Fire on the Bluff

Twilight on the first day of Autumn as the stubborn rays of a sleepy sun set ablaze the face of Red Bluff along Huzzah Creek in Crawford County. In a sublime expression of Nature’s beauty, the fiery streak is projected onto the water, providing a touch of symmetry to the moment. Believe it or not, I was just as excited to watch this scene unfold as I was to witness a stunning sunset over the Tetons, but in this case I was only an hour from home at the U.S. Forest Service’s Red Bluff Campground in the Mark Twain National Forest. Although I captured this image in the valley, our campsite (Pine Overlook) was perched on an Ozark mountaintop. We pitched our tents high on the edge of a bluff overlooking breathtaking terrain, a view completely devoid of man-made structures. My camp mates on this excursion included my wife, Joyce, and our friends Denise and Ryanne. Just after supper the temperature was already plummeting toward the 30’s so we all retired to our cozy sleeping bags where we spent most of the night listening to the banshee hollers of barred owls and the eerie trills of screech owls. Other sounds included the scrambling of tiny creatures investigating the baked beans we lost in a cooking mishap. As a matter of fact, after eating some of the beans, right off the ground, as well as potato packs with Velveeta cheese, cheeseburgers, beef jerky, corn nuts, Snickers bars, beer and trail mix, a few sounds emanated from my tent throughout the night — no disrespect intended toward the Ozark critters or my understanding wife.

Getting back to the image, I donned my chest waders and made a late-afternoon set up in the creek, downstream from Red Bluff. I began making a series of images as the sun dipped toward the horizon. I used a graduated neutral density filter to control exposure on the bright bluff and sky so I could manually expose for the darker stream and gravel bar below. I also used a circular polarizer to bring out the details of the bluff face. As a dark shadow creeped upward toward the bluff with the sinking sun, I finally came to my last shot as all that was left was a sliver of light across the red rocks. That final frame ended up being my favorite of the evening so I chose it for this week’s edition.

Canon 1D Mark IV; Canon 17-40 L Lens; 0.6 sec @ f/16; ISO 100; Manual Exposure; RAW Capture; B + W Circular Polarizer; Lee 4 x 6 Graduated Neutral Density Filter; Feisol CT3301 Tripod with Markins M-10 Ballhead; Converted and Processed in Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP)

Thanks for Looking!



8 comments on “Fire on the Bluff”

  1. Wonderful photo, Danny! Just thought I’d mention that I used to read the email copy accompanying Nature Frames, before I realized that clicking on the title brought up the larger photo and the much more attractive format for reading the copy. I wonder if it would make sense to have only the title/link in the email, so viewers would go directly to the finished product? Either way, I always enjoy receiving your latest creations!



    Dan Burke BVM Real Estate Office: 314-716-2470 Cell: 314-504-0326

    • Thanks Dan. I’ll have to send out reminders that it’s better just to click on the title. I try to tell people when they mention the blog but it is hard to catch everybody. I’m glad to hear you are viewing it through the blog as you are right; it is much nicer this way. Take care.


  2. I saw your post on the WordPress,com forums and clicked through to your site. And how happy I am to see your pictures, read your text! I can’t even express my reaction…
    So I guess this will be ever an inane comment but for “OH!”

    • Music to my ears Tess. I hope you continue to enjoy the weekly posts. Next week I’ll be featuring some cute squirrels eating walnuts that are bigger than their head.

  3. Hi Danny, I am just getting back from another long road trip up in the North East part of Iowa, and read your story on your latest camping trip. It sounded like you all had a great time, and a few laughs. I cant get over the Magnificent camera shot of the Bluff overlooking the Huzzah. The detail is so wonderful, that you feel as though you are right there. What a talent you have in being able to capture one of Gods greatest gifts.
    thank you for sharing.

    Art Tilley

    • Hi Art, Glad to hear you made it home safely once more and thanks for the nice comment on Red Bluff. I’m looking forward to sharing more landscapes as the colors change.

  4. Lovely…as usual. But your descriptions of the sounds makes me wonder why you don’t start posting short videos.

    • I have been making some short HD Videos lately, mostly of squirrels stripping walnuts, but I haven’t put any on You Tube yet. I’ve just been watching them with Splash Lite on my computer. Maybe someday. Take care Deepa.

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