Within the boundaries of Hanging Rock State Park are 5 “advertised” waterfalls. (Rumor has it that there are other falls not found along the marked trails.) Upper Cascades is the shortest hike from the main parking lot and is certainly a pretty natural feature. For the video I used a combination of footage from my Canon 7D DSLR and my SJCam SJ 4000 action camera. All still photos were taken with the 7D.
Tag Archives: autumn
Hanging Rock State Park is located near Danbury in the northwestern part of North Carolina. Nestled in the Sauratown Mountains, the park is home to several waterfalls. While not the tallest falls in the state, they are certainly pretty. Unlike so many waterfalls that require miles of hiking to reach, the well known falls of Hanging Rock State Park are all short hikes from convenient parking lots. In addition to the five publicized waterfalls, my understanding is that there are a few other falls hidden away and requiring a bit of effort and adventure to find. The following are a few photos and a video of Hidden Falls. All photos were taken with a Canon 7D. The video is a combination of footage from the 7D and from my SJCam SJ 4000 action camera.
I took a drive up the coast a while back and while up that way I paid a visit to Lake Matamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge. While I was basically just doing a quick scouting trip on my way back home, I stopped along the causeway to take a couple shots. If you’ve looked a many North Carolina landscape photos you’ve likely seen this view several times. Even though I knew it was one of those locations that has been photographed to the point of saturation, the mirror like water combined with the lovely sky was just too picturesque to pass by. Below are my interpretation of this classic North Carolina scene.
Just posted, fall dates for the Crystal Coast Wild Horse Photo Safari and for an exciting new Wild Horse Photography Workshop. The Workshop includes classroom instruction, a critique session and visits to the wild horses via a private charter each of the three days. As always lunch is on me for all three days. For the Fall version of the Crystal Coast Photo Safari instead of a morning walking tour on the final day we’ll be using a private charter. Both of these are great opportunities to observe, photograph and learn about the local wild horses. Check out my workshop page for more information.
I visited the Pine Cliff section of the Neusiok Trail yesterday afternoon. It’s really amazing to see how hurricane Irene resculpted the landscape along that section of trail. While I have hiked a portion of the trail since the hurricane, I pushed further yesterday than I had before. Long sections of the trail that ran along the top of a bluff are now gone. Washed away into the river. In places you can find remnants of boats, broken and scattered amoungst the trees. It truely is astounding to see the power that nature has. While on the hike I noticed several hold-outs from autumn. There are still a few bright red and yellow leaves hanging on. While taking a detour from the old trail… since there wasn’t really a choice… and taking the beach for a ways I came across an old weathered Cypress tree laying on it’s side. I liked the textures of the wood and knew I wanted to make a photo using it. On the return trip I stopped and placed a red leaf on the log for a bit of photography. Below area a couple of the resulting images.
While hiking a portion of the Neusiok Trail this morning I came across some pools of yellowish water covering some dead, rotting leaves. The smell coming from the puddles was less than pleasant and the leaves were covered with a white substance… probably part of the decaying process. I thought the pattern, color and texture was interesting so made an image. I don’t know about you but I think it works.
For me one of the big attractions to Western North Carolina’s mountains are the waterfalls. There’s something special about the sight and sounds these natural wonders provide. Mix in some fall foliage and you have a receipe for real photographic fun. One issue with photographing waterfalls is that in many cases there’s a long hike involved to reach them. This can eat-up time, a precious commodity when one only has a few days to visit the mountains. Of course there are some falls that are more accessible than others. The downside to the ones that are easily reached is that they’re going to get a lot images taken of them. Finding a unique angle or perspective becomes more challenging when shooting popular locations.
In general there are three approaches to photographing a waterfall. One can use a fast shutter speed to freeze the movement of the water. While this can produce some interesting images it’s not a very realistic way of representing a falls. Another method is to use a shutter speed that will allow some blurring of the water, but not too much. In this case you’re probably going to use a shutter speed somewhere between 1/30 and 1/2 second. This results in an image that closely replicates the way the eye inturprets a waterfall. The final technique, and the one most commonly used, produces an image where the water has a blurred, etheral apperance. To achieve this look use shutter speeds of 2 or more seconds. The difficult part of the last method is to avoid over-exposing the image. Typically the lens needs to be stopped-down to the smallest aperature (largest f/stop number) and a polarizing and/or neutral density filter may need to be added to the lens to restrict the amount of light entering the camera.
Here are a few shots from my recent trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. All of these locations are easily and quickly accessed. While I’d like to have visited a few of the less easily visited waterfalls in the area, time was an issue on this trip. Maybe I’ll use that as an excuse to return to the mountains in the spring for some more waterfall photography!
Mention the words “National Park” and the mind drifts to examples like Yellowstone, Yosemite and Glacier National Parks. But did you know that the Great Smoky Mountains National park hosts the greatest number of visitors of the 58 National Parks each year? With an area of 521,085.66 acres, roughly half in Tennesee and half in North Carolina, over 9 million people visit the GSMNP each year. While that’s an impressive number, consider that the Cades Cove portion of the park consists of a scant 11 mile scenic loop road yet attracts over 2 million visitors each year. That equates to a heck of a lot of passenger vehicles navigating the one-way loop through the lush mountain valley. It is the almost ever present traffic jams, affectionally known as “bear jams,” that brings the “hate” element to the equation. It can easily take two or three hours to make the 11 mile trip! Now add to the mix the level of rudeness and the lack of knowledge about properly viewing and approaching wildlife many of these visitors posess and you have a receipe for frustration. Fortunately most professional photographers have learned to tolerate it with class.
But what about the “love” part of the story? Simply put, the Cove is a magical place for anyone with a love of wildlife. There are few places where the odds of viewing Black Bear, Whitetail Deer, Wild Turkey, Wild Boar, Coyotes, Foxes, Racoons and other animals are so high. Combine that with the shear natural beauty of the valley and it’s no wonder so many nature photographers tolerate the huge crowds to visit Cades Cove.
During a recent trip to the Great Smoky Mountains I spent two nights camping at Cades Cove. I planned the trip so my stay would be during the week, choosing to avoid the weekend for obvious reasons, and after Labor day in hopes of enjoying a reduction in traffic. Of course off-setting the timing was the arrival of peak fall color in the park. True to it’s reputation, the Cove presented many wonderful photographic opportunities during my short stay. Below are a few of my favorites from the visit.