Mid-channel Bar

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Big French Creek, California, USA

Big French Creek, California, USA

I climbed this little tree in the middle of the stream and tried to balance while taking this time exposure. It was hard to hold the camera still, especially when the branch broke….

OK, that is a lie. But sometimes it is fun to make up stories to answer the question, “How did you take that photo?”

The combination of vantage point and composition can hide the real answer and create curiosity. One of my favorite curiosity photos is of an observatory in a granite spire overlooking Mont Blanc (to see that photo enter Chamonix in the search box above). Like this photo of a creek, it hides enough to cause the viewer to wonder about where the photograph was taken from. What is not shown is as important as what is shown in the photo. It is also interesting that being a little above a scene can make a distinctly different photograph. I often use a small step stool or ladder to change the perspective.

This photo was taken on the first excursion with a new camera. I had spent a cold, misty morning in the rocks next to the Trinity River in northern California. After spending hours at that one location and photographing as the light changed, hoping for an early morning kayaker to pass by, I decided to look around the area. I drove up a nearby logging road a mile or so but did not find anything of interest. On my way back I looked over into the forest and saw an old deserted highway bridge over Big French Creek. The old road was narrow and the bridge was low. It provided a nice view into this red alder (Alnus rubra Bong.) grove growing on a gravel bar in the middle of the creek.

I can imagine that this view is similar to what a bird’s view would be sitting on a branch over the creek. This might be a good spot for a kingfisher. This little gravel bar might also be a refuge where an entire lifetime passes for small mammals or insects. It is a small, separate world.

It was early spring, so the flow was pretty high for this creek and made an interesting longer exposure. And, yes, I did have to use a tripod. I wanted the tree bark, branches, and gravel to be sharp, but also have some motion in the water. That would not be possible balancing on a branch.   Photo: 1 second at f/20.

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