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Oct. 21, 2006
The heavens blessed us with rain and overcast early in the week, but Saturday was the earliest I could make it out of town, and by then the rain and clouds had all gone away. So instead of getting up at a decent hour and cruising over to Richland Creek and taking a leisurely day to shoot fall colors under a gentle, cloudy sky, Junie and I got up at three and got out the door at four, and made it to the Richland Creek campground by seven, about half an hour before sunrise, all so that we could scramble along the creek and find somewhere to set up and take pictures for a little while before the sun got high enough to crash our party.

So after leaving the campground and fording Falling Water Creek and picking our way up the slope covered with lichen-coated stones to the rough trail high on the hillside above the creek, we made our way from a country painted in pre-dawn shades of gray and step by step walked into a yellow and red spangled landscape, where the trees bloomed like flowers.

And finally when the trail dropped back down to the creek, we got down to business, Junie and I.

All too quickly we lost the light, but since it was our first hike in months, Junie wasn't ready to pack it in, and so rather than calling it quits we hiked on to see if we could find a spot on the creek where the far side was in sunlight while the creek and near side were still in shade, so that I could get some bounce light shots, where the creek water and boulders are illuminated mainly by light bouncing off sunlit foliage from the opposite bank. I knew that up ahead the creek would bend around to the south some and give us the bounce light we needed, but along the way I also kept a look out over my shoulder for scenes where the foliage would be back or side lit.

After a while we came to a spot with the light I was looking for, and we slogged out to a great honking flat-topped boulder in the middle of the creek and puttered contentedly until I was satisfied I had all the stuff in the can that was going to go into the can that day.

It wasn't until we started walking back toward the trailhead that I noticed how out of shape and tired I was, but there was no hurry, and getting back was just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other until enough of the earth had spun under us that we were back where we started. After we drove up out of the deep Richland valley and dodged around a few mountains on Highways 16 and 7, I was able to tune in a Fayetteville station well enough to catch the second half of the game where our Razorbacks beat the Rebel out of Ole Miss. And I was thinking as we rolled along through a lovely Ozark fall afternoon after a great Ozark fall morning: all this and justice, too.

Today's Back Light photo was taken in spring in Ferny Canyon two or three years ago.