New slide show: So Ind Landscape; New photos: Little Blue, Spring Mill

I could have titled the multimedia slide show I posted on the Natural Bloomington YouTube Channel last week "Billions of Years in a Handful of Minutes," which is effectively what I attempt to do in it. In 6 minutes 31 seconds, I trace 500 billion years of Southern Indiana's natural history -- and illustrate it with five dozen contemporary digital images from my Guide to Southern Indiana Natural Areas journey.

The show is actually called "The Southern Indiana Landscape," because It's an adaptation of the guidebook's Part 2 -- of the same name -- which has three chapters: "Sculpted by Rock, Ice and Water," "Southern Indiana Physiography" and "The Natural Regions."

This first clip details the roles rock, ice and water have played in forming the wildly diverse landscape that is Southern Indiana. I have the audio narrative and about half the images placed for the physiography section. When all three are finished, the final product will be a 15-minute show that I will combine with a talk at IU's Wylie House Museum on Oct. 20.

I'm new to serious video. There's still some fine-tuning -- feedback on this clip is requested -- but I'm okay with the progress made so far.

Water (and a gun) on the Little Blue, butterflies at Spring Mill

I also continued my Hoosier National Forest photo exploration with a focus on another obscure river, this time the Little Blue. Last Wednesday, in search of riparian imagery, Gary Morrison and I followed the Little Blue's entire length, from English to the Ohio River at Alton.

The Little Blue could be more obscure than the Anderson River a few miles to the west. An internet search produces results on the state's other Little Blue, a White River tributary that runs through Rush and Shelby Counties. In the guidebook I refer to this one as "Little Blue River (Crawford County)."

We stopped and shot from two bridges and hiked a steep, sweaty trail at the end of Coon Hunter's Road, all in or on the edge of the Hoosier National Forest. The Little Blue's upper reaches at Grantsburg, where it meets the Bogard Creek, might better have been called the Little Blue Muddy on Wednesday. (See the Photo Album.)

The trail from Coon Hunter's Road to the river, our only shot at a water-level view, was too overgrown to make it to the water. It likewise was too buggy. Expecting the trail to lead directly to water, I hastily applied my organic repellant. When the trail nearly disappeared, I trudged on into the lush, deep-woods-valley growth, and paid an itchy price.

At the Beech Wood Road Bridge we engaged in a half hour chat with a colorfully tattooed local gentleman, a collector of deer antlers, who eagerly told us tales of forest owned by the "government" that are trafficked by eagles, herons and otters, and of scenic bridge views and rock outcrops. The local landowners, he said, are nice, as long as you ask. We didn't ask why he carried a gun. (Again, see the Photo Album.)

On our way back, we stopped by Spring Mill State Park, where, under a sky more common in April than July, some swallowtail butterflies and dragonflies feasted and posed on the water's edge.

Photographs: Top, Swallowtail butterfly, Spring Mill State Park; Left and Bottom: Little Blue River, Hoosier National Forest.


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