Taken with a Nikon D810 and 14-24 Lens, @ 24mm in 3 vertical shots, stitched together in Lightroom
The view from the summit of Mt. Magazine offers some amazing vistas, and one of the best is looking out to the due south towards Blue Mt. Lake and Blue Mountain behind it. This shot was taken last year, in late October and I was able to catch the rising sun hitting the rock and old tree in the foreground. Mt. Magazine is the highest place in Arkansas and has a lot to offer the visitor. There is a wonderful lodge where you can spend the night and enjoy a great meal after hiking around on some of the trails. The area is also a favorite for rock climbing and hang gliding.
I like to work this particular spot on Mt. Magazine year round, but the spring and fall are my favorite times. The sun will only come into the frame during December and January, but you can still get great photographs during the rest of the year. The play of light is amazing here.
Mt. Magazine’s summit is 2,700 feet high, and is the highest place in Arkansas. You can see for many miles off in pretty much any direction. The lodge offers a higher vantage point so when you visit make sure stop by.
The view from Mt. Magazine’s north side is just as impressive, so make a point of driving over to that side also. There is a one way drive which has several pull outs for viewing. During the fall you can expect a lot of traffic and a bit of congestion, especially during the weekends. The lodge will be booked up a year in advance for the best dates in the fall so plan accordingly.
This image was taken with aid of a tripod, in 3 vertical segments with a Nikon D810 and 14-24 lens. I used the 24mm focal length and F8 with the base ISO. I did not use a polarizer since I was panning across the scene and knew that would cause problems with composition later. I used Lightroom to work on the raw files, and also to make the panorama. The fall colors were just a few days before peak when this image was taken.
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Taken with a Fuji X-T1 and Fujion 16-55 lens, in 2 landscape segments and converted into a panorama in Photoshop
In December I was able to take sometime off and spend the Christmas weekend at Mt Magazine Lodge. The weather I had hoped for was snow but instead the daytime temperature was in the high 60’s, (and they say we don’t have global warming going on!!), but at least it did not rain while were there. The days in December are quite short but I was able to get some wonderful sunrise and sunset shots from below the lodge.
In the summer months, the sun will set behind the main part of Mt. Magazine, so the best time to grab a sunset shot is in December and January. During these months the sun will just barely be visible on the far right side of the shot. However to capture both the famous trees below the lodge, you will need to work your shot into a panorama. There are many ways to do this, but on this evening, I went with the fastest method, which was to just take two horizontal shots and then merge them back into one final image later one. This is usually an easy process, but on this evening, there was a lot of wind blowing so I had to bracket not only for the light but to stop the trees blowing on either side of the shot.
There are many great spots to capture the view from the summit of Mt Magazine, but this has to be the most famous as it features the Bonsai Juniper tree that is used in all the literature from Mt. Magazine and is the emblem used by Mt Magazine State Park. I have never been to Mt Magazine when the large cedar tree on the right side of the shot was alive, but standing as it does bare against the sky makes for an interesting shot. In the valley below you will see Blue Mt. Lake and the town of Havana. The two peaks off in the distance are both about 1,500 feet tall, and the one of the left is Blue Mountain. You can easily see the boundary of the state park, as it’s where the pine trees begin, as all of the hillsides below the state park have been cut.
The clouds this day were most impressive starting out with a nice band just above Blue Mountain and then a large group formed just around the sun which made for an even better view.
Taken with a Canon 5D MKII, Canon 14mm F 2.8 lens, in a bracketed series of exposures @ iso 200 This one is a special shot as it was one of those photographs that was just pure luck. I was up on the Buffalo River with Bob Shull, mainly to work the night skies, and we were just up on the river setting up our cameras. I had been looking downstream as the moon was starting to rise and it was in a very nice position. I had left my Canon 5D MKII setup for a upstream shot of Roark bluff for later that night. The evening skies had been cloudless, so I was not very interested in a sunset. I remember for some reason I looked around, probably due to a noise on the river, and wow, all of a sudden a bank of clouds had rolled at just the right time and they were on fire! I had to shoot the 5D MKII in a series of bracketed exposures as I knew that I would not be able to pull in the entire exposure with just one frame. This scene only lasted about 6 minutes and then the sun dropped below the bluff. My first series, missed the reflections of the sunset on the water at my feet. The river was not dead calm, but I still was able to pull in the reflection of the sunset on the water and the river rocks.
This was one of those once in a life time lucky lighting shots, that unless you happen to live on the river and can be out there everyday, just doesn’t happen very often. This was one of the last major photographs I took with the Canon, as I was in the process of transitioning to my Nikon D800, however I was much more familiar with the Canon at the time, so I shot with it.
