Posts from the “Deep Creek” Category

Deep Creek 5 – Late Spring

Posted on May 25, 2015

Sun's Arrival - Deep Creek, Hastings, FL

Sun’s Arrival – Deep Creek

Deep Creek is back in green. I was fortunate that high tide was at 9:30 am, so my arrival at 7 allowed me to avoid much of the fallen logs that plagued me on my last two outings. Temperatures were mild and the mosquitoes and flies were well behaved. And yes, I’m going to complain about the weather again because the “partly cloudy” forecast means some clouds and there were very few. The sun came screaming into the creek by 8:00. I headed west towards the river in anticipation of some overcast conditions, but after 30 minutes in the sun I decided to turn around and head back upstream. You could still find some areas in shadow but for the most part the direct sun was what we had. I would say all of the leaves are grown out, some of the foliage still had that fresh green look. Summer doesn’t actually begin until June 21 so this is still technically Spring, but this is the Summer look for the next 5 months.

Deep Creek - Hastings, FL

Broken Connections – Deep Creek

I made it quite far upstream. It looks like someone had done some clearing and cutting of a few large branches that had stopped me short on my last trip here. There were still plenty of fallen trees and logs crossing the stream bed but the high water allowed me to squeeze by. The turn-around log actually had a bypass on the side but the tide was going out and I didn’t want to be trapped with no way out. As the morning progressed the sun got stronger but for a brief moment it started to rain and I thought the clouds were moving in. But it was all short lived and the sun was back – actually it was a beautiful day.

Deep Creek - Hastings, FL

Tangled – Deep Creek

On trips like these I get frustrated because it takes an effort to pack up the boat and an hour to drive out to the site. Summer in Florida means sun, especially in the mornings, so I constantly look for those “mostly cloudy” forecasts. You just have to deal with what you have and make the best of the outing. I was actually pleased with the images and shot a lot less due to the conditions, which made post processing much easier. But every outing carries a level of expectation, and we can’t get carried away with that mentality. It is is a great privilege when we are given a time slot in our lives where we can be in solitude outdoors on our own terms. I need to remember that and cherish the time. My outings are not always about photography (although I often forget about that), so if conditions aren’t optimal, then it’s ok. There are other reasons to be where I am, and today was a great example of that.

Deep Creek 4 – Spring

Posted on February 21, 2015

Creek Split 2 - Deep Creek

Creek Split 2 – Deep Creek

I was looking forward to another paddle on Deep Creek. Watching the tides and weather, I knew Saturday was going to be mostly cloudy but I would be launching at close to low tide. It’s hard to time all these things perfectly, so I went for it. I found frost on my kayak in the morning at 6 am when I pulled out of my driveway. At the launch it was 34 degrees. On a positive side, I knew that I would have the creek all to myself. Heading upstream, I was turned around by a newly fallen tree after about 1/2 mile. Knowing that the tide was going out, I thought just as well as I had passed many large branches barely scraping over them on my way out. I made it back to the bridge and headed west towards the St. Johns. The light was coming in and out and for a while the clouds just disappeared. I thought I was going to have a bust for photography but patience played out. It’s lovely to have the morning light playing in and out of the clouds. With my moving boat, the scenery was constantly changing. As a result I move very slowly, sometimes just drifting with the current and enjoying the views. When something calls out to be photographed, I usually look for a place that i can move my boat close to…a log, some vegetation, or some branches. I try to avoid throwing out the anchor because I’m just lazy. Drifting and shooting doesn’t work, and despite all the times I’ve tried unsuccessfully to do this, I usually try a few shots because I’m too lazy to stop the boat. One day I will learn. I’ve been working hard on my stillness techniques and find it a challenge to position one’s self with camera ready in an absolutely still position. You have to hold this for several minutes to quiet all the ripples. One move, even the slightest one, will send torrents of waves into your scene. I’ve worked this into a sort of meditation as I accept the fact that there is no shortcut to being still and dissipating the ripples. But the results are closer to what I see and feel on the creeks when there is absolute stillness in the crystal clear reflections. It is magical.

Spring Greens - Deep Creek

Spring Greens – Deep Creek

The creek is long and gradually widens as you approach the St. Johns. A fellow kayaker passed by. He was obviously enjoying himself and we chatted for a while about the beautiful morning and the special quality of this particular creek. As I approached the end of the creek I checked on the time. It was already 12:30, I had been out for 4.5 hours and needed to find my way home. The return trip was just as special and I took my time and enjoyed the cloudy conditions. I rarely paddle in the afternoon light and found it to be a bit stronger but just as sweet. The tide had come back in and was ready to go back out. Time for me to get out and head home. My boat was out and loaded by 4:30. What a great day.

