Monday, October 12, 2015

October 11, 2015 - NC 215 waterfalls

Cindy and I went our separate ways today.  She headed over to the Smokies via the Parkway and I decided to visit some waterfalls.  Yesterday was rainy and this morning was overcast and everything was still wet - perfect for shooting falling water and forest scenes.  I decided my first stop would be Dill Falls which is off of NC215 south of the Parkway.  I took 276 north and cut over on 475 past the fish hatchery and on to 215 near Living Waters ministry.  There was a lot of nice color along 475 in the forest.  I almost stopped for a shot, but I knew the good light for waterfalls was to be short lived today so I pressed on.

Dill Falls is down the gravel FR4663, then at the end of FR4663B.  When I got to the parking, there was one vehicle there and I was hoping that person(s) wasn't hogging the good spots for shooting.  Actually, they were heading up the path as I was heading down and one of the guys was Charles Hardin!  I knew him from Facebook, but we had never met in person.  We had a good chat, then parted ways as we were both eager to shoot.  Dill Falls was looking pretty good.  There was a little more water than I would have liked, but that's being picky.

Dill Falls

As I was wrapping up shooting from this spot, another photographer showed up.  I then headed up to shoot from the side of the falls.  There was a lot of spray up there, so I didn't stay long.

Dill Falls from the side

There's an Upper Dill Falls also, but it's up a different path from the parking area.  Not as many people go to this falls for some reason.  It's smaller but has a lot of character and makes a good subject to shoot.  There was more water in this falls than I have ever seen, but not much fall color in the frame - except for the fallen leaves on the rocks.

Upper Dill Falls
Upper Dill Falls
below Upper Dill Falls

There are quite a few other waterfalls in this area that will be in Kevin Adams' new edition of his NC waterfall book.  I guess most were found by our pal Bernie Boyer when he was exploring the area.  Most are off trail, but if you like that kind of thing, you are in for a treat.  While I was in the Dill Falls area, I decided to visit one of them.  This is Herrin Knob Falls.  It's about a 15 minute bushwhack up from the road.  The falls is maybe 20' high, but was hard to shoot today. The spray was bad on the rocks right in front of the falls, so I picked a spot looking through some branches.  By now the sun was peeking through the clouds and I was beginning to see blue skies.

cascades down from Herrin Knob Falls

Herrin Knob Falls

I got back in 215 and headed up to the Parkway.  I stopped again at the gravel pullout on the right that overlooks Devil's Courthouse to check on the color.  I didn't snap a pic because the dominant color was still green.  The ridge lines are coloring up more than a few days ago and there are more peak trees in the mix.  My next stop was going to be Bubbling Spring Branch Cascades, but the pull off was packed. The color there and on the surrounding mountains is yummy and you had better hurry up that way if you want to see it.  I continues down 215 and pulled off for the parking for the waterfalls on Sam Branch and in Wash Hollow.  There was only one car there and I met those folks on the trail as they were leaving.  Sam Branch was gushing and not worth shooting due to that and horrible lighting.  The main crossing over Sam Branch to Wash Hollow was too dangerous today, so I backtracked and headed down the bank to the creek,and crossed down there. Still got my feet wet, but there was no chance of being swept away.  The waterfall in Wash Hollow has a lot of fall color above it! I spent about an hour here hoping for better light, but there was none to be had.  Actually this shot in the sun didn't turn out too bad once I tweaked it a bit in post processing.  Below that is some video I shot today.

waterfall in Wash Hollow

It was now late afternoon and I had over an hour back to the house.  When I drove by Graveyard Fields it was still packed with people parked up and down the Parkway.  A lot must not be able to read signs because the areas between the 'no parking between signs' signs were packed with cars.  Dang.

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