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June 2, 2007
The last time I visited Kings River Falls the farm house at the trail head was occupied and an old fellow doing chores waved at me as I started down the trail between two of his fields. It was late fall in 1996, and I can't remember now which of my old Irish setters came with me that day. I do remember that I didn't do a very good job of photographing the falls -- a few shots from the side and a few shots from the front and I was fresh out of ideas. These days the farm seems to be deserted, its yard overgrown with tall weeds and its barn falling apart, although the fields are still being used.

It was good to go back again, though, and I might not have, had it not been for an enthusiastic recommendation from John Moore, who had visited the falls a couple of weeks before and discovered much that he wanted to photograph but couldn't because of a late start and a surgent sun. As Junie and I arrived at the falls after a short hike downstream along the river on a mostly rocky path, I found myself wishing that I hadn't waited a couple of weeks to take his advice, since the water level was a little low to be ideal.

Still, it was lush and robust with the foliage of late spring, and it is a place with good structure, with interesting shapes and lines and perspectives, especially in the rock ledges athwart and flanking the stream, and in the stone channels in the bedrock behind the falls, all of it kind of reminiscent of Falling Water Falls, and maybe even better, if not quite as tall.

After we had been at the falls for about an hour or so, Junie was a few paces downstream from me as I was busy setting up a shot next to the small pool below the falls, when suddenly I noticed a commotion behind me and turned to see a spotted fawn tearing across the creek bed with Junie tearing after him. Even as small as the fawn was, maybe a foot and a half to two feet tall, Junie was no match for him in a foot race, but still I was calling her off as the terrified deer jumped up onto the stone bank, came up against the bluff there, then reversed direction and bolted back across the creek and veered downstream and disappeared, with Junie in hot pursuit.

Fortunately, she responded to my calls quickly and soon came trotting back to me, but I could see she had entered a sort of carnivore trance, her eyes glazed over and her tongue lolling, and over the next 10 or 15 minutes I had to call her back several times from downstream, although by then the fawn surely had made it safely somewhere far away, until finally the heat in her blood cooled down and she returned to her normal gentle state.

Today's Back Light photo, taken last fall in Phipps Hollow, shows Junie in a calm and alert state, monitoring an alarming sound or odor.