Have I had a week!!!! I had three different activations to work between Friday and Saturday. This counted for 22 hours worked starting Friday at 7:30pm and ending Sunday morning at 4:30am. My weekend consisted of a Sunday where I had to get ready to go back to work on Monday, and sleep to recover from a 14 hour night shift. Needless to say, the plan was not to go out for any pictures at all.
Well, when I woke up around lunch time on Sunday, I started thinking about what I could do to recover from working so much. I figured a little bit of time in the mountains would be beneficial. The only problem was I didn't really have the time to commit to a mountain trek, and I knew that there would be gobs of people along the Parkway since this was peak weekend for most of the Blue Ridge. Instead, I decided that I would rather go somewhere a little closer to home where I could take advantage of the clouds and rainy weather. Hanging Rock was my go to, but I have been there a bunch recently. The next option was Stone Mountain where I hadn't been recently, and haven't seen Widow's Creek Falls since January. I was on the fence about going, so I asked Sierra if she wanted to go for a little hike in the mountains. She agreed, saying it beat sitting at home. She was right.
I fitted my 70-200mm lens and added a Singh Ray Polarizer to reduce the glare. That combination, along with the light was giving me between eight and ten seconds worth of exposure. That worked out great for the speed of the water. I started to work my composition and found that I was able to get in pretty close to the waterfall and frame a tight shot of the area. I've done a composition similar to this before, but it was void of color due to the lighting and lack of freshly fallen leaves. My intention was to really accentuate the Autumn hues in this, so I got the camera at a height that would give me the best reflection in the water. I set the white balance to give everything a warm glow, and fired the shutter. I was pretty happy with how it turned out in the LCD, but I wasn't sure how the colors would look since I was looking at a desaturated, low contrast RAW capture in the LCD. It wasn't until I got home and processed it in Lightroom that I was able to see that I captured just what I was after.
It wasn't long before Sierra was done and packing up her gear. She was not quite finished, however, and wanted to do some more hiking. Well, I knew of a nice little trail nearby that lead to an old chimney in the woods that I thought she would have fun with. The hike was not quite a mile by my estimate, but it was pretty steep so she wasn't too happy with me. We did find the old chimney, but it wasn't all that great in my eyes this time. Sierra had fun working it though.
While she was doing her thing, I started looking at the trees, and found a pretty cool design in one of them back toward the trail. I got the camera back out and left the 70-200mm lens on as well as the polarizer. I started to frame the scene up and found that the branches of the tree fit the 4x6 ratio almost perfectly. I worked out the exposure and shot the scene.
|Early Autumn Tree|
I tried to work the old chimney, but I just couldn't get anything that I really liked. The one tree was what I got excited about, and what I decided would be the representation of that location. Sierra got several different pictures of the chimney, and started to learn a little about isolating elements using a long focal length. She didn't fully grasp the idea until she saw my interpretation of the scene and the light bulb clicked on. I'm sure that she will incorporate this into her next trek.
When I got home and started to process the pictures from the day, I was exceedingly happy with the intimate portrait of Widow's Creek Falls, and loved the textures, and the contrast as much as I liked the colors in the composition. I was pretty sure that the scene would stand on its own without the colors after processing it. To be honest, I had also envisioned it as a black and white when I had originally shot it. The color was just too good to overlook, but now that I was home, I could do the conversion and see what I had.
|Rain on Me|
I shot 38 frames while I was at Stone Mountain (Sierra shot 37), and ended up coming home with these four keepers. I'm very happy about that since I wasn't even going to go out today. I got my rest and recovery from the weekend while recharging in the mountains, and spending time with my daughter. Can't go wrong with that plan no matter how you look at it.