I set my clock for 4:30am so I could catch the early morning light and by the time I left the house @ 5am the light was already coming up quite a bit. The early morning is my favorite time of day, it's quiet, cool and the colors in the sky are really amazing. Late July is a wonderful time to catch these beautiful sunrises, so I suggest you take time to get out there and see them for yourself!
My day started out on a gravel road, one I've traveled many times, yet this morning everything looked so different because of the light. I say it all the time, look for " how the Light affects a subject ". It's all about the light and on these foggy mornings, things you might otherwise pass by, become wonderful opportunities, so driving slow is very important! I almost get whiplash on mornings like this, there is so much to shoot. I captured 3-4 images in less than a mile from home! I must say, days like this are very tiring, both physically and mentally because you are running everywhere and thinking constantly about what you are doing and seeing. It can be a lot of work, but it's so much fun. I wouldn't want to be doing anything else on a daily basis.
The drive to Eagle Falls is around 1.5 hours from home and this morning it took over 3 hours! I wonder why? I can't say it enough, this morning was amazing! I think being more specific about what I shoot might help, but when there are so many different images to capture, it can be hard to stop shooting. When I did arrive at the Trailhead there were several cars already there, as I figured there would be on a beautiful Sunday morning. I parked and loaded my backpack with the essentials (except for water) and headed off. The morning started getting really warm as I hiked up and over the trail. I was smooth going at first and then the trail became very rough and rocky with steep inclines and very sandy and slick declines over rocky and wet mud areas. That's OK, because along the way was several opportunities to shoot the terrain and surrounding views of the Cumberland River. I was surprised how rough the trail was being that it's a public area. The trail had a few hand rails, but the 80-100 foot cliffs were very unprotected from someone falling over them and the trail, at times, came very close to these cliffs. This hike is not for the faint of heart or someone not used to hiking on rough trails. It was worth the effort,the woods were so beautiful.
The filtered light streamed through the trees and wrapped around every bush and tree stump along the trail. I captured a few images of this beautiful light in the trees and the path to the falls. I finally made my way to the last leg of the hike only to find a very steep, very narrow metal staircase to a sandy beach below on the river. Huge rocks lined the beach and the rive was raging because of the recent rains. The main Cumberland Falls could be heard and seen along my hike and now I could see it's raging waters on the lower river up close. This area was very slick and sandy. I climbed over the rock and made my way to the falls and found a hoard of people swimming, splashing, laughing, jumping off the high rocks around the falls and enjoying this awesome Sunday morning. I thought the Falls were part of the Cumberland River system, but the waterfall is actually a separate water feed into the river. I arrived at the falls around 11am. When I made my way over the rocks and actually stood in front of the falls, I was amazed at how beautiful this area was.
The high cliffs and huge rocks that surrounded the area were incredible. I have no problem with people being in or around where I shoot, this is when patience becomes a virtue and I used all my patience as the kids splashed and played in the water under the falls. I decided that the light was just too harsh and contrasty to shoot. With huge dark areas and very bright areas on the water, it was just not the right time to shoot right then so I opted to soak a "T" shirt in the cool water to relieve myself from the heat. I waited it out for a couple of hours. My time was not wasted. I had several great conversations with the folks that sat and watch the swimmers, so the time passed quickly. One couple gave me a couple bottles of water, (I didn't pack mine), that was a relief from the heat. Around 1:30 pm the light passed behind the falls and the trees that surrounded the area and the scene fell into shadow. This was what I was waiting for. The light became even across the scene and I was able to capture the image of the falls in great light! I could have sat there all day and enjoyed the water, the sound, just being in such a beautiful place, the I was tired and ready to hike back out to my truck. I suggest that when you decide to shoot in an area like this, you be very prepared for the environment. I was very prepared except for the water, that won't happen again. I suggest good shoes (hiking boots), a hiking pole or walking stick, a small hand towel you can get wet to cool off with and patience.
I Traveled and hiked for over 4 hours to get to one specific area, for an image that took 10 minutes to actually photograph, but it's not all about the moment you snap the photo, it's the experience you gather along the way, the enjoyment you have seeing beautiful things and places, it just being there to see it all Somewhere Down The Road. Thanks for joining me on another adventure. Stay with me, I have many more planned throughout the year.