Monday, July 15, 2019

On The Road July 13, 2019

(Click on Any Image To Enlarge It)
Another road trip with Bob Colvin this time to Klepzig Mill. It was a beautiful day, blue skies with white puffy clouds and a temperature of 86°. We left Jefferson City, MO at 5 AM, stopped in Rolla to have breakfast at Waffle House and refuel on coffee. We traveled highway 63 to 19 then got on 106 to H and finally highway NN. Driving straight through will take approximately 2 hours 52 minutes but like I said we stopped for breakfast.

We stopped at Rocky Falls because I wanted to get a reading for a Milky Way shot later this month. There was only one family there but this is a local favorite and can fill up by noon. From Rocky Falls Shut-ins you have a 4 min, 2.1-mile drive to your turn off to Klepzig Mill.
Turn left on County Road #522. This dirt road can be very muddy and is narrow, not recommended for large motor homes or trailers. Klepzig Mill is less than a mile on the right. There is no sign or defined parking area, and it's easy to miss in summer vegetation, so watch carefully.  This is a rough road, not the worst I have been on but just a heads up. However, if you take the road, there is a two car parking area right next to the Mill.

The first time I visited this Mill I hiked to it from Rocky Falls. Great hike for the adventurer. Hike from Rocky Falls along the Ozark Trail, or park at the end of the pavement on NN and walk up the dirt road. It is in a spectacular setting, surrounded by the Rhyolite rock of the "shut-in" canyon made by Rocky Creek.While we were there three 4-wheel gators pulled up loaded with sightseers. It appears a local company offers guided tours to this area now.

This first image was taken looking southeast at the mill. It was 9:30 AM or 8:30 AM by sun time. The morning sun had not cleared the tops of the trees yet.  My last visit was in October of 2011 and the area was rich in fall colors. The shut-ins surrounding this area is (for me) the highlight of this location. The Rhyolite rock has a red/mauve color to it. Rhyolite is an igneous, volcanic rock, of felsic composition. It can be white, light-grey, or pink. It may have any texture from glassy to aphanitic to porphyritic. The mineral assemblage is usually quartz, sanidine, and plagioclase. Biotite and hornblende are common accessory minerals. It is the extrusive equivalent to granite.

Nikon D850, Sigma Art 24-105mm-f/4, f/7.1, 1/200sec, ISO 160, EV -0.67
Built by Walter Kelpzig in 1928. He was the first in the area to introduce barbed and woven wire for his refined breed of dairy cows. He sawed logs into boards for his house and an outbuilding and saved good boards for neighbor’s coffins. Klepzig Mill was a grist and sawmill, not much to look at and but was a building type that replaced log cabins of the times. This was a building that could be erected by one or two people on the ground and then raised into place. He ground corn and was noted for grinding corn fee for the poor. In this side view of the mill, looking west, I used a higher ISO because the area was heavily shaded and I was hand holding the camera.  My focal length was at 35mm and I had image stabilization turned on which allowed me to get by with 1/30 sec. 
Nikon D850, Sigma Art 24-105mm-f/4, f/11, 1/30sec, ISO 400, EV +0.67
This area is fed by Rocky Creek Stream, which consists of run-off water, underground water and I think a spring or two. It flows into the Current River. Most of the exposed igneous rocks of the St. Francois Mountains region are Rhyolite rather than granite. Igneous rocks are formed from volcanic activity. Granite is a coarse-grained igneous rock formed from magma that cooled underground and was later exposed. By contrast, Rhyolite is formed when magma is cooled above ground. Shut-ins occur where a broader stream is “shut in” to a narrow canyon-like valley. Shut-ins typically occur in Missouri where streams flow through softer sedimentary bedrock materials such as dolomite or sandstone and then encounter the more resistant igneous rock. Setting up for this composition took some maneuvering through the creek and across some very slick rock.
Nikon D850, Sigma Art 24-105mm-f/4, f/16, 2.5sec, ISO 100, EV, 6-Stop ND Filter
Klepzig Mill is part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways which was established in 1964, making it America's first national park area to protect a wild river system. The Ozark National Scenic Riverways is known for its caves, springs, sinkholes and losing streams. My last image of this Mill for this blog is a wide angle view highlighting the pink rock shut-ins, and cascades.
Nikon D850, Sigma Art 24-105mm-f/4, f/16, 1/15sec, ISO 100, CP & Split ND Filter
FYI, the Caster Shut-ins is the only pink granite in Missouri and it along with Missouri Red Granite can be found just two hours away in the Fredericktown, MO area.   Another Blog and another 1-day outing with Bob Colvin.  We left early but we were back by mid-afternoon.  Visit Bob's Facebook page to see his infra-red version of this area and thanks for stopping by. As always comments and inquiries welcome.

