Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Falling Water & Richland Star Trails

I admit to not being an expert on a lot of things regarding photography (what does focus mean?!), but I've been seriously trying to understand how star trail photography works. So a few weeks ago I had a chance to get out and try to take a few pictures at night, and decided to try doing star trails over a waterfall. The weather was perfect, nice and clear with nary a cloud in the sky.

It was also the full moon, which I hoped would be helpful (or not mess things up too much). So I packed up the camera and drove back up into the Ozarks, and headed down the familiar dirt road to Falling Water Creek and Richland Creek. My original plan was to try to do star trails above Falling Water Falls and Six Finger Falls. But I don't think Falling Water would have actually worked out because the moon would have been in the sky right above the falls.

But it didn't matter anyways. It was about 10:00 at night when I drove by Falling Water Falls and was surprised to see the small parking area there packed with cars. People were actually camping right on top of the waterfall, and spread out in the woods across the creek. Tents were set up right on the rocks by the falls, which is dangerous and a real jerk move to make. If the Forest Service closed part of the Richland Creek campground because of flash flood risks, I doubt they would be happy with people camping 2 feet away from a creek. Also it's incredibly inconsiderate since it prevents anyone else from enjoying the waterfall while you camp there like you own the place.

So instead I drove down to Six Finger Falls, which luckily was free of any wayward campers. I set the camera up and let it take pictures for about two hours. The foreground was lit by a flashlight, while the creek in the background is lit by moonlight.

I wish there was more water in the creek, but it was a bit low that day. This was taken a few days before the monsoon season hit here, where it's been raining pretty much every day for three weeks straight.

I drove down to the Richland Creek campground, which surprisingly only had a few people there and had many open campsites (guess everyone was already camping at Falling Water). I set up the camera right by the water to try to get some shots of the stars above the creek. The rocks and tree in the foreground are lit by the flashlight, while everything else is from the moon.


I was there for about an hour and a half taking pictures. I decided to stop when the moon dropped below the trees and the woods descended into complete darkness. I decided to call it a night and head towards home (and bed), thankful that there weren't any snakes out trying to enjoy the stars that night too.

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