Dry Falls

All last week I was traveling for business.  I had the opportunity to drive through North Carolina.  I took this chance to stop at a few waterfalls along my route that I had researched and decided would be worth my while.

The first falls I stopped at was Dry Falls.  It's so named because you can walk behind the waterfall without getting wet.  This is a very popular waterfall located just north of Highlands, NC,it's inside the Nantahala National Forest and is about a 65 foot fall.

It's very popular because it can be seen from the road and there is virtually no hike to get to it.  From the parking lot you can view the falls from an overlook, or, if you choose to go behind the falls, there is a staircase leading down to a path that takes you behind the falls.  That is also one of the reasons I choose this fall to visit.  I had very little time to spare on my trip, so I needed to choose falls that had little to no hike involved.

ISO 100, 24mm, F/22 @ 0.8 seconds

If you look closely at the image, you can see the walkway that goes behind and around the falls. It was a chilly, fall day when I was there, so the crowds were at a minimum.

I made this image using my Sony A7R II, La-EA3 Lens Adapter and Tamron 24-70mm Lens.  I also used a circular polarizer and, of course, my Sirui W-2204 tripod.   

More Falls in The Fall

Here's another shot from last week in The Great Smoky Mountains.  The color was really nice while I was there.  These kinds of photo opportunities were plentiful along Little River Road and in the Tremont Area.

ISO 100, 15mm, F/16 @ 2 seconds

When I came upon a scene like this I tried to take the same approach to most of them.  I was using my new Tamron 15-30mm Ultra Wide angle lens.  I knew I needed to find a foreground anchor, so I usually looked for an interesting flow of water or a rock.  A foreground anchor really helps add depth to your images.  If I chose a rock, sometimes it had a nice set of fallen leaves on it, sometimes I put some leaves on it. Once I had the foreground anchored, then I made sure my composition lead you through the image to the brilliant display of fall colors in the background.   

This image was made with my Sony A7R II, Metabones Lens Adapter and Tamron 15-30 F/2.8 Ultra Wide Angle Lens.  I can;t photograph water without a circular polarizer, so I had one of those, too.  All of my gear was resting atop my Sirui W-2204 Waterproof Tripod.

Minnehaha Falls in Veritcal

Here's another shot of MInnehaha Falls in North Georgia.  It, too, was taken with the Tamron 15-30.  This image is a vertical composition vs. the horizontal I posted a few days ago.  It's certainly a good idea to shoot both compositions when on site, and I recommend doing so.  I also believe that some scenes just lend themselves better composition wise to vertical more so than horizontal.  Of course, everything is subjective and mostly personal preference, but I think this scene looks much better as a vertical.

When I was standing there, in the water, I knew I'd like this better as a vertical composition, too. I could get more of the foreground anchor of the cascade and rock in the scene while still including all the top of the falls.  Also, there wasn't very much interesting to me along either side of the image, so I knew it would look more pleasing as a vertical to not include those portions of the scene.  It also allowed me to use the dark edges as kind of a natural vignette.

This image was made using my Sony A7R, a borrowed Nikon mount Tamron 15-30 Lens and a borrowed Novaflex lens adapter.  I had all of this gear mounted on my Sirui R-5214X Tripod.  I often get asked if I am in the water when I make these waterfall shots.  The answer, more often than not, is yes.  Sometimes that water is flowing at quite the force.  Having a stable and sturdy tripod like the Sirui R-5214X gives me the security that my image will be tack sharp, even in fast moving water.  That thing is SOLID.  It stands up to the moving water with ease.  I'm still impressed with how little it weighs for how much weight it supports, too.

ISO 100, 15mm, F/22 @ 20 seconds

I mentioned I was using a borrowed lens and adapter.  The way this adapter worked was the adapter had it's own aperture ring that you adjusted vs. adjusting the lens.  The adapter did not report a F # back to the camera, but I had it cranked down as far as it would go, so I'm assuming it was about F/22.  It gets pretty scientific out there, folks ;)

More from the Tamron 150-600mm

This time it's not coyote pups, but Mountain Bluebirds.  We stumbled upon what happened to be a little bird nursery along Moose-Wilson Road in GTNP.  It was an area that the woodpeckers and sap suckers had carved out.  All the other birds were using their houses once they were unoccupied.  Case in point...these Mountain Bluebirds.

I quickly mounted my Canon 7D with Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens on my Vanguard Alta Pro 283CT Tripod with BBH Ballhead and went to work.

There were birds everywhere...bluebirds, woodpeckers, tree swallows, sap suckers, etc...all darting from tree to tree and hole to hole.  It was a fantastic piece of nature to watch.

Today I wanted to share some images of the Mountain Bluebirds with you.  

This image of the female was taken at 552mm (no cropping in post), F/8, ISO 400 and 1/100th of a second.  Since I was mounted to a tripod, I wasn't too worried about my shutter speed being too high.  It really would only factor in if the bird was moving.  In that case I would raise my ISO up to get a higher shutter speed.

You can see their house directly behind her.  They were super quick in and out of there so most shots were them posing outside or sticking their heads out, like below.

The image above was taken at 600mm (again, no cropping), ISO 400, F/8 and 1/80th.  Again, since she wasn't moving much and I was on a tripod, shutter speed wasn't a concern like it would be if you were trying to hand hold, or there was a lot of movement.  If there was a lot of movement, at 1/80th second, it would just be blurred as fast as these jokers are!

Finally, a shot of the male.  He posed for us like this outside the house for quite a while before flying off and returning to pose again multiple times.

I had cranked up my ISO on this shot, probably due to the fact that the birds were flying around and generally just more active at this point.  My ISO was 1000.  I shot this, again at F/8 with a shutter speed of 1/160th.  This was shot at a 600mm focal length (again, full frame, no cropping).  All of these images were shot in Aperture Priority, as well.

It was a real treat to watch and photograph these bluebirds!