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Beauty Close To Home

April 18, 2016

I just returned from a weekend workshop with Craig McCord in Eminence, MO.  I signed up for the workshop to hopefully discover some landscape photography locations close to home.  I had no idea what a treat was in store for me!


Let me start by saying that Craig is a Southern gentleman with a bit of a drawl and an amazing eye for photography.  He made all the workshop attendees feel comfortable and welcome, and he worked hard in the field to make sure we all had a good learning experience.  If you ever want to learn more about photography without traveling too far from home, Craig would be a wonderful choice!  His website is Craigmccordphotography.com.  Check out his wonderful photographs and his workshop schedule there.


There will be several posts about the trip, so many things to show you!  I will be like your tour guide to luscious landscapes in Missouri!!  But I'm leaving tomorrow for a trip to the Smokies, so this will have to be a quick post.  I just can't wait to share this photograph and story with you!!  But this isn't all--there's a very special story just waiting to be told--but first, let's see what happens after the sun goes down in the Ozarks...


I was a good girl last year and Santa brought me a special lens for night photography.  I tried this briefly in the Smokies last fall and attended a lecture with Jennifer Wu, so my appetite was whetted, but I didn't have a firm understanding of what to do to capture a good night sky image.  Craig offered to take us to a special place, one of his favorites in the area, to photograph the sky and stars and the surrounding landscape.  It was at the end of a very long day after a very early start--my little inside voice started saying things like "you're tired, plus you don't really know how to do this, plus you have to climb over rocks and wade a stream in the dark..."   I almost listened and backed out of going, but at the last moment, I remembered something from our trip to the Philippines. 


One of my friends on the trip, Dan, is an amazing man.  He is smart, witty, and ready for any adventure that presents itself.  He made every single dive on the trip except for one when his camera malfunctioned.  He dove in the current, in the muck, in the dark, always ready for what came next.  He was an inspiration to me, because I have tended, in the past, to shy away from new things because they seem so hard or I might fail.  I was lucky to spend two weeks with Dan, and I came home feeling challenged to meet new adventures head on instead of holding back.


So when the chance to do night sky photography came along, and I toyed with not going, I thought of Dan.  If he were here, he'd say "Jane, let's do it!"  So I did it!!  And I'm happy to report that I had an amazing time, being out on the rocks, in the middle of a quickly flowing stream, looking at the gorgeous stars as the sky darkened.  There is a little mill on the side of the stream, remnants really of a working mill from many years ago.  We used low watt lights to light paint the mill while we exposed for the stars.  (This required more than a few trips over the rocks, down the stream and up the hill to adjust the lights--Craig was a really good sport!)


When I saw the image on my LCD screen, I was so excited!  It was then that I realized I had captured a streak of light right in the middle of the sky----it was the International Space Station just strolling across the heavens.  I have never seen it before, and it was quite a thrill!!  A very special friend of mine always loves to go out and look for the station as it goes overhead, so I can't wait to make this as a print for her.  (There goes that surprise!)


So here is the image from that night, I have decided to call it Dan's Mill.  It is officially known as Klepzig Mill, but it will always be Dan's Mill to me.  Thank you, Dan, for being my friend and for inspiring me to be a better version of myself.






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