|A Desperate Grasp|
I had about two hours to consider it because I found myself driving West with South Mountains as my destination. As I was making my way to the mountains I was looking at the sky. Unfortunately, it was a lot more sunny than I was expecting, and I wasn't seeing much in the way of interesting clouds. I really thought about turning around, but there was something in the back of my head that said to keep going.
Over the years, I have come to learn to listen to that little voice in my head. It will come up with random ideas for destinations and I have no idea why I want to go there. Then it will push me to continue going even when I start to get discouraged over the weather. I even remember having the conversation with myself somewhere around Davie County that I don't know why I'm going, but something there was calling my name, and I needed to see this Trek through.
When I arrived at the park the sky was nearly clear and what clouds were there were thin and weren't going to off much in the way of shade. I thought about going on one of the trails leading up to an overlook that I had never been to before, but thought against it. Something in my head was telling me to go down the High Shoals Waterfall trail which I had been down every time I have come to this park. It follows the Jacob Fork Creek and was well in the woodland. This was a concern because the sun was quite bright and not conducive to moving water photography. But that voice in my head was saying get on the trail!!
I need to get my meds adjusted I think. I'll put that on the list for later this week unless I disagree with myself.
I started off walking down the trail and was happy to find that there was still a good deal of color in the trees. I had expected them to be nearly bare by now, so I was getting a little excited. I also found that the light was pretty soft for the most part as the thin clouds were diffusing the light fairly well. There was actually a good chance that I could get some water pictures, or some woodland shots.
As I was fine tuning the composition I knew I was onto something. The images that I was seeing in the LCD were conveying exactly what I saw with my eyes. I was looking up into the sky and seeing blue skies, but for some reason the lighting here was perfect. The water flow was nice, and the wind was relatively calm for the moment. The little voice in my head was saying "I told you so!" Yeah, there was obviously a reason for me to be here and it was working out well. It was time to sit back and embrace it. Oh wait, I can't sit back, I have to work the camera.
|Nice and Easy|
Before I packed up the camera I looked for some more compositions. I started to shoot the branch above the cascades, but when I got home to look at it, I decided that it really needed the context of the creek below to make a compelling image. The handful of shots that I made of the branch were ultimately tossed in the bin and weren't worthy of keeping.
|Dabs of Autumn|
I decided to make the tree a supporting element to a much larger composition that also included the colorful trees in the background. The foreground was made up of a medium sized cascade that flowed over the rocks and was slightly covered by the remains of a tree. The creek itself balanced out the foreground to the left with one additional small rapid that made for a left boarder. There is a lot going on with this picture, but it did encompass everything that I was "seeing" in the scene.
One thing about Fall is many of my compositional rules get thrown out the window. I am more interested in capturing the colors rather than doing things "right." That isn't to say that the images aren't carefully crafted, they are just a little more lenient when it comes to composition. They are more "fun" images to shoot, that is for sure.
|A Seasonal Song|
I tried some more compositions on this section of cascades, but didn't really care for any of them after seeing how well the initial one turned out. It was time to move on down the trail though. I knew that the next stop would be some of my favorite cascades to work with. My gut was telling me that the light would be too harsh there with the sun climbing further into the sky. That voice in my head kept saying to continue on though. I'm not going to stop listening to it now, so I continued on.
|Rooted in Autumn|
Once I was on the ground, I looked at how things went together. I decided to leave my 24-70mm attached for this location since I was kind of close in. I started to hunt for compositions and decided to go simple to start with. I flipped the camera on its side and shot the first composition as a portrait shot. The curve of the tree was used to counter the slope of the rock to the right. The water gave a nice visual division between the two rocks. It was a good composition, but I knew that there was better to be had here.
|Cascades of Fall|
I tried a few different compositions from this precarious location before looking for my escape route. Wait a minute...the section that I had started photographing was now looking completely different from this angle, and I was liking it....a lot! I moved slightly from my position and found that sometimes you just have to walk with your left hand on the rock right beside your right foot in order to get to the next rock while using your tripod as a hiking pole. My footing was terrible, but I got into position for the composition I was already excited about.
Once again I was pumped on this Trek. I was getting images that I had never seen before along this hike. That voice in the back of my head was so right about making me come out here today. I was getting some great images that I had overlooked so many times before, and the remaining leaves were really making things fantastic.
I had now been standing on the uneven surface for about a half hour now and my feet were getting sore and stiff...not to mention my calves. Consider this, in order to maintain balance, I was basically putting all the pressure on the balls of my feet...for that full 30 minutes. I was having a hard time making my legs and feet work to get back to the boardwalk, but I finally did. I climbed over it with most of my dignity in tact as well.
Once on the boardwalk, I looked up the trail to the main falls, which I could see from where I was standing. I fully expected the voice in my head to say continue on to the main falls. To my surprise, the voice told me to turn back towards the parking lot. I didn't mind since I really don't like this waterfall and there are a lot of steps to get to to the viewing platform. As I came off of the boardwalk, I happened to see another section of water that looked kind of promising.
|A Flowing Ribbon|
I went ahead and found a nice level spot and broke the camera down to put it back in the bag. It had been a great day. I had shot nearly 130 images between Salem Lake this morning and South Mountain this afternoon. Considering I had not even really planned this day out, I had gotten some tremendous images and I was so glad that I had decided to take advantage of my bachelor day and go out with the camera.
On a funny note, after I got the camera packed back up, I was walking down the trail and came across a Japanese Family that was sitting and resting. The husband had a Nikon camera around his neck and seemed to take interest in my gear. He looked at me and pointed as he said..."Anata no sankyaku ni mizu ga arimasu."
Uh...OK, sure. I replied "Hi there".
He again pointed and said something to the effect of "Anata wa sankyaku kara mizu ga tarete iru." He was now pointing to my tripod at the Manfrotto Logo.
I replied that it was a good tripod and I really liked it. I could tell he was getting frustrated and he exclaimed once again....
"Anata no sankyaku ga anata o murashimashita. Anata wa sono shizuku o miru koto ga dekimasen ka?"
I could see the water dripping out of the top of the tripod and finally understood that he was telling me that my tripod was wet. It all made sense now. I said that it was OK that there was water coming out of it. I had been using it in water half way up the legs. As I was telling him that, I realized that he had no idea what I was saying. His response, a smile and a thumbs up. I'm sure he was thinking "What an idiot!" but at least he thought it with a smile.
That pretty much wrapped up my day, and all that was left was the two hour drive home and the processing of the images. Again, it was a great day to be outside, and I had a blast at South Mountain.