Friday, November 18, 2011

The Banks of the Kaw

Taking advantage of the incredible weather we've enjoyed, I made a late-afternoon trip to the Kansas River (aka The Kaw) last Sunday.  Growing up in Wyoming, I'm not accustomed to such warm and calm weather this late in the year, so taking advantage of it is a must.

Although one of the most polluted rivers in America (sad, but true), the river and it's surrounding ecosystem are quite beautiful.  This time of year the scenery is complimented by abundant waterfowl, extremely active deer, and wintering bald eagles.  I've heard comments from several people that the color of fall foliage was not as spectacular this year due to below average rainfall and, for the most part, I agree with them.  However, the colors displayed on the banks of the river are stunning, especially in good light.

Having arrived a bit later than I wanted, I was in a hurry to get right on the bank to see what would catch my eye.  To my luck, the light was gorgeous and the water was like glass.  I was hoping to catch some geese or ducks on the water, so I began the night with my 70-300mm lens.  However, the only disturbance on  the water were leaves and the occasional rising fish (most likely carp).  Still, I managed to get a few landscape shots with this lens that turned out nice, which is rewarding since telephoto lenses are not typically known for landscape use.

I eventually switched to a more normal zoom lens and found a trail that paralleled the river through trees and brush.  My goal was finding another route back to the water to provide a different perspective of the river.  Unfortunately, the light was fading faster than I wanted and I found myself trying to create my own trail back to the river, which was unsuccessful.  I managed to grab one good shot of the setting light popping through the shadows and falling nicely onto the trees.

With very little light left to help me, I started the return trek to my truck.  It was an enjoyable walk back as I simply listened to the sounds of the approaching night.  As I emerged from the edge of the trees I kicked up  four deer, all does, who were probably more surprised to see me than I was to see them.  I couldn't help but think that, earlier, I probably walked right past them in my rush to get to the water.  Oh well, you can't get every picture!

The only negative for the night was arriving back at my truck only to discover a flat tire.  Nothing like changing a tire in the dark!

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