|Swollen From the Rains|
I had actually been out the day before to Hanging Rock to shoot a couple of the waterfalls up there, but when I arrived, I was met with heavy rain, that showed no signs of quitting. I threw in the towel before I even stepped outside of the truck to get it damp. I would have liked to have gone back to the park to try again today, but alas, with it being Christmas, the park was closed, and I didn't want to risk a trespass charge just to photograph a waterfall or two. I started to go down the list of waterfalls that were close by, and found that the vast majority of them were in state parks which were closed for the holiday. One of my favorites though, Roaring Fork Falls, was not part of the park system, and therefore did not have "operating hours." The only drawback was this waterfall was so far away from home, about 2.5 hours to be exact. Had it not been for the fact that Toni was willing to go with me, this would not have been an option. With my Trekking companion signed on, I had a destination.
I checked the weather early in the morning, and it seemed promising for the afternoon, with only moderate chances of rain. Since the hike to the falls was only about a half mile, I decided it would be worth the attempt, if for nothing else to see how the flooding waters affected this particular waterfall. Toni got in a quick nap, and we were up and out of the door before lunch. The ride up was pretty uneventful, although, the clouds started to break, and then we had a little bit of rain. But, by the time we reached the Pisgah National Forest, the clouds were back in full effect and the conditions were outstanding. We passed by several things that I wanted to stop and photograph, but I had a mission in mind, and I didn't want to miss out. I figured that we would have time on the way back to work some of the other secondary choices.
When we arrived at the falls, I was surprised to see that there was already somebody in the parking area. Toni put my mind at rest though when she saw a group coming back from the trail area to the car. We were going to be all alone at the Roaring Fork Falls. That was really good news for me, and I was excited to show Toni this waterfall up close and personal for the first time ever. It didn't take long to hike the half mile to the waterfall. I saw a couple of interesting things on the side of the trail that I put in my mind for the return hike, but didn't want to miss out on the waterfall in case the weather changed.
|Along the Forest Floor|
I set things up and started to expose a few frames to test my shutter speed. Normally with this waterfall, I am shooting at 5 seconds or slower. Today, with the rushing water, I was between 1-2 seconds on each shot. I barely even needed my ND filter for once. It took me a little while to find the rhythm of the Roaring Fork Falls this time. I admit, I am very much out of practice for waterfall photography these days, but it did come back to me pretty quickly.
I had originally said that I wasn't going to rock hop to my favorite shooting platform, but as I worked closer and closer to it, I found that the water wasn't going to keep me from getting to it, and the rock was big enough for me and the tripod. So, I went ahead and hopped over to it. There wasn't much extra room, but at least the tripod legs were more stable than if I had dipped them in the water as I would have normally done.
|A Touch of Cotton|
I would have liked to have played with this waterfall a bit more, but as I was starting to get into my groove, a group of about 5 came out to join us. They were snapping pictures here, there, and everywhere. My creative energy started to drain out of my body just like the water was draining from the higher ground. It was time to move along. I handed Toni the camera rig, which she didn't drop...like she has a tendency to do around waterfalls (our little inside joke). I closed up my camera bag and slung it on my back before climbing out of the recess where I was. We then started hiking back from where we had come. I decided to spend a little time on the trail where she had suggested a picture before. It was a tough composition to make in order to create a flow through the picture. About the time I got into the groove and was narrowing in on the right composition, the group started to walk back along the path. I had to stop what I was doing and wait for them to pass. At least I was set up to the side of the trail and didn't have to move the camera.
Shortly after they passed, I felt a rain drop on my arm, and I heard Toni say that she felt a rain drop as well. Oh well, I can deal with a drop or two. Then it started to coming down a bit harder, and within maybe a minute, we were under a full rain. It was time to get moving, and quickly. Toni held the camera bag while I threw the camera in and got everything secured. We then did a speed walk to the truck. There was no overhead cover to block any of the rain, so we were getting soaked as we slogged down the trail. Fortunately Toni had a hooded sweatshirt which she was able to use, and I was wearing my famous Trekking hat...but we were still getting wet.
We passed by all the little details I had seen on the way to the waterfall, and I didn't give them a second thought because there was no way I could do anything with the camera in this full on downpour. We had one goal, and that was to get to the truck, with a quickness. We arrived, and I tossed my equipment in the rear of the cab, and we got in still dripping.
After only being there for maybe an hour, we were back on the road again, but I decided to try going home by way of the Blue Ridge Parkway with hopes that the rain would subside enough that I could get another picture or two. The rain never did let up, and we just managed to work our way home listening to the rhythm of the windshield wipers until it was dark, and we were out of the mountains. At that point, conditions improved, but the scenery wasn't suitable for my needs. The day was done, and there was a Christmas feast that awaited at the Chinese Buffet back home.
|A Touch of Cotton in B&W|
|Swollen from the Rains in B&W|
It was a great day that I got to spend with Toni, and I have some nice pictures to show from it as well. The best part of the story, we can honestly say that I took her to Switzerland for Christmas...we don't have to say it was Little Switzerland do we?