August 27 - Busiek State Forest

It's still pretty warm and humid around here, and after last week I decided to take it easy and settled for a short hike in Busiek State Forest. (I also had commitments later in the day and didn't want to end up exhausted!) At least there has been some rain as of late, and for the first time in weeks there was actual mud on the trail - a nice change, for once. The woods were full of beauty, today, and this was a great way to start the morning.

I thought these Maple leaves were kind of interesting, and the colors were very saturated since everything was slightly wet. This picture is composed from three vertical images that I stitched together once I returned home. Each image was taken with a special perspective control lens that lets you change the angle of the focal plane. In this image the focal plane falls across the top of the leaves from front to back.

Day Flower - These are quickly becoming one of my favorite flowers.

My camera is probably reflected somewhere inside this droplet, but I've not been able to find it.

August 20 - Piney Creek Wilderness

The hike this morning (9 miles in all) was more eventful than usual. After hiking for an hour in the dark (part of which was on a wrong trail – hey, it had to end somewhere!), I ended up at the point where Piney Creek ran into Table Rock Lake. This was where I had really wanted to be anyway, so I composed the picture below (a blended image). The only problem I had was that once I stopped hiking, I was immediately swarmed by horseflies. I must have looked pretty funny as I randomly flailed my arms trying to keep them off of me. They drove me away before the sun came up (the color would have bee a little bit richer than what I’ve pictured here, but not by much – it wasn't a very spectacular sunrise).

Piney Creek before sunrise

Later on in the morning, when I was not intending to take any more pictures, I ran across a section of trail with some pretty nice flowers, so I had to stop.

False Dragonhead (2-image panorama)

I don't know what this one is! (Update 8-24-05 Don Kurz identified this as one of the 17 species of beggar's lice here in Missouri - who knew they had any redeeming value!)

Ouch – with the heat and humidity, I bonked pretty bad while climbing the last big hill on the way out. I just had no energy, wasn’t recovering from the exertion of climbing and had to rest quite a few times. This has only happened to me once before, and about the only thing you can do is grit it out. It was pretty miserable, though – can’t wait until cooler weather.

August 13 - Goat Bluff

This morning, I got up pretty early and headed down to Arkansas to hike the Cecil Cove loop and to photograph Goat Bluff at dawn. I've been to this bluff several times to take pictures, but don't feel I've ever done it justice (and this morning was no exception). There are some pretty interesting cedars right at the edge of the bluff and they're well worth the short hike to see - this view will be fantastic in the fall.

Cedars on Goat Bluff overlooking a very low Buffalo River.

My photographic mission over, I went on and hiked the loop. It's only 7.4 miles, so it was easy to do before it got too hot, and as long as I wasn't hiking uphill the woods were pretty pleasent. I saw 5 or 6 deer, quite a few squirrels, and even a hiker! It's pretty dry right now, but that's good for this trail since some of it gets kind of sloggy when it's wet.

I promised myself that I wouldn't take pictures of any yellow flowers today. It seems that's all I've been seeing lately and yellow isn't really my favorite flower color. As I was hiking down Cecil Creek, though, I spied a little bit of blue that turned out to be a pretty interesting flower. It's called a Dayflower (a member of the spiderwort family), and is around an inch long.


August 7 - Woods Prairie

Oops - I missed hiking this weekend due to other engagements, but this evening I decided I should go out and see how the prairies were looking. Mt. Vernon prairie had been cut (looked like sometime in the last week or two), so I headed down to Woods prairie which is fairly close. Despite the warm air and lack of rain there were still a few flowers that looked fresh.

This is a sunflower of some kind or other. (I'm behind the flower holding a drop cloth to keep the sun out of the lens and to darken the background.)

August 6 - Dickerson Park Zoo

The photo club went to the zoo today and had a behind-the-scenes look at a few of the animals thanks to the director, Mike Crocker. It was certainly an unusual opportunity to get up close to several of the animals usually fenced off or behind glass.

Lemur (due to my forgetfullness, I shot this at 3200 ISO!)

Giant Turtle (I don't think he approves of these pictures)

Trans-Pecos Copperhead (headed my way!)

August 4 - Ozark Empire Fair

I thought I'd throw these pictures into the blog from a trip to the fair earlier tonight. It was a beautiful night to go, and though it's been years since I've gone (early 80's?) it hasn't changed that much. It didn't seem very crowed tonight either. I had great time taking pictures and checking out the exibits with Beth and Lori from the camera club.

A performer on stilts juggled patiently while we snapped away...

This was a stool at one of the carnival games - the reflections were kind of interesting.

For once, I didn't come prepared - I really should have brought my tripod and this 3 second exposure of one of the rides was kind of shaky (I was resting my elbows on something steady and it was with an IS lens), but I think you get the idea.

July 30 - Hercules Glades Wilderness Area

I woke up late Saturday morning (6:00am instead of 4:30am) and didn't quite make it into Hercules before dawn. Still, it was a pretty nice hike even though I was covered in spider webs before the end of the morning. The hike covered Devil's Den, and the upper pilots before heading back home.

The first image is from Devil's Den, and is just some plants that I found interesting.

The second image is a member of the Rudbeckia genus, though I'm not sure which one - it could be a Brown-eyed Susan, a Black-eyed Susan or a Sweet Coneflower.

July 27 - Rose Gentian in Busiek State Forest

Last Wednesday, the weather cooled off a bit and I rushed out to Busiek as quick as I could after work for a short hike.

I've been wanting to photograph a rose gentian for a while and finally got my chance during the hike. I didn't notice at the time that 4 anthers were missing from the top flower. Oh well, these flowers are pretty small, and it was an easy oversight.