The St. Francis River

“The river has great wisdom and whispers its secrets to the hearts of men.”

Mark Twain

The St. Francis River is 426 miles long and is located in southeastern Missouri and northeastern Arkansas. It is only floatable in spring or after heavy rains. It passes through Wappapello Lake that was a result of a dam that was constructed in 1941. Anglers can fish for largemouth and smallmouth bass. There are also catfish, bluegill, sunfish, and crappie. The St. Francis is the most diverse Ozark stream.

The Hubb’s, golden and spothanded crayfish make the St. Francis their home and can only be found in the Ozarks of Missouri and northern Arkansas. The St. Francis crayfish is only found here and nowhere else in the world. Six mussel species are also found here.

Two state parks that the St. Francis River meanders through are Silver Mines Recreation Area and Sam A Baker state park and both have camping available. Sam A Baker has a separate equestrian campground. They also have hiking trails and picnic areas. Baker also has equestrian and bicycle trails.

High water over the bridge in Silver Mines
The water recedes

I have many fond memories of the river as an adult and as a child. I don’t know how many pounds of catfish we caught. We used to pay a farmer to cross his field to the St. Francis and we would set up camp. He had an old wooden boat he would also rent us. One night around 11 pm we were tight line fishing for catfish. Our camp was below Wappapello dam and too far away to hear the siren indicating they opened the dam gates. My mom stands up and said here comes a boat. Yep, you guessed it. Sure enough, our boat. We had pulled it up on the sand bar around the bend. The water had come up and set the boat free. We started trying to hook it and my dad finally hooked it and reeled it in.

My Photography

St. Francis River in Missouri

“There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.”

Ernst Haas

I have two passions in life, photography and flyfishing. Tonight, I am going to share my photography. I am a landscape photography. I use my photography to promote conservation. I hope you enjoy.

Trail inside Silver Mines.
Dock diving
St. Francis River
Abandoned milling operation in St. Joe Park in Missouri
Civil War Reenactment at Fort Davidson in Pilot Knob
Bourbeuse River
Abandoned building in milling operation.
Drag racing in Bonne Terre, MO

I hope you enjoyed my photographs, and they didn’t bore you. Be kind to one another and spread the love.

My Take on Photography

“Every artist has a central story to tell, and the and the difficulty, the impossible task, is trying to present that story in pictures.”

Gregory Crewdson

Photography is an art, and the photographer is the artist. There are those that will say this isn’t true however I have to disagree. Both must have a passion for what they do, along with creativity and a good imagination. A photographer only has one time to snap a photo then that moment is gone forever and can’t be recreated.

When l am framing a shot, I examine every possible angle I can shoot it from, then I imagine what I want it to look like. It requires an eye for detail, patience and flexibility. Light is a key composition and can greatly affect the photo. In a studio one can use artificial light but in nature one must learn to use what light is available.

When I take a picture, the subject must excite me. I sell my photographs and I have to rely on people buying them. If I’m not excited, I can’t expect the viewer to be excited. I have to capture the viewers’ attention and hope they buy it.

In Bruce Barnbaum’s book The Art of Photography Mr Barnbaum lists 14 elements of composition. They are light, color, contrast and tone, line, form, pattern, balance, movement, positive and negative space, texture, camera position, focal length, depth of field and shutter speed. There is so much more involved than point and shoot.

I am basically a landscape photographer. I love nature and am mesmerized by a river. Sunrises and sunsets always grab my attention. It never seems to fail that I see the best ones when I am driving down the road. They can be short lived, and the photographer has to act quickly. When I go hiking, I always have my camera with me. Quite frankly I suck at portraits, and I am in awe of those who have mastered it. Wedding photographers I think have the hardest job. It takes a lot of patience and creativity with some imagination. I am in awe of them.

There was only about 10 minutes between these two photos, and it changed quickly. I took them in Silver Mines Recreation area. This is the St. Francis River that meanders through the park. It is located between Ironton and Fredericktown, Mo. Kayakers love this area and have kayak races here in the spring when the water is up. When the water level is up the kayakers head for the river.

I hope I haven’t bored you with my photos. In closing I am going to post a few more photos I took when hiking at Silver Mines.

The first two were taken of the trail and the last one was a photo of what is left of the damn that was built when the old silver mine was in operation. Thanks for reading and remember to be kind to one another and spread the love.

Shabby Chic Painted Rooster

Shabby Chic Painted Rooster

Today the city of Caledonia had its Blackberry Festival, and the little town was flooded with visitors from out of town. We decided to take some time and go check it out. While walking around the little village the Shabby Chic Painted Rooster was able to grab our attention and we decided to take a closer look inside.

The shop is known for their famous Fragrance Cookie and Tart Melts, and Warmers, Goat’s Milk Soap, Lotion, Hand Crafted Sweatshirts, Vintage Items and Home Decor. Hours: Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Friday their hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m… They are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. There was plenty to see and had a great selection of items for sale. You can reach them at 636-232-8509 and they are located at 129 S State Hwy 21, Caledonia, MO 63631. shabbychicpaintedrooster@yahoo.com

Pickle Springs Natural Area

Pickle Springs Natural Area is located in St. Genevieve County in Missouri. Inside the area is a 1.9-mile loop that is rated moderate. Average time to cover trail is 52 minutes. It is popular among hikers, trail runners and bird watchers. The trail is open all year-round, but you will have to leave your pups at home. Dogs aren’t allowed.

