Oh, It Feels So Good - But Still Social Distancing
It is now mid-June and we're still dealing with the COVID-19 virus. While I am still seriously practicing social distancing and always wear a protective mask while near people, it is good to be getting out more. While self protection is still very important, I'm surprised at the vast majority of people in our area who might feel the pandemic is over. With hospitalizations on the rise, I hope you are staying safe and helping to keep others the same way. Nuff said.
The weather in western NC has been pretty good for the most part. We did get a period of prolonged heavy rain, which really made waterfalls simply too full to be good photographically. If you do long exposure photography like I do, when water flow is hard and fast, the flow just looks like a big blob of white. Slower flows allow some shrieks of water yielding more personality to the waterfall. That's just my opinion.
The heavy flow rule notwithstanding, a good waterfall that really benefits from heavy rains is Duggars Falls. Duggars is located right off the parking lot at the visitor's center at Linville Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Be prepared to get your feet at this one if you want to get the better compositions.
Duggars is normally a trickle of water. But after really heavy rains, it starts looking really nice in its setting. It is nestled in a mini-canyon of sorts as you can see above. Thick moss is on the side rocks which really adds a lot of spark and personality. There are two pools of water downstream of the waterfall. This photo shows the second one. I'm standing in the first pool since its not nearly as deep. Where I was standing it was just beneath my knees and a little slippery. The second pool would be about waist high and I just don't want to risk my equipment if I would fall. When conditions are right, like here, Duggars is really a good little waterfall.
Another waterfall I like that also benefits from very heavy rain is Moore Cove Falls located outside Brevard, NC. Under normal conditions, the flow of the waterfall is extremely weak and not worth the hike. But like pictured below, it makes a fairly nice subject to photograph.
This waterfall posts some challenges to photograph. The flow, even though fairly light, does create a breeze that really gets the nearby plants to move. And I hate blur in my photos when not intended. From this position the sun is to my back just after sunrise. I started my hike at first light and it was pretty dark. It was supposed to a sunny day so to have any hope of a decent shot I needed to be there early.
Another issue with the waterfall is that the water flow is so light, even when it's heavy, is that long exposure photos tend to make the water a bit invisible. So I needed to clone in some water in a spots to connect the top flow to the bottom flow. Hopefully, you can't tell where I did it.
This is an extremely popular waterfall. Even when the flow is terrible, the small parking area is full all day. Don't really see the attraction. Perhaps it's simply the hike itself, which is pretty easy and not too long.
The next waterfalls are found in the northwest corner of South Carolina. This area has tons of waterfalls. A new friend has shown me several of them and I hope to see more coming up with him.
This first waterfall is Falls Creek Falls. We visited three waterfalls this day all within very short proximity of each other on the stream. This is the final one of the three. I really didn't get very good photos of the other two.
While I really like the waterfall itself, I feel it's hard to get a quality photo here because it lacks a good foreground element. Luckily, there was this lone rock with some moss on it that I could use. Otherwise you're sort of squeezed into a somewhat small area so you can't back up much to add anything else. But I still enjoyed my time there.
Close by was another nice waterfall, Spoonauger Falls. Like Falls Creek Falls, this was a new one for me.
Unlike Falls Creek Falls, Spoonauger provided some opportunity for a foreground. You had to climb around a bit to get this angle but it wasn't too bad. It was getting near midday here on a very sunny day. I needed to do an HDR here, which I normally hate for waterfalls. I feel it makes the water look really funky. But I used Lightroom HDR after trying HDR Efex Pro and I don't think it looks too bad. Not really print worthy but OK. I'll definitely have to go back on a cloudy day or at least earlier in the morning.
For my last entry I think this is among my all-time favorite photographs. It is the old Beech tree near the start of the Craggy Pinnacle Trail at Craggy Gardens along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I got up at stupid o'clock to get there early and hopefully get some early morning fog. I lucked out and there was some thin fog in the area. This tree is so picturesque due to the roots spreading out like a spider and all the ferns tucked between them. Add to it the path for some leading lines and it makes for an interesting composition.
I really wish I had a 14mm super wide angle lens for this photo. I would have like to got a bit more of the tree. But even with my Nikon 17-15mm lens, I couldn't back up enough to adjust the composition. I've tried to get a good shot of this tree for sometime and I think this time it turned out pretty well.
So far, I'm happy with how the year is starting off, photographically speaking of course. I hope you're starting to get out yourself a bit. Please be safe wherever you are and protect yourself and others from this deadly virus.
Please feel free to leave comments. I'd love to hear what you're shooting and what you think of my website.
Keywords: duggars falls, falls creek falls, forest, landscape, long exposure, moore cove falls, nature, north carolina, south carolina, spoonauger falls, trees, waterfalls
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