Back to Castle Creek Again

This was supposed to be a short stop at Castle Creek, then off to other places.  Predictably, I got caught up in the location and the short trek turned into an all-day event.

The water was extremely low, which allowed me to get to a few spots I hadn't really gone before. It also presented some interesting photo opportunities.  And funny enough, I thought I had already posted these and had completely forgotten about them.

Color filter set to blue on these.  I prefer the one directly above this one, but there's a water droplet right in the center of the shot.  Even in low water, it sprays like crazy right there.

Filter set to red for these.  It's tough to frame this shot.  I'd rather have been back just a bit, but there's a 10' drop right behind me.

Here's a couple on the High Contrast Black and White setting.  I am going to try and use this setting a bit more, but not too much.

These all turned out with that silky water technique that I'm not all that fond of.  Every once in a while, it's okay, I guess.  The light was right low due to the sun being blocked out by a giant boulder.  They all have a dark and dreary feel to them, but the trip was taken on a sunny and warm September day.

The next set shows the contrast between some shots I took prior and what they looked like on this trip.

This now looked like...

...this.

This now looks like...

...this.

This now looks like...

...this.  The changing of the seasons is very striking.

Some pictures of decaying leaves.  I wanted to get better shadows and some other things, but because I was barely clinging to the top of a 15' drop that I climbed up, this was the best that I could do.

What else was I doing on that perch?

Trying to take a picture of a scaphinotus ground beetle.  This one wasn't moving as fast as during past experiences.  I had to use flash to speed up the shutter so it wasn't blurry.  I found it tough to take a good picture while not slipping over the edge and also avoiding a huge, fast beetle that will pack a nasty bite if messed with.  It was really close, too.

One fascinating feature of this portion of the creek are the caves.  These are talus caves, created by boulders falling together into piles.  The spaces between form cave-like structures.  It is startling to think that these monstrous, often house-sized boulders falling from the mountains above.

Into one of the large caves.

Looking back to the prior position from straight to the left of it.

A log that's been rubbed smooth by water.  I think I spent at least a half hour trying to take video just of this series of caves.  None turned out satisfactorily.

Looking out of a large cave along the creek.

A rock at the bottom of one of the openings that has been etched from water over the eons.  Best I can tell, it is a different type of rock than most everything else around it.

Just outside the bottom of that cave sits this nice tiny fall.

Inside that pool was a...

...giant pacific salamander.  That massive tail is what allows them to rocket through the water in quick bursts to escape predators and dorks with bright orange cameras.

This pool lies just to the right of that last cave picture up there.  It also sits at the bottom of a immense boulder the size of an office building.  I noticed a different type of salamander in here, but it scooted away.

What's that black thing?

It's the Camera Strap of Doom!  I stick the camera just into the water, then tilt it so I can see underwater through the screen while also looking around the pool.  It takes some focus to identify and photograph a rough-skinned newt or giant pacific salamander, so you tend to concentrate pretty hard on any movement.  The first time the strap flashed directly in front of the screen, I was more startled than I'd like to admit because the screen showed a large object that literally appeared out of nowhere.  Maybe next time I'll put it on my wrist so it doesn't scare me...

Quartz hole forming in the creek bed.  At first, I thought it was a spider web and was looking for spidey.

I wonder if "quartz hole" is an Urban Dictionary-level insult hurled by geologists at one another?

I decided to forgo the main plan and just stick to the creek instead of getting back to the car and going somewhere else, as I had planned earlier.  So, up the creek I headed.  I spotted a giant pacific salamander in a pool, but as I took off my long sleeve shirt so I could dip my arms in the water, it vanished.  Judging by its girth, it easily exceeded the typical maximum size for the species.  Very unfortunate.

Nice little spot and that log is what you have to walk to get out of it without backtracking a ways.  (I try and stay out of the water as much as possible since these are pretty fragile areas.)

A little further up.  This upper part of the lower part is also beautiful, but in a fairly different way.  There's a lot more green and it doesn't drop as fast.

On the way back down, I ran across a butterfly.

These really bug me (ha!).  The camera wasn't processing light very well right here, so the shutter was slow and the branch was waving slightly in the breeze, causing them to be just out of focus.  The last two would have been very nice, otherwise.

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