CLOUDLAND CABIN JOURNAL - May 2013 Journal Archives
PART A - May 1-13
Cloudland remote Cabin Cam, May 13, 4:50am - the Milky Way and Buffalo River - HAPPY MONDAY!
Journal updated Sunday the 12th
Print Of The Week - #20 - Baby Black Bear - ON SALE!
05/02/13 The wind blew all day yesterday from the east, and that generally means WEATHER of some sort is moving in. I was up early this morning and was surprised to see the moon out, although it was mostly shrouded in clouds, with a sea of clouds covering the canyons below. I raced to set up my camera and tripod and took a couple of quick pictures before the moon disappeared. We may not see that moon nor sunshine for a while, which is a great thing for me - we really need some RAIN! Of course, they are calling for snow tonight and early tomorrow, so I guess the moisture will arrive in different forms.
Critter update. I saw a couple of bull elk in Boxley the other day, and they were already in "velvet" - which seems kind of early. Then last night as I was taking a shower, my lovely bride burst open the shower door screaming - WE HAVE ELK!!! She had seen a pair of bull elk near the edge of our property, including one bull that already had a really big spread of velvet. With antlers already that large so early, this is going to be one monster elk! We've never had elk on this part of the mountain before, so t was exciting news.
When I was out early this morning trying to find something to take a picture of, I also saw the elk that Pam had seen, and there were actually four or five in the herd, including that one monster bull.
Speaking of elk, just FYI, the highway department has begun construction of four "pullouts" along the highway in Boxley Valley - looks like at least a couple of them are going to be quite long. These are being built specifically to help minimize the dangerous traffic congestion that happens during the elk rut. So if you visit Boxley this next few months, be sure to slow down and watch out for the construction - supposed to be complete by fall.
One funny note about traffic. My lovely bride got run off of our little Cave Mountain Road a couple of days ago by an idiot driver, and she ended up in the ditch. We discovered later that a piece of her car got torn off during the event. When I went down to find it yesterday, I could not, buy Pam came along just a few minutes later and walked right on over and picked it up. Her car is white, and I was looking for a white car part in the ditch. Silly me - just like most cars who live up here, her "white" car part was actually "mud" colored, and blended in with the mud, ha, ha!
Most folks are dreading the weather that will be with us the next few days, but I LOVE it, and plan to spend most daylight hours out in the wilderness somewhere. I continue to work at a fever pace trying to complete pictures for my newest picture book, which is as yet untitled. I'll make quick posts here as I get the chance, and share a photo or two along the way. In the meantime, a new month is upon us, and I think it is going to be a TERRIFIC time to be in the woods up here in the High Ozarks - ENJOY! (and watch out for those elk)
Here is a photo of our little Aspen in concrete - he is always watching us - just like he did when he lived here - and is waiting to go on a hike!
05/03/13 We woke up to the sound of sleet early this morning - all the roofs were white, and covered with up to an inch of a sleet/snow mixture (some other surfaces were white as well, but not the entire landscape). I don't know if this qualifies as official snow or not though - it is more pellet-like and less flake-like. Kind of weird either way.
I spent much of yesterday out roaming around - mostly driving around trying to figure out where to go shoot. It was one of those days where I could have gone in any direction and found something interesting to shoot, which turned out to be a problem. I make this mental list of potential shooting locations before I leave the cabin, but end up changing that list - sometimes minute-by-minute - as I drive along, and/or as I find other locations that might interest me.
At one point yesterday, after I had already been to several locations and did not find suitable subjects, I came to a T road intersection - I had to turn either right or left. I sat there with the car idling for what seemed like an eternity, and finally just pulled off and shut the car down - I could not make up my mind. The skies were overcast with a heavy mist coming down - IDEAL shooting conditions for me! But there were so many different places to go! I guess my brain go so overwhelmed with the possibilities that I - I went to sleep, sitting in the front of the car. Guess I was kind of tired to boot. Anyway, I woke up several minutes later, wide awake, and with a location clearly in my head - yippie! I took off and drove for an hour and hiked in and found a beautiful spot to take pictures, just as the mist turned to rain. I use a special umbrella that is attached to me big tripod to keep the camera gear dry.
