Nothing can be finer than fall in carolina.
The old saying held especially true this year as we ventured into the waters of the western north carolina mountains. Just like our incredible Spring Waterfalls adventure Brevard was our base of operations and we went South and West and hit many incredible waterfalls with high water volume and excellent fall foliage color. It was so good that we got a little numb to the incredible beauty. Looking back through the images captured one can truly appreciate just how fortunate we are to be in such a beautiful place and enjoy all that mother nature gives us.
We started Friday evening at Living Waters Ministeries in Transylvania County. Shoal Creek joins with the north fork of the French Broad River right behind the old Mill creating two falls Mill Shoals Falls, or French Broad Falls and Shoal Creek Falls. Its an easy and peaceful setting to enjoy the rush of the water and see a picturesque Mill. Our group got some excellent images at this location before heading down river to the some of the other cascades and Cathedral Falls.
Cathedral Falls is also known as Bird Rock Falls from all the birds that used to nest on the very high rock cliffs on the one side. With the incredibly high water flow even the little trickles of water were gushing flows and captured our attention and cameras. We had a blast scrambling around on the rocks and finding the right compositions to catch the late afternoon light and the right fall color.
We decided to wrap up a little early and get up on the parkway for sunset. After racing up the hill we got walled in with fog and clouds and headed down the mountain to Pizza Hut for some delicious warm pie.
The next morning held the distinct promise of rain and so our group drove out of it a little way to Dry Falls. Dry Falls is so easily accessible and yet so fantastic that is always worth a visit. Normally it’s an absolute zoo but we arrived before sunrise and were the only ones there. The water was raging and we quickly got our shots before the rains moved over us. Next we headed to a new fall, secret falls that is way off the beaten track. Our directions were tricky but we eventually found it and after a 30 min hike we were all staring at one of the most beautiful falls we had seen. The light was shimmering through the mist and rain and the fall color was just right to enhance our images. This was one were it made sense to get right in the water and so a few of us took the plunge. 🙂
After Secret we dashed over to Silver Run Falls, another easily accessible falls right off the road. Due to the high water though we really couldn’t get over to the other side and get some different vantage points but it was still excellent in the misty rain. Right as we were finishing up we got a call from a family member who informed the participant that her tent was wide open and rain was pouring in. We quickly packed up and dashed back to our campsite to salvage what we could before heading to the hotel for our processing session.
It was a great break from the rain and we all relaxed with lunch and started addressing all the finer details of processing fall images in lightroom and photoshop. Keeping the colors bold and yet not distracting from the composition and the waterfall in particular is tricky. After a couple of hours we roused the whole crew back out into the rain and off to Looking Glass Falls. Whenever you are in Brevard you must got to Looking Glass. It’s so powerful and with the amount of water we had was absolutely raging. We had to go 200 yards down river just to get out of the spray zone.
The light faded quickly and we called it a night heading to my favorite Mexican restaurant in town. We laughed and joked and were happy to have a delicious warm meal and sit under a dry roof. Then we were all happy to dive into our dry beds before the prospect of damp conditions in the morning.
Despite our reservations the rain held off and we headed to Ravens Falls for what is probably the highlight falls of the trip for me. It is big and beautiful and has so much foreground interest to work your compositions. We clambered all over it finding just the right stuff. Some of could have stayed there all day. There are two other little drops that are fun to shoot and the Bridge of Death is a great spot for a shot or two.
Sadly we had to wrap it up and head to our final location Du Pont State Park and the 3 fantastic falls there. We got there right as the weather cleared up completely and we only had a few minutes at Hooker Falls before the light became too harsh. In addition the crowds finally had emerged and we decided to wrap it up and let folks explore Triple and High Falls on there own, if they had time.
It was an incredible weekend and we managed to fit in an incredible amount of falls due to the good light and rainy/cloudy conditions. I’ve already seen some incredible images form the weekend and I can’t wait to see more. It’s amazing to see every unique individual explore their own vision even with something as specific as a waterfall.