JORDAN CRAIG @jcraigopro
Location: The Nars, near Woolum
Time of day: During sunrise at 5:45 a.m.
Equipment: Canon 6D with Canon 24-105mm f/4 L lens
“The shot was at the Narrows, also known as the Nars, near Woolum. I went out there to camp for the night with three friends of mine. At the very top of the ridge, there’s a perfect camping spot. We all set up our hammocks. We set up a fire. Early the next morning, we got up, and it was just insanely beautiful. The sun was still coming up from behind the ridge. It was kind of eerie, very moody and dark. When we first woke up and saw the fog, we thought it would be a tough morning to get any decent shots, but the fog cleared away pretty quickly. The water was just so smooth. It wasn’t flowing. It was just kind of stagnant and gave us a really, really good reflection.”
On shooting when it’s foggy: “Shoot for the sky. When you’re taking photos, you have to either bring your light settings down so you can capture the sky, and then the foreground will be really dark, or you bring your lights up so you can get that foreground really nice, clear and well-lit. For this shot, I brought them way down; then I was able to capture that fog and all those colors.”
TANNER BURGE @tannergburge
Location: Boxley Valley
Time of day: After sunrise, around 7 a.m.
Equipment: Nikon D7200 with a Nikkor 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G lens
“That was actually kind of a scary picture to take. I called that photo ‘Ham in the Morning,’ because a lot of locals in Ponca call that elk ‘Ham.’ I was sitting at the edge of the field with a friend of mine, taking these pictures. The elk just kept moving closer and closer to us. Finally, we got uneasy enough to get up and clear out because one of the bigger bulls was coming around behind us, too. Those herds were brought into Arkansas from the Rocky Mountains in the ’80s. Besides the herds being unique to Arkansas, it’s just a really cool experience to go out and watch a wild elk herd like that.”
On animals: “Respecting the animal is key. Make sure you aren’t disturbing the animals’ schedule and their day. Respect their space.”
HENRY O. HEAD @hennythepooh
Location: North Fork River
Time of day: Around 6 p.m.
Equipment: Canon 6d with a 35mm lens
“I take photos for a clothing line called Fayettechill, and I was on an assignment last December. The shoot happened on a whim. We were down on the North Fork River trying to pick up some shots. We knew there was going to be bad weather, but we got out there anyway. In this photo, there was kind of a break in the storm that was passing. That’s how the light just washed over the field and turned it all gold, while the sky remained so dark.”
On overcoming bad weather: “It’s a mixture of patience and initiative. When the opportunity presents itself, it’s helpful to know your gear well. Also, it’s better to have your aperture wide open to get more in focus instead of having a really shallow depth of field that only shows you one thing.”
TRENT SUGG @blkelkmedia
Location: Redding-Spy Rock Loop
Time of day: Around 8:30 a.m.
Equipment: Canon 5D Mark IV with Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L lens
“My old college roommate came into town, and we had backpacked all over the state together. He’d come back for just a couple of days, and we decided to get out of town and do a quick backpacking trip like in the old days. So we did the Redding-Spy Rock Loop near the Mulberry River. It’s like 8 miles, so we decided to stay overnight. Once we got to the top where the lookout is, we pitched camp there. It was 80 degrees when we hiked that day, and when we woke up, it was in the 40s. It stormed pretty hard on us. We were getting ready to pack up and leave, and I was down picking up some stuff near the overlook. I looked back over to the tent and thought, Oh, that’s kind of cool! So I just framed the shot through the wedge of those rocks.”
On the rule of thirds: “Break your photo down into thirds. You’ve got the subject in the middle, the foreground and your background. If you can keep that in mind when you’re shooting, you’ll do well. It doesn’t have to be dead center. You can use your foreground to lead someone’s eye to the center, for example, like the rocks I used.”
CONNOR COCKRELL @wolfandpine
Location: Little Red River
Time of day: After golden hour, at dusk
Equipment: Canon 6D with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L lens
“I was invited along by a good friend of mine to the Little Red River. We drove out during the week, so it was a spontaneous trip that felt like an adventure. I think it was early spring, and it was still kind of cold outside. It was just starting to get dusky, and a layer of fog had come through. It almost created a painting effect. The focus was actually on the guy’s hat, which gave the photo a focal point rather than it being a flat image. Standing on the shore, you could look out and feel like you were in another world. Then you could walk toward the parking lot, and you’re back to a small town in Arkansas.”
On shooting when it’s cloudy: “People tend to just focus on the golden hour in the morning or in the evening. The best time to get good photos is when it’s cloudy out because you get a lot more even lighting, so it allows you to mess with color more. Shooting with fog can also be a great opportunity to create some good contrast.”
JEFF ROSE @thejeffrose
Time of day: 1:43 a.m.
Equipment: Sony a7rii with Sony FE 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens
“That picture is overlooking Ponca, up on the mountain near where I live. I went out hiking with one of my friends around sunset. I was on my way home when I saw the sky and stopped. The Milky Way was just so perfectly over the ridge there, and there was a lot of morning fog starting to form. I really love fog, and it’s pretty rare, at least from what I’ve seen, to actually have a nice sky with the fog. I always have my camera ready because you never know what you’re going to come across. This was just a really nice scene that I happened to catch as I was ending my day.”
On capturing the stars at night: “One thing that can be difficult is getting your stars in focus. One thing I’ll do is zoom in on the brightest star in the sky and use the focus ring on my lens to make that star as sharp as possible. That way, whenever I’m taking a landscape photo, the stars are in focus.”
WILL PORTER @the_willporter
Location: Lake Enterprise
Time of day: Early morning, around 8 a.m.
Equipment: Canon AE-1 with Canon FD 28 mm f/2.8 lens
“This was at Lake Enterprise, pretty close to the Arkansas-Louisiana border. I had seen a photo of the lake in a Tim Ernst book, and I thought the place looked pretty sweet. It was early in the summer. I took my kayak and drove out there. It was five hours from Fayetteville, so it was a pretty good little drive. It was in this tiny little town, but there was this cool little lake right there off the highway. I set up my hammock and spent the night there. When I woke up that morning, there was a thin layer of mist over the water. The sun came up and cleared out all the fog. I kind of paddled around and had a little run-in with an alligator. It was just so beautiful out there with the cypress trees, and I have a lot of photos from that day.”
On waking up with a view: “Any chance you get to camp out, do it. Waking up and spending the day in that environment— that’s really when you get your best photos.”