River stories, part 1

Painted Turtle on a log  

We spent last weekend at Rock Creek Marina & Campground near Clinton, IA. This is a county park along the Mississippi River about 70 miles south of Dubuque, Iowa. Great weather made for some wonderful paddle tours in the backwaters and on the Mississippi River. The quality of the light? Well, it wasn't so good during the day, mostly very harsh. Sunday morning I got up early and enjoyed the solitude on the water, and of course, the softer light that you can usually find only in the morning or around sunset on a hot summer day in August.

Shooting with the long lens from the kayak adds a "fourth dimension", means additional danger for the equipment and the challenge of a moving boat while working with my subject. The Painted Turtles that came out off the water and enjoyed the sun by sitting on a piece of driftwood were probably the easiest critters to make a picture of because they hardly moved. Quite often they just dropped into the water as soon I approached them, but sometimes there is one that isn't so nervous and let me come close. There are several benefits by taking the risk and shooting from the kayak. One of them is the low perspective that is hard to get from higher grounds and that may lead to new views and interesting shooting angles. I will talk about some other benefits in another little "river story", so please stay tuned...