Spruce Flat Falls

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.

ISO 50, 15mm, F/22 @ 25 seconds

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.