Saturday, 01 February 2020 00:29

Once Upon a Time On West Fork

Although its headwaters are found within the footprint of the Blue Ridge Parkway, West Fork of the Pigeon River quickly leaves that boundary and begins a corkscrew journey through Pisgah National Forest on its way to join the mighty French Broad just outside of Newport, Tennessee.  It is a stream likely as old as the venerable French Broad itself, whose headstreams are just on the other side of the spine known as the Pisgah Ledge along which the Parkway travels here. And although Mr. Google Maps insists on calling it Sunburst Falls, my preference is the more colloquial West Fork Falls.

A focal length of 17mm, on the wide end of wide-angleland, gave me the angle-of-view I wanted, even as it gave the most distant part of the falls the appearance of being further away than it actually is. An aperture of f/11, at the camera-to-subject distance, provided depth-of-field. More imortantly, it allowed me at ISO 200 to achieve a shutter speed of 1.0 second and a medium overall exposure. Longer shutter speeds would have rendered the already white water a chalky blur, which was not what I wished for an outcome.

Pisgah National Forest is one of the many beautiful eastern Public Lands that belongs to all of us. The management of Pisgah is currently undergoing a five-year plan revision. The outcome of this will determine the usage goals for this amazing place for the crucial years ahead. This link will take you to the Forest Plan Revision Homepage. If this is your national forest, please become involved in its planning. 

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  • Comment Link Donald McGowan Friday, 07 February 2020 21:35 posted by Donald McGowan

    Good evening Everyone. Thanks to All for joining me for this conversation. It is truly a pleasure to have you with me. It was very interesting that I mentioned in the descriptive notes for this Image the fact that a new draft forest plan study was currently in the offing. On Friday, the draft plan was announced and is currently available through the link I provided in the notes. If you live anywhere near the Pisgah or Nantahala National Forests, please take a few minutes to look through the plan, and even more, take a minute to comment if you see something of which you approve, or of which you do not. These lands are your lands. The health and welfare of places like West Fork Falls is in your hands.
    Hey Ray. It's always great to hear from you! I do appreciate your kind comments and the role you play in the stewardship of beautiful places like this. I am grateful for the work of the NFF, its staff and supporters across the country. May your good work continue, and may you Walk in Beauty.
    Hi Joel. It always brings a smile when I see that you have joined us. One of these days I'd love to share places like West Fork Falls with you. These Southern Appalachians are truly repositories of great beauty that I know you appreciate. Thanks, again, for sharing the link to your book. It is a wonderful tribute to the creative work you have done in the places you have visited.
    Howdy Michael. Hearing from you is like hearing from Joel. It's always a pleasure. Your kind words are an absolute pleasure for my eyes and ears. I hope you have been well and have been loving this Rhode Island winter. The color in this is compliments of the hardwoods of the Southern Appalachians and the texture is compliments of the wonderful granitic rock that underlies much of the Pisgah Ledge in this part of the mountains. I am blessed to call where they are found "home."
    Hi Lynne. Thank you so much for those kind words. We know you and John are going to have a wonderful adventure on your European travels. We will miss you and look forward to seeing you and John soon after you return. Vaya con Dios, mi querido.
    Hey Kev. Since I know how busy your life has been, I am grateful that you were able to join us. Of course, this is the Colorado River; how could you think otherwise? Actually West Fork is, at the point of this image, a very small part of that great system known as the Tennessee River. I do know how much you like water images of all kinds - as do I. And the great creative adventure with water is to learn it well enough that you can express its range completely within the realm of possibility however you find it. I appreciate your thoughts on the variable luminosities in the image. On my monitor the difference between the background and the foreground is noticeable, but maybe not as extreme as you suggest. Some variation would be natural, since the sun is coming from behind the scene, and there is more light in the background than in the foreground. For me the question is about the visibility of the detail in the background, and on my monitor the visibility is quite plain. I do suppose that some very slight amount of "burning in" might have brought out even a bit more detail. Thanks for pointing us to this and encouraging us to explore it.
    What an interesting variety of thoughts and comments you have shared with me and with each other. Thank you all very much. Pisgah National Forest is a beautiful land, as are all of our amazing public woodlands. They serve many purposes, but their existences are shaped by our shared public interest and not the interests of corporations.

  • Comment Link Kevin Desrosiers Thursday, 06 February 2020 10:21 posted by Kevin Desrosiers

    I am always drawn to pictures with water. The shutter speed you selected was perfect to give texture to the flowing water. The colors on either side give great separation and the placement of the water is perfect. Also liking the "S" curve created by the flowing stream (and please don't try to tell me this is the Colorado River too).The only CC I may have, and maybe it is my monitor, but it seems a little bright for me, especially where the water enters the scene at the top. Still love the image though.

  • Comment Link Lynne Diamond-Nigh Sunday, 02 February 2020 17:46 posted by Lynne Diamond-Nigh

    Beautiful, Don

  • Comment Link Mike Di Stefano Sunday, 02 February 2020 17:12 posted by Mike Di Stefano

    Howdy Don, I can’t imagine a photograph could have any more color and texture in its composition. There’s not a bare spot in the whole canvas. An absolute fest for the eyes.

  • Comment Link Joel Prce Sunday, 02 February 2020 16:52 posted by Joel Prce

    This image is gorgeous, especially for the colors of the leaves and moss around the falling water. What a pleasure!

  • Comment Link Ray Foote Sunday, 02 February 2020 09:59 posted by Ray Foote

    Good morning, Don. A beautiful image full of movement and depth and vividness. Thank you. And, yes, our eastern forests are under multiple stresses. Even as the wildfires that dominate and threaten western forests continue to grow in severity, we can't forget about their eastern brethren. Your images and reflections help spread the word about the importance of taking an active role in stewarding these public lands. Thank you.

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