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Old Sep 26, 2004, 08:18 PM
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Naperville, IL
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Effigy Tumuli

I found these modern earthen sculptures at a state park along the Illinois River while searching for a site to slope fly a few weeks ago. The walking path leading to these structures first passes through a woods; and when I broke into the clearing, I saw the water strider and recognized it only as a hill. I continued on the path for while and found a placard near the catfish with a picture showing the outlines for the effigies. Even then, from the ground these sculptures are almost unrecognizable. Once I realized what was here, I knew I had to get some aerial photographs. Here's a link to more information and also a picture showing the outlines: Effigy Tumuli.

Following is a picture of the catfish. The head is in the foreground and the barbs and front fins are the white patches near the bottom of the picture. These sculptures are huge! You may be to see a dark speck on the back of the head of the fish - that's me. The frog sculpture is just the other side of the path near the tail of the fish, and the water strider is behind the frog.
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Old Sep 26, 2004, 08:21 PM
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This is a shot looking from the other direction. Water strider toward the lower left, and the frog toward the upper right. Again, you may be able to see a dark speck on the back of the water strider - that's me.
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Old Sep 26, 2004, 08:23 PM
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The water strider is so large, that I never did end up with a picture showing it well in its entirety.
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Old Sep 26, 2004, 08:25 PM
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My camera mount is set up so that I can take pictures shooting straight down. Today was the first time I've had to try that orientation. I had calculated that I would need to be about 1100 feet high to capture the entire water strider in a single frame. Obviously, I wasn't that high:
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Old Sep 26, 2004, 08:30 PM
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Naperville, IL
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Here's a Where is Waldo. (Hint: I'm standing on the back of the frog):
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Old Sep 26, 2004, 08:33 PM
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Naperville, IL
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This shot was taken from the back of the catfish looking toward the west. The turtle can be made out at the left center of the frame. Coils of the snake can be seen at the center, and the head can be just barely made out in the trees above the turtle.
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Old Sep 26, 2004, 08:36 PM
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I liked the contrast between the strip mine in the foreground of this picture and the patchwork of farms in the background. The crops are mostly brown/yellow since they're about ready to be harvested. This is looking northeast:
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Old Sep 26, 2004, 08:38 PM
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Naperville, IL
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It took me four flights to capture all these pictures. The plane used was the Not Your Usual Slow Stick. The bluffs facing the river are orientated toward the south, and in the clear air today they were apparently soaking up a lot of heat. On three of the flights, I ended up in thermals where I shut the motor off, but the plane kept getting smaller. Made for some anxious moments but with a combination of stalls and downtrim, I was able to work my way out of the lift. Here's a shot to the southeast. Thanks for looking!

Lew
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Old Sep 26, 2004, 08:51 PM
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I think the last shot of the river shows more water than all the rivers in CA have!
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Old Sep 26, 2004, 09:10 PM
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Very nice series, the included links really add a lot! Did you end up finding any place to Slope Soar? If you don't mind a long drive you have to go to Sleeping Bear Dunes in Lower Michigan 450 ft. high dunes without trees all the way down to Lake Michigan, awsome scenery also, just incase the wind isn't there.
Ed Mc
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Old Sep 27, 2004, 09:19 PM
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Sparky,
It's been several years since I've been in CA, but I can recall seeing road signs at bridges over "rivers". I would look at the "river" and think to myself that in the midwest, that "river" would hardly qualify as a creek. I suppose with the scarcity of water, a little looks like a lot. We kind of take it for granted here.


rccrashed,
Thanks for the compliments. The Indiana dunes are good for north winds and I'll definately keep Sleeping Bear Dunes in mind, but it looks to be at least a 300 mile drive up there. A little long for a day trip.

Lew
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Old Sep 27, 2004, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rccrashed
Very nice series, the included links really add a lot! Did you end up finding any place to Slope Soar? If you don't mind a long drive you have to go to Sleeping Bear Dunes in Lower Michigan 450 ft. high dunes without trees all the way down to Lake Michigan, awsome scenery also, just incase the wind isn't there.
Ed Mc
I live in Michigan and have a cottage up north. We made a day trip to the Sleeping Bear Dunes, and I had my AP plane with me, with the intention of taking some pics. It was pretty windy that day, and with all the people around, I was chicken to put it up in the air. My wife kept saying go ahead were here...

It just did not seem like there was a good place to fly from, you try and step off the boardwalk with all the people, and there are signs everywhere warning you about damage to the fragile ground and vegetation there, so I never did put it up.

As a consellation, I was lucky the next day when we trucked over to Mackinac and I was able to put it up and get some really nice shots of the Mackinac bridge though.

Nice picks,

--Scott
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Old Sep 28, 2004, 03:31 AM
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San Mateo, California, United States
Joined Nov 2001
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An interesting land reclamation project, nice photos too!

Thanks for sharing Lew.

-Roger

Psst. Sparky, you haven't seen the Lower Sacramento River in the summer have you?
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