GSMNP (DAY 5)
The title says it all. Today was absolutely, positively magic in terms of color and finding great photo locations. We didn’t really get out to shoot till mid-day, but since we were deep in the woods it didn’t matter a whole lot in terms of light. We had good light all day with minor cloud cover and then as evening approached we had absolutely, positively incredible light. We found ourselves shooting waterfalls, cabins and all forms of leaves both those still on the trees and the ground. Mark had the good fortune of four deer walking out of the woods right in front of him on a trail – only about 15 feet away. (Which, by the way, is a lot better than four bears doing the same!)
One of the nice things about overcast days is that it increases your opportunities for shooting long exposures. With the diffused light, shadows are muted and the light is more balanced throughout your composition. In our case, with all of the Fall leaves still on the trees we had a heavy cover overhead blocking the diffused light even more. It is really beneficial to shooting long exposures as you can often use just your polarizer combined with your shutter speed, ISO and aperture to keep exposure to a point where you can get a nice motion blur of moving water. If the light in your shooting situation is still a little too bright to get the long exposure shot you are working to get, then consider getting something like a 10-stop variable neutral density filter. You can stack it with your circular polarizer and then you can use the polarizer to knock the glare off of the surface of the water and the neutral density filter to lower the light to the point where you can get the long exposure motion you are seeking.
A good part of the afternoon was spent shooting waterfalls on the Roaring Fork Byway … a narrow, one-way trail with shallow pullouts to park in and a ton of traffic. This month is the busiest of the year for the park with everyone coming out to see the fall color and even at mid-week it was a busy place. If it had not been for getting dark down on the river bed we would have stayed longer even though we had already been there for over 2 hours. But, we decided to leave and we’re really glad we did because on our way out we stopped to shoot a field with a couple of cabins under the most incredible soft light I have ever seen. It was like standing inside of a painting with the most beautiful light surrounding us as we photographed the cabins. I’ll get a photo of the cabins posted tomorrow. For now, I’ll leave you with one of the waterfalls I shot and some video. Enjoy a quiet moment along the river.
Roaring Fork River peacefulness