Old Lost Valley School
Destinations . . .
The Buffalo National River is 135 miles long and has many well known destinations, places notable for their history or visual interest. This gallery and its sub-galleries portray those destinations . . .
Trumpeter Swans at Boxley Valley Mill Pond #50342
This is definitely on my top photos list for 2008. I had gone out to shoot elk, and there were none. Sometimes the Boxley Valley elk just disappear. In these situations experience has taught me to start grinding for an image that might be useful. I settled on the mill pond and started lining up what I thought might be a decent landscape shot. The light was great, and foggy clouds were breaking up as the morning sun melted them off. I set up for the landscape incorporating the snag, and the huddled trumpeters. When I finally took the shot, one trumpeter unexpectedly posed for me, lifting its wings in a characteristic morning stretch.
This proves that it is better to be lucky than good. What started out as a failed trip to Boxley Valley, ended up producing one of my best photos.
Bald Eagle at Boxley Valley Mill Pond #65963
Boxley Valley Mill Pond is a great, compact destination for shooting wildlife. It is located in the center of the best elk photography opportunities in Arkansas, and is home to many species including trumpeter swans, bald eagles, great white egrets, ospreys, herons, ducks, and beaver. By far, the eagles and swans are most common and generally are winter residents, migrating in after severe winter arrives in the north.
This photo was taken just after the eagles had arrived in winter 2008. I setup my tripod and trusty 100-400 zoom lens with a 1.4x multiplier, and focused in on this bird sitting in the main snag in the pond (same as pictured above). I watched him preen and endure a crow attack, but finally he decided to leave. I was fortunate to get the exact pose I wanted when he decided to leave. The unusual flexing of the feathers in his wings is because he just took off, and is pushing very hard to get up to speed. The scene is side and back lit. Note how the tips of the wings are illuminated and a portion of the black wing was rendered as gray.
Osprey at Boxley Valley Mill Pond #50127
This osprey is a rare visitor to the Boxley Valley Mill Pond. I drive past the pond about as much as anyone, and this was only the third time I had saw one. The reason is that there are simply not quite enough fish to eat. These predatory bird usually visit for a short time and then move on.
I took a lot of pictures of this bird on this day. It was an overcast day and with a slow shutter speed it was hard to get a decent shot. For some reason this one came out, only one out of a dozen shots.
The easiest way to ID an osprey is to look at their head. Even from a long distance, you can see the characteristic white cap and black eye band of these large birds. If you look at this picture, and the one of the bald eagle above, you can get a feel for the size of an osprey. The body of one is roughly two feet long and they have a wingspan of 6 feet. They are able to dive three feed, feet first, to catch their prey.