Icy, abstract images in Scarlet Oak Woods

I’ll admit to reduced expectations for this hike, as capturing color, form and light in the Southern Indiana woods in February is always a challenge, even when the sun and sky are ideal. But when nature is exposed as bare as she is in dead winter, abstract images – unavailable any other time of the year – are there for the discriminating eye.

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Trip Report: A futile search for fall color — Jackson-Schnyder, Raccoon SRA

Given the slow pace of fall color change here in Southern Indiana, I was more than ready to wander West-Central Indiana on Sunday in search of images for a new guidebook project and hopefully experience some of the familiar reds, oranges, yellows and golds Indiana autumn is world-famous for. It was, after all, a picture-perfect fall Sunday.

I got what I needed image-wise from the Jackson-Schnyder Nature Preserve near Terre Haute and from Raccoon State Recreation Area (SRA) to the east in Parke County near Rockville. But colorwise, the trip was largely a bust.

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Trip Report – Big Walnut Creek Valley, a National Natural Landmark

I chose the Big Walnut Nature Preserve for the unofficial start of a new book project for a variety of reasons, not the least being its status as a registered National Natural Landmark (NNL), which means it contains “outstanding biological and geological resources.” It’s also a Dedicated State Nature Preserve, which means it’s protected against development in…

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Trip Report: Fast and muddy water – McCormick’s Creek, Cataract Falls

Gary and I heard McCormick’s Creek long before we reached the Statehouse Quarry, which sits creekside a quarter mile or so upstream from the White River West Fork. And I can’t say I was thrilled when I found the creek a muddy, coffee-with-cream color. The water rushed, unlike I’d ever seen it,…

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Explore for light, above all else, for great nature photography

I’ve long taught my journalism students to think of photography as “painting with light.” The camera doesn’t record the subject matter you see in the viewfinder. It captures the light that is reflected off it.

Indeed, the elements we compose into our final images exist because of and within the light. Without it, color and form are pretty much irrelevant. Many of the greatest nature images ever captured lacked color altogether. Think Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. In fact, without light, color doesn’t exist. (More on that in a second.)

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