We got a later start today: 4:30 instead of 4:00. That extra 1/2 hour allowed me to get up and pack to leave. The first stop was Dry Falls, another one of the most photographed falls in the state. It also has a walkable path plus it boasts an enormous parking area. We managed to get there before the crowds though and it was roaring! There were lots of points to view the falls but there was a ton of spray so shooting had to be done from kind of far away. Again I was bemoaning not having my 24-70mm but was able to get a few decent shots.
We headed off to another location with the intention of stopping along the way to look at Callusajah Falls which is visible from the road but doesn't have an official parking area, nor an official viewing area. This was probably the funniest experience of the weekend. After looking around, Alistair decided the best view was going to be across the road up the hill a little way and we'd all have to use our big lenses. I did have my 70-200m so I whipped that out and headed over to ascend the hill. I wish I'd taken a picture of the perch we found. It was humorous to say the least. My first attempt up, I had to come back down to put my camera back in my bag since having it over my shoulder made me scared that I was going to bang it on something or it was going to make me loose my balance and fall back down. I cinched everything down and scrambled up. It really wasn't THAT far up: may 10-15' but it definitely required all 4 extremities to get there. We were all leaning on each other and had to take turns in "the spot" since there was really only one spot safe enough to take your camera out and shoot. The fun started when Alistair decided that the optimal shot was through a sapling. Alistair, by this point, was known in the group for "re-arranging" to ensure the best shots. Yeah, he pretty much just took down the tree with his bare hands. It started out as just one branch but then the other one was in the way and then the angle was better a little to the right so the entire trunk had to go. Meanwhile, there were 5 of us perched on a 45 degree rock face hanging on to roots and grass to keep from sliding back down to the road. We all had strange marks on our legs where we were sitting on all sorts of pointy rocks and stuff. When I was finished and changed spots with Eyal, we dang near had to climb over one another. Tommy was laughing his butt off at us trying to maneuver in that space. This is not a great shot to be sure but after what we went through to get it, I felt I had to include it.
We headed down the road a little bit more to see what we could find and stopped at a shot in the dark. I got one picture that was sort of interesting and dramatic but not great especially when you consider what it cost me. To get back up to the car, I had to scramble to the side of the hill and got tangled up in poison ivy. I'd been SO careful all weekend but I started to slip and all thoughts of poison ivy got pushed aside to prevent a tumble into the river. Essentially this was the river that fed into the Cullasaja Falls. I ended up to 2 spots on my left leg that itched for 2 weeks. Hey, at least it didn't go systemic!
From there we headed to our final location: Glen Falls. This particular falls has an upper, middle, and lower sections. It was a bit of a hike to get to it so off we went. We stopped at the Upper Glen Falls first. There was a happy little viewing platform off to the side but it had no shot so we had to jump the fence. It was a little slick. OK, it was downright slippery and I was considerably nervous. The whole thing made Eyal so nervous, he couldn't watch and headed down to the Middle Falls before I was back up to the platform. Yeah, that was before the warning was posted on the link I posted. We got lucky I guess.
I found a spot with Alistair holding on to me for safety but there was so much spray, I had to go with the first picture I took because by the second shot there were too many water spots on my lens. It's not really worth much as the angles were limited and this was a bit overexposed so I had to play with it significantly. I included it to have a complete visual list of the places we stopped. If I were only including worthy pics, this would have been left out.
The hike down to the Middle Falls was all hair pins but it was a beautiful stroll. We had to jump the fence again but this time it was much less harrowing. There were three really good spots from which to shoot: right, middle, and left:
What you cannot tell by these pictures is the enormity of these falls. The Upper is a 70' drop and the Middle is a 60' total drop. We did not go down to the Lower Falls as it was getting late, the light was getting harsh and it really isn't worth it. We spent a lot of time shooting and enjoying ourselves before the trek back up the hill. Remember those hairpin turns I mentioned? Yeah, we had to go back up those. Thank goodness for good boots and a well fitting backpack.
We discussed going to see one more. Tommy and Jeremy said it was "on our way home" so we followed them. When we saw a sign that said "Welcome to South Carolina" we gave up, turned around and headed home. It was a long drive home after a long weekend of a lot of activity. It was all worth it and I'd definitely do it again. Tommy and Alistair were great. If you are looking for a photography workshop, I cannot recommend Mountains to Sea enough.
I'm a mother of 2 girls living in NC. I've dabbled in photography on and off but really this is just for fun