A while later at another location, where I had been shooting a waterfall and cascade scene for about an hour, as I was driving off I remembered that I had seen a little shooting star wildflower out of the corner of my eye (while standing in the chilly creek shooting the waterfall). So I turned around and drove back to the trailhead, packed up my macro gear, then hiked back into the waterfall, waded the creek, and found the little wildflower on the hillside that I had seen. I set up my light tent to try and help stop the wind from moving the flower, made a few test exposures and did a focus check, and then waited. The wind was blowing just enough to keep the flower from being perfectly still - and any movement in the flower would ruin the photo, so I waited. And waited. And waited.
I stood there in a half-bent over position staring at the flower and trying to decide if it had actually stopped moving or not, when it suddenly hit me. I usually never get to have a moment like this while out working, but I actually STOPPED working for a few minutes, sat down on a rock next to the flower, and looked over with pure enjoyment at the WATERFALL I had just spent an hour photographing. You see, when I'm taking pictures of something it is indeed WORK for me, and there are a lot of work things going on at the same time that my mind has to concentrate on, and I really don't get to enjoy the item I am taking a picture of - I find most folks have trouble with this concept, but it is true - taking pictures of even the most amazing things is still work for me. But I was set up to shoot the wildflower, there was nothing I could do to stop the wind, so I was able to direct my attention to and soak up some of the great beauty of the waterfall for a few minutes. WOW, it WAS spectacular! And I had the wind to thank for giving me the time to enjoy.
That wind did finally slow down just enough for my little light tent to stop the flower movement completely, and I got my picture. Sometimes the things in life that hamper our progress (like the wind) are the very things that enable us to enjoy life - it is all in how we react to them.
05/04/13 We had snowfall all day yesterday, some of it heavy at times, up to two inches on the ground. By the end of the day though, most everything had melted. We had rain early this morning, that changed over to sleet and ice, and now at daylight it is back to heavy snow once again and some of the trees are changing color over to white. Kind of fun looking at all the changes in the landscape happening so quickly.
I spent a bit of time yesterday hunting wildflowers and other objects on the forest floor that would show the juxtaposition of spring and winter - crawling around on my hands and knees like an infant! I found and photographed a wild iris that was deep-blue (and white of course), a really neat snow-capped Jack-In-The-Pulpit, and some ferns with a bit of snow for a special graphic quality. The biggest surprise came when I literally stumbled onto a morel mushroom that had been knocked over by the snow. I was crawling around under a heavy cover of thick brush looking for some beautiful showy orchids that normally bloom there, when lo and behold I found the mushroom. Talk about weird! For some reason these morel mushrooms - in snow or normal - seem to create a great deal of discussion on facebook. The the picture of the three tiny morels I posted last month have received the second highest views of any picture I've ever posted; and the little "shroomcycle" that I posted yesterday quickly shot up to more than 10,000 views in just a couple of hours. I'm allergic to, and hate the taste of mushrooms, but I do love the look of these guys.
I'm headed out to a couple of locations today in search of interesting scenes for the newest picture book I'm working on, and I'm hoping that the snow melts and we get a bit more rain. I LOVE wet and lush landscapes! And I hope that you do too...
05/05/13 We had heavy snow coming down again early yesterday morning that covered the ground. I packed my camera gear and hiked on over to Hawksbill Crag only to find that the snow line ended just above the Crag - not a flake of snow anywhere to be found. So I hiked back home without ever taking my camera pack off.
I set out for another location but got sidetracked - I could see there was really heavy snow the higher up I got, so what else could I do but head for the highest point in all the Ozarks, the Buffalo Fire Tower hill that was only a few miles away from our cabin. Sure enough, the lush forest had been dumped on pretty good, and some places had a blanket of 4-5 inches of snow. In fact some of the trees were covered with that much snow - it stuck to everything! So much stuck that many scenes just looked like a normal beautiful winter scene with no green showing at all. It was foggy, and I shot a few pictures of the ghostly fire tower high up in the fog and surrounded by all that snow, and then later found the scene that I was looking for - a graphic shot of the forest with snow and lots of green. Later when I had a look at this image blown up really big, the details of even the tiny leaves was just amazing - but you have to see it HUGE in order to see all the detail. But you can see the overall design of the scene in the little image here.
Then I headed towards my main target for the morning, a wild area in the headwaters of the Little Buffalo area near Nail. Snow and sleet continued to fall at the lower elevations, and the temp hovered around 32 degrees, but there was not much snow on the ground and none on the trees. That was fine with me - I was after some lush green stream scenes.
