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Saturday, 07 April 2018 15:06

Sort of Like Surfin'

Middle Prong of Little Pigeon River in the Greenbrier section of Great Smoky Mountains National Park has long been one of my greatest teachers. Every time I begin to believe that I have "seen" this wonderful stream in all of its moods and in all of its faces, it proceeds to reveal to me another of its amazing features. The extensive Roaring Fork Sandstone outcropping near the entrance to cove has produced one of the most appealing cascades in the park, and so often I am tempted to include the entire drop, as well as the banks on either side of the river. Usually I'm also tempted to throw in some of the beautiful potholes that make Roaring Fork Sandstone so intriguing when exposed to moving water for a few thousand years. Recently, however, I decided to focus on the top of the primary drop itself and to only show some of the sensual curvature in the rock as the sky- and foliage-reflected water poured over it.

A focal length of 330mm, definitely telephoto-land, gave me the reduced angle-of-view and increased magnification I wanted to emphasize the reflection and the flow. An aperture of f/18 provided depth-of-field, and a shutter speed of 1/5th second at ISO 100 gave me a slightly-lighter-than-medium overall exosure.

Colored water in motion; just when I thought an amazing river had shown me everything it has. What will it think of next?


Thursday, 29 March 2018 15:14

Seeking Its Own Level

As it slowly wears away the low ridge that defines this portion of the watershed of Middle Prong of Little River, Big Hollow Branch drops through a wonderfully verdant, 40' moss-covered plunge of small boulders, known as Walker Fields Cascade, before joining with the rushing waters of Middle Prong itself. This stretch of river valley, once owned and farmed by Black Bill Walker, became, in the early decades of the twentieth-century, the logging community of Tremont, owned by W.B. Townsend's Little River Lumber Company. Now, it is one of the most special places to be found in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

A focal length of 31mm, just within the limits of wide-angleland, gave me the angle-of-view I wanted - the entire span of the cascade from the perspective where I stood. An aperture of f/13 provided depth-of-field primarily because of the camera-to-subject distance, and a shutter speed of 1.0 second at ISO 200 gave me an overall medium exposure. I needed to adjust the aperture to wider and the ISO to greater sensitivity in order to achieve the shutter speed indicated. A longer time would have meant a milkier presentation of the water, but what I wanted was what I expressed here.

The watershed of Middle Prong of Little River tells so much of the geological story of these mountains; but it also tells much of the human story as well. Every time I am there, I hear its words. It is the sound of moonlight flowing over crystal.

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