This is a shot that I like to think, puts all things back into perspective. For 2015, the Autumn in Arkansas the colors were just terrible. We also had a lot of rain late in October, which was too late for the streams. All the streams are running now, but of course they look like they do in winter, just bare trees. I like to work some of the smaller creeks in Arkansas during fall as the combination of fall colors and running water can be additive. Arkansas has so many streams, one could never work all of them in a lifetime. But what we found this year, were mainly cloudy skies, and dry creek beds. The spring and summer had been so promising. We had record amounts of rainfall and cool conditions. But then July, and August. Basically Arkansas recorded almost no rainfall during these months and it was hot. Basically what happens, the trees start to go dormant and into protect mode. If this continues for a long period of time, it will have a negative effect on the fall colors.
What we basically saw in the fall in most of the spots, were trees turning a dull brown, even in early October. But even worse, some trees, were staying green much longer so there was no balance in the colors. I have seen shots from all over Arkansas, and in most of them you are still able to see quite a bit of green trees and most of the trees that have turned are just brown, or dull red. Gone from the woods this year were the bright yellows, and reds, mainly from the Black Gums, Maples, Black Gums, Hickories and Golden browns from the Oaks.
I had found a great new spot in the upper Piney Creeks wilderness thanks to Chris Kennedy. Chris had found this place a week before during the opening of Arkansas Deer season. I had been here a lot during my kayaking days in Arkansas, but had never taken some time to go look for fall color. This is a great spots as you are looking due south on one side of Parker Ridge Road and if you cross over and take a short hike, you are looking north. Either view gives an expansive view of the valley of Big Piney Creek. If we had been here just one week earlier, the possiblites were endless as it was apparent that the trees in this part of the state did not go into as much stress.
Chris and I drove back to this spot a week later, and most of the color was gone, at least in the trees. We had a mixed sky with only partial clear patches, but Chris felt it was worth staying around until about 20 minutes after the sun had set. He had been here before and felt we might get a great play on the afterglow. He was right, as you can see in this shot, the sun’s angle was just at the right position to really pop the clouds and just painted the sky red. Chris took this shot with his phone, and it’s a good one even from a phone. You can see both cameras setup and a good bit of the view from the place were were setup.
In the spring, this might be another great place to setup, and I hope to come back here for both a milky way shoot and star trails shoot. It’s not far from the road so working at night will not be a big danger to the photographer.
But back to my opening, yes this shot did put things back into perspective for me. I had been chasing color on and off for 30 days and just had not found anything to feature for this year. In fact this will the first year I have basically no photograph from the fall in Arkansas. Maybe I am just tired of it, and don’t have the energy anymore as the market I am shooting in has changed dramatically in the past 3 years. But it was nice to sit on this bluff edge, and think back over the years that I have enjoyed in Arkansas’s outdoors. We have a beautiful state in many ways.