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

Nikon D600; Nikkor 24-70, f/2.8 - f/11, 1/250 sec., EV-1; ISO 200

Raccoon State Recreation Area — Nikon D600; Nikkor 24-70, f/2.8 – f/11, 1/250 sec., EV-1, ISO 200

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.

From Bloomington to Terre Haute on heavily wooded State Road 46, I saw one tree with color, in Bowling Green, and it didn’t exactly shimmer. I found one and only one at Jackson-Schnyder, a 15-acre preserve with mature hardwoods, two ravines and a converted prairie. On a rugged, two-mile hike on the 4,065-acre Raccoon, brilliant, backlit colors were at a minimum.

Cecil M. Harden Lake -- Nikon D600; Nikkor 24-70, f/2.8 -- f/9.0, 1/500 sec, ISO 200

Cecil M. Harden Lake — Nikon D600; Nikkor 24-70, f/2.8; Polarizing filter — f/9.0, 1/500 sec, ISO 200

Jackson-Schnyder is located in Vigo County just south and west of St. Mary of the Woods College, which produced the best images from a 200-plus-mile excursion that included a missed, unmarked turn that led me briefly into Illinois. It was donated to the Ouabache Land Conservancy by Marion T. Jackson, an environmental science professor who taught at Indiana State University and St. Mary of the Woods College.

Raccoon SRA is located on the shores of the 2,060-acre Cecil M. Harden Lake and features boating, camping and five hiking trails. I hiked Trail 4, the most rugged, which was simultaneously beautiful and disappointing due to the lack of colors. No clouds in the sky combined with flat shorelines presentd a challenge with the lake.

I don’t think I captured anything worthy of addition to my Gallery. But the purpose of this trip was documentary, and I came away satisfied in that regard.

Next up, Fort Harrison State Park and its Lawrence Creek and Warbler Woods Nature Preserves.

Jackson-Schnyder Nature Preserve -- Nikon D600; Nikkor 24-70, f/2.8 -- f/22, 1/50 sec., EV-1; ISO 200

Jackson-Schnyder Nature Preserve — Nikon D600; Nikkor 24-70, f/2.8 — f/22, 1/50 sec., EV-1; ISO 200

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