Which... worked up to a point. I didn't have to make the drive on my own, but I remembered what happened the last time I had this thought (go with the group so I'm not out in BFE on my own)... I get highly annoyed at how fast everyone moves; I really do better when I go shooting on my own or with another photographer who understands 'move slowly and quietly'. I mentioned something to the group leader about not wanting to sprint through the park, and she said we wouldn't be, but um... yeah we were. And I don't mean that even from a photographer's standpoint. Even if I'd left my camera in my car, I'd feel this group was trying to make land speed records.
Nevermind the fact that I was actually trying to take a few pictures.
Not helping at all is that this is a split-level park - there's an upper dells and lower dells section, which means there's a lot of stairs. It's not like you go down, stay down and then come up and stay up. You're up and down all over the place. At one point we did 148 stairs consecutively (according to the signage). That's roughly the same as going up (yeah, this was 148 stairs UP) 14 floors of a tall building. Did I mention that my asthma deals with hiking across all kinds of land, but really, really hates doing stairs? Ugh.
Overall, for this time of year and for a Saturday and for the the kind of photography I do, I'd give this park a D. It's very, very busy. Which means there are no animals anywhere you can see. I heard some birds - I'm quite sure one was an owl - but other than the occasional blur streaking across the sky, I didn't see one animal. We're also just far enough into fall to be at that awkward place where the interesting flowering plants are pretty well gone, but the really spectacular leaves haven't come in yet. So ... it was pretty boring photographically speaking.
Between trying to break the four-minute-mile and there not being much to see, I only shot about 2 gigs of photos. Comparatively, I hiked a place I wasn't ridiculously keen on last week (photos will get up eventually) where even though I was still in the middle of urban civilization, there were enough animals and flowers that I took about 10 gigs of photos in the same amount of time.
There were a lot of people in the woods that day. A lot of kids and a lot of families with dogs. So, again, no chance the wildlife was going to stick around.
I shot this sign when I was in the parking lot, waiting, just to test the equipment. I find it kind of funny now...
See rule 4? My initial reaction was, "Seriously? Who's going to go wading in a forest lake?" Well, we got up to the "Wishing Well" part of the park and there was a lagoon that was very, very low. Which left a muddy bank from about five feet up the rock wall into the lagoon, which (judging by the dog swimming and playing in it) had to be at least four feet deep. There were a couple of kids running up the bank and sliding down the mud into the water on their butts. At first I kind of gave their dads a dirty look, like, "It's 60 degrees and I'm pretty sure you aren't supposed to let your kids play in the water." (Not that I'd ever say as much, but I thought it).
And then I realized that thirty years ago, my brother and I would have been doing *exactly* that same thing. My father would have been encouraging it while my mother stood to the side hoping there wasn't a stick popping up out of the mud that we'd snag on or a sharp rock on the bottom that we'd cut ourselves on (but not disallowing it or freaking out over what sliding in all that mud would be doing to our clothes.)
Speaking of signage, this one, from the auxiliary parking lot kind of cracks me up:
I do want to try the place again in the spring or summer and preferably on a weekday when it's apt to be less crowded and have more interesting flora and fauna visible.
But, all that said, I did get a few interesting shots.
|Carved Cavern in the Canyon|
|Crack in the Canyon|
|Sulphur Shelf Spots|
|We Don't Need to Put Down Roots|
Okay, I have one more post for this hike - not nearly as many as I would have liked to have had, but I think we're hitting that place where I need to resign myself to the fact that we're heading into that season where nature shooting gets a little bit harder.