As soon as I plunged into the thick forest jungle, I somehow knew I'd made a mistake. A combination of factors - including some of the worst ice storm damage I'd seen since the big storm many years ago, and the incredibly thick thorn and other bushes that had grown in solid ever since - made my going really slow and frustrating. For every step forward, I had to make ten or twenty steps up and around, or down and back up and around. There were times that it was all so thick that I was stopped cold, and had trouble figuring out which way to go. I ended up crawling on my belly a time or two - that was the only way to proceed. Rarely could I see more than 10-15 feet in any direction. All the while, the thorn bushes were ripping through the thin layer of pants that I was wearing - the nylon pants were tough and never ripped themselves, but my skin underneath sure did!
It seemed to take an eternity for me to get down the slope and to the creek destination I was headed for. By that time, I was soaked to the bone, ripped and bleeding, and kind of demoralized. And my fingers were getting numb. Normally my feet get that way first, and I can keep on trucking. But I soon realized that there were so many things I could not do with numb fingers - like opening a water bottle, working the controls on the camera, opening or closing a zipper. I felt like a little kid that got caught out in a storm, only there was no mommy to cry out for.
I reached the low point in my travel plan (in more ways than one!), and the climb back up and out would be a difficult one that would require a bit of dexterity in order to make. I did manage to take a single picture down in the bottom (a beautiful lush creek and waterfall scene), but it was getting to the point where I was not sure if the effects of hypothermia were beginning to affect me or not, and I began to get concerned. I could have stopped and built a fire under the bluff and try to dry things out and warm myself up, but I wasn't thinking too clearly and just kept trying to move around and find another picture (which I never did).
I got to thinking about at what point I would have to face the fact that I might be getting too old for this sort of thing (I'm pushing 60) - going into difficult terrain under tough conditions with a really heavy camera pack? I'm constantly on the move to push myself into these kind of places just to try and keep up with - or stay ahead of - the pack of other, tougher, younger photographers that keep nipping at my heels. My pictures need to be better, and different, and magical, in order for you to want to buy them, especially when most of the rest are available for cheap, or even free. That day will come at some point, but I'll keep pushing for a while yet.
Then I made the decision to abort the mission and just start climbing out - gosh I HATED to do that since it was so beautiful down there, but I didn't really want to disturb the wilderness with a campfire, yet I really needed to warm up and get my fingers working again. So I figured that the UMP needed to climb out should increase my blood circulation enough to reach those fingers. The only problem was that I had trouble zipping up my camera bag, and then getting it buckled around me! I also tried to have a snack, but could not open the bags - I had to rip them open with my teeth - I'm sure it all looked kind of funny, and I did have a laugh or two.
And so I started up. There was one critical point in the climb out where I had to boost myself up over a five-foot cliff, which was on the side of a much larger cliff. I had to reach way up and grab ahold of a small tree, and somehow I found enough energy inside to complete the move - something that probably would have been easy at any other time, but my mental and physical energy had been drained by this point. But I made it, and when I stood up at the top, I immediately started to regain feeling in my fingers. I plotted a new route out of the canyon, and literally within a few minutes I was standing on a road that would lead me back to my car. WOW, that seemed so easy! I frequently find that going up steep hills are easier than going down steep hills. And now I know a way to get back into that canyon that has virtually no ice damage - since we'll have ice damage for many years to come, that's a good thing to know.
When I reached the car I was still soaked and nearly frozen through and through, so I decided to abort my next location. I stopped by the Nail store and got an ice cream bar, then drove home - ice cream always seems to pick me up, even when I'm freezing!
I spent several hours drying all my stuff out and had some left over lasagna - lasagna also seems to pick me up, even when I look and smell like a soaked puppy dog! Then my lovely bride got home from a trip into town - she's even better than ice cream and lasagna!
I packed all my gear up and headed out again to spend the last hour of the day at a location that would be a much easier hike - only a mile and a half down an old road. This was an area in the headwaters area that I had not shot in for quite a while. The light was soft and luminous and beautiful, and the creek was running well and clear. I decided to shift my photographic mind a little, and decided to take only one lens, a polarizing filter, and nothing else. And I would pretend that I was using a 4x5 view camera with sheets of very expensive film - only TEN sheets of film. So I headed into this wonderful scenic area, with one lens and only TEN shots.
