In the creek

Hello everyone,
On a trip to Ricketts Glen back in May, I encountered some pretty good flows in Kitchen Creek. Having high levels in the creek has its good and bad sides. The bad – the water was running so hard that at most of the falls, there was a heavy mist making it difficult to get some of the shots I wanted.  When this happens, I spend some time along the creek looking for good compositions at small rapids. I always bring my hip waders to the making it easy for me to setup in the creek and spend some time composing my shot. When shooting images using a wide angle lens (in this case a 24mm) I get as low and close as possible to the foreground interest point. This helps to lead the viewer into the scene. The one issue with this in a fast flowing creek is the water drops flying around and hitting the front of the lens. You have to keep a constant eye on the front lens element. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way on more than one occasion. Nikon D800, 24mm PC lens, Really Right Stuff ball head, Induro tripod, Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer.

 

 

Early summer at Ricketts Glen

I have had the opportunity to make a few trips to Ricketts Glen over the past couple of months. Once in mid May and most recently a few weeks ago in mid June. The water levels in May were really good. Results of the snow melt off in the mountains and spring getting into full swing. Some of the falls were running so well that there was either a strong wind coming off of the pool or there was so much mist in the air it made it difficult to get close. For times when the mist is heavy, I keep a clear shower cap in my bag. I know it sounds crazy, but it is really helpful in getting your camera setup and composing a picture. You can even adjust your polarizer with the shower cap in place.  I place the shower cap over the end of my lens before going down into the water and get setup. Once I’m happy with the composition and my exposure is set, I quickly take off the shower cap and snap a few images. At this point, I am going to start getting water build up on the front lens element, but if you move quick, you can get off a couple of good clear shots. After that, I usually remove my camera from the tripod, turn around with my back to the falls and wipe off any of the water. Put the shower cap back on and try again. Here are a few shots from my recent trips to Ricketts Glen. Hope you enjoy…
 

Mowhawk Falls - Ricketts Glen State Park, PA

Amazing cascades

During a trip to an area like the Great Smoky Mountains, something that I often seek out is one of the many cascades running off the top of the mountain. Everywhere you go, you are surrounded by anything from small streams to large rivers. On the way up to Clingmans Dome one evening, we noticed a small brook right at a vehicle pull over. We were running plenty early for the sunset time, so we decided to make a stop and check it out. Before I knew it, I was heading deeper into the woods, climbing higher and higher along the waters edge. Evertime I took a few more steps, I found something else I liked. For me, the moss covered rocks and subdued lighting in the late afternoon really makes for great photographs of these areas. I also like to bring along a set of hip or chest waders with me on trips like this. This allows me to get right into the stream, setup my tripod, perhaps kneeling down in the water to get a nice low perspective on the water. Being in the scene as I like to call it. For this image, I did just that. Nikon D800, Induro Tripod, Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer, Really Right Stuff Ball Head. I used a 24mm PC lens and shifted left to right to create the panoramic shot. Hope you enjoy…
 

Forest cascades, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, TN © Rob Loughrey

Fall in Ricketts Glen State Park

Another favorite shooting location for me is Ricketts Glen State Park in Northern Pennsylvania. This part has over 20 waterfalls on a 7 mile loop that is just fantastic. I try to visit this park twice a year and each time the park seems to have different things to offer. This year I went in both the spring and fall. I went a little early in the spring and the colors were very muted and the leaves had only started budding. Apparently there is a good 1 – 1 1/2 month difference between when Maryland Trees and Pennsylvania mountain trees have leaves on them. I wasn’t able to get there later in the spring so I waited it out until fall. I went in early October which happened to be a perfect time for color change.  There were still plenty of leaves on the trees and the color was close to peak. The only thing that I was surprised by was the low levels of water on the falls. This was my 6th trip there and was by far the lowest amount of water I have seen. Even with the heavy rains we recently had, the water was still significantly low. This has its good and bad points. The falls looked a little naked compared to what I had seen before. However, I was able to get across the streams with little or no fear of being swept downstream and sent over a 20 or 30 foot falls. A few of the falls are very tall with the largest at over 90′.
Here is a shot from one of the falls along the path. I took a different approach on this one by standing back instead of getting down into the stream. I captured the image using an image stacking technique to make sure I had good focus from near to far. Images were blended and processed in Photoshop.
Hope you enjoy…

 

Fall colors - Ricketts Glen State Park © Rob Loughrey

Springtime waterfall

A quick shot from a recent trip to Ricketts Glen State Park in upstate PA. I made the trek on a day off with a couple of other Photographers. We jumped the gun a bit – totally my fault though. I wasn’t thinking that springtime in the mountains happens a month or so later than it does in Maryland. Needless to say, the landscape was still a mottled brown, trees were just budding and it wasn’t as photogenic as I would have liked. Without any leaves on the trees, the sun starts causing havoc on your photographs much earlier than it would a few months later. In any case, no trip wasted, I came away with a few tight shots I liked. Already looking forward to the next adventure…
RB Ricketts Falls, Ricketts Glen State Park, PA © Rob Loughrey

Fall trip to Rickets Glen

I have a collection of shots that I just recently finished working on from my recent trip to PA. I have been falling behind in processing images and am playing catch up. We made the trip in the 2nd week of October while the leaves were really changing. The weather was a bit too nice for doing photography – no clouds to be seen so it made it difficult to get any workable shots after 10am. The park was really crowded as well. Here are a few from the trip…
Tuscarora Falls - Ricketts Glen State Park, PA © Rob Loughrey

 

Erie Falls - Ricketts Glen State Park, PA © Rob Loughrey

 

Erie Falls - Ricketts Glen State Park, PA © Rob Loughrey

Waterfalls in fall color

I visited some of my frequent haunts while in West Virginia. I like going back to these places because they are such good areas for photography. The light, water levels and color are always different with each visit. It also helped that I had some family with me that had never been to the area. You know how that goes – have to show them the good spots to visit.
Here are  shots of two excellent waterfalls from locations that I love to visit. I especially like the swirling leaves and foam in the first shot.

 

Elekala Falls along Shays Run, Blackwater Falls State Park, WV          © Rob Loughrey

 

Fall color at Douglas Falls - Thomas, WV © Rob Loughrey

 

Douglas Falls - Thomas, WV © Rob Loughrey