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Another guest post from my Dad:

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!

Taum Sauk-05These were shot with my Nikon D600 with my 24-75mm f/2.8.



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ImageImageImageImageSnowy Day-04Image

Two nights ago hardly anyone from our house was able to make it up our driveway because of the crazy amount of snowfall last night and how steep our driveway was. So we all parked a quarter mile away from our house at the Indian Mound lot so our driveway could get plowed in the morning. Because of that extra long, slow walk down the driveway in the morning however, I was able to appreciate and recognize all of the intricate beauty of the fresh fallen snow strung about in the trees.  If I hadn’t already been late to work then, i would have dropped everything and taken my time photographing the fresh snow.  I hadn’t had the opportunity to photograph snow yet with my new D600 so I was really hoping I would get a chance.  It was also then that I got very inspired for my photo shoot I would hopefully have time to do later that day.  With all of the fresh fallen snow and dull tones of all of the trees it covered, it felt like I was living in a black and white world.  It was then that I knew I was going to find any free time I could yesterday and capture this black and white world feel with all of the crazy texture I was experiencing as I looked through the thicket of trees laid in snow. So as soon as I was done working and done taking care of a few tasks I filled up my tank and just drove around looking for some great scenes for this black and white world I was envisioning.  I drove around and shot for about and hour and a half.  It was nice because of the very overcast, bleak day, it gave me very even lighting so I could just keep my exposure at the same settings through most of the day and make my main focus the composition and the contrast of the snow versus dull trees.  After taking the shots I uploaded them and during post processing I immediately turned the saturation all the way down on them so that as I was sorting them my focus was primarily on the white and black contrast and not distracted by any muted colors. Then I would bring up the clarity and contrast quite a bit to increase the bold transitions from white to black in my photo.

ImageThese were shot on my Nikon D600 with my 24-75mm 2.8 at 1/1000s f/7.1 ISO 200 with the exception of the waterfall shot which was a 1/2 second exposure.


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