John Gilbert

Monday, July 1, 2019

Burgess Falls

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Recently I have been going back through images that I took from previous outings’ to re-process those using techniques I have learned and to re-live the experience.  This Blog deals with a trip I took back in February of 2013 with Doug Adams and Niala Branson.  For this trip, our objective was to photograph three falls, Cummins Falls, Burgess Falls, and Fall Creek Falls.  This consisted of a two-night-three-day outing. This story will focus on day two of our trip to Burgess Falls.

Pentax K5, 18-135mm Lens, f/8.0, 1/190sec, ISO 400
On this trip, I shot with both Nikon and Pentax. Although at one time I shot Canon, Nikon, and Pentax.  I gave up and settled on Nikon.  I just couldn’t keep all the menus straight.
Burgess Falls State Park and Natural Area, located on the Falling Water River, is a day-use park, noted for its natural beauty and four waterfalls that cascade down from over 250 feet in elevation. The last of these falls is the most spectacular, plunging more than 136 feet into the gorge.

The area was originally populated by Native Americans of the Cherokee Creek and Chickasaw tribes. These tribes used the land as a hunting ground until the late 19th century when a gristmill and sawmill began operating on the river. My dad’s mother was 50% Cherokee who married Judge Gilbert and migrated from the Kentucky/Tennessee area.  I have learned over the years that there are a lot of Gilbert’s in these areas.  The Falling Water River was used to generate hydroelectric power for the city of Cookeville from 1928-1944. In 1973, the territory became a designated Tennessee State Natural Area, protecting the diverse forest and aquatic habitats.

A steep trail ends near the top of the main waterfall. This is not an easy hike; the trail from the main overlook to the top of the main falls can be strenuous. Most people prefer to hike back to the parking lot along the service road. The one-half mile Ridge Top Trail is very scenic with views down the main canyon of Falling Water River. All trails are foot trails.

We took the River Trail which follows the Falling Water River.  This 1.5-mile round-trip River Trail/Service Road Loop is a moderately strenuous hike, taking visitors past the waterfalls and ending at the main overlook. There are sections that include handrails whenever the trail takes a steep descent as well as steps and bridges.  It has been 6 years since I was last there so there may be new additions to the trail.  This is on my bucket list to re-visit soon.

Pentax K5, 18-135mm lens, f/8, 1/30sec, ISO400
The waterfalls consist of a 20’ cascade, 30’ upper falls, 80’ middle falls, and 136’ lower falls in height.  Back then each of these areas was easily visible as we traveled the trail. Also, we went in February so the trees were without leaves which made visibility much better. It was also very cold.  The below image is of the first major cascade.  From my first trip out west, I became infatuated with smooth flowing water.  Some call it creamy as well as the cotton-candy effect. Different shutter speeds and the force of the water flow can create different texture in the water. So it should come as no surprise that I shot and still shoot a lot of long exposures.  I loved these cascades with their numerous tiers and strong flowing water.  The water was really clear and it was a sunny day with lots of clouds.  As the clouds moved they would shield the sun creating some great defused lighting for shooting water and waterfalls. When setting up for this shot I visualized the textures of the trees and wanted a creamy look to the water. Smooth and rough.

Nikon D600, Nikor 24-70mm lens, f/10, .3sec, ISO 100, EV+2
I think this next image is of the upper part of the 30’ upper falls. I really liked the way the light was hitting this as well as the coarseness of the rocks and colors in the background left over from fall’s foliage.  There was a lot of contrasts here as well as vertical and horizontal lines.  I used matrix metering or average metering. Because the sun was hitting the water between the clouds I composed my scene, then exposed for the brightest areas.  Shooting in RAW with a full frame sensor made it possible for me to recover the shadows and dark areas in post-processing. The same holds true for cropped sensor cameras, compose for the highlights, and recover the shadows.  If the contrast is too great I would bracket the shots and blend in processing.

Nikon D600, 24-70mm lens, f/8,1.3sec, ISO 100, EV+2
At the halfway mark, we came across the Middle Falls.  There is an observation platform here and I don’t recall if there was a trail to take us down to get a closer view of this falls but I don’t think so.  For me, this was a hard shot as it was noon, by the sun’s time, and the sun was shining right down on the water which can really blow out the highlights.  Again I exposed for the highlights and recovered the shadows and darks in post-processing.  This would have been a good candidate for multiple exposures and then blending them together later in post.

Pentax K5, Pentax 12.24mm lens, f/8, 0.8sec, ISO 100, EV+2
As you get closer to Burgess Falls there are several small little creek type falls or runoffs.  These can make for some great photo-shoots.  Some of these areas are shaded and wet and provide a perfect habitat for moss to grow.  This adds a lot of green and yellow color to the subject.  As we got closer to the falls we found areas were the dripping water had frozen to form some nice ice-cycles.

