Green Island Wetlands, Mississippi Valley, Iowa

I have been asked before, Andreas, why don’t you take more landscape pictures of the Green Island Wetlands if you go there so often? I admit this is a valid question and I never have formulated a real answer.

As you have figured out by now, I love the Upper Mississippi Valley and one of my favorite places to go is the Green Island area, where the Maquoketa River meets the mighty Mississippi. A system of levees and dykes keeps the water level separate from both rivers and provides great habitat for all kinds of birds, fish, and critters. So far so good, but what is the subject for a good landscape photo? We have plenty of water, mud banks, reeds and aquatic plants, trees (many of them dead), and of course some wildflowers during the summer. If all these things can be combined it still doesn’t make automatically for a good picture, even if the light has some quality.

Today some good size thunderheads piled up during the afternoon and as soon I was done with my work I jumped in the car and drove down to the wetlands. The thunderheads dissolved quickly but still left some good clouds this evening, the additional ingredient for a landscape photo in Green Island.

What’s also special in this image is the fact that the water level has never been so high during the last ten years and since I visit this area. What looks like another lake on the left hand side is usually grassland and fields with maybe some puddles, but right now most of it is flooded. The lake on the right is most of the time very shallow and covered with reeds and water plants. It is my favorite spot to photograph sandpipers and other shorebirds foraging on the mudbanks. Well, mudbanks make not necessarily a good foreground, but without them, and good light, some wildflowers, and of course the clouds,…. Today the time was right for a landscape photo in the Green Island Wetlands.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 16-35mm / f4, Schneider Graduated ND filter 0.9, @16 mm, 1/80s, f/18, ISO200