Taken with a Phase One IQ160, Arca rm3di and Schneider 35XL lens, F11 for 1 second, Image created by shifting the back for 3 separate images and then stitched together in post processing. Both a polarizer and neutral density filter were used. Richland Creek, which heads up in western Newton County, then runs eastward before running into the Buffalo River, is one of the most unique spots in Arkansas. The creek has hundreds of photogenic spots but the best photography will be from the forest service campground, upstream for the next 5 miles. Don’t just stop at Richland falls, which is a creek wide waterfall, but instead hike up stream for at least 2 more miles as some of the best spots are in this stretch. This photograph was taken in October of 2012, after a good rain had fallen a few days before. Richland is usually very low in the fall and when you can catch a clear day with good water it’s a rare but special day. The creek is lined with hardwoods, that produce some amazing displays of color, and most years, they don’t disappoint. Even if the water level is low, there should be some larger pools that will offer great reflections which won’t be there in the higher water times. On this day, I had the best color display I have seen in years on Richland, the only tree that had already dropped it’s leaves was the large sweet gum on the upper right of the the photo. In the fall, the water tends to be clear so you can see down to the bottom in even 4 to 5 feet of water.
Taken in 3 parts with a Phase One IQ260 and Rodenstock 40mm lens, Arca rm3di camera with a CL-PL filter. This image will be featured in my up coming show at Cantrell Gallery. I am featuring locations in Arkansas that I am always drawn back to. Haw Creek Falls, is not the tallest waterfall in Arkansas or the most dramatic, however it’s a beauty. Haw Creek runs over a huge ledge that runs back about 100 yards and has created in effect a natural dam. There is pool behind the falls that is a great swimming hole in the summer months. The way the trees lean down to the water just makes for a great photograph. Working a sunset at Haw Creek can be very problematic, most times there will be someone standing on the ledge and you have to time out your shots. Also in the later months of summer the sun will be going down directly over the center of the valley which makes for a much more difficult shot. In this case, mid April, the sun is still over to the far left and on this evening as it set it cast an amazing line of light down the valley of Haw Creek. This effect only lasted about 10 minutes, just enough for me to figure out where to stand to get the best vantage point. On this day, the entire main ledge had water coming over the top which always makes for a great shot. I took this photograph as a series of stitches using an Arca technical camera, the rm3di. As the light was already at a low angle, I did not need a neutral density filter, just a polarizer to help cut the glare off the water. I was blessed this evening as there was almost no wind blowing which made for a very detailed shot.
Taken with a Phase One IQ160 Digital Back and Rodenstock 28mm lens @ F11 iso 50 for approximately 1/30 of a second. If you have a few hours one winter afternoon, take a drive out to Flatside Pinnacle and work up a sunset. This area is not too far from the city, and takes about 40 minutes to get there. From Flatside you have a view to the west that is one of the best in Arkansas. Here you can see the beginning of the rolling Ouachita mountains and in the distance Forked Mountain. Flatside is not a hard hike so you can bring some extra equipment if you like. It’s also a great place to position yourself to watch a storm roll in from the west in the summertime. Looking to the right just outside the scope of this photograph, you can see the other tallest peaks in Arkansas all lined up, Mt Nebo, Spring Mountain, and of course the tallest Mt. Magazine. Great place to spend to off time.
Taken with a Canon 1ds MKII, iso 100, Canon 24-70 lens @24mm F8, for approximately 3 seconds. Gunner Pool campground is one of the scenic gems tucked away in the middle of the Arkansas Ozark mountains. This photograph was taken in 2008 in the middle of a wonderfull fall photographic season. The night before it had rained and the small creek that creates gunner pool was starting to run over the top of the dam. Many people feel that gunner pool is in Sylamore Creek, which is right next to this spot, however pool that the campground is named for is the one created by the dam. Sylamore creek is a wonderful spot to camp, and has one of the best campgrounds in Arkansas. It’s always pretty crowded so if you are planning a trip up there in the summer, plan on getting there early and on a weekday if at all possible. The lower 5 campsites at gunner pool are along Sylamore creek and they the best ones. There is also a great swimming spot in Sylamore creek which is bordered by a nice bluff.
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 Phase One IQ-180, Schneider 43 Super Digitar lens, F11, iso 100, exposure time 1/30 sec. This was a strange day, as the wind was blowing about 20 to 30 mph and just standing around trying to take the picture was a bit dangerous. Sam’s Throne is a great place to spend a day and or night as there is now a informal maintained campground. Sam’s Throne is the single large hill out in the distance but the entire valley has some wonderful views. I like to try and catch a sunset there working to catch the sun illuminating the throne in the background. This area is frequented by climbers so be prepared to watch some interesting activity on the rocks. The rocks are mainly sandstone and will take on a deep orange yellow color with the sun shining on them. The valley is surrounded by oaks and hickory trees which tend to have great display of fall color.
Taken with a Phase One P45+, 45 minutes, 35mm F3.5 lens @ F4.5, iso 50, Phase One DF Camera, One of the most amazing aspects of photography is working with time lapse shooting at night. By leaving the camera shutter open and using just the ambient lighting from the moon, you can get some great night photographs. In this shot I was working the Buffalo River Valley near Steel Creek which is one of the most popular spots along the upper Buffalo. There were no clouds and the sky was very clear with very little wind, perfect conditions for night work. I left the shutter open for 45 minutes which allowed me to capture the movement of the earth around the north star. If you can find the north star in the night sky then you will get the concentric circles outward from the north star. If you don’t have the north star, then you will get different patterns to the star movement, sometimes waves or other partial circles. I feel that the best shot will have a northern view even if the north star has dropped below the horizon. Remember, the moonlight will give the sky the wonderful blue tint.