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02/05/16 Somewhere new in Arkansas-White Oak Mountain in the wintertime

White Oak Mountain creeks

Some of the huge boulders along a small creek on White Oak Mountain

Some of the best spots for photography in Arkansas are working the smaller creeks up into their headwaters.  This tends to involve a lot of down hiking but the results can be well worth it.  White Oak Mountain, is actually a long ridge that runs east and west near Hector Arkansas.  To get there, you need to drive to Hector, through the town and as soon as cross a small bridge over a minor creek, you will see a dirt road heading up to the right.  Stay on this road for about 7 miles, there will be some turn offs but once you find the right spot, you can hike right down into a great creek valley.  This creek has a nice run which offers several nice smallish waterfalls in quick succession.  If you hike up the far hillside, you can find some much more dramatic waterfalls, but these will only be running after a locally heavy rain.

What I found most interesting on White Oak mountain was the number large boulders that were just laying in the creek.  This reminded me of Richland creek, however the terrain is a bit more open than on Richland.

Once you are done in the creek valley walking is very easy and you can make good headway.  There is a RV trail and a marked hiking trail that will take you down to the creek.  This creek outwardly appears to be about 1/5 the volume of Richland creek, but the unique geography surrounding the creek makes the hike worth a trip.  I would warn anyone that crossing this creek in high water could be a bit dangerous as the bottom is full of large mossy rocks easy to slip on.

I hope to make another trip here in the future to see what the area looks like in Spring with more water running.

To capture this photograph, I used a Phase One XF camera with a IQ260 Medium Format back and 55mm LS lens.  The photograph was taken with a nodal panorama setup and I used the captures to make the one horizontal shot.  To slow the water down I used ISO50 on my camera and a polarizer.  As you can see in the photograph, the light was already marching up the far side of the valley, so I did not need a ND filter.  The raw files were converted in Capture One software and then I used PtGui to stitch the 3 images together.  I then added a bit of Topaz clarity to my liking.