There are quite a few waterfalls throughout the Hocking Hills region, each with its own unique features. I only visited 2 during the competition, and luckily I got to spend some quality time with both of them. By "quality time" I mean to say that it was just me and the waterfall - no one else around. One way to achieve this is to get to the waterfall early in the morning (say, before 8:00), which is what I did at Ash Cave. Another way is by dumb luck, which is what happened at Conkle's Hollow. You have to walk back quite a bit from the trailhead to get to both of these falls, and once you do, it's almost as if you've entered another world. When you enter it alone, it becomes very sacred space. I'll refrain from too much New-Agey, hippie mumbo-jumbo, but suffice it to say that when I left both of these waterfalls, I felt cleansed, blessed and very much in touch with this planet that we inhabit.
And now, without further ado, the waterfalls themselves. It's a very cool but humid environment around both of them, with the smell of wet earth and wet rock, and a somewhat disorienting throwing of sound by the rocks that surround you. Sand and puddles underfoot, rocks and tree limbs to maneuver around or focus on... are you there with me?
The falls at Ash Cave - This is actually "behind" the falls, and I stayed here for a long time, planning out how I could creatively capture its beauty. You may see the "rock" that was featured in my "Photographer's Choice" photo.
I begin to isolate my subject, trying to decide on the best angle for the shot.
Closer, but I'm still not so sure about that stuff in the foreground... (I like it in monochrome, though. Some surprise, huh?)
Okay, I've almost got something I like...
My finished submission. I took a shot with every white balance setting available on my camera, and I think the "fluorescent" setting is what gave me such a blue coloring. The "cloudy" look of the water was achieved by a slow shutter speed (6 seconds).
Slightly different postitioning, made monochrome in Picasa. I really like this one, too.
One last technical note: I used a neutral density filter on my lens for all of these shots, which limits the amount of light that comes through the lens. I don't think any of those shots would have been possible without that filter, because I was already maxed out with my other options of shutting out the amount of light that came in through the lens. (Limiting light is a necessity when shooting at the slow shutter speeds needed to get that "veiled" look of the moving water.)
And one last non-technical note: I'd like to thank all of you for reading this blog and sharing in my nature experiences. I hope we'll all still be here together 150 more posts from now!