In Search of a Waterfall

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While in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, I had a photograph in mind that I was hoping to capture. A beautiful waterfall in its autumn glory with silken water and golden waves of leaves winding within the water.

Perhaps you know of the images that I seek. Just search waterfall autumn swirl on Flickr and you’ll see many examples of what I’m talking about.

After the mountain hike, the next day I was a bit worn out, but swore I was going to hike down White Oak Canyon to reach a beautiful 86-foot waterfall. I knew this was no small undertaking as you start by heading down the mountain, then all of the return is uphill. A total of nearly 5 miles with 1,200 feet of elevation gain coming home.

So time for a challenge, but most of it was due to my lack of preparation. First, I wore the wrong shoes, left the hikers at home. Second, didn’t pack water. Third, put way too much camera equipment in my backpack. Things I did right? Brought a pair of hiking poles, trail map and cell phone. And, plenty of camera equipment to capture whatever I please.

Took an hour and a half to reach the first overlook of the large waterfalls. By then I was parched and it was nearing mid-day. It didn’t help that when I arrived I saw several horses. Heck ! I could have done it by horseback ! So I took the snapshot that you see above just to say I was there. Then began my slow ascent as I knew it’d take me longer than getting down there.

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Now that I’m back home, it was time to try another waterfall. This time easier to access and much smaller. First, travelling much lighter with just the tripod, a pair of filters, and the camera off I went to Patapsco Valley State Park. Over the swinging bridge and along the paved walkway, I ducked through a train underpass to reach the Sawmill trail. Much shorter, I reached a few locations that would be great for what I had in mind.

With a nice cloudy day, I didn’t have to worry about sun highlights coming through the trees, nor super dark shadows. But I missed my hiking poles, and once again, no water. But I knew this was to be a much shorter visit.

Carefully stepping over the wet, moss filled rocks, I positioned myself in front of the small falls. But wait ! It’s missing something. Mainly the leaves that cause the beautiful swirls. It is now that I realize that this really is a two-man job. One sitting with the camera, one throwing leaves into the water at the right moment to create the effect. Either that or a nice remote trigger switch.

Set timer for 10 seconds, position myself and click!

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It is a work in progress, but I’m pleased with the initial results.

Now for the technical part: Canon 5D Mark III, EF 16-25mm f/2.8L, Canon Remote Switch RS-80N3. Two filters: Hoya HRT Circular Polarizer 77mm, Hoya Formatt Hard Neutral Density 0.9 Grad SE. Settings: f/22, ISO 100, 4.0 sec.

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14 thoughts on “In Search of a Waterfall

  1. The way you captured the waters swirl, almost like milk flowing down the rocks is so beautiful..! ..Slight chuckle on your not having taken a hoseback ride instead oops πŸ˜‰

    • Thank you so very much for your nomination Jolly Pony. Love your blog too. I appreciate your kind words it’s wonderful to meet you.
      I am honored that you considered me worthy of this award. Since I’ve been on WordPress for a while, I’ve decided to pass on the award process, but am grateful for your thoughtfulness.

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