A Fall on the Prairie

Early October found me at my favorite bit of the Prairie River while the colors were still strong and vibrant. It doesn’t last long and so I was lucky I got some cloudy days and I went twice back to back. As a matter of fact it was raining a little while I shot on one day, but I didn’t mind. So long as I keep the front element clear, it can rain all it wants. Pro tip – keep a lens cloth handy anyway…you’re gonna need it! This time I wore some knee-high waterproof boots so I could get into the water for more compelling compositions.

The heart never waits

That’s my favorite of the series in this post. Hands down.

Lifting colors from a dream

Eventually as you work your way down that side you come to my favorite cascade. The river bends and there’s an old tree down in the water that makes for a great foreground element, like this –

Lost opportunities

Well not anymore. Now it is a giant tangle of dangerous branches and debris because a huge spruce on the opposite bank came down straight across the cascade, on top of the rocks I stood on to take the shot above, and onto the trail as well. It was a wicked tall tree. I didn’t take any shots from that side because it was impossible to do at the time, but the next day I walked the other side and took some shots. For comparison, I’m including some from before the tree fell.

Before the fall

And how it looks now –

Rapid lasting change

The most obvious landmark is the flat squarish rock on the far left. In both shots I was crouched in the shallows under yet another fallen tree. If you look closely in the middle on the opposite bank you can see the foreground log I was referring to. In the spring photo it’s very clear, but in the fall shot the spruce branches obscure it somewhat, but the older tree wasn’t dislodged. Instead it’s basically pinned in place. The tree or branch in the foreground of the fall image was pulled down by the spruce I suspect. We had some wicked storms this summer and wind events make the biggest changes in a forest landscape (next to chain saws). Unfortunately, I doubt I’ll be able to shoot that cascade again.

Here is another set of comparison shots from roughly the same spot just down river from this location. First December 2020 –

A wild river waits

And October 2021 –

No change is too small

The angles and elevations are a bit different, but you should be able to pick out trees and rocks that are the same in both. That is one big tree over there. It has been dead a long time and it was inevitable it should fall. Just my bad luck it fell where it did.

More comparison views from just along this bank.

First on top of a rock and standing on ice which put me at a higher position than in the second shot, but you get the idea.

And here’s a wider view of the fall shot.

Always beside you

So it was a little disappointing to discover this, but nature is no respecter of agendas. Just a little life lesson for me – when I find a really great location I need to work it more often. Taking it for granted was my downfall here and it’s just lost opportunities now. But it doesn’t pay to dwell on it, just file the lesson away and do better with my next project. With regard to this one, I still have some areas of the river I haven’t explored, so there could be new favorites in my future.

Working my way back up gave me some new things to shoot and new ways to shoot the same locations. Even though I had wellies on, the river was still moving really fast. It was interesting and a little weird feeling it trying to dislodge me. That meant I had to be really careful about where I put the tripod.

A lesson of fate
Fall rush
Washing me down

Another comparison duo, the little side channel first in April then in October –

Prairie Illusion
The coming of the going

It’s amazing how many plants fill all that space. Lots of ferns and asters. Grasses and wildflowers. All turning rich brown and gold.

But a fall post of mine wouldn’t be complete without a trail shot and so –

Searching for silence

Although it’s the end of this post, it isn’t the end of fall photography. I went out several times to catch the color and the fallness of the season if you know what I mean. Once I took a very light kit on a scouting mission, but caught a couple of images I quite like. All coming soon.

2 thoughts on “A Fall on the Prairie

Add yours

  1. Love those velvety green rocks! I like trying to capture the same scene in different seasons, so I enjoyed your companion shots. The winter ones are so cool and beautiful in their own quiet way.

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