Project Double Take | #21 Waterfalls

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When we chose the subject Waterfalls way back in December of last year, I think both Dave and I thought "hey, we will just head up to Starved Rock or Matthiessen State Park". It's closeby, and pretty much every time we have been there, spring, summer, fall, or even winter there have been waterfalls, sometimes frozen waterfalls. Well....sometimes for all that you plan, some things just don't got to your plan. In the case of our waterfalls there one key ingredient missing from the plan - water. It has been unseasonable dry as of late and on a recent hike up to our favorite high walled canyons parks, there was barely a drop of water to be found, let alone a cascading waterfall.

What's a photographer to do? Be grateful that you recently shot waterfalls in Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I've purposefully held back one of my favorite images from the trip to use as my PDT this time. I'm pleased to bring you Hen Wallow Falls. This shot comes to you thanks to lots of uphill climbing with 20+ pounds of gear in tow, but it was so worth it. Dave and myself along with two other local photographers, Bill and Tim hiked the 2.5 miles into the falls over 900 feet of elevation climb. We had the trail and the falls to ourselves all morning. It was peaceful and the sort of thing you imagine and hope for when you plan a photography trip. The falls in my opinion were worth the hike.

Hen Wallow Falls is a 90 foot tall waterfall and I nabbed this shot using my 70-200mm lens, a 3 stop ND filter, and a circular polarizer. The ND to slow the shutter speed to allow for the milky water flow and the polarizer to cut the glare from the wet rocks surrounding the falls. I'm quite happy with the result and I think this shot would make a lovely metallic print.

Dave's shot is also from our trip to the Smokies, but from a different falls. Please meet Mingo Falls, a much larger 180 foot tall waterfall on an Indian reservation adjacent to the park. We all hiked through some water to get closer to the falls and avoid some unattractive railings that would have been in our shots otherwise. Hop on over his blog to read more about this shot and waterfall.