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 Nikon D810 and 14-24 Lens @ 14mm and F 5.6 ISO 250 exposure bracketed in 3 frames
On Mt Magazine, the view in late October back to the east can provide some amazing sunrises. The sun will rise right out in the center of the frame and when you have clouds the light can be fantastic. In this shot, I was on the 3rd floor of the lodge, but you can work from any floor. All the rooms on the lodge open out to the back side and have a southward facing view. Mt Magazine is the “border” of the end of the Ozark mountains, as all the mountains to the south are in the Ouachita Mountains. So you get a excellent view of the beginning of the Ouachita chain that runs from here to the southwest corner of Arkansas. In the view looking back to the east, you can see Flatside Pinnacle way off in the distance also. Flatside is 1,500 feet tall and is a great photographic area also.
Later in the spring and summer the sun will move back to the left and will rise out of view, so the best times to catch a sunrise, is October through early February. In 2015, the fall colors in Arkansas sucked, yes, they were that back. Mt Magazine tends to have a pretty good display even in the years like 2015 and I guess this is due to micro climate that Mt Magazine has, being 2,700 feet tall. But what made this shot were the clouds that came across the sky right as the sun came up. The sun is in the dead center of this shot, but is filtered by the band of clouds that are right on the horizon, but these same clouds allowed the light to reflect upwards and just popped the clouds towards the top of the frame.
I used ISO 250 on this shot as there was considerable wind blowing I wanted to start my exposure stack with a higher shutter speed. The Nikon D810 does a good job here, not as well as it would have at base ISO of 64, but I was still able to stop the motion of the trees and get the shot. The camera was mounted to tripod so alignment was not an issue. I used the HDR feature of Adobe Lightroom to merge the 3 exposures and Lightroom did a very good job on this shot. In this shot you can see the rock bluffs of Mt Magazine and then one row of the cabins that can be rented. There is really no way to get this shot without also getting the cabins in the view, so I just include them. Off in the distance you can see a couple of the rolling ridges that create the Ouachita mountains.
Taken with a Nikon D810, Nikon 24-120mm Lens, hand held @ 320iso for 1/100 of second, F 5.6
When I think of the Buffalo River, I tend to think about Roark Bluff and the beauty around that part of the river. Here you have two of the largest bluffs on the river, Roark and Bee both of which are well over 300 to 400 yards long. Each bluff has a unique character to it and the colors of the limestone comes alive in the early morning. At this time you have the valley totally fogged in. The fog will last for a while after sunrise and the best time to photograph the mornings is when the sun has started pop through the fog and adds a very unique light to the scene. Now add fall colors you have a real prime setting for sure.
On this morning, I was amazed to have the entire beach to myself, and I will take that when I can get it. It was a Sunday morning and the colors on the top of Roark Bluff had already turned brown, however there was still excellent color along the river. The top of the bluff seems to be mainly hickoy and maple, but on the riverbank there is a lot more variety. Here you will find oak, sweetgum, maple and gums. The display this morning was perfect. I had a tall gum tree on the upper left of the frame still showing the brillant yellows and reds, and across the river was another gum tree, but in pure yellow. In the foreground the river birch is starting to turn from green to yellow so overall it was a nice setting. I framed the shot with just a bit of the fog on the top of the shot. I still wanted to be able to see through the fog to make out the colors along the top of the bluff.
Roark is a great place to drive and spend the entire day. You can watch the sun move across the valley and enjoyed varied shooting situations during the day. Roark is one of my favorite spots for night photography, either star trail work or the milky way.