Thursday, August 14, 2008

Adventures on the Duck

Every second on the Duck River is an adventure.
I commandeered Mookie's jon boat and put in yesterday afternoon at the camp. Noticing the level of the water, instead of starting the motor I started walking and pulling the boat instead. I walked at least a quarter of a mile right up the middle of the river. I don't know if the levels are that much lower but I don't remember being able to do that in the past.
After getting to the shoal I had intended, I grab my gear and started walking with a camera and looking for something to paint. I have a habit though of walking with my head down trying to avoid any serpentine shapes and lifting it from time to time to check the view. After checking the possibility of a painting there, will put my head down and continue to walk. I would have made a poor pioneer with my head down technique. After walking for an hour, would have picked my head up to be standing in the middle of Indians, or bears or something.
Anyway, walking around a gravel bar, I heard a noise and turned around to notice two small deer crossing the river behind me. Shot as many photos as I could and then realized what a nice painting it would have made. So I threw down my gear, did a painting of the landscape and thought I would add the deer later. I spent most of the day today adding deer. I actually wound up changing quite a bit of the foreground. Once you get it home and start screwing with it, it changes everything. When I paint out and get it home I have to make myself leave them alone. I have ruined more good paintings by trying to "fix" them when I get them in.
The only thing I noticed about the river, other than the levels, was the color. It has had an orange cast or color to it in the Totty's Bend area all summer. Typically this happens early and briefly in the summer and is related to an algae bloom but seems to have been a much longer period this summer due to lack of current. I can't imaging what this will do longterm to certain species of fish and wildlife but hopefully will be temporary. It does appear the river is changing though.

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