While I normally always try to compose carefully and spend a great deal of time thinking about the scenes that I take pictures of, I would really have to concentrate and study for each scene I came to on this trip. I typically take 50 or even 100 images of the same scene, trying different angles, lenses, and exposures before getting an image that I like. But now I only had one shot - I wanted to photograph ten different scenes. And added bit of pressure was that it was the very end of the day, and I would only have about an hour of light - which included the hike in.
I passed up the very first and almost certain beautiful scene - I wanted to move deeper into the mental process of becoming one with the scene, and that particular one was a no brainer and an obvious choice, so I hiked on by.
I spent the next hour in joyful bliss, working my way upstream and finding one amazing lush and beautiful scene after another - and taking just a single exposure of each. By the time I took shot #10, it was nearly dark and I could hardly see. But the hike out was easy along the old road, and much of it was uphill, and you know how I love to hike uphill - it just seems so easy! (all 10 shots turned out well, but I'll probalby only use one or two in the new picture book)
My mind started to play tricks on me though - or at least my eyes did. I could tell that as soon as I stopped looking through the camera and started looking at the way home, my eyes got really blurry, and of course it was pretty dark. But somewhere along the route I could swear I saw someone up ahead on the road waving at me. What? When I took a few steps and looked closer, I saw nothing but road. A few minutes later, there it was again - someone in the road waving at me. Then I thought I heard voices, or some sort of sounds. I can generally out-hike and catch up to anyone, so I put it into high gear and hauled buns. I saw the waving again, and then nothing. It had been a long day. Then finally I stopped dead in my tracks and burst out loud laughing - there was a whitetailed deer running along in the road ahead, and waving his bright-white tail at me. ALWAYS keep an open mind and bit of humor inside when in the woods, and be ready to laugh at yourself...
05/06/13 It was one of those scenes yesterday that I could see coming, and every step I took it got better and better. I finally found the right spot to shoot from, the only issue being my tripod was set up on a large slanted rock that disappeared into a deep hold of water, and two of the tripod legs were sitting on the rock underwater. No problem - my tripod sets in the water quite a bit. I spent about ten minutes shooting the scene, each frame I tried to slide the tripod down the rock a little farther so that I could move the camera position just a little tiny bit farther out into the creek - sometimes just an inch or two will make a huge difference in the perspective of the photograph, and I think I got it just right. (It's the new Print Of The Week photo)
Then all of a sudden I felt a tug - like someone grabbed my arm and pulled me towards the water. Both I, and my camera and tripod were headed into that deep water. I instinctively grabbed the tripod, and instead of just plunging into the water (ruining my very expensive camera and lens), I pushed off from the rock with the one foot that remained on the slanted rock.
My push was enough to propel me and my gear out over the deepest part of the pool, and I landed, feet first and upright, in about thigh-deep water. The camera gear did not go under, YIPPIE COYOTE!!!
When I crawled out of the creek and onto the opposite bank, I looked up and realized that I had entered another world. There were GIANT beech trees towering all around me, hardly any underbrush, and GIANT blocks of sandstone, all lined up along the creek. The forest floor and the big stone blocks were covered with lush green moss, with ferns and other little lush green plants sticking up out of the moss. It looked like a gnome or the Hobbit would step our from behind one of those rocks at any moment. Hum, I wondered if one of them had actually reached out across the creek and pulled me towards them?
And I wandered on into this new world, leaving my camera gear behind, and was transfixed for the next ten minutes as I explored. I was able to climb onto one of the giant stone rocks and got a terrific view up and down the creek. And I was looking down onto several aromatic umbrella magnolia blooms - it was a sensory delight!
The light was fading quickly in my little hobbit world, and I wanted to take a picture of one of those magnolia blooms, but the rest of my camera gear was back on the other side of the creek, including my macro lens. So I had to wade the creek and get my camera gear, then wade it again for the blossom picture. The water didn't seem as cold as before - sometimes that happens when you enter water repeatedly - it seems to get warmer, but it is really just your blood getting used to it.
I remembered this Hobbit world from many years ago when I used to go explore this valley with the sole purpose of exploration - in the early days of Cloudland when I would take off for the day without a camera and just wander around. I remember finding a big old beech tree like the ones I was standing under, that had an inscription dated on the first day of spring, 1925. I need to spend more time doing just that - exploring for the fun of it. But this trip was photographic in nature, so I snapped back to reality and spent the last little bit of fading light shooting the magnolia blossom. Then I waded the creek a final time and began the long and steep journal back UP the hill home.
