With my creative slump behind me, I was looking forward to getting a little photography in this weekend. I had finally photographed the old truck that has been occupying my thoughts for weeks now, and I was free to think about other subjects. I had a lot of subjects to think about all of a sudden, and what I was wanting to focus on was moving water. Looking at the weather, there was going to be a good cloud cover for most of the morning, with a thunderstorm around midday, followed by clearing skies. This was more or less the pattern across the Western part of NC. Having not been to Crabtree Falls in a period of about three years, I decided that I would head out that way. Since it is close to Roaring Fork Falls, I was going to make it a two for one kind of day. The idea was to start off at Crabtree Falls since it stands to get a bit busier than Roaring Fork Falls, and I wanted the smallest amount of crowds that I could get away with.
|Summer at Crabtree Falls|
I turned South on the Parkway at about 6:15, which was cutting it very close for a sunrise. The sky was not all that interesting, so I wasn't all that upset about missing out. I could see lots of clouds below in the valley which makes for great pictures, but with a blank sky above, it wasn't worth pulling the camera out. I just continued driving South toward Little Switzerland where I expected to spend most of my time...hoping that the clouds were thicker down that way.
Once I got it into Lightroom, I started to find the details in the shadows and highlights. The more I watched this picture unfold, the more I liked it. All of a sudden, this one took on a life of its own. I wasn't on the Parkway to capture this picture, I was here to work a waterfall. Regardless, this was going to be the defining image from the day. The clouds were wonderful, and the transition from shadow to light in the landscape was just so subtle. There was just so much to like about this image that I barely wanted to look at any of the other pictures from the day. But I reminded myself that I had driven all the way out here for a waterfall shot, and the clouds were building to the South.
I went ahead and packed up the camera and got rolling again. I was only 10 miles or so from Crabtree Falls, so it didn't take long at all to get there. When I arrived, I only saw one other vehicle in the parking lot...JACKPOT!!! I hurried down the trail while the sun was still hidden by the mountain. The clouds were not coming in like I had been hoping, and I didn't want to rely on them for my lighting. I met the occupants of the car as I neared the falls, nearly a mile and a half from the parking lot. They were on their way back to the car. I should be alone at this point, so I was getting really excited.
|A Rocky Perch|
Once I was done with the long lens compositions, I started to look for other options from the other side of the waterfall. Well, as luck would have it, as I was getting a plan in mind, the sun decided to change my plans. There were ever increasing hot spots on the waterfall as the sun was hitting in full force now. I wasn't going to be able to do any more photography with this location as the sun was taking up more and more of the face of the waterfall. I packed up the camera and started back up the trail. Funny thing is, about the same place I met the other hikers, I ran into another one headed to the falls. I couldn't have timed this better. I was alone the entire time I was there, and the sun cooperated for a good amount of time. Now the sun was a problem, and there were other hikers approaching. Yep, it worked out very well!
Once I got back to the truck, I took a little break to cool off. I was looking at the sky, and was not really liking what I was seeing. The clouds were not filling in the way I was needing for more waterfall photos, and the sun was getting high enough that I was going to have a hard time getting a landscape composition that worked with the lighting. I decided that I would start working my way back up the Parkway and slowly head home. It was only about 10am at this time, and I still wanted to photograph Roaring Fork. That wasn't going to happen unfortunately. As I was driving North, I came across the Three Knobs Overlook and saw a few people looking off in the distance. There were some nice clouds, and I thought I would give it a try.
|The Rolling Blue Ridge|
With this picture done, I loaded the truck up and continued heading North. I even went ahead and dialed up home on the GPS so that I could try a different way home. I ended up taking Hwy 221 South to get to I-40. That worked out great because I found a couple places with some nice old cars just waiting to have photographed. I was out of time, and the sun wasn't doing me any favors though, so I had to pass on this opportunity. I did save the location in my phone for later...and I hope that later happens before the cars are moved.
The trip back was long, but uneventful. When I got home, I downloaded the images, and found that I had shot 64 frames which really wasn't that much for the time invested. There were three different panoramas in that which accounted for about 18 of those pictures. It was a good day, but I was left wanting more, which is a very good thing. that means that my creative energy is back, and that makes me very happy!
While I was editing the pictures, the one panorama that I found so appealing, really stuck with me. I was looking at the textures and how the light and shadows were working together. I started to think, maybe this would be a great study in black and white. I took it over into Photoshop and did the conversion. After I tweaked some of the tones, and contrast, I was really impressed with what I saw. I shot a picture of the monitor and sent it to Toni who readily approved of the conversion. Since she is my go to when it comes to monochrome photography, I took that as a sign that I had a winner on my hands.
|Bear Den in Black and White|