The area was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1974. Inside the area you will find unique rock outcroppings, seasonal waterfalls, bluff overlooks, shallow caves and be prepared to cross wet weather creek crossings. You might want to take along a pair of binoculars or camera. There is ample wildlife to spot. The area has some steep uphill climbs, bridged creek crossings and you will find the trail is well maintained.

You will find 250 species of vascular plants and rose azalea. Creek inhabitants include four toed salamanders, pickerel frogs, green frogs and southern leopard frogs. Also found in the creek is a crustacean, amphipod, known to be only found here.

From Farmington, MO, take Highway 32 east, then Route AA east, and Dorlac Road north.

Devil’s Honeycomb Trail (Hughes Mountain)

Located in the Hughes Mountain Natural Area is a trail called Devil’s Honeycomb Trail. It consists of glades, savanna, old fields and it is half forest. Polygonal columns of rhyolite make up what the locals call the Devil’s Honeycomb and is located at the highest point of the mountain. It is one of Missouri’s geologic wonders.

Around 1.5 billion years ago the rocks were liquefied by volcanoes associated with the St. Francois Mountains. The molten rock contracted, and as it cooled cracked and created multi-sided columns and created a rhyolite formation that locals named the Devil’s Honeycomb. The Precambrian rock outcrops are among the most ancient, exposed rocks in the United States.

The Hughes Mountain Natural Area is located off highway M, 3 miles southeast of Irondale.

Are Black and White Photos Appealing?

“Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art.”

Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams was an American landscape photographer and environmentalist. He was well known for his black and white images of the American West. He created many black and white masterpieces, but I think his most famous is “Monolith, the Face of Half Dome. I know the first time I saw it I wanted to be a photographer.

I am a long way from being an Ansel Adams but I like black and white pictures. I just don’t know that there is really a good market for it. I guess I will find out. The top photo is a picture I took of one of the buildings that was used to process iron ore located in Park Hills, MO. It is now the property of Missouri and is a part of St. Joe Park. It has been designated a Historic Mine Site.

Building located within St. Joe Park and was used in the processing of iron ore.
A conifer located in Hughes Mountain Natural Area near Irondale, MO.
Cedar tree located in Hughes Mountain Natural Area that has seen better days.
The view on Hughes Mountain.

I recently was able to take a hike on the Hughes Mountain Natural Area trail. The trail is rated moderate is an out-and-back trail, 1.6 miles long.

I decided to be creative.
Some more of my creativity.

I hope you enjoyed my photos. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated. Color or black and white?

Hughes Mountain Natural Area

Hughes Mountain is located in southern Washington County in Missouri. The area was designated a natural area in 1982. It is made up of a combination of igneous glades and three types of forests. Precambrian rock outcrops found in the area are 1.5 billion years old making them among the most ancient, exposed rocks in the United States.

The area is named after the first European settler, who arrived in 1810, John Hughes. The Conservation Department purchased the land from the Hughes family. The rhyolite formation located at its highest point is known by locals as the Devil’s Honeycomb. Because of my late start and other time restraints I was unable to make my way to this area. Another trip is planned for the near future.

Glades located within the area are natural openings located on the western and southern slopes where native grasses and a variety of wildflowers can be found. Glade plants include little bluestem, broomsedge, poverty grass, flame flower, prickly pear cactus, yellow star grass, spiderwort, and wild hyacinth.

The trail is 1.6 miles long and is an out-and-back trail near Irondale, MO. I found it to be a moderately challenging trail but was fairly well maintained with trail arrows. On average it takes 48 minutes to complete however time gets away from you when snapping photos. The trail is open year round and dogs are welcome but they must be on a leash. The trail is popular among birders, hikers and runners. However, if you see me running, run, because something is chasing me.

NOTE: All pictures were taken by me and the property of Double D Acres LLC and may not be used without my permission.

More to A Photo

Storm moving in

Pictures can only show what is happening. Being void of sound and smell it leaves the viewer to their own imagination to fill in the rest.

How about you? When you look at a photo do you stop there or do you imagine more?

When you look at the above photo do you imagine the sound of thunder in the distance? Can you feel the breeze from the storm and smell the coming rain in the air? Can you hear the wind in the trees?

I am one who try’s to add another element to the photo that the photographer can’t. It adds a new dimension and can even add to the excitement of the photo.

It would be interesting to hear what others think.

Do You See What I See

“To me photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place…I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”

Elliott Erwitt

Elliott Erwitt was famous for his uncanny ability to capture on film the humor and irony of everyday life.

Fortunately, we are all different. The world would be a boring place if we all liked the same things. Ten people can look at the same picture and see it fourteen different ways. As a photographer I want the viewer to see what I see. When I see something that excites me, I immediately begin analyzing the shot trying to figure out how to shoot the picture for the viewer to understand what I see. In this particular picture I would have to ask which came first? The rocks or the tree.

This shot was taken on a ridge that paralleled the St. Francis River inside the Silver Mines Recreation Area near Fredericktown, MO. It is along a trail that runs parallel with the river along the ridge and just to the right a trail takes off up the ridge. My thinking is the rocks were put there many years ago to mark the trail when the tree was small.

More pictures of the trail that runs along the west ridge overlooking the river.