Monday, November 7, 2011


Canon EOS Rebel XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 400, f/14, 0.6 sec.
  The first stop for Tim Owens and myself on Sunday morning along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was a 1.7mile hike up to Grotto Falls.  It was a relatively easy hike for someone with two good knees. For someone like me, with Arthritis plaguing my left knee for the previous 2 weeks, it was work. More coming back down the trail than going up, but strenuous on my knee for sure. But for the images and view of the falls, it was worth a little bit of pain.
  Grotto Falls is a very well traveled trail and one of the most visited spots in the Smokies. We got to the trail head around 6:30am and only saw one person on the way up. Coming back down around 10:30, however, we ran into at least 25 hikers going up so getting there early paid off.
  The main falls at "The Grotto" is a fan waterfall that falls approximately 25 feet into a pool and then falls through cascade after cascade in a steep descent down through the gorge.
  When we arrived at the falls, I noticed this huge log laying parallel to the water flow on the first tier cascade below the main waterfall. Right next to the log the cascade zig-zagged  around a huge bolder and barreled down on a group of cobblestone rocks before flowing off to the next cascade. I new that I had to somehow fit all of these elements into my shot with the main waterfall in the background. I became completely obsessed with it.
  It took me close to a half hour before I found a vantage point that fit all of my desired elements in the frame and also allowed me to set all 3 legs of my tripod on a sturdy surface. I was