Photo Trekking 3: Great Falls AM

April 10, 2010  •  Leave a Comment
[This is my 3rd installment in a 6-part series for a photo trekking class I took with Barbara Southworth through the Smithsonian Associates Residence Program.]

Last weekend I went to Great Falls for my photo trekking class. While I had been to Great Falls before in the summer and in the winter on the Virginia side, this was my first time visiting the Maryland side.

We started off by hiking up a ridge. I found an opening in the trees and was greeted with a beautiful view of the other side of the river. The morning light was magical.

Much of the hike at first was in the shade. So, I focused on lines and perspective. Then, I ventured off the path and into the woods. I really like the morning light coming through the canopy of leaves.


This one feels almost religious to me. I set the white balance using a gray card--about 9600K. The yellow is actually pretty accurate.


Having only been on the Virginia side of the river, I completely missed the C&O canal. The still water in the canal created a mirror-like reflection of the trees. I loved it. I took this image from down low at 16mm with my camera aimed a bit downwards.


Later we went to some of the smaller waterfalls. It was really bright. Even stopped down and with a polarizer, I could not get a slow shutter speed. However, it may have worked out better this way. I like the water in the bottom right of the frame.


After the waterfalls, we hiked the Billy Goat A trail. It’s a fun hike. Almost the entire hike is a rock scramble. Every year, dozens of people fall. I hope you can tell from the photo why.


As it turns out, someone did get hurt while I was on the trail. We ran into a few members of the fire department who were carrying medical gear. They were searching for a fallen woman. Not long after, a Park Police helicopter showed up. It came down above the ridge line and came very close to me. I was able to take these photos with a mere 85mm lens.


I was glad to hear from another hiker that they found the woman. It sounded like she broke her leg or something but would otherwise be okay.


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