Taken in two frames with a Phase One IQ100 and Phase One 35mm LS lens, raw files developed in Capture One, panorama stitching in Lightroom.
We had driven up to 6 finger falls to attempt a night shoot, which did not work out due to the clouds that rolled in, however during the sunset, the light did allow for a wonderful series of photographs. I love to get down low on the creek, below the falls and attempt to grab some short pans, as the normal medium format of 4:3 does not allow for very much to work with. I am not a big fan of cropping out the center of a shot to get to a pano, as you loose so much image in the process.
Normally, I would have used my rail to get a nodal solution, but I had forgotten it. Using the Arca D4 geared head, it was easy enough to get level for each shot, then go back to Lightroom to let it work it’s magic on the panorama. Lightroom with the new panorama feature does a great job on single row stitching and now they have added a feature called boundary warp, which really does a great job. In the past, I had always used software like Ptgui or Kolor’s panorama software, to get a cylindrical solution, as I am panning with a wide lens, (the 35mm in medium format is equivalent to about 22mm with a 35mm camera), still not that wide. The 35mm LS has a pretty good hyper focal range by F11 and I took this at F14. Due to the subject range and distance, I was not worried about losing details to diffraction.
For these shots, I used both a circular polarizer and a Neutral Density filter. The polarizer was from B+W and the ND filter from HiTech, (their new Firecrest line). This allowed exposure times of around 1 sec, at an ISO of 50. There was little to no wind blowing so I was able to get away with just two exposures.
The addition of the boundary warp in Lightroom has really made this type of photography more fun and much quicker to get to a solution.
Taken with a Phase One IQ160 and Arca rm3di camera and Rodenstock 28mm lens @ iso 50 for 1/2 second exposure.
I am a huge fan of Richland Creek, having spent at least the last 20 years or so exploring it’s vast reaches. I was lucky enough to Kayak this creek for over 10 years as that one of the best ways to get to know a creek. Richland (the name comes from the fact that the mouth of Richland near Woolum Ford on the Buffalo was excellent farming land) has some beautiful features throughout it’s length as it moves towards the Buffalo, but by far the best scenery is found in the 5 miles of the creek above Richland campground. This shot was taken on a fall morning and the sun was popping back and forth between the clouds. I was setup and waited on the best light for at least 20 minutes and only got about 2 minutes before the next bank of clouds rolled in. The level of water in the creek on this day was low but in many respects this is an excellent level for photography as you can safely stand in the middle of the creek for the best vantage points. One aspect of creek photography, if you don’t plan on getting wet, don’t bother.
This spot is directly below one of the larger rapids on Richland called, Shaw’s Folly. In this shot, look for the large rock on the upper right which is about the size of a small house. This marks the end of the rapid and all of the creek in the picture is just the run out. But in this shot you can see why I love Richland as it’s just full of huge rocks and each one has it’s own unique shape and color. The water was gin clear this day so I was able to feature some of the bottom of the creek by using a polarizer to cut the glare.
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 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 with a Nikon D800e, Nikkor 24mm 1.4 lens at F 5.0, for a 5 second total exposure. The autumn in Arkansas can be one of the most beautiful times to be out photographing the state. The Ozark mountains are cut by thousands of small creeks and hundreds of larger ones like Richland. Richland however is by far one of the most scenic creeks in the state. It is the 3rd largest tributary of the Buffalo National River, after the Little Buffalo River, and it has 6 miles of sheer wonder to hike. The best times to hike this creek are the early spring and early fall. The color display along the creek can offer some of the most variety in the state as you can expect to see hickory, oak, maple, gum and dogwood with hundreds of lessor species of tree. If the creek has water in the fall, it just adds to the overall great effect. On this day in 2012, there had been a heavy rain about days before so I only caught the later half of the water, but it still had a lot to offer. This rapid is called Maytag is the last major drop on Richland before the campground. The large rock on the upper right of the photo is “maytag”. The color along the creek on this day was more green and yellow but there were a few dogwoods starting to show up. I love it when I can catch a small whirlpool eddy which is showing up on the lower left of this shot.
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 S95, iso 200. After a long hike along Richland, I came across this sign near my truck. I stopped for a minute to take a few photographs of it since it showed in just image what’s going to happen eventually to anything man made, i.e. nature will always win. Here you have a wilderness boundary marking sign that has been almost eaten by a tree. This I am sure took many years and was helped along by the Stupid Redneck or many Rednecks that decided it would be a neat idea to shoot a “helpless” sign. Note the entire left side is gone from what looks like a shotgun blast. This always amazes me as this sign is near a trail head and you never know who might be coming up the trail. However even taking the man made destruction, I found that fact the tree was starting to eat the sign and in about another 15 years, more than likely the sign will be gone, the tree should still be there. Sadly Arkansas did not receive anywhere enough rain to bring up Richland during the this fall so I tried for some other spots. Richland is definitely a magic spot and one of favorite spots to photograph in the U.S. not to mention Arkansas.
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, Canon 24-70 lens @24mm, F14 for approximately .5 seconds, iso 100. Falling water falls is one of the easier spots to get to in Arkansas. You can drive right up to it! Unfortunately this works against photography since you almost never find these falls without someone standing at the rim. I have never really understood the need to walk out and just stand there, but I guess there is some necessary fulfillment that some folks need. On the weekends, you can always expect to find a crowd here so if you are thinking about a trip, try to plan it on the weekdays and try to get there early.
09/07/12 Featured Arkansas Photography–Twin Falls of Big and Long Devils Forks in the Richland Wilderness
Taken with a Canon 5D MKII, Canon 16-35mm Lens at 16mm, F14, approx 1 sec exposure, iso 100. One of the best spots in Arkansas to photograph waterfalls is the Richland Creek Wilderness Area. You have unlimited waterfalls to look for in a hike up Richland Creek on a good water day. You will need at least 100 cfs (cubic feet per second) of flow in Richland to get a good shot of the Twin Falls. You can best reach Twin Falls by hiking up Richland Creek from the campground on Forest Road 1205. It is about 1 mile but it’s a long mile with lots of up and arounds as there are many dead trees in the way. If you start the hike from Richland Campground, make sure you stay on the left side of Richland all the way to the big bend where Devils Creek enters into Richland. There is a pretty easy trail to follow for most of the way and now that the campground is open again, more people will be hiking up to the falls. If you are a photographer, I would recommend hiking to the falls during the week as there tends to be many more folks up there on the weekends and it’s not an area that can easily accommodate many people. WATCH OUT FOR HORSEMEN AND WOMEN as they now are coming down to Richland falls and coming over to Twin falls. It’s not an easy spot to negotiate with a horse so be careful. On a good water day say over 400 cfs you might be able to catch kayakers coming down upper Richland.
The best water conditions for hiking and photographing Richland are between 50 and 400 cfs. Anything lower and most of the creek’s features will not be formed well and if it’s higher than 400, then you have some tough crossings to make. Richland is no slouch and it’s not very forgiving to fools. Be aware that the bottom is slick and the current is strong. If you start to cross and don’t have a good grip on the bottom, then more than likely you will be swimming. I also recommend that you use a pack that is totally waterproof like the ones from Lowe Pro. The ones that have a waterproof inner back that closes with a heavy duty waterproof zipper. When I hike Richland low, I will most often use a pair of wading boots that have felt soles as these give you much better traction. The other thing to consider is when the water is high and moving, more than likely you will not be able to view the bottom so it’s best to place your feet one at a time as it’s easy to get tripped up on a rock or two.
Richland is a fascinating watershed. It’s seems to come up faster than the nearby Buffalo River and also often hold more water longer. The Buffalo has a much large watershed but still Richland more times than not will be higher after a good rain. You can easily gauge Richland and most of the large creeks in Arkansas by going to the main USGS water website and then select Arkansas and then drill down to Richland. The actual gauge on Richland is at the campground bridge. Richland is pool drop which means that is does not have a continuous flow unless it’s over around 4500 cfs (that’s a lot of water). The area around Richland is a great hike in the spring, winter and fall. Most times in the summer (like this one in 2012) Richland will dry up or be running with less that 10 cfs. In the fall if there is good water over 30 cfs, make a trip up to Richland as it has one of the best fall color displays in Arkansas.