western sky, right behind my main subject, which was silhouetted against it all. I took a lot of pictures as the sky got darker and more stars came out - it was a MAGICAL experience! Eventually the moon disappeared below the horizon, followed a while later by Venus, and then it was just me and all those stars.
At one point I sat down and tried to grab a few more minutes of nap time while waiting for the Milky Way to rise, but I kept hearing SOMETHING walking around below me. I could not quite figure out what it was but I hoped I was in a location where a bear might not be able to reach me. In the end I gave up and went back to shooting - the questions about the sound were just enough to keep me wide awake!
A while later we got a call from a friend who said the Aurora was glowing a bit on the northern horizon - something that rarely happens in Arkansas. I was rather excited, especially since I was already up and out in the wilderness with my camera gear. Only problem was that I was on the southern side of a very large mountain, and I would have to hike out and drive elsewhere in order to get a northern view. I had planned to continue shooting long into the night where I was, but figured the Aurora was more important, so I packed up and hiked out to the van. Oh yes, and I discovered what the spooky noise was - a small waterfall that was echoing across the canyon!
I drove and drove and drove and found a number of great open views to the north, but never did see anything more than a glow on the horizon, which could have easily just been city light pollution and not much Aurora. I'll get a really good dose of the northern lights this fall when I'm above the Arctic Circle shooting them so I was not too disappointed.
Since I was out I decided to return to the spot of my previous night's attempted star photo, and this time I got there at the right time and spent a couple of hours shooting the Milky Way rising and I think got the perfect photo that I was after all these years - YIPPIE! And I had time to drive to the 3rd location and do some test shots for that spot as well. With my belly full of coffee (I found a small Kureg coffee maker that only takes 700 watts of power and so I can run it off the car battery via an adapter - YIPPIE!), I felt safe about driving to the other location. However when I arrived there my three days and nights without sleep had begun to catch up with me and I felt I was a little unsafe in that condition to be standing on the edge of a very tall bluff, especially in the dark. So I set my alarm and got about 45 minutes of sleep. Then the alarm screamed GET UP! And so I did.
A short hike later and I was standing at the top of that tall bluff setting up my camera gear. But dawn was about to break on the horizon behind me and some of the nighttime stars had already begun to fade away. This was only a test anyway, and I spent the next hour shooting some test images, and also got to be there when the sun rose and lit up the scene - a picture I was not expecting, but I think was a good one. I will return to this spot sometime during the next dark phase of the moon and try to capture the scene I had envisioned.
I got back to the van and got two full hours of sleep before waking around 9am. Wow, that was the longest sleep I'd had all week and I felt great! So it was off to my next shooting location, a four hour drive away. I stopped and shot a few pictures along the way, but then decided to motor onto another location after I got to where I was going - sometimes the scene just doesn't move me, and I have to move on.
A Stone County pasture
I ended the day without taking any more photos, but did get to camp at one of my old favorite campsites, Gunner Pool along Sylamore Creek. It was pretty crowded for the middle of the week, but it was the same old lovely campground and a beautiful spot to be. I took a pill and woke up TEN HOURS later - yippie!
My plan for the next morning was to take a tour in Blanchard Caverns and get a photo for the new picture book. They normally have a special photographers tour but are no longer doing those, so the only way I could get a picture would be on a normal cave tour. Since they don't allow tripods on these normal tours, I would have to stretch the camera controls to their max to get anything good at all, and I had my doubts going in but I had to give it a try.
Much to my great surprise and delight, our tour guide was an old friend of mine, Arnold Hearn. Arnold is pushing 90, yet is one of the smartest folks I know. I've been through this cave literally hundreds and hundreds of times, and I've got to tell you that Arnold gave the absolute best guided cave tour I've ever been on - he was wonderful! The group asked him some difficult questions and he laid out the answers like he'd been thinking and researching them for a long while. I was quite impressed. Also impressed with the cave itself - even now with almost 40 years of constant public viewing, it looked fresh and beautiful.
Arnold gave me every opportunity to get the picture that I needed - which was easy with a very small tour group - but I was not able to get the quality of photo I really wanted to put into my picture book (as a way of advertising for
Blanchard - they really NEED more visitors). So I'm not sure what I'm going to do about their picture since I don't know of any way to get back into the cave other than a normal tour. Oh well. It was GREAT to see the old place again, and most enjoyable to listen to Arnold Hearn for an hour!
I made a detour on my way home and met up with my lovely bride and we had dinner with friends in Fayetteville. It was very late that night before I got home after being on the road all week. I got several good photos for the book I hope - I've not had a chance to process any of them yet. I'll spend the rest of today trying to catch up with-mail and other office chores, then will get rolling again tomorrow with the workshop and then off to another location on Sunday.
Waterfalls are pretty low right now and we really do need some rain - if you need a waterfall fix then I suggest ones that are low on the hillside and in main drainages - like Falling Water Falls and Kings River Falls - both have beautiful emerald pools that are always great too. Otherwise this is some of the very best hiking weather on the planet and I hope you can get out and enjoy a trail somewhere this weekend - ENJOY!
04/29/12 Aspen and I took an early-morning stroll this morning out to the mailbox. Seemed like daylight was slow in coming - perhaps just a lazy Sunday for Momma Nature. The temp was warm but the air with slight breezes was refreshing, and filled with the sweet aroma of wild roses - oh how delightful! The land we were hiking on was somewhat of a tunnel through dense green trees and rose bushes, with a bit of light filtering in. It was a pastoral scene that reminded me of so many French paintings.
And then all of a sudden I looked up and there was a critter in the air at the far end of the tunnel - a pair of giant eyes coming right at me. It was a large owl, and I don't think he even made a single wing beat the entire second or two it took for him to reach me. Those big eyes were fixed right on mine, and I stopped in my tracks. Just before he was about to run right into me, he flared up his giant wings and went over me, but dropped a package in the process. It was a half-eaten rabbit!
Aspen was not impressed with the kill, but I was with the aerobatics and beauty of the owl. My heart skipped a beat in that moment of excitement I'm sure. So many wonderful things like this happen when you spend time in the woods, and lots of them are here and gone in a flash. Seems like the older I get the more I appreciate these moments.
We had another wonderful photo workshop yesterday, spending the early hours of the day exploring along the base of Roark Bluff and also one of the old Villines cabins near Ponca. We had folks literally from age 18-80 in the group, and even though they all were at the same locations you should have seen how many different pictures everyone took - all their prints were completely unique, and quite beautiful. We only have one more photo workshop this spring - next weekend - and I think we also have one spot available in it if you know someone who wants to improve their photography by leaps and bounds. We might schedule one this summer, and probably will have some in October as well.
I'm off to go splash in the swamps this week, high waterfalls finally have dropped enough for some key roads to be back open again. I love swamps, and hope to be able to wander around in them during moonlit nights if the clouds clear away long enough. I have not seen much in the way of snakes up here in the mountains yet this year, but I have a feeling some will be waiting for me down in the swamps! Check back on Wednesday to see if I found any - or any found me! In the meantime, HAPPY APRIL TO YOU ALL!