Back in those days I could climb from the creek up to our cabin in 17 minutes flat without stopping. It is a 700 foot elevation gain, most of it being nearly straight up through thick forest. Before I even reached the top of the first "bench" on the way up yesterday I had to stop and "blow" and catch my breath - you know your heart is beating when it is louder than anything else! With every step I took the forest grew darker and darker - the sun had already gone down a while ago. When I moved, I made good progress, just sort of weaving my way on up and UP, through tangled brush and downed giant trees. My eyes started to get blurry, but it was easy to know the way - just keep going UP and I would eventually run into the bluffline.
The only issue I really had was the fact that I kept seeing BEARS out there in the darkness. I had seen a number of bears on this steep hillside before, including one that I had to fight off with a hiking stick. But each one I saw this evening yesterday eventually materialized into something else - mostly very dark rocks or tree stumps - amazing how many bears you can spot at the end of a long day in the deep, dark woods when your mind wanders more than your feet!
I finally made it to the top and stepped up onto the back deck of our cabin, huffing and puffing, but happy as a clam that it had only taken me about 30 minutes to make the climb. There was a glow coming from inside the cabin - it was my lovely bride having just arrived from a quick trip up north to visit her daughter. Hi honey I'm home! I was directed to the shower, and was thankful for the hot water...
05/07/13 I woke up at 3:10 this morning, just in time to turn off the alarm when it started to ding at 3:15. By about 4 I was standing in a very wet pasture trying to get my night vision eyes to wake up. The Milky Way was rising and I wanted to see about getting a photo of it behind a friend's barn up here near our cabin. The universe was standing up tall and towering over the barn, and the composition looked pretty good. When I started to light the barn during a long exposure, I realized that I had awakened the beast, or rather two of them! When my light hit the barn, there were two pair of RED eyes staring back at me. And those eyes started to make a bit of noise. I knew it was the big bulls I had seen a few days before - YIKES!!! (they spend the night in the barn) You would not believe how fast I was able to complete the photographs of the Milky Way and barn, and then get the heck out of there and over the fence! I'm sure they are very friendly bulls, but when disturbed in the middle of the night by some large object with blinking lights, you just don't know how they are going to react.
Dawn was breaking when I arrived back at the cabin, and the scene from the back deck looking out over the wilderness was just beautiful - a soft rose-colored sky, deep emerald lush forest below, and a winding white river of fog filling the bottom of the canyon. I ran and grabbed a different camera from the car, and while I only had a few seconds to set up and shoot the scene before the pastel colors faded, at least I was not under threat of attack by a mad bull!
Just FYI, this image above, and most of the others that are posted here, plus many thousands more, are all available for sale as prints or to use on your web page (for a small fee) - see our online galleries for selections and price info.
05/08/13 We've gone a little batty here. The other evening when I was standing out on the deck taking pictures, I noticed a LOT more bats than usual - great to see them all, as we LOVE bats here! Each one can eat up to his/her weight in bugs each day, and that is really good news since their food includes mosquitoes, nats, and other little biting bugs. Yesterday when I started to set up a tripod on the back deck I heard an odd noise, and then started to see bats flying around and landing in a nearby tree - this was in the middle of the day. What the heck? Then I noticed the bats were coming out from under a roof panel, and I realized there were dozens, if not hundreds of bats that had taken up residence in there. I'm not sure how my standing on the deck next to this location upset them, but somehow it did, and I apologized to them and then moved away to let them slumber in peace. Did I mention that we LOVE bats? The do so much good for mankind. And we are thrilled they have taken up residence. Come on boys and girls, get FAT on our bugs, thank you very much! So now if you happen to hear my lovely bride saying something about me being batty, you will know she is not always talking about me...(although that would still aply in many cases)
05/12/13 HAPPY MOM'S DAY! None of us would be here without you! It is a cool 37 degrees here early this morning, but looks like it will be a bright and beautiful blue-sky day. We had the last of our photo workshops yesterday, and had just enough clouds floating around to make for perfect light for our early-morning shoot (we met up before 6am). The remainder of the day was spent in the dark classroom processing files, and munching on Pam's homemade Cloudland oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (they have now been certified as a health food).
