Month: May 2017

Spring Park In Osage Iowa

Spring Park In Osage Iowa

On Memorial Day I went north to Osage and revisited Spring Park for some more long exposure HDR shots, again I was happy with this new found method and I do not need filters to create this image.

Spring Park in Osage Iowa

A Humbling Experience

A Humbling Experience

Good things are happening with my photographic journey.  I have been submitting photos to Our Iowa Magazine on a regular basis now and the summer issue arrived at my door today.  It came in an envelope and I knew I had a picture published.  They always send out an advance copy and place it in an envelope to people who submit images and they chose to publish.

When I opened the envelope and saw the letter and the enclosed check I was very surprised.  The check amount was large and I read the letter they published three of my images and the centerfold which is a three page spread.  I am feeling very humbled right now and still shocked.  I tend to be a pixel peeper at times and have self doubt at times over the quality of my work.

Feeling blessed, thankful and humble right now beyond words.  Thank you Our Iowa Magazine.  The three images published are following.

Mossy Glen Page 35
Clear Lake Fishermen Page 38
Gatefold (center fold)
More About This Shot

More About This Shot

Time to explain in more detail how I made this image.  This is something new for me to share my technique.  Equipment used:  Nikon D7100, Nikor 18-55mm kit lens, tripod and remote release.

I took five separate exposures letting the camera decide the f stops.  I set the camera to shutter priority mode then set the exposure to 4 seconds for the first shot and 2 seconds for the remaining 4.  I bracketed the camera to take 5 exposures and let it do the decision making to determine the ISO setting.  The following five images are what the camera took.

f/9 4 sec iso-100 +2 step 48mm
f/13 2 sec iso-100 0 step 48mm
f/25 2 sec iso-100 -2 step 48mm
f/18 2 sec iso-100 -1 step 48mm
f/10 2 sec iso-100 +1 step 48mm

I then load the images into Machinery HDR Effects.  I love this program and feel it gives the best results for the price.  Once the images are loaded into the program I use the align tool to align the images, with the use of a tripod little aligning is required.  I then go through the pre-sets of which there are many and lean towards the dynamic contrast ones or the micro contrasts as I feel they give the best natural results.  The image below is the final result and I can say it is one of my favorite images I have taken so far this year.

The image is available at FAA and on Red Bubble.


Spilling Over Dolomite
Spilling Over Dolomite – Moine Creek cascades down the sloping limestone canyon in Brush Creek Canyon Preserve in Fayette County Iowa, north of Arlington. This is an HDR image of 5 separate long exposures blended together to create this stunning image.
Failures And Successes

Failures And Successes

I headed back to Brush Creek Canyon this morning with a goal of seeing Blue Spring.  Blue Spring is located in the far NW corner of the preserve.  I made it to the confluence of Moine Creek and Brush Creek, when I was almost there I realized I forgot to hang my Tokina 11-16mm lens from my belt loop so all I ad was my 18-55mm Nikor kit lens,  I decided against heading back to retrieve it as I would lose another 20 minutes doing so and would get along with my only lens.

The travel was difficult crossing Brush Creek numerous times until I decided to try again another day.  Brush Creek is a trout stream with deep pools and shallow rock bottom rapids which allowed crossings.  It winds through the canyon and forces one to cross often. 

One of the crossing areas
Confluence of Moine and Brush Creek
A large dolomite block end up in Brush Creek

As I went in further the opportunities to cross were getting fewer as the canyon sides were closing in.  I made it half way to the spring and had to make a decision to trudge on or give up for now as my time schedule did not fully allow for hours of hiking into the wilderness.  I decided this was as far as I would go today and it was a good exploratory trip and I could use the knowledge for an attempt some other time.  I was unsure of what I would find at the spring and did not want to waste time on something that could be a disappointment.

The impasse and decision time
The other side of the impasse

So I failed to make my goal but was wiser about the area.

Brush Creek and the terrain.

All was not lost as I went back to Moine Creek and tried something new, long exposure HDR. The following images were five 1 sec shots stepping down 2 stops and up 2 stops. ISO100, I like the way these came out and will attempt more of this photography again.  Out of my failure I was able to succeed at something else.

Reflections of A May Morning

Reflections of A May Morning

Took an early Sunday morning drive and stopped by my favorite local photography haunts and was happy to catch this view.  A perfect reflecting image.

This is a 5 shot 5 step hdr with my Nikon D7100 and Tokina 11-16mm @11mm.

Obscura Day and The Forgotten Land

Obscura Day and The Forgotten Land

May 6th was obscura day, a day set aside as such by the website Atlas Obscura.  I planned on going to Brush Creek Canyon Preserve in Fayette county Iowa before I knew this and headed out before sunrise leaving at around 5AM.  The preserve is about 65 miles from my home and this would ensure I would get the best light of the day.  The highway had a large sign stating where to turn and when I went too far I had to turn around.  No wonder I missed the sign as it was very small and attached to a power pole.

On the way down the dead end road I stopped and took a picture of cattle grazing in the pasture of a farm.  The sun had been up for a half an hour and this turned out to make a nice image.

Brush Creek had the intent of being a state park and the CCC (Civil Conservation Corps) were involved with work there building an outhouse and a shelter which still stand today and are in use.  I can assume due to funding the state turned it into a wildlife preserve and I prefer it that way, fewer people means a more natural environment.  I parked the Outlander and put on my hiking boots to make ready.  I carried my tripod, my 24-55mm lens and my Nikon D7100 with my Tonika 11-16mm lens attached.

I had the intent to go to the NW corner of the preserve to catch the spring fed creek in that area and started off staying high on the bluff and following the limestone outcroppings.  Two years ago in September of 2015 my son and I attempted the trip in and it ended up mostly an exploratory thing.


  1. There are no real trails other than those used by the wildlife and the walk was fairly easy considering.  Down below I could here the constant sound of Bear Creek flowing about 100ft below.  I continued on and came to the obstacle that stopped my last trek.  But this time it was different, the water sounds coming from below were not there in September as it was a dry Moine Creek littered with block of limestone boulders.  This time it was a flowing oasis of emerald greens.

The boulders you see in the image above are huge, the large flat one, center and under the fallen tree, was around 20ft long.  There were all covered in moss and ferns.  It took me a while to locate a safe access down into the abyss and I climbed down and into the other world Iowa keeps hidden.

When I got down to the water and on the other side a mink came by.  We both stood and stared at each other each of us surprised there was company in the limestone jungle.  He ran off quickly finding refuge in one of the many holes.  After that I turned and looked upstream to the beauty before me.

I went on sensory overload, the sounds of the cascading water, the site of emerald green dolomite blocks of limestone, this was no longer the Iowa I was used to and I was transported back in time thousands of years ago.   How lucky I was that this time it was not a dry creek and I have not seen a prettier place in my home state than this.

I ended up photographing the complete course and ended up with over 800 images taken, told you I was on overload.

I feel fortunate to witness this small spot in the state and hope that some who sees these pictures would want to venture there also.  Iowa is just not about corn and soybean and is not just flat.  There are many hidden gems in my home state, all one has to do is look.



Going through some old photos and decided to include this barn in my blog.  This barn stares back at you as it appears to have eyes in the roof.  The farm has been abandoned for some time and is a unique looking barn.  I took this image two years ago after a light snow fall in March and it is worthy of my blog.