In my last blog post I mentioned a location here in eastern Iowa we hadn’t visited for a while but a nice hike last Sunday made me considering it more often for future wildlife or landscape shootings.

Backbone State Park is a heavily forested area, mainly oaks and maples, measuring over 2000 acres (8.1 km2). As part of the driftless area it was left unglaciated during the last ice age. It has an interesting geology with ancient dolomite formations dating from the Silurian period. A large ridge of rock divides the park, resembling a spine, and lends its name to the park and adjacent forest. The area is characterized by active springs, caves, sinkholes and karsts. (source: Wikipedia)

A lake was created by building a dam across the Maquoketa River in 1933/34 and during my hike along the shore I found ducks, geese, a pair of Hooded Mergansers, and finally saw three Eastern Phoebes catching insects by perching on branches hanging over the water. The phoebe is a sure sign that spring is just around the corner, despite the fact that we had some light snow again today…

It was the pattern of old snow below one of the rock formations that made me push the shutter button. At this time of the year (no sign of any green yet) and with last Sunday’s gray overcast it was not so easy to “romance” the landscape. I tried to combine the textures of the grass, snow, rocks, and the trees on the slope and let the river guide the eye through the image.

Nikon D750, Nikon Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm, f/4G ED VR, @ 200 mm, 1/320 s, f/8, ISO 200