State of Grace

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Published on: Sep. 2, 2008

Last revision: Dec. 9, 2010

As staff photographers for the Missouri Department of Conservation, we travel all over the state on assignments. We experience firsthand the diversity and beauty of Missouri.

From prairies to caves, woodlands to rivers, if Missouri doesn’t have it all, it’s got an ample share. All of the images on the following pages were photographed within the past few years and include just some of the breathtaking landscapes, beautiful flowers and amazing critters that can be found in Missouri.

While we hope you spend some quality time with these pictures, enjoying the scenes as much as we do, our larger hope is that these images will inspire you to get outside and find your own wonderful views of nature.

—David Stonner and Noppadol Paothong

Shoal Creek

Noppadol Paothong

During the fall of 2007, I visited Shoal Creek early in the morning before sunrise. As I waited for the sun to rise, I spotted a group of Canada geese swimming in the creek. I used a mid-range telephoto lens (70–200mm f/2.8) and a slow shutter speed to get a movement of flowing water. Then I carefully waited until geese came into my frame.

Painted Rock Forest

Noppadol Paothong

During a late winter snowstorm, I took a hike at the Painted Rock Conservation Area in central Missouri. The forest was covered with fresh snow, and I found the sugar maple leaves to be a nice contrast with the trees. Instead of using a wide-angle lens to cover the entire forest scene, I decided to use a mid-range telephoto lens (70–200mm f/2.8) to capture the details of trees.

Glade Coneflower

Noppadol Paothong

In the spring, I found a patch of glade purple coneflowers at Valley View Glades Conservation Area near Hillsboro. I tried to emphasize the texture of the flowers from the top view. With a macro lens set at 100mm f/2.8, I was able to get as close as I wanted and achieved that effect.

Pickle Springs Pines

David Stonner

I arrived at Pickle Springs before sunrise one chilly morning last October, and I headed out on the 2-mile trail to see what the fall morning held in store. The sandstone arches, rugged boulders and rock falls along the path were interesting, but I decided to press on to the top of a bluff. Emerging from the woods onto the edge of the breathtaking precipice, the first rays of sunshine slipped over the tops of the pines, and the forest began to glow. I used a 24–70mm f/2.8 zoom

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