I returned this weekend from a quick 3 day trip in the Great Smoky Mountains. I wanted to visit in the Fall, since I hadn't been there during this time of year in quite a while. The Fall Colors were in full swing, too.
I was primary focusing on photographing the rivers and water of the Smokies. If you know anything about the park in the Fall, you know it's beyond crowded. So, I tried to stay away from the Gatlinburg area all together and focused more on the Townsend side of the park.
The colors along the river were really, really good. I got several river and waterfall shots that I am excited about during my 3 days there.
Here is a waterfall that is "off the beaten path". I first saw it in a book about waterfalls in the Smokies and I knew I wanted to check it out. This is Spruce Flat Falls. It is located along a trail that starts behind the Institute at Tremont. It is about a 1 mile walk in, but there is a significant elevation gain, so it is rated a moderate to moderate-difficult trail. The trail isn't maintained so there are some tight spots, some boulders to pass over and around and a lot of tree roots along the trail to navigate through. The reward was worth it, though.
This falls has about 4 "layers", of sections of falling water. The main section, at the top, is about a 30 foot fall. I wanted to get as much of that swirl effect from the leaves in the lower left corner of the frame as I could, so I dropped my camera's ISO down to 50 and stopped the aperture down to F/22. That gave me a shutter speed of 25 seconds.
This image was made with my Sony A7R II, Metabones Lens Adapter and Tamron 15-30mm Lens. I also had a circular polarizer for this lens that is made by Fotodiox. Since this lens has a large front element, a specialized filter setup is required and Fotodiox is the only company I know of that makes such a thing. I also had all of this mounted to my Sirui W-2204 Tripod and K-20 Ballhead...my favorite new tripod and ballhead combo for waterfalls.