Elephant rock was one of our stops on our third day of the road trip my dad and I went on. It was about an hour before we reached the high point of Missouri. It was a really unique piece of landscape and reminded me a lot of places out west where theres a lot of bare rock and gigantic land forms. We began our hike in a forest, but it slowly wrapped around this big mass of rock that stuck out above the surface of the forest. There were really cool views from up there and some sweet rock formations to climb around. It was a fun place to do some interesting photography. In some shots, because all you see are rocks, it is hard to even tell the scale of them or how large they were. Hopefully with the one with my dad jumping across a gap between the rocks you can get a better scale of how big these giant rocks were. It was about midday and very sunny when we were shooting giving very harsh like, but as long as you shot with the sun, this brought out a lot of great, sharp texture from the rocks. It also brought out some very vibrant colors both in the rock and with the nice clear sky, I was able to pull out some very deep blues. With these vibrant colors and harsh light and interesting rock, I took some time capturing some of the unique textures and colors found on the different rocks as you can see on some of these bottom shots. It was a really cool stop and just reminded me of the beauty of the earth. I still dont really understand how or why these random, elephant sized rocks were just hanging out in this forest, but they were certainly a pleasant sight!
These were shot with my Nikon D600 with my 24-75mm f/2.8.
The last guest post from my dad on our last day/hike of the trip:
Our fourth high point in as many days was Mount Magazine in Arkansas. Once again we were blessed with a beautiful day. Starting in Harrison, we drove south through the Ozarks, seeing many cows, dilapidated houses and barns, and even a few elk! We took a side trip to Alum Creek to hike down to the natural stone arch, which was very interesting. On Mount Magazine, the hike was relatively brief to Signal Hill, the top of Arkansas. There were no other humans in sight. Wildlife included only insects. We had heard about the Lodge and their good hamburgers, but even the good reviews did not prepare us for just how nice it was! We then took a side trip down to the “edge of the ledge,” where dead and half-dead trees overlook a spectacular drop-off to the valley far below. Mount Magazine marks my 33rd high point- 32 for Zach. For now, our next will have to wait. It was a great trip, spending lots of time with my son doing something that we both love!
These were shot with my Nikon D600 with a 24-75mm f/2.8 lens.
After a very foggy Easter Sunday morning, the sun came out in the afternoon, and we had a very pleasant day of hiking. Our first stop was Elephant Rocks State Park. Those were very interesting and fun to climb around, but not the subject of this post. From Elephant Rocks, we went to Taum Sauk Mountain, the high point in the state of Missouri. Located in the St. Francois section of the Ozarks, Taum Sauk reaches 1,772 feet above sea level. The trail from the parking lot is a very easy concrete trail, barely gaining any elevation. In fact, out of the 32 high points I have now visited, Taum Sauk would have to be the flattest one of all. So, we felt a more difficult hike was in order, and proceeded to take the three-mile loop to Mina Sauk Falls. In places, the trail was quite rocky, and almost everywhere it was very wet from yesterday’s rain, not to mention poorly marked. Along the way, however, we were treated to some beautiful Ozark vistas. The waterfall was a nice reward for the hiking, and we could climb a lot of the rocks real close to the main drop. Altogether, the falls has a drop of 132 feet, and was well worth the trip. We were amazed at the clarity of the water! On the way back, we were treated to a couple of herpetological treats- First, we saw a number of lizards sunning themselves in the late March sunshine. I was surprised to see them at this latitude, altitude, and time of year, and they had a beautiful blue underside! Secondly, back near the almost-level “summit” the spring peeper frogs were almost deafening in their jubilant song in a very shallow swampy area. It was our third state high point in as many days!
These were shot with my Nikon D600 with my 24-75mm f/2.8.
This is the second state high point we have hit on our Easter road trip. Again I will have my dad write the commentary on our trip today:
We spent the night in Tupelo, Mississippi, and even saw Elvis Presley’s birthplace, home church, and the Hardware store where he bought his first guitar. Then, it was back onto the Natchez Trace into the extreme northeast corner of the state to Woodall Mountain. By the time we got there, it was raining. Thinking back, this is the first time in our 30 state highpoint trips that we had rain (though I do remember some sleet on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire on a July day). It did not bother us too much, however, as Woodall is essentially a drive-up mountain. There were a number of communications towers at the summit, pine trees, and a large rock that unfortunately had the sign removed. We signed the register, and for the second consecutive day we were the second “expedition” of the day to reach the summit. At 806 feet above sea level, it was certainly higher than Driskill Mountain, but might not qualify as a “mountain” by some standards. As usual, Mokey tried to get into as many pictures as possible. For this trip, we hope to bag two more highpoints!
These were shot with my Nikon D600 with my 24-75mm f/2.8 lens.
14 hours was all it took of straight driving through the night to make it to Daytona for the sun rise. And to be honest, the sunrise was kind of disappointing. There was very thick cloud cover, and the clouds didn’t absorb the colors of the rays as much as they just blocked the sun completely until all of a sudden it was light out. There were a few strokes of brilliant color, but not enough to really compose a very dramatic scene. I was really excited about this shoot because it was one of my first experiences with my brand new Nikon D600. In fact, the extra hour we had between arriving in Daytona and the suns expected arrival, I couldn’t even sleep, but instead messed around with some of my camera settings to make sure I was as prepared as I could be during the short window of time that was the sun rise. Before the sun rose, I was even able to test out some of the capabilities of my camera in very low light situations. The first shot you see here was one that just made me know I made the right decision to upgrade to a full frame sensor as soon as I could. I shot that at ISO 400 with f/5.0 and shutter speed of .3 s on a tripod. I was also able to experiment with the mirror lock up and remote shooting settings to reduce camera shake even more. I was just blown away when I saw the result in the viewfinder. Soon after, the sun began to rise and so I went and focused my attention on trying to grab those colors, But as I mentioned, unfortunately the colors weren’t as stunning as I was hoping, However, the phenomenon of seeing the world turn slowly from night into day was an amazing experience. That led me up to the pier to see all of the early morning fishermen who were trying either catch their lunch or catch their living off the pier of the boardwalk. There were both professionals and hobbyists up there and they were catching quite a few fish. It was really awesome capturing these men in there environment just doing something they were passionate about and in such a cool setting. The best part about this photo outting was that I was done by about 7:30 and still had the rest of the day to do stuff in Daytona and Orlando such as check out a local coffee shop, visit the Daytona speedway, visit Full Sail University, visit Relevant Media Groups headquarters and talk to one of my biggest role models, Cameron Strang, go thrift shopping, check out a few of Orlandos finest malls, and finish of the day by watching my first ever live NBA game in the Amway center (and all of this was done on less than an hour of sleep). This break has been incredible already and its barely just begun. Most of my friends haven’t even arrived in Florida yet!