The last week of May featured an unsettled weather pattern in Arkansas. Above is a picture of a shelf cloud coming into Van Buren on the evening of Memorial Day. A shelf cloud is typically associated with a solid line of thunderstorms, also known as a squall line. Although brief tornadoes can occur on a squall line, they are typically rain-wrapped and short lived. The main threat with them is usually the straight line winds that occur with the shelf cloud. The wind will come first with the rain following behind it.
I only spent a little time looking at the shelf cloud near Van Buren before I had to drive back north toward Fayetteville to stay ahead of the line of storms. After getting back to a meadow on the western outskirts of Fayetteville, I was able to get there in time to record a time lapse of the approaching line of storms. Below is a 10 minute long capture at 10 times the speed to make for a minute long video.
On the afternoon of May 27th, I captured another time lapse of a storm coming into the Upper Buffalo Wilderness area. This storm was below severe limits and was not as dramatic a shelf cloud as the one that came into Fayetteville a couple of days earlier. However, it was still interesting to see the rain draw closer to me. Below is a 20 minute long capture at 20 times the speed to make for a minute long video.
May is typically among the wettest months of the year in Arkansas and is one of the best months for waterfalls. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the last couple of weeks. Each of these pictures below are from Newton County.
I haven't done quite as much photography this spring as I have most spring seasons. Part of that has to do with limiting my time away from home with some of the quarantine measures. Some trails are closed while others are open. One trail that remains open is the Ozark Highlands Trail, which is a long distance backpacking trail that passes through some of the most remote and scenic portions of the Boston Mountains. One of my bucket list items is to see the entire trail from Lake Fort Smith to the lower part of the Buffalo River. I have done about 1/2 of this, mostly in the form of bite sized dayhikes. It is a good place to escape to in a time like this, as every time I go I see no people or no more than a few people on a hike with many times seeing no people this time. This time, I only saw 2 other hikers on my way to Hare Mountain in the Ozark National Forest. Located in northern Franklin County, it is the highest point on the Ozark Highlands Trail.
On my hike this week, I found one of the more prolific displays of wildflowers that I have seen in the Ozarks. I believe that all the flowers pictured here are phlox.
Last week, this old tree near Atkins, Arkansas fell victim to a storm. I only photographed this lone, old tree a couple of times...once in daytime and once at night. I do know some other photographers in the state who has photographed this dozens, if not over a hundred times. It was one of the most photographed individual trees in the state. Personally, I preferred the look of this tree at night with its emphasis on its shape in the form of a silhouette. I am sharing you my favorite image of this tree with the Milky Way. This picture was taken in July of last year shortly after the Arkansas River flooded last year so there was a lot of mud and standing water still leftover from the recent flood. With all that moisture on the ground, one of the most memorable things about the shoot was all the mosquitos biting me while I was trying to take those pictures. Rest in peace old tree.
It's been quite chilly here in Arkansas the last few days. This is the 3rd straight morning we've had temperatures near or below freezing. Early yesterday morning, we even had a dusting of snow in the Ozarks. Snow during April in Arkansas is rare, but not unheard of. Back in 2013, we even had a bigger snow than this on May 3rd. Odds are I will never see that again in my lifetime here. However, snow in the month of April is rare enough that it gave for unique opportunities to photograph the clash of winter and spring.
These small umbrella-like plants are mayapples, which sprout up each spring. The dusting of snow made for some interesting scenes along the forest floor here in Newton County.
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