Monday, April 27, 2009

Sacred Spaces

Well, here we are at my 150th post. It's kind of hard for me to believe. To honor this milestone, I will share photos of some very special places in the Hocking Hills, and thus conclude my series from the Shoot the Hills competition.

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 approach to the fall at Conkle's Hollow

Looking through the rocks

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!


Meg said...

"sound of applause"
Congratulations on your 150th post! I'm so glad I'm here to witness it.
You definitely captured the sacredness of the falls, Heather. Just lovely. Thank you for doing the work--it uplifts me!

Shellmo said...

Lovely work Heather! Love the monachrome!

Monika said...

I know exactly what you mean about sacred places when its just you and the remarkable landscape around you. I love those moments here in the San Juans, and it doesn't always happen that you end up completely alone!

Interesting tidbit about the neutral density filter, too, I'm not familiar with those and will have to check it out.

Congrats on post 150! I wasn't here for post #1 but plan to be around for the next 150.

Larry said...

When I read about all the settings yo use it's a reminder that I should move beyond just using my auto setting.-What a magical looking place that is.-I'm sure that I would experience my own equivalent of feeling cleansed and blessed if I were there.

Kelly said...

Heather your waterfall photos are gorgeous. I love your sacred space. Congrats on 150 posts. I always love reading your blog. Also, thanks for the tips. I'd like to start learning more of my camera's manual functions, and I need to learn more about the light. Great post!

Heather said...

Meg - Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad you're here, and that I could uplift you!

Shelley - Thank you - I feel like I might be going overboard with the monochrome thing, but it's just so powerful sometimes!

Monika - I'm glad that more and more folks seem to be getting out and enjoying our parks and other natural places, but it does make it difficult to find time alone with those places. Makes it all the more special when it actually works out! I look forward to having you around for the next "150" milestone!

Larry - Hello and thank you for stopping by! Yes, the entire Hocking Hills region is a very magical place, indeed. It took me a while to go beyond using the auto settings on my camera... I encourage you to play, play, play with your camera!

Kelly - Thank you for being such a regular reader (and commenter!) - the feedback I get from any and all of you helps motivate me to keep going! I need to learn more about exposure and how to use light to my advantage, too. Every few months a move a little further forward in my understanding of technique...

Warren and Lisa Strobel said...

Simply wonderful! Thanks Heather... we really enjoy reading (and viewing)all your posts. Congrats on 150- some bloggers never make it past 20!

Kallen305 said...

Stunning photographs!! Congrats on the 150th post!

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Heather, I have been catching up with your photos from the Shoot and you have captured so many great shots that represent the Hocking Hills in all of her glory. They are just wonderful. Great job lady.

The Early Birder said...

Congrats on the 150th & once again you have surpassed yourself. FAB pictures & interesting commentary on settings etc., something we can all learn from.
Feeling at one with a space, location or any wildlife is what makes us tick. Lol FAB

Heather said...

Warren and Lisa - Thank you for your comments and your support!

Kallen - Thank you so much!

Lona - Thank you, that means a lot coming from someone who lives in and knows the region well.

Frank - Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm still waiting for MY "roe deer buck" moment, though! Ha!