"If you open your mind to possibility, your options become as numerous as the changing leaves."
As fall charges full speed ahead it can feel like you are being left in the dust. Every opportunity you get should be met with camera in hand. On one of my recent excursions I decided to photograph a location in South Carolina I had only seen a few photos of. Jocassee Gorges is considered one of the last wild places in the United States, and delivers amazing opportunities to create unique images. I spent 2 days here and had perfect conditions for what I wanted to capture.
The approach to my first location is only accessible by a 9.3 mile 4-wheel drive road. It had been raining in the area and I wasn't sure if our all wheel drive CRV would be able to make the trek. It took a long time to get to my destination, but I made it with about an hour of light left before sunset. I had driven above some clouds and was worried that my view would be blocked and shrouded in clouds. As I hiked out to my chosen location, I realized my fears were correct, and a large cloud bank had settled over what was supposed to be my composition.
Despite the conditions lower in the valley, the clouds above were beautiful, so I waited, (catching a theme?) hoping the low clouds would move out. After a short time, I noticed the clouds beginning to thin and move off to the east, revealing an absolutely stunning scene before me. I was able to capture a myriad of different images as the sun slowly set on the horizon and believe them to be some of my strongest photos this Fall.
As the last bit of sun faded, so did the remaining clouds over the lake, and the full scale of the area came into view. I quickly understood why it was considered one of the last great wild places. The wilderness seemed endless.
As day faded to night I returned to my car smiling and enjoyed the slow drive back down the mountain. I stopped about halfway at a campsite pullout, and set myself up for a night of car camping. I prefer tent camping, but on this occasion I had plans to use my tent on a longer outing in a few day and the night's weather was calling for serious rain. So I squished myself into the back, popped the sunroof, and laid the tent footprint over the chairs to provide some privacy. It definitely rained hard that night and the next morning I was enveloped in a thick fog. I had hoped these conditions would present themselves and had plans to hike to a gorgeous waterfall that is not often photographed. With the night's rain creating a stronger flow mixed together with the fog and fall color I was ready to capture a great image. I anxiously arose at 5:00 am and put on my rain gear from head to toe, then hiked out into the fog. I hadn't seen another person for 18 hours, and being engulfed in the thick fog was mildly unsettling. I continued on however and reached my location around 6:15am. The fog had lifted slightly but there was still a lot of atmosphere around the falls. I crossed the creek downstream and rock hopped my way back to my composition. The strength of the current was perfect! I took a few images from different angles to really document the area, and again headed back to my vehicle smiling, feeling very accomplished for it being only 8:00am.
I returned to civilization and made my way to another waterfall I had passed on the way in the day before and was excited to see it flowing well. The rain had picked up a good deal so I had to protect my camera with a waterproof cover. I recently found that using a waterproof dry sack around the lens works as a great water barrier for the camera body and lens. I explored the area confident that my gear would remain safe and dry, and found two wonderful compositions for the cascade.
Tired and damp I returned home to process the images I had taken.
Next week I head to Great Smoky Mountain National Park in search of ONE image. Check back Monday to see if I captured my elusive image.