With the Thanksgiving Holiday, I hope to catch up on posts from my October trips to the North Carolina mountains. I also look forward to catching up on posts from the bloggers I follow. This post features several landscapes and vignettes from areas near the Oconaluftee River, just north of Cherokee.
I’m thankful for my followers and those who take time to visit my photo blog. And especially for this community of photo bloggers, I enjoy your work, insights and friendship.
Located near the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Cherokee, North Carolina, Mingus Mill is an operational grist mill built in 1886. It uses a water-powered turbine instead of a water wheel to power all of the milling machinery.
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At 120 ft (37 m), Mingo Falls is one of the tallest in the southern Appalachian Mountains. As such, it was part of my October fall foliage expedition itinerary. It located near the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the town of Cherokee. It is part of the Qualla Boundary, a land trust of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. My Tamron 15mm – 30mm wide-angle view doesn’t accurately represent the height of this spectacular water fall.
A long wooden stairway makes the falls fairly assessable, and a wooden bridge near it’s base offers an excellent view. Shooting long exposures (15 – 20 sec) with a tripod and neutral density filter, it was quite challenging to a get sharp exposure with other spectators bouncing along the bridge. While this composition was captured from the bridge, I also got some good shots setting up down in the creek. For the best viewing experience, click on the image to view a high-resolution version. Stay safe!
Last week I took several days off to explore the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina. This first post features several locations on the southern section of the Blue Ridge Parkway between Cherokee and Asheville. The highest section of the parkway, elevation averaged between 5,000 ft. (1,524 m) and 6,000 ft. (1,829 m).
For the most part, the fall foliage was at or just before it’s peek. Though the weather was overcast, I was pleased with the results. I had forgotten how hard it is to get a correct color balance with such diverse color. The image above from Bunches Bald Overlook, was repeatedly tweaked over a day or two. I would walk away, come back, tweak some more. Then, I realized I was wearing my yellow tinted computer glasses, and have to start over! (o;
Post processing included some dehazing and a touch of HDR to recover some dynamic range. The trick is to accurately represent the foliage color without oversaturating.
My favorite stop was Graveyard Fields, near Mt Pisgah, about 45 min southwest from Asheville. Reportedly, the area suffered a major wind storm, toppling numerous trees, and was followed by years of logging. The remaining tree stumps, covered with moss and lichen, resembled a vast graveyard. Later a major forest fire destroyed the tombstone stumps and sterilized the soil, which severely stunted the forest’s ability to recover. As a result, the flat valley area has a more open, bald like character.
Another popular feature of Graveyard Fields is the Yellowstone Prong (river) and its upper and lower falls. The lower falls was one the most important spots on my photography itinerary. It’s a short, but moderately steep descent through the rhododendron to the Yellowstone Prong, and then a long staircase further down to the falls. I brought my 120mm 1.8 neutral density filter and Tamron 15mm – 30mm lens.
Precariously, I hopped and leaped around the rocks trying several vantage points. I’ve determined I’m about too old to take that kind a risk again. If I do, I will definitely take more time to navigate the rocks. My long exposures averaged around 15 sec, f7.1, at ISO 100.
I have much more to come from my expedition, including a series from the Great Smoky Mountain State Park, Cherokee and surround areas. Thank you for taking time to visit my blog. For the best viewing experience, click on an image to see a high-resolution version. Be safe!
My family spent a long weekend back in July in the North Carolina High Country, specifically Avery and Watauga Counties. We visited Boone, Blowing Rock, Valle Crucis, Banner Elk and many points in between. These are my favorite vignettes and landscapes.
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This post is a follow up to my monochrome Arcadia Beach posts from late last year. I had several color candidates and finally got around to processing. Working from home during this pandemic certainly has its advantages. However, I work more hours, and seem to be less motivated to work on my photography. I hope to get back into a routine of shooting, processing, and following other’s work.
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Indian Beach is the northern of two day-use access areas with nearby parking. From the parking area, the access trail begins with a wooden staircase leading down to a path covered by a dense Salal shrub ‘tunnel’. The tunnel ends with access to a transitional area of smooth lava rock and Sitka spruce driftwood, adjacent to the sandy beach.
The broad beach landscape offers a photographer so many wonderful subjects and composition opportunities. Facing the Pacific is Indian Point to the right, and Bald Point to the left. Indian Beach is also a popular spot for surfers and paddle-boarders. My Tamron 15mm – 30mm lens was used for the majority of these compositions.
The Sitka spruce driftwood and stream composition below, was one of my favorites from my visit to Indian Beach.
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