Camping at Big Creek RV Park, Annapolis MO

The owners of Big Creek RV Park,…. and Roxy, Greeter!

I spent the last week of June in the Arcadia Valley of MO this year, on a photographic assignment, and I returned each night to my peaceful campsite at Big Creek RV Park.

My peaceful campsite at Big Creek RV Park

Camping at Big Creek RV Park is a relaxing experience, because of it’s quiet family oriented atmosphere. The campground sits along the banks of 3 inch deep, spring fed Big Creek, which is inviting to wade into on a hot summer’s day. There’s nothing like the sound of a calm, harmonious babbling creek!

Big Creek, its just a few inches deep, but offers refreshing adventures!

The staff are friendly, welcoming, and work diligently to keep the grounds in tip top shape. There is a pool that is conveniently situated in the center of the park, and sits directly behind the activities building. The individual private bathroom and shower suites are also located in the activities building with outside access. I was really impressed with the cleanliness of the facilities. It’s obvious that the owners care about their guest’s experiences while staying at their park.
Big Creek RV Park is in a great location, and is fairly close to the Ozark’s Johnson Shut-Ins, Elephant Rocks, and the Black River, which offers the opportunities for float trips. Also within an hours distance are Rocky Falls (another shut-ins area), the Current River, Alley Springs, and many more Ozark Valley adventures.

Johnson Shut-Ins

If you’re heading to the Ozark’s and are looking for a great campground to spend some time at with a family atmosphere, I highly recommend Big Springs RV Park! If you think of it, give Roxy a scruff behind her ears, and tell Patty that Leslie @ Out Chasing Light says “Hi”!

Big Springs RV Park is located at 47247 MO-49, Annapolis, MO phone 573-598-1064. One can visit their website at

Light and Love, Leslie- Out Chasing Light


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Airstream Rallies

Recently I attended a St. Louis Chapter Airstream Rally after being invited by a close friend who was my host. It was a great time! I was welcomed with open arms, despite my Northwest Territory tent, which was pitched on a shady spot down a little hill, mere feet away from their bright shiny aluminum traveling rigs.

My Northwest Territory Tent
Travel Trailers
Airstream Travel Trailers at the Rally

It didn’t take long, like going out to lunch with the group on the day that I arrived, for me to feel totally comfortable with this group of new friends. I felt as if I’d known them all for years, and in my own way I did-, they reminded me of my folks and our family travel trailer adventures, and the friends we’d made along the way through those years. Those are memories that I treasure, and it was good to be reminded of them, and to be with like minded people who enjoy the outdoors and the activity we call “camping”.

Being at a Rally as a “newbie” I was given an itinerary of events that would keep me apprised of activities happening throughout that weekend. There were visits to a local museum, and tours of a local vineyard and winery (we were in the vineyard country of Missouri), attending a “French Days” festival at a historic town, and meals at restaurants that we visited as a group. Since I don’t drink wine, and went to the Taylor Wineries as a Kid in Upstate NY, I opted to skip the vineyard activity, and instead used my “free time” to go out hunting for photo-ops as I went “Out Chasing Light”. That’s totally cool too, if one needs down time, one can skip an activity. However, if a “head count” and reservations are placed at a restaurant for the group, it’s proper and polite to attend that activity.

Part of the group on our dinner outing.

Then there’s my favorite activity; the campfire! This is where one hears the stories of some of their adventures together. And, this is where the laughter really goes down! I mean seriously, if one can imagine overgrown scouts, girls and boys, sitting together, laughing, sharing their stories, talking about future trips, and did I mention hilarity? Airstreamers are in one word fun! Just plain fun to be with.

Someone always has a campfire to gather around.

All in all, I would say attending a Rally is akin to being at a camp for adults for a long weekend. It’s entertaining, and by the time a campground goes dark, one is ready for a sound night’s sleep!

Here’s what I learned about Airstreamers: they love traveling and the camping that goes along with road trips. They like being together in a group and the activities that they do as a group. They cook breakfast on their stoves outside, just like other campers. They like to laugh and have good times, and they like their campfires. They’re just like me, except for the tent thing. I learned that many of them have been tenters before too, or camped in something else before owning an Airstream.

If money were no object in my life, I’m sure I’d buy an Airstream. The travel trailers are without a doubt delightfully comfortable, and have a history and reputation that is hard to ignore. Yet after this experience, I think the greater reason to join the group known as Airstreamers, would be to attend more Rallies, Caravans, and Internationals!

Thank you to all the fine folks I got to meet and know through our time together, I am enriched!

Light and Love, -Leslie

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Lewis and Clark

Fort structure at Lewis and Clark’s Camp River Dubois

“Departure Day”- Two hundred thirteen years ago today, on the 14th of May 1804, William C. Clark of the “Lewis and Clark Corp. of Discovery Expedition” departed from Camp River Dubois. Today Camp River Dubois still exists in the same spot in what is now present day southern Illinois. The location can be found at the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site, Camp River Dubois, One Lewis and Clark Trail, Hartford Illinois.

I visited this historic site today and was charmed by the delightful period craftsman that had gathered there to share their talents and knowledge with visitors. There were Basket Makers, Coopers, Potters, Blacksmiths, Antique Gunsmiths, Broom Makers, and Weavers, etc..

   Camp River Dubois Blacksmith

As I ambled around the paths making photography portraits of these artisans, I thought, “If society ever does a reboot, I’d definitely want these talented people in my “FaceBook” friends network. Their not only survivors, but thrivers, and I’d need their help to make it!” I greatly admire their skills and what they and those like them can do with their tools and hands. I also have tremendous respect for their desire to share a a view of life from the early 1800’s.

Cooper, Camp River Dubois

The “Lewis and Clark Expedition” was the first American Expedition to cross what is now the western portion of the United States. The trip began at Camp River Dubois in 1804 on the eastern shore of the Mississippi River, and made it’s way north to the confluence  of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, and then continued onward via the Missouri River. By September of 1806 the Expedition had returned to St. Louis, which was by then a part of the Louisiana Purchase and United States Territory. The “Discovery Corp” had reached Fort Clapsop on the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest, exploring the new territory along the way, and returned home all within two years and four months.

Military Officer, Camp River Dubois

Early explorers like these were a special breed of people with grit and determination, and I am grateful for the paths they and those like them blazed, because I could never have done it!

  River-men, Camp River Dubois

If you ever find yourself in the vicinity of Southern Illinois, and you enjoy early American History,- then check out some of the “Special Events” that are hosted at Camp River Dubois!

Light and Love, Leslie,-Out Chasing Light


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Leslie with Mannie Garcia,            Award winning Freelance PhotoJournalist, July 2016


Mentoring is like an old Buddhist proverb that goes something like this; “If you light a lamp for someone, it will also brighten your own path.”  Mentoring in general, is the opportunity to meet and work side-by-side with, and perhaps become friends with an expert person in a specific field, and learn from them.

I’ve been very fortunate and am extremely grateful to have been mentored by a few of these gurus. They are three people that I tremendously respect, who are not only experts in their fields, but they are also my friends. I meet with them at different time intervals as schedules permit, but I try to meet monthly with each of them at the very least. These mentor relationships have changed my life in so many positive ways, and because of that, I’ve been propelled to a higher expectation from myself and my photography.

These wonderful friends all have different approaches to how they mentor me. I would describe one as a “guide” or accompanier/harvester. This one takes an active part in mentoring me side-by-side, and then we focus on awareness of what was learned. Mentor #2 is more like a “stimulator”. He escalates the learning and provokes me into a new way of seeing both through my lens and through photography in general. He also, when necessary, shows by example to make something more understandable. He can be tough too, but that’s OK, sometimes I need tough to help stimulate me. My #3 mentor is somewhat like a farmer that “sows” tidbits of life and art. This person freely shares knowledge and trusts that when the skill or shared lesson is needed, the teachings will be there to draw upon.

Recently when discussing my writing this blog topic with one of my mentor friends, I was challenged to write instead about being a mentor myself. This gave me pause to ponder, and that’s when I was struck with the realization that I too was becoming a mentor. Each time I meet with other photographer friends where I sincerely share and engage in conversations about photography life challenges, skills and talent, I am being a mentor with regards to the things I share with them. What has been shared with me I now am sharing with others. And that, is exactly the way mentoring is supposed to work. Could there be a greater gift than to be the giver or receiver of such unsolicited good will? This pay it forward philosophy has been rooted for a very long time, and many mentors believe that it’s much more joyful to give than receive!

Light and Love, Leslie

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”  Buddha

Mannie Garcia at work photographing “The Riverlands” art installation. Sept. 2016
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Photoshop CC

Madison County, Illinois Barn

I have been using Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription service for Lightroom and Photoshop, etc., for my workflow for awhile now. This past week I had noticed that at the subscription login prompt, there were pending updates waiting to download.  I was in a hurry, and thinking it was in my best interest, I proceeded with the updates, and moved on with my life. On Saturday evening I discovered that my workflow processes was disrupted, broken is actually a better description. After a few encounters with the error message; “The command camera raw filter is currently not available”, I searched the internet for clues to what was happening.

I use a lot of “focus stacking” and “bracketing” techniques in my photography, and during such- set my “mode” to 32 bit, then proceed to “tone in ACR”. This normally initiates ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) for that particular 32 bit “smart object”.  Suddenly though, after these updates, it seems that ACR will no longer function with 32 bit images.

My internet search for answers only helped me in so much as I now know that it is an issue that other photographers are also having. I was also able to find that an Adobe staffer named Brett N did confirm on April 12, 2017 at 4:36PM- “We’ve confirmed this behavior on our end. This has been reported to the engineering team for repair in a future release.”

At this point in time, there is no more information forthcoming from Adobe. There has also been no mention of when the “future release” date might be. Apparently this is the second time this has occurred in as many years. I would highly urge photographers who use Photoshop for “Focus Stacking”, “Bracketing”, or “HDR”, to avoid the current updates (17.1.0), and stay firm with the functioning 17.0.1 edition until the problems are resolved. I unfortunately learned this too late!

Until the next update-

Light and Love, Leslie- Out Chasing Light

St. Louis Cnty, MO, Old Farm


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Brighter Outlook

Clark Bridge

Hey everybody,

I’d like to share a defining moment that I had not too long ago. It was one of those huge explosions of new understanding, and I knew, there would be no going backwards for me afterwards. I had been in somewhat of a funk with my photography, and had grown dissatisfied and bored with many of my images. I felt that I needed to and could do better, and that my photos had grown predictable. I needed to be propelled to a new level, both in my outlook and in my results.

Today I’m happy to say,- that I’m excited again about the possibilities that lie before me, and where my photography will take me! I’m looking forward to traveling and the opportunities that new projects will bring in my journeys. I hope my “brighter outlook” and higher understanding will be evident in the images I make and share with the world.

“What is it?”, you might wonder? It seems so simple, yet at the same time complex, but truly comprehending it has made all the difference for me! Too bad I never thought it through, and took it for granted, wasting all that time before now. So, here it is:

  • To be a good photographer, you have to understand what your camera is capable of seeing, and know how that differs from what you are capable of seeing.

Happy image making!

Light and Love, Leslie- Out Chasing Light


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