Alley Spring & Mill in the Ozark Mountains With Pentax 67II & T-Max 400 (Episode 1 of 3)

June 12, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

We arrived at Alley Spring and Mill before daybreak in the Ozark Mountains to try and capture the mist and fog over the spring water.  This is basically a scouting trip, so we used the Pentax 67II with T-Max 400 rated at EI-250 and developed the film in XTOL 1:1 in the Jobo for 9 minutes at 20C.

ALLEY SPRING & MILL
Alley Spring is the 7th largest spring in Missouri with a discharge of 81 million gallons per day.  These cool waters are a treat on a hot summer day and the color is mesmerizing.  While the star of the show is the spring and the old mill, you will enjoy the old-growth shortleaf pines and white oaks that once covered large parts of the lower Ozarks.

The spring conduit is known to extend at least 3000 feet underground and reaches at least 155 feet below the surface. Rainfall and runoff entering sinkholes around the town of Summersville, 15 miles to the northwest, has been determined to enter the labyrinth of cave passageways formed in dissolved dolomite ( a type of limestone) under the Missouri Ozarks and exit at Alley Spring.

Just outside of the natural area is Alley Spring gristmill that was built in 1894. Despite the historic use of the spring to power a mill, Alley Spring has retained its biological integrity. The cool waters issuing forth from Alley Spring flow through a spring branch for a half-mile before entering the Jacks Fork River. Here in the spring branch cool water (58 degrees Fahrenheit) provides habitat for colorful Ozark fishes including the southern redbelly dace, the Ozark sculpin, and the bleeding shiner.

On the dry rocky ridges of this natural area are some of the highest quality old-growth stands of white oak and shortleaf pine woodland known in the Ozarks. These stands were spared the heavy, indiscriminate timber cutting of the Ozarks that occurred from 1880-1920. Looking up at the sentinel pines found on the ridges one can get a glimpse of what the six million acres of shortleaf pine woodlands that were in Missouri in 1860 looked like. Today only about 600,000 acres of shortleaf pine remain in the state. At one time the nation’s largest sawmill was at Grandin, Missouri, where lumber production peaked at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1910 the mill was moved to West Eminence, just 4 miles from here, but by 1920 the woods were cutover and the mill was sold.

VIDEO (Episode 1 of 3)

In this first of three videos, we take you to the mill and spring while we photographed the area.  In the second and third videos, we make a print in the darkroom and selenium tone it.  

Take a much needed break from your busy day to relax and enjoy the video for the next couple of minutes.  Tim Jr. did all of the video work on this movie and produced the entire segment on his own.  I will be making some prints from this outing in the near future and they will be available in my silver gelatin fine art print gallery

I plan to return in the fall when the colors will be spectacular and bring my 4x5 and 8x10 large format cameras.  I frequently scout with my Pentax 67II or my Pentax 645N for maximum portability.

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