A nice scene in Nebraska

Here is an image I shot with iPod Touch (instead of decent camera) that I happen to like and I’ll explain why:


This shot is taken just south of the Niobrara River near Smith Falls State Park (see satphoto below, X is approximate location of the photo). As you get close to the park there is a fork in the road, the left (east) side heading to the park and the right side heading to a commercial campground (empty when I was there and whose name I can’t remember or find). The campground is accessed by a private bridge over the Niobrara and beyond the campground is an old range. From there the road drops to a narrow and rarely used road that climbs out of the Niobrara’s valley into the plains above. Gradually the road shrinks to a double track that is clearly rarely used. This is where I hiked, completely alone, in almost total silence. Evidence of human change is around (some fences, a powerline), but otherwise this was an incredibly isolated spot which I found quite beautiful.


I really like several elements of the photo. First the sky is great and a great contrast to the ground level view. Second, while this is clearly grassland country the distant trees (back down in Niobrara valley) is a great contrast. But, third, the cool part is the green in the double tracks in contrast to the dead grass of the previous season. This photo is from early May and it was still cold (in fact, one night my water froze at campground) so the grass hasn’t come up yet, except for the very short grass (and weeds) in the compacted double track. Soon everything will be green (probably by now) and that contrast will be gone. So it is the juxtaposition of all these disparate elements that makes an otherwise blah photo interesting, at least to me. And the real sense of loneliness and isolation the image conveys – where are those tracks heading?

Thanks for watching.


About dmill96

old fat (but now getting trim and fit) guy, who used to create software in Silicon Valley (almost before it was called that), who used to go backpacking and bicycling and cross-country skiing and now geodashes, drives AWD in Wyoming, takes pictures, and writes long blog posts and does xizquvjyk.
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2 Responses to A nice scene in Nebraska

  1. Wow. I drove through part of Nebraska and didn’t see anything like this!

    • dmill96 says:

      If you drove through on I-80 you see nothing but cornfields and then grasslands further west, but in the north central part of the state (near Valentine) the Niobrara River is designed a National Wild and Scenic River,. The Smith Falls State Park is along the river and there due to a waterfall (the highest in Nebraska) flowing into the Niobrara. So there are a few places where there is some interesting scenery but usually finding it means getting off the main roads.

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