Project Double Take #6 | Sand Ridge Forest

Another two weeks and yet another project double take selection. This time, adventure ensued as we made the trek out to Henry Allen Gleason Nature Preserve, part of Sand Ridge State Forest. 

First, I would like to give you a quick background on Sand Ridge because it is a very interesting place. Sand Ridge is the largest state forest in Illinois at 7,200 acres. The area is a result left over from glacial melting down the Illinois River depositing sand and leaving behind the sand dunes that now inhabit unique species of plants, like that of the prickly pear cactus. Once inside the forest, it is amazing to me just how different this world looks than the daily seen of flat corn fields we are accustomed to seeing in Illinois.  To learn how the forest came to be as we know it today, visit the Illinois DNR site.

Dave and I made the trip to out to a special part of the forest known as the Henry Allan Gleason Nature Preserve. The preserve is named after the botanist who studied and published articles regarding the vegetation pertaining the inland sand dunes in Illinois and describing the unique plants of the area. The area is known for having a large number of ticks. This is a deterrent for hikers and photographers alike, but we decided to brave the ever changing spring weather and the ticks for a glimpse at what this special area has to offer. While, most of the area is large pine forest, we focused out attention to a rolling field with colorful grasses and tiny little cacti growing out of the sand. From the looks of the photos, you might not even know you are looking at sand. 

After the morning rain, we enjoyed blue skies and big puffy clouds. Trying to capture the vast scene in a square format served to be tricky. I'm satisfied with the rolling scene and layers of texture I came away with, but would love to go back when the cacti are in bloom and the field is full of wild flowers. In my opinion it is worth the risk of ticks, and trust me, just the though of ticks grosses me out. 

Dave on the other hand, wanted another go at the field and made an attempt in the evening with stormy skies over head. I won't spoil the fun for you. If you haven't already been to his blog, be sure to stop over and here how you take a shot in only seven minutes with a severe thunderstorm incoming and tornado sirens going off. Read all about his adventure here.

So here is what we came up with. Mine a daytime shot on Saturday and Dave's moments before the incoming spring storm Sunday night: