Taken with an Phase One IQ100 @ 35mm LS lens, ISO 50 and circular polarizer for both sky and cutting glare on leaves.
This is the time I like to start working the Buffalo River, as fall is just around the corner, and as can be seen in this shot, is actually started on the Buffalo.
The Buffalo River at Roark Bluff is one of my favorite spots to photograph and I work it as often as I can, but the drive up and back has started to slow me down. I was hoping for a few clouds to help break up the sky and there were there, but only towards the far side. The sun was playing hide and seek most of the afternoon, and when the sun finally came out the wind started to blow ruining the reflection. There are a lot of spots on the Buffalo to catch a reflection but this is my favorite.
This was taken in one exposure, something I never could have done before with a Phase One CCD back, the 100MP CMOS chip does have some excellent range. This type of shot is one of the most difficult as you are working directly at the brightest part of the subject. This means that anything not illuminated by the sun (in this case the left side of the river) will be in deep shade. You want enough exposure to be able to pull this area up some and not leave it black, but you also have to be very care not to blow out the sky, especially the left side. The use of a polarizer was needed more for the glare on the leaves to the right. Without it the colors would not have been as nice and clean, you have to be careful when working such a scene to see that you keep the polarized effect as even as possible on your sky, so you may need to try a few exposures.
After waiting for almost an hour, the sun popped back from behind the clouds and the wind died down long enough for this shot.
Taken with a Phase One P45+ and 35mm F 3.5 lens, ISO 50, 2 exposures-one polarized and one non-polarized for reflections.
The Buffalo River has numerous bluffs along it’s entire length, but Big Bluff is the tallest at well over 550 feet tall from the river. Big Bluff is famous for the goat trail, which is a narrow shelf of rock that cuts across the middle Big Bluff. At a few points it’s barely 4 feet wide and the edge is straight off. Since the road down to Big Bluff from Hwy 21 was closed, you now have to hike down from the Compton Trail head and that is a major hike. The trail itself is at least 2 miles to the goat trail, and it’s all up hill on the way back. There is no water on the trail unless you happen go during a heavy rain so plan to bring some.
The best view is not from the the goat trail, but instead from the bottom of the bluff. Here in the fall you can catch some wonderful reflections along the river bank if the river is calm. On this day, I hiked in from Steel creek and waited for about 2 hours for the wind to die down. The wait was well worth it as the sunlight improved and the tress on the far bank were just lit up. It’s very interesting to note, that only the trees along the river were starting to turn and the trees up towards the top are still mainly green.
I used a Phase One P45+ back to take this photograph. I used a tripod mainly since I was going to bracket the shots. I wanted to use a polarizer to help cut the glare off the trees but I also knew that the polarizer would cut down on the reflections. So it was a simple thing to take two shots bracketing and then combine them later in Photoshop. This hike from Steel creek is a about 1.5 miles one way and you have to cross the Buffalo several times, so plan to make this trip on a low water day, or from a canoe.
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Taken with an Nikon D810, Nikon 14-24 lens @ 14mm F8, iso 64, 1/3 of a second in a single exposure.
This is one of those images that you have to work on a while, then come back to and work it some more and then again and again. I took this shot while on a sunset/night shoot with Chris Kennedy from Russellville. We were just setting up for the night, on 10/04/14, knowing that we were way to early for the maximum fall color display, however I wanted to work with the best moonlight for later on that evening. You can barely see some pretty strong color up on top of the bluff, and the trees on the right bank were showing a bit of yellow. I have been to this spot hundreds of times and sunsets here are hit and miss. I have one other shot that is similar taken over 2 years ago, where it was also dead calm and the clouds started to get illuminated by the sun.
On this evening it started out with nothing, then as the sun crept down the left side of the frame, a bunch of high clouds rolled in. I started immediately for a spot further down the river, where I know one of the best reflections can be taken from. You have to watch this spot when certain photographers are “teaching” as they will all line up here and block the river. However it was still a bit early for this particular photographer and his minions to flock down the river. Chris decided to stay up higher and go for a different shot, but I wanted the full bluff reflection. If there is no wind on the river the reflection here will be as sharp as looking in a mirror, which on this evening it was.
As the sun set, the light on the bluff and clouds just got better. The sun hit the far right side of the bluff and turned it yellow and the afterglow on the middle of the bluff took on a wonderful rose color. The fact that there was no wind offered one great reflection of both the bluff and the clouds. I started to shoot this series with the Nikon D810, and really was not paying much attention to my histogram. I was a bit more concerned about the trees and such in the foreground and forgot to look to see if I was blowing out the sky. I was right on the line of 255:255:255: as it turned out, but somehow manged to get 5 or 6 frames that were no blown. I really attribute this to the Nikon D810’s amazing range of dynamic range at the base iso of 64. Normally I would have setup a bracketed series of exposures, but the light was changing so fast, I just shot as fast as I could and manually tried to change the bracketing but I did not really change the exposure enough to really protect the sky. The D810 is bit more tricky on highlight recovery than the D800 was and I was still shooting with the D800 mindset.
