Little Maquoketa River, Durango, Iowa

A shot fresh out of camera from this evening. I went down into our Little Maquoketa River Valley to Durango, Iowa, a little village with maybe a dozen homes and the old railroad depot, which is now a bar. The picture was taken from the railroad bridge towards the fork where the Middle Fork Maquoketa River and the Little Maquoketa River meet, only a few miles before their water enters the Mississippi River. The railroad tracks have been removed a long time ago and their path is now a very popular recreation trail, called the Heritage Trail.

I was testing a new 2-stop soft edge graduated neutral density filter and I’m sure after I have more experience with it I will write a little review here in the blog. After the flooding during the last months the river banks don’t look necessarily pretty. A lot of dead wood and debris edges the banks and removing some of the sticks in post process is part of my way to make this landscape picture work. You can see how the GND filter keeps the interesting clouds and the moon on the right hand side intact and leaves good detail and tones in the fore- and middle-ground. Sure, I could lift the dark shadows in post process to reveal more detail in the trees, but this would not benefit the storytelling of this image. This is not a picture with a clear subject but the eye follows the lines of the river, goes to the clouds, maybe the moon, and comes back to the subtle reflections on the water in the foreground. No reason to get lost between dead branches and the mud of the river bank, which are nicely covered in the shadows.