A couple of days ago Lucy and I took off on an adventure into the Ozark JUNGLE in search of wildflowers, blooming magnolias, and waterfalls. There were big storm clouds overhead, but the forest was drying out a bit from some rains that had passed through the night before - we didn't get much rain out of the big system that dropped flood waters in the northwest corner of the state, in face we got less than a half inch. Anyway, the forest was lush and THICK and at times pretty tough to get through.
We made our way past the showy orchids site (none blooming), past the yellow lady's-slipper site (only one blooming), past some azaleas (none blooming, but will be soon!), and then we scrambled down the bluff alongside Stair-Step Falls, which was flowing pretty well. I had to help Lucy down the 20-25 foot tall route on the side of the bluff - she was a real trooper and allowed me to grab her and haul her down some of the steps that were too tall for her.
Once at the bottom of the falls we turned and started to make our way along the bench that heads up into Dug Hollow towards some waterfalls and a large wild azalea patch. Gosh darn it was SO THICK on that bench! So thick in fact that most of the time Lucy was out of sight. She is deaf, and so we have developed this system where she will fight through the mess ahead for a few steps, then stop and take a few steps back towards me to see if I am coming her way. It was so thick in this area that I could hardly see 15-20 feet in any direction. There was a lot of downed timber from that same old ice storm of years ago, now really grown up with underbrush and briars that were taller than me.
At one point - after I had just been down on my hands and knees to crawl under a downed tree - I stood up and saw a flash of black just off to my right, at out just inside the edge of my sight. When I started to make a step towards what I thought was Lucy (she has black fur), I saw a flash of what seemed like a WALL of black fur immediately to my left. And then I saw another flash of black fur directly in front of me - this one was Lucy. That meant that the other two bits of black fur were NOT Lucy. Uh oh.
The following all happened over the span of perhaps only 3-4 seconds, although it seemed like an eternity. I immediately realized that Lucy and I had stumbled into the middle of a momma bear and her cub - not a good place to be. Lucy was not looking at me, and she could not hear me if I called out to her, but I knew she was in danger as she was directly in between momma and the cub. I had one choice, and one choice only to save Lucy (bears do not like dogs, especially ones that have gotten in between them and their cub). So I STEPPED TOWARD Lucy in hopes that my movement would get her attention, although I was also putting myself even more in between momma and her cub at the same time - I could not think of anything else to do in that split-second that I had to decide what to do. All four of us were within a square of jungle that was less then 20 feet wide. And then I saw movement - the tiny bear cub ran right up a tree just a few feet from Lucy.
Lucy turned to look at me, and then I spun around and started to walk briskly away from the bears, hoping like heck that Lucy would follow me - and that the bear would not take a swipe at Lucy - or charge me - it would not have been much of a fight either way I'm afraid, and we would have lost.
I turned back towards Lucy and the bears, and was thrilled to see that Lucy had indeed started to follow me back out of the dangerous situation (and the little cubby bear was staring directly at me - just like the one in the photo that I had taken several years ago that is the current Print Of The Week - SO SWEET, but also so dangerous). But what about momma bear? I saw her moving - and holy C**P she was a MONSTER bear!!!!!!!
Lucy and I continued to retreat, but instead of charging us, she turned away to motion to a second cub, who went scampering up another tree - so there were two cubs, momma bear, Lucy, and I, all within that little patch of Ozark Jungle!
We quickly made our way back up the stair-step bluff and safely to the top. Whew, that was a relief! Just as I was moving away from the bluffline, I came upon a steaming GIANT pile of bear scat that was about a foot in diameter - easily the largest pile of black bear scat I had ever seen, and the "cylinder" size of the scat also indicated a very large bear. I have a feeling that the big momma bear and her cubs had been on top of the bluff and Lucy and I originally approached, and they too made their way down the stair-step bluffline and were actually trying to get away from us. But then as we approached their position in the jungle below the bluff, momma decided to take a stand - and send her cubs up into the tree while she took care of us.
I returned Lucy to the cabin, grabbed a can of bear spray, and returned to Dug Hollow to spend the next several hours in the lush forest, mostly sitting beside a small waterfall having a conversation with a group of ferns - they were happy and dancing all over the place, and I really needed them to settle down and hold still for my picture, which they eventually did. It turned out to be a delightful day in the wilderness, although I could have done without the bear drama!