To catch you up, I found myself on an unplanned trip to the mountains that was pretty much centered around the fact that I wanted to visit Catawba Falls on the suggestion of Michael Surratt. Looking ahead late last week the conditions were looking favorable for this waterfall on Sunday, and those conditions remained in tact. I stayed at the hotel long enough to grab some breakfast before checking out and heading towards old Fort, NC, where the falls were located. Along the way, I found a possible location for some old car photography along Hwy 221, and then again on Main St a few miles South of that. It was foggy and rainy, so I opted not to waste time scoping these locations out as it was too early to be knocking on doors to ask permission to be on the properties.
I arrived at the falls about 8:30am and grabbed my gear and started out on the hike. I was a little surprised to see about a half dozen cars in the lot already, even though Michael had said to get there early to avoid the crowds. Regardless, I was here and I had time to work this waterfall before going home. The hike was a little longer than I expected as I hadn't really researched the distance. After about 30 minutes of hiking what seemed like constantly up a hill, I stopped and checked for internet connection on my phone. I was able to pull up the hiking information for the waterfall and found that it was about a mile and a half. based on my normal pace, that meant that I should be just about there. I continued on with the hike and started to climb some rocks. Just around the corner I found the waterfall. Had I waited about two minutes, I wouldn't have had to stop to check the phone.
I was really happy to see that there was nobody at the base of the falls, so I was totally alone with it for the time being. I got the camera set up for an overall shot in case somebody decided to join me. For this, I started out with the 16-35mm lens along with my ever present Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer. This filter would stay attached throughout the day regardless of lens choice.
My first shot used one of the rocks as a foreground interest to introduce the scene. The waterfall was rather impressive in sheer size, but there wasn't a ton of water running down the drops. What was there was really interesting and I was here for the isolations anyway. I had been more excited about that potential since the beginning.
|Marking the Falls|
|Berries by the Water|
Catawba Falls is an interesting waterfall to photograph. It is hard to have it make complete sense in the overall view. The isolations are very interesting, but have a certain careless quality about them. Finding patterns and lines is a difficult task. I see that as a plus as it probably means that each photographer will pick out their personal favorite sections which will probably be different from the next one. I haven't seen a lot of pictures from this waterfall before, but I can say that it is a really nice one with a lot of potential.
|Foot of the Falls|
At this point, more and more people were starting to join me. Considering I had used every lens in my inventory with the exception of the 14mm prime, I figured I was pretty well spent for compositions. I went ahead and packed up shop to begin the hike back to the truck. I left about a half dozen people at the base of the falls, and passed another 20-30 on the way out. Michael was right, even in a light rain, early on a Sunday morning, this park is packed out.
My impromptu weekend was now over and it was time to make the drive home. In all, I had 330 frames shot with several HDR compositions and a panoramic composition. I ended up with 32 images that I felt were worth keeping. I have now completed the processing on them, and will work on getting a few of them in the gallery here before too long.
Friday: The start to my journey
Saturday: A full day driving in the mountains
Sunday: You are here