Two Rivers Park is a 1,000-acre tract of land at the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Maumelle Rivers. The property is jointly owned by the City of Little Rock and Pulaski County. The park, which contains an extensive trail system as well as a Garden Center in which county residents can rent small tracts of land to plant gardens, is easily accessed via the Two Rivers Bridge, a nearly 1,400-foot pedestrian bridge that was opened to the public in the summer of 2011 and spans the Little Maumelle River. The bridge incorporates an LED lighting system that can produce over 16 million color combinations and can be programmed to display multiple color light shows. The park and bridge are extremely popular with both walkers and bicyclists, and they can be quite crowded on the weekends when the weather is nice.
The Two Rivers Bridge is about a 10-minute drive from my house, yet, sadly, I had never been there until a couple of weeks ago. On my first trip, I arrived well before sunrise in order to capture images of the bridge being lit by the LED lighting system. The temperature was in the low-20s with the wind chill around 15 degrees. Fortunately, I had prepared for this cold before I left the house. Unfortunately, I did not realize until I arrived at the bridge that I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was – I had forgotten gloves. Within minutes, my hands began to grow numb, and it became increasing difficult to operate the camera. After about 30 to 40 minutes of struggling to keep my hands warm, I decided to pack it in and call it a morning.
I went back the next morning. It was still quite cold, but I remembered to bring gloves with me this time. I took a number of additional shots of the Two Rivers Bridge before taking some shots of the Interstate 430 Bridge that crosses the Arkansas River.
I made a third trip to the Two Rivers Bridge about a week later. The temperature was still cool but was significantly warmer than it had been on my two previous visits. On this trip, I actually walked across the bridge to the park. As I reached the end of the bridge, a mama deer began to cross the path in front of me. She noticed my presence, looked at me for a few seconds, and continued on her way without a concern in the world. A few second later, her two babies approached. They both stopped short and watched me. They became nervous, and one quickly darted across the path and stopped near the tree line. The other baby watched me for a few more seconds before running across the path in front of me and into the trees. By this time, the first baby deer decided I posed no danger so there was no reason to rush its early morning walk. I watched for a few minutes until it finally walked into the trees and I lost sight of it in the early morning darkness.
I continued along the path until I reached the eastern end of the park. From this location I had a clear, unobstructed view of the Arkansas River and the I-430 Bridge. The sun had not yet risen, so I walked around looking for some scenes that I thought would make for some nice pictures as the sun came up. Over the next few minutes, the sky began to brighten, and the clouds began to take on some beautiful colors and hues. I continued scouting the area until I found this composition.
There are several things about this image that I like. First, I like how the silhouettes of both the hill on the right of the frame and the bridge provide an excellent contrast to the bright colors captured in the clouds. Second, I like the way the colors in the clouds are reflected in the river. Finally, the use of a wide-angle lens, specifically a 24-105mm lens set at 24mm, opens up the scene and gives the image a feeling of peace and tranquility.
After I shot this image, the sun began to appear over the horizon. Within minutes, the brilliant colors began to fade, the clouds began to thicken, and the magic disappeared.
Settings: Canon 5D Mk II, 24mm, 1.3 sec, f/22