I knew from memory just how dramatic the light was that evening, so I worked this image up about 3 different times and attached different aspects of it each time. One time the sky, then the bluff, then the shadows on both banks. My main goal was to capture the amazing play of light on the bluff, from the rose color to the bright golden color on the far right. I then had to work up the reflections and make sure that the colors matched.
This shot was totally worked up in Lightroom and Photoshop. I ended up going back and forth several times before I got the image the way I wanted it. I then tweaked the colors with Topaz Clarity, which is final step I use now on pretty much all my shots.
Overall, the end result is shown here and once again it shows just how beautiful the Buffalo River and it’s bluffs can be.
Taken with a Canon 5D MKII, Canon 24-70 lens @ 24mm, Image is a composite of several different exposures. There are times that I will remember more than others on the Buffalo River. This photograph is one of those days as I had a great landscape opportunity on this morning. While everyone else was out chasing the Elk, (which are a bit on the tame side) I found this scene near Roark and Bee bluffs. The trees around this area vary from Maple, Sweet Gum and various Oaks. Most often in the fall in Arkansas the various trees tend to change colors independently and don’t come together to give a great color display. This spot near Steel Creek landing features two of the most prominent bluffs on the upper river and in the fall you can sometimes catch early sunrise shots like this one. There was no wind and just a bit of light fog was rolling across the tops of the trees below the bluff. I was able to shoot this scene only by using several different exposures to catch the bright sun and deep shadows in the foreground. I am now finding that with a Nikon D800 many times scenes like this can be taken with just one exposure due to the extreme dynamic range of the sensor of the D800.
Taken with a Canon 5D MKII, Canon 16-35mm Lens, 3 exposure raw bracket converted in LR to final image. When you consider the Buffalo River, one the most beautiful times to photograph is fall. The last couple of years, the fall along the Buffalo has been lacking in overall color. There were spots that contained excellent color but for the most part especially along the ridge tops, most of the trees just turned brown. This spot which is featuring two of the most famous river bluffs, Roark and Bee bluffs, has a great line of gum and maple trees at the base of the bluff. On this day, I was there early hoping for a valley full of fog, instead I only found a slight amount in the immediate trees, but with the rising sun and dramatic clouds that were present it still made for a great shot.
Taken with a Canon 5D MKII, Canon 24-70 lens, F 7.1 at 1/40th, iso 400. When I am out working in the early morning, I often try to find shots where the fog can act as a major effect in the shot. On a morning like this, the fog did not lift for almost 3 hours but as it started, the sun briefly highlighted this lone branch which was just starting to leaf out in spring. Many people have looked at this shot and felt that it was taken in the fall, however if you look closely you can see that the oak leaves are just starting to open. This lone tree has taken a beating over the years but each time I come back to this spot it still there and and survived for another season of snow and ice during a typical Ozark winter. During the time I took this shot you could hear trucks and cars moving around in the valley below and people’s voices, but as the fog was so thick you couldn’t see anything. This is a great time to work the Ozark Bluffs and not just on the Buffalo River, but the Buffalo tends to allow for more fog.
08/05/12 Featured Arkansas Photography–Early morning view of Red Rock and the Middle Buffalo River Valley
Taken with a Fuji S2, iso 200, Nikkor 85mm 1.8 @ F 5.6, 1/60th of a sec exposure.
While on a road trip across the Ozark mountains near Mt Judea Arkansas, I came around a corner in the road and saw this view. The entire valley of the Buffalo River was swathed in fog and only the top of Red Rock was sticking out. Red Rock was at one time one of the most popular rock climbing spots in Arkansas. Recently due to private land issues and the fact that newer more challenging areas have opened up the climbing craze has passed Red Rock by. You can still get very close to the base of the formation or view easily from a distance. It stands out over the valley of Vendor and Hwy 374 courses right along the base. I know longer know if there is a road open to the summit, but if you can find one the view would be most impressive!
A matted view of the same image.
Camera, Phase One DF with Phase One P45+, lens Mamiya 35mm F3.5, F11 approx 1 second. I will never know where Arkansas waterfalls get their names. Twin falls is a classic example as it’s really 3 falls. Maybe back in the day, it was only a 2 drop waterfall. I have visiting Twin Falls now for at least 10 years and it’s always been a triple drop. This waterfall in on Smith creek and runs into the Buffalo National River not very far below the waterfall. You can hike up from a easy parking spot. Be prepared for a crowd as this is an easy hike and many people tend to be here. The creek above the falls is an excellent hike and offers a few more drops, none as high or dramatic. Also if you have the time, hike down the creek to where it runs into the Buffalo river as there are some nice spots along there too and it’s not a long hike at all. If the falls are flowing as much as in this picture, you have to either bracket your shots for exposure times as you will never catch the trees not moving due to the wind generated by the falls. You may also have to bracket for the top and bottom since there is not much light below the falls as they are in a small canyon. Great spot to spend some time in the fall if there is any water running.