B&W Study - Deep Creek

B&W Study 284-291 – Deep Creek

I ended up with over 400 images from the trip and have been enjoying the exercise of culling, editing, and sometimes finding a gem. Sometimes I find the B&W versions can communicate my emotions in a place most effectively. Spring is a special time for landscapes, as the renewal of the forests is gradual and the transparency of the trees starts to disappear. In a short time the explosion of green leaves dominates the view.

Deep Creek 3 – Hints of Autumn

Posted on November 11, 2014

Autumn Highlights

Autumn Highlights – Deep Creek

It’s almost mid November and most of our northern friends have seen the change of seasons. We are just seeing some changes around here, mostly maples and some other hardwoods that tend to dump their leaves at the first sign of cold weather. There are plenty of leaves on the trees but there has been a lot of leaf loss as can be felt by the amount of light now available to shoot. Deep Creek is always a good place to go because you are guaranteed to have a nice long paddle without a lot of deadwood or obstacles. There are actually two parts to the creek, upstream (east) and downstream towards the St. Johns (west). I always like to head upstream to see how far I can go. We paddled for at least 2 miles before things started to get messy and finally a big log turned us around. We covered a part of the western route too but the sun came out in full force and put a damper on the shooting party.

Liquid Gold

Fallen Leaves – Deep Creek

With the additional light I noticed the reflections more and tried to work these into the compositions. The sun is also much lower on the horizon which helps a lot. The visual experience is still all very new to me especially with the changes in the color palette. I’m continuing to shoot with a wide angle zoom (24-70), with most images made between a 45-55 mm focal length. I’m particularly enjoying the absence of bugs and 100% humidity, which makes for a very pleasant paddle.

Sky Pool

Sky Reflection – Deep Creek

Yellow and Green

Yellow and Greens at the turnaround – Deep Creek

Deep Creek 2

Posted on June 28, 2014

Deep Creek-2014-0628-152

Summer Morning – Deep Creek West

My second visit, this time paddling west towards the St Johns River. I knew the light was not going to be with us. Bright sunny mornings are the norm in Florida. The clouds usually roll in after noon and build into thunderstorms. Good light but being in a boat in a lightening storm is not something I want to do. Going west the creek gently widens. Deep Creek is part of the Deep Creek Conservation Area, a watershed set aside by the government to protect the wetlands and actually help the farmers deal with temperature fluctuations and flooding.

At one point there is a small island that splits the creek. I attempted two handheld panoramic shots that ended up being the keepers for the trip. This is another place to return under better conditions.

Split - Deep Creek West

Split – Deep Creek West

Deep Creek

Posted on June 22, 2014

Deep Creek_2014-0622-037

After the Rain – Deep Creek East

My first visit to Deep Creek. A full hours drive from the house. Nice launch area with plenty of parking on the side of SR-207 near Hastings. I paddled upstream and hoped for the best. Immediately I was immersed in a special world. Last night’s rain left the trees with plenty of moisture and there was a mist still lingering on top of the water. Not a soul in sight. I asked myself what is a “perfect” creek excursion? I think this was close.

Altar of Light - Deep Creek East

Altar of Light – Deep Creek East

As the sun rose I could see some shafts of light coming through the moist air. A particularly strong shaft of light caught my eye and I turned around to make another approach to make a photograph. That’s when I noticed the light’s reflection meeting at the surface of the water. This was new for me. After a few exposures (well more than a few) I resigned myself to having witnessed a special moment of discovery. Being on the creek brings the element of reflection to the composition. I knew this, but am continually surprised on how reflections appear. Sometimes the water is still, sometimes there’s a light ripple, and sometimes a fish jumps and leaves concentric circles. All of these surface conditions change the quality of the reflection.

Forest Renewal - Deep Creek East

Forest Renewal – Deep Creek East

I was disappointed to be turned around after about an hour. The tide was not high, so progress is dictated by the deadwood. The tree looked relatively fresh and perhaps I’ll return with my hand saw to try to make it further in. As the sun rises, the mist burns off, and the creek transforms into yet another view.

Turnaround Tree - Deep Creek East

Turnaround Tree – Deep Creek East