One of our favorite authors – John Madson – wrote about the Mississippi River in Up on the River. We enjoy the beauty and power of The River. Last month we again visited its source in northern Minnesota.
We also are somewhat in awe of the tributary that passes about a mile from where we live. Its headwaters are also in Minnesota. The Cedar River and its conjoined twin, the Iowa River, enter the Mississippi about 75 miles southeast of our home, as the crow flies. River miles and road miles (and bird miles) often are at odds with one another. This pair of rivers showed their awesome power in the “Flood of 2008.”
This morning we were at a river crossing about 15 miles north of Cedar Rapids (again as a crow flies) and took pleasure in some beauty that this summer’s drought has produced. Midwestern rivers are very low because of the mild winter and the scarcity of rain that followed. Huge sandbars were visible up and down the Cedar River.
These sandbars including the ‘sand bumps’ were parallel to each other as seen looking south from the long bridge that spans the Cedar in northern Linn County. The sandbar jutting out from the west bank in the background of both images helps to locate their positions in the river. The three channels at the bridge become one before the sandbar in the background just before the river makes another bend.
Looking down on the river, it seemed to be a mixed media work of art with its arrangement of sand, rocks, algae, logs, mussel shells, birds, sun sparkles and wind ripples. On a sunny day it looks quite benign and friendly. During the ‘Flood of 2008′ we stood on another bridge closer to home and watched the churning river with its moving whirlpools head toward the center of the city.
After processing the two images, neither of which needed sharpening for the web, the top image appeared to be overly sharpened along the edges of the sandbar. A check of the images as they appeared in the ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) conversion windows indicated that the contrast at the edges of the sandbar was in the orginal file. The sandbar edges in the top image seems to be drier and have more contrast. Perhaps the sand bumps are a more recent production of the current on the east side of the river. Their edges blend more gradually into the water. Or perhaps the distance between the camera locations and angle of view bounced light onto the camera sensor differently.
Nature paints the world as she sees fit. She seems to always be changing forward and leaving us to wonder what we will find next.