Before moving back to Iowa I had read about Maquoketa Caves State Park in northeast Iowa. The photos of the park in autumn were beautiful and it became an item on my bucket list for nature photography in Iowa. Not just for the caves, but the dense woods as well. I kept several issues of Iowa Outdoors published by the Department of Natural Resources and one of them had a story about this beautiful park.
So now, one of the items on my Iowa bucket list to see and photograph can be crossed off. Unfortunately, I didn’t take my usual camera gear with me. I went with just my compact Nikon P7000 and my iPhone 6s. Why? It was more of a family outing for me than a day of photography during peak fall color. You can read about Madison’s story on her blog. Yes, it was hard to be there and not have my DSLR, tripod, etc. with me. Being limited made me work that much harder, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
We first walked down the many stairs on the beautiful wooden path to Dancehall Cave. Earlier that morning the area had dense fog. Oh how I love fog and would have been thrilled to see the park blanketed in fog. The wooden path and all the paths in the park were quite wet from the fog and possibly rain from the night before. The cave was quite large and they had lighting and cement sidewalks. Not what I had expected. Still, it was quite dark, too dark for photography without a tripod. I did try a few handheld shots at a higher ISO, but was unable to achieve my visions.
After exploring Dancehall Cave, we continued hiking through the park on one of the many trails. It was a beautiful autumn day for a walk in the woods and the autumn colors were almost at peak in places.
Other parts of the woods were still quite green with lots of autumn color to come.
Although most of the day had been cloudy with fog lifting, once the sun came out, it was warm pretty autumnal light. I couldn’t resist making an image of Madison.
It was a wonderful day to spend at Maquoketa Caves State Park and will remain on my list of Iowa places to photograph.