Pentax K5, Pentax 18-135mm lens, f/10, 0.5sec, ISO 100
Originally I was not going to include any images of the metal stairs to the base but after doing some research to see if it was still there, I learned that its supports eroded away due to heavy rains so getting to the base is no longer an option.  As I write this I realize what a great opportunity we had and how fragile our ecology is.  There are two images here, the first one is the metal stairs we went through starting at the crown of Burgess Falls.  The second image shows the stairs and how much further we had to descend just to get to the base.  From the stairs, we were able to get to a leveled earth area immediately next to the falls, about halfway from its top.  This area was very wet and slippery due to the water spray coming off the falls. Doug and I continued to the base.  Usually, I carry a 50-foot rope with me.  It comes in handy when you need to climb out of a steep hill or ravine.  The first image shows the inside of the stairs cage.

This next image is from the base of the falls looking back to the metal stairs.  From here to the base was a challenge.

After the metal stairway, we stopped to photograph Burgess.  Our point of view was a side look at the center of the falls.  Even today I can recall the sound of the water it was so loud we had trouble talking to one another. I will link to a video clip I took.  Not too far from this point, yet still not at the base, I set up for one of many compositions.  The next image is probably one of my favorites.  It reminds me of a veil.

Nikon D600, 24-70mm lens, f/11,0.6sec, ISO 200, EV+0.33
Finally at the foot of the falls. The power of this waterfall accompanied by its sound is scary and daunting while it is mesmerizing and tranquil at the same time.  I could only imagine what this would be like during the spring rains. Doug and I stay here for an hour or two trying to get the right composition.  I took hundreds of pictures looking upstream to the falls and downstream to the canyon and from numerous angles but this composition made me feel like I was spying on greatness yet hidden from the falls should it strikeout.  The beauty of photographing with others is that each person gives their own view of what they saw.  It always amazes me that three people in the same location photographing the same subject will produce three different versions.

Nikon D600, 24-70mm lens, f/10, 1/16sec, ISO 200, EV+2
Video Clip

Well, this concludes another blog of an experience with nature and friends.  In all these shots I used a tripod, polarizers, neutral density filters, remote controls or timers to capture the scene.  I can only hope I did justice to this beautiful area to encourage you to visit it some day.  Feel free to leave comments or contact me for additional information.
John Gilbert

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

On The Road June 2, 2019

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Our trip included three stops, Alley Spring Mill, Falling Spring Mill, and Hodgson Mill.  This blog post will concentrate on our first stop at Alley SpringMill.  We left Jefferson City at 5 AM to allow us to get to Alley Spring in the morning light plus stop in Rolla at the Waffle House for breakfast.  This is approximately a two and a half hour trip not including our stopover in Rolla.  We took Hwy 50 east to Hwy 63.  Outside Licking, MO we got on Hwy 137 and at Yukon, MO got on Hwy 17 until we reached Summerville then took Hwy 106 to the Mill.  We got there around 8:30 AM.  However, since we are on daylight savings time it was 7:30 AM by the sunlight.  
Nikon D850, 20mm Lens, f/16, Sutter at 0.6sec, ISO 100, EV -0.67, 6-stop ND Filter, and Polarizer
Alley Spring is a designated area since 04/20/2007.  It consists of 795 acres and is located in Shannon County.  It is owned by the National Park Service and the Missouri Department of Conservation.  It is the 7th largest spring in Missouri with a discharge of 81 million gallons per day.

The first thing I noticed was how green and lush everything was.  It was a sunny day with some clouds.  Cool with little to no humidity.  No mosquitoes but there are nats so pack some spray. We were able to set up and get in a few shots before a lot of visitors showed up.  This is a very popular place and always attracts families with children.  There is a lot to see, old school house, a museum in the mill, a store, and several really nice hiking trails.  I was shooting with Nikon and Bob Canon.  I have been to this spot several times over the past ten years and never get tired of photographing it.  It is really photogenic with its flowing water and red mill.  Add the green surroundings and a blue sky and you have a beautiful color pallet. I love to photograph moving water and prefer to capture it in varies textures rather than freezing it in action. 

For this outing, I opted to shoot with the D850 and a 20mm prime lens.  Because I wanted to slow the flow of the water to give it a creamy look I used a 6-stop ND Filter (Neutral Density) plus I added a polarize filter in order to remove any glare on the surface water. In hindsight, I wish I had a 3-stop ND Filter which would have allowed me to still obtain the smooth flow I was after but with more texture in the water. Also, it is important to consider the force of the water movement.  The more powerful the water flow the faster a shutter speed you can use to obtain various water textures.  Okay so want am I talking about.  The faster the water is flowing the more it will add a natural blur unless you shoot at really fast shutter speed.   

