The whole sentence is: “Yes, I am thinking of summer and sailing on Lake Oahe.”
This is the fourth in a series of sunrise shots that were all taken within 30 minutes or so of each other. This photo was almost rejected (which is my way of throwing things away – kind of). The rejection would have been based on the fact that so little is well exposed on this frame. In fact I would say that as much as 1/2 of this photo is almost pure black. In my mind, that’s not good.
But, when I looked at this picture again, I like how the black parts of the photo frame the incipient sunrise. I think that how the water goes from black to deep blue to orange is especially interesting.
So this one became a keeper.
This is pretty much the same view as yesterday’s post, though taken several minutes later with no sailboat to block the view.
Seasoned Oahe boaters all know that one of the most unusual features of the shoreline this summer is that for late August, things are still incredibly green. Pierre, SD, which lies just south of the reservoir, has had 8″ more rain than it normally gets by this time in August.
For the sake of comparison, check out this shot of the Little Bend camp ground taken in early September in 2005 when the reservoir water level was much lower and central South Dakota was experiencing a more typical dry summer. As I study the 2005 photo, today’s post makes it look almost tropical on the western shore of Lake Oahe.
For those who like analogies, check out another sunrise photo taken of the Missouri in mid-winter. The hues are similar, though the water temperature is a few degrees cooler.
I made the 15 mile trip from the Spring Creek Marina to Mission Creek largely under power since the wind was light to non-existant. The weather forecast was for good weather overnight and light winds in the morning. For me there isn’t much better in my sailing world than to wake up in a remote bay with calm winds and the hint of a glorious sunrise. And this morning was one of those experiences.
When I first slid the hatch cover open and put my head out, I wasn’t thinking of taking photos. But right away I noticed very light fog low on the water, which I thought was interesting. I also liked the curves of the sloping green hills that came down to the water’s edge.
Compositionally and aesthetically, then, I liked what I saw. But the problem was that there was very little light. But knowing that the camera sees things in ways that the eye can’t, I thought that I’d crank up the ISO and see what I got. And you are looking at it.
Yes, this is just another sunset photo and there is nothing that would necessarily distinguish this shot from a billion other sunset photos. So why post it?
Well, in part because it was Independence Day in the US and that night, since we had no fireworks in our supplies on my sailboat, the beautiful, blazing sunset would have to suffice. Also, this photo – a snapshot really – marks a moment in my summer worth remembering. Scott P and I had had a successful day of sailing and fishing. After 15 hours of nearly constant motion, we had pulled in to our anchorage in Mission Creek on Lake Oahe and we had the whole place to ourselves.
The wind had died and the only sounds we could hear were the gentle creaking of the rigging of “Wandering Star,” the muted sound of birdsong and crickets coming from the shore and the distant call of coyotes flowing down the western hills from miles away. All of that and, to borrow a phrase from Emily Dickinson, the “yellow noise” of the sun. I was in one of my favorite places in the world with one of my favorite people.
This captured moment may have little meaning to you. But it will give me sustenance for months to come.
My boat is parked in my driveway, dwarfing our little red Prius. There are many projects waiting for me but today it is rainy and cold. So I am spending time looking for photos of Lake Oahe and the Missouri River.
This photo (taken with film in another century) looks north over the mouth of mission creek. The peninsula visible in the middle is called Mouse Island and I am guessing that the strip of land connecting the island will be under water this summer due to the fact that the reservoir is almost full. The boat is this photo is named Ariel and I sailed her for over 20 years.
For a sense of the geography of this place, you really need to see this spot on my Panoramio web site.