Rain came down. The St. Francis River rose, and so did the water in photographer Dave Stonner’s boots. His rain jacket was soaked through. “It’s like standing in the shower,” he thought as he hiked through the mud at Millstream Gardens Conservation Area. But for Dave, the sound of rain trickling through the leaves as the fog rolled in was just part of the adventure.
“Rain makes the outdoors magical,” says Dave. Dust on the leaves is washed away, making colors brighter. Harsh shadows disappear. Rocks glisten in the soft light. He wanted to take advantage of that magic to show the beauty of Tiemann Shutins. Shut-ins are areas in streams where rocks restrict the flow of the water, creating small waterfalls.
When Dave reached the shutins, the rain stopped. He used a slow shutter speed, which keeps the camera lens open longer. This technique makes the water look as if it is flowing.
You, too, can hike and take photos at conservation areas—rain or shine. Millstream Gardens is near Fredericktown in southeast Missouri. To find an area near you, go to www.mdc.mo.gov/atlas.
Nichole LeClair Terrill