To better demonstrate this I am including three images from different locations on different trips taken at different shutter speeds. During this trip to Alley Spring I used a shutter speed of about 1 second but when I shot the Upper Falls in Yellowstone National Park I was able to accomplish my objective with a Shutter Speed of 1/200 of a second.  The power and speed at which the water flows over the Upper Falls is pretty intense.  Consider the next three images. The first one of Soco Falls was shot at 1.3 seconds. 
Soco Falls: Nikon D600, 24-70mm Lens, f/10, 1.3 Seconds, ISO 200
Note the creaminess of the water or as some call this the cotton candy effect.  The second image was captured at 1/8 of a second.  Here there is more texture present as you can see more contrast in the water. 
Alley Spring Cascade: Pentax K-3, 70-200mm Lens @ 77.5mm, f/8, 1/8 Second, ISO 100
Now, look at the third image of the Lower Falls of Yellowstone, which was taken at 1/200 of a second. 
Yellowstone Lower Falls: Nikon D700, 24-70mm Lens, f/10, 1/200 Second, ISO 200, EV -1.33
There is nice texture but there is still blurriness of the water showing movement.  The speed at which the water is flowing over the falls is to fast to be frozen in time with a shutter speed of 1/200.

FYI: I use a filter holder for filters that are 100mm X 100mm and adapter rings for my various lens sizes.  For me, this system works much better than the screw on filters, especially if you use a telephoto lens. Sensei Filter Holder

For my first set up, on this trip, I opted for a wide angle view to incorporate the colors of reds, blues, greens, and yellows.  The light was awesomely soft and draped the landscape to highlight my subject and helped create more depth-of-field.  This was a single exposure, shot in RAW.  I have come to rely on my histogram on the camera’s LCD screen instead of the image.  Why?  Because all cameras process an image to display in preview mode and too many times I have gotten back home and my images were too dark.  Using the histogram as your guide will improve your landscape keepers a lot. 
Alley Spring: Nikon D850, 20mm Lens, f/16, 1/5 Second, ISO 100, EV -0.67
Alley Spring, the natural area’s namesake, is the seventh largest spring in Missouri. The spring conduit is known to extend at least 3000 feet underground and reaches at least 155 feet below the surface. Rainfall and runoff entering sinkholes around the town of Summersville, 15 miles to the northwest, has been determined to enter the labyrinth of cave passageways formed in dissolved dolomite ( a type of limestone) under the Missouri Ozarks and exit at Alley Spring. 

There are two trails to enjoy while you are there, the shorter one is (0.3 mile) and follows the spring branch as it travels to join the Jack Fork River.  This is an easy hike which will take you behind the mill. 

The trail along this stretch can be a little wet as water runs down the sides of the rock cliffs. Continue on and you will come upon a nice cascade.
Alley Spring Cascade: Nikon D850, 20mm Lens, f/16, 1.0 Seconds, ISO 64, EV -0.67
The short trail is clean with a nice small rock base that makes for easy hiking.  Over the years I have photographed just about every section of this trail and it never gets old to revisit it.  You will also discover some nice rock bluffs, cavities, and rock formations.  
Alley Spring Rock-2009: Pentax K-7, 12-24mm Lens, f/4, 1/13 Seconds, ISO 400
This area is shaded and there is a nice bridge to take you back to the parking lot.  There are numerous areas to relax for a nice picnic.  But remember if you pack it in. Pack it out. 

Alley Spring gristmill that was built in 1894. Despite the historic use of the spring to power a mill, Alley Spring has retained its biological integrity. The cool waters issuing forth from Alley Spring flow through a spring branch for a half-mile before entering the Jacks Fork River. Here in the spring branch cool water (58 degrees Fahrenheit) provides habitat for colorful Ozark fishes including the southern redbelly dace, the Ozark sculpin, and the bleeding shiner.

Alley Spring is part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, the first national park area to protect a river system. The Current and Jacks Fork Rivers are two of the finest floating rivers you'll find anywhere. Spring-fed, cold and clear they are a delight to canoe, swim, boat or fish. Besides these two famous rivers, the park is home to hundreds of freshwater springs, caves, trails and historic sites such as Alley Mill.  There is a lot to see it this area, Round Spring, Blue Spring, Rocky Falls, Klepzig Mill, just to mention a few.  This is a great place to spend a weekend with friends or family.  Close and very affordable.  Thanks for visiting this blog.  Comments and inquires welcome.

On The Road July 13, 2019

PHOTOGRAPHING KELPZIG MILL (Click on Any Image To Enlarge It) Another road trip with Bob Colvin this time to Klepzig Mill. It was a ...