Fall Foliage on the Peshtigo River Trails

Exploring new preserves and natural areas often brings me great results. It can be when I get what I expect or set out for, or I get something new and marvelous. But not always. Sometimes I go into a place wanting a certain type of photo, but when I get there I realize I’m not going to get it. For example, I’ve been wanting to photograph the Peshtigo River for a while now. It’s pretty well-known for white-water kayaking and fishing. I thought I’d be able to get some river and foliage shots which is something I’ve been wanting to find here in Wisconsin.

Alas, the trails I hit weren’t conducive to getting me to the river itself. Oh sure I could bushwhack to the water, but it was so densely covered in trees, bushes and other plants that it was impossible to shoot what I wanted.

Sad trombone.

Deep breath. I couldn’t drive all that way and leave empty-handed. Even though it was an overcast day (perfect for the pictures I wanted to take) and the light wasn’t ideal for forest landscapes and such, I took a walk around. Cautiously. I heard gunfire relatively nearby, so didn’t want to get caught up in someone’s hunting activities.

Lo and behold.

Big Oak Loop trail

I found something interesting. Looks like these red pines were planted after all the good trees were harvested. While it is a pretty awful way to maintain a healthy forest, it does make for some interesting contrasts for the fall foliage seeker.

When it was won
Understory of riches

Things were looking up.

Can’t get enough

I went down another trail on the opposite side of the main road and found this little scene. You would have laughed to see me in the small pine trees trying to set up the tripod, get branches out of the way and be able to see the LCD screen well enough to compose and focus. Ha!

Table for one

It was comical, but got the job done. I didn’t walk any further because the sound of the guns kept getting closer. It was a little early for full-on hunting season and I didn’t have any blaze orange handy so off I went. And on my way back home I spied this –

Harvester of sorrow

On my way to the river I didn’t see it because of the trees, but coming the other way the blue roof caught my attention.

So I didn’t get what I wanted, or set out to get, but I still came home with images I like. It was a good day. I think it’s important to be flexible about goals in the field. Things can go wrong so easily and I’ve known other photographers who basically give up at that point. They dwell on the thing they can’t have instead of exploring, appreciating and capturing what is right in front of them. Sure, it’s disappointing to not get the photos you had your heart set on, but my heart can be lit by so many other things in nature that I still enjoy what I do even if it isn’t what I wanted.


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