Taken with a Phase One IQ100 and 35mm LS lens, 2 part horizontal pano. Taken in 4 shots to merge later for foreground and background in Helicon Focus
Arkansas has many great streams to hike but one of the best is Falling Water Creek, which is well named as it has a large number of waterfalls it’s entire length before emptying into Richland Creek. Falling water creek has an upper and lower half, and some of the best spots to photograph are on the lower half. There you will find creek wide ledges like 6 finger falls. 6 finger falls, named for the cut outs the creek has made in the ledge, is quite a wonder. It offers great photographic opportunities year round but is best in the fall and spring. You will be lucky to find any water in the creek in the fall and if you do consider yourself lucky. The banks are lined with deciduous trees that offer a great display of fall color.
You will also like the fact that for most of it’s length, falling water creek has a forest service road that parallels it’s length and so offers quick access. This of course means in Arkansas you can expect to find all types of folks here on a good weekend, so plan your trip during the week if at all possible. The forest road is number 1205. Heading due north on the road, falling water creek will be on your right for the upper half, and then after you cross it on the left. For a portion of it’s length, the Ozark Highland trail is just above the road on the right, below the bridge. This is great day hike also.
Make sure to include a trip to the mouth of falling water creek at Richland Creek campground. Richland is the crown jewel of creeks in Arkansas and is also protected as a Wilderness Area, so you can enjoy a day without hearing a 4 wheeler.
Taken with a Phase One IQ160, Rodenstock 28mm HR lens, F11 for approximately 1 second, iso 50. Richland Creek, which runs from Newton County to the Buffalo River near Woolum Ford, has some of the most beautiful photographic subject matter in Arkansas, if you love creeks. Here you can find huge rocks that have ended up in the creek that had to have originated up much higher on the bluffs. Some of these rocks are the size of a small house and most are the size of a car. Richland creek has several sections that run over flat bedrock and this spot is one of them. This spot is about 100 yards long and starts out directly below Shaw’s Folly Rapid. The foliage on the left back, which is featured in this shot, is full of oaks, maples and hickory trees which on this day were all in full color. There was just enough water in the creek to allow for a movement shot. Normally, I like to have bright sunny days to work Richland, but on this day which was overcast I was able to get one of my best shots of the creek. Using tilt, I have gained quite a bit in overall depth of field so I was able to keep the details of the large rock on the left foreground in focus along with the trees in the background. This was a magic day for sure.
Taken in 2007 with a Canon 1ds MKII, Zork Adapter with Mamiya 35mm lens, F11, ISO 100, for 1.5 seconds. Richland creek is one of the most scenic spots in Arkansas, offering hiking, kayaking, and camping opportunities. The creek is one of the major tributaries of the Buffalo National River and has good flow most of the year. By far the best parts of the creek to hike are the upper reaches. Here you have have approximately 6 miles of creek and about 5 miles are just studded with great photographic opportunities. If you work the creek in the wintertime be aware that the water temperature will be around 41 to 45 degrees F. Dress warmly and look for safe places to cross. Richland has a strong flow throughout and it will fool you quickly on a crossing. During the winter you can often find great ice formations either in the creek or along the bank and many of the waterfalls that come along the creek will be frozen. It’s an easy place to look for a unique photographic study, just find one of the spots like the one in the photograph and setup. Richland is loaded with spots where house sized rocks have fallen off the surrounding bluffs or have been moved downstream during epic flooding. Enjoy!
Taken with a Canon 1ds MKII, Mamiya 35mm Lens with a Zork Adapter, F16, for approximately 1/60th of a second, iso 100. I love Richland creek and have hiked it more times than any other location in Arkansas. The scenery on Richland has to be some of the best in Arkansas. In the fall, mostly you get a low water condition like this photograph shows where the water is only holding in the pools. This offers great reflection shooting and many times the leaves will build up like they did in this photo. You have to catch Richland at just the right time as the leaves only stay in good color for about 3 days. I try to make it up there at least once during the fall. You can also catch some great color further down the creek near the campground as two of the largest pools on Richland are here. If you are very lucky, Richland will be running and the hike up the creek is one to remember. All the various rapids have excellent photographic opportunities. Make sure you allow for the entire day so that you can take it all in.
Taken with a Canon 1ds MKII, Single Exposure with a Canon 24-70 Lens @ 35mm, F11, iso 200. This is better than Richland Creek will look in the the for 2012 unless Arkansas starts to get a lot more rain. Currently the creek is dry for almost it’s entire length. There might still be a bit of water in the deeper pools along the lower creek below the campground bridge. However I doubt that most of the pools above the bridge have any water left in them. The USGS guage has not reported any level for Richland for about a month now, so I feel that the large pool at the campground bridge is dry also.
On a cloudy day you have a much harder situation to work with since your sky will attempt to go white or light gray. Personally for my work I don’t prefer to see the white sky effect and since I don’t tend to combine images, i.e. take the sky from one and the scene from another, when shooting a scene like this most times I will move in closer and take the sky out of the frame. On this day the light was very neutral, no visible highlights and the shadows were all pretty even. I still liked the visible color on the creek so I walked up looking for a scene that might work. This group of rocks is called Cindy’s Hole Rapid and is quite a fun drop when there is a bit more water in the creek. I like the way the rocks work all the way across the creek and have such distinctive shapes. Richland creek is a great day hike for any photographer looking for the beauty of Arkansas’s outdoors.