By Scott Shephard
I'm sorry if, given this post's title, you were looking for a photo of Ireland. Or of an island. Maybe I've fooled you? In reality, this is Lake Oahe on the Missouri River in central South Dakota. And one of the ironies of Lake Oahe is that, without the irrigation provided by the reservoir, the land surrounding it is considered semi-arid. It's not a desert, but it gets little rain.
But, once a year, if the spring rains have been generous enough, the native grass is green and the yarrow (???) blooms yellow and spreads its fragrance on the June wind. And, if you are lucky enough to be present when cottony clouds accessorize a pure, blue sky, it's hard not to be impressed with such simple beauty.
In this particular instance, I was sailing south on port tack. My Autohelm 4000 autopilot was steering as I took several photos. The photos didn't really capture all that I was feeling when I took them, but this one helps recall the moment. And here's a bit of a paradox: my boat and I are in the unseen center of this photo. But we are very small and insignificant in the context of this amazing landscape.
Canon 5D 1/100s f/16.0 ISO100 35mm