Cane Creek State Park, Arkansas, USA by James Covello

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Picture Story

Last year my wife traveled on business to southern Arkansas several times for several weeks. It sounded like a nice change of pace and scenery from the southern Arizona summer, so I flew out to join her. While she was working, I drove to various places within a couple hour radius to practice some woodland photography.

As is clear from the photograph, Arkansas is green. Crazy green. And the woods are absolutely beautiful. But, to be frank, my eyes were the only part of my body that was happy, and that was only during the brief moments when they were not stinging from the sweat pouring off my brow. Short of having the flu, I cannot recall ever being so physically miserable. It was intermittently raining, it was well over 90°F (32°C), it was over 90% humidity, the mosquitos were feasting on every bit of exposed flesh, and I was wearing shorts. I abandoned my tripod because I could not afford to stand still to set it up. I only used one lens because I could not afford to stop and switch it. Whenever I was waiting for a little light to peak through the clouds, I would walk rapidly back and forth over a short section of trail, hoping to keep the clouds of mosquitos from settling on me. What can possibly sustain so many mosquitos? I saw a deer, but how can it survive?

Actually, the flu really wasn’t that bad.

Despite the adversity—and the scars that remained weeks later—I got a number of pictures that I absolutely adore, this being one of them.

Trust me, Arizona summers aren’t that bad once you get used to them. It is, as they say, a dry, mosquitoless, heat.

But I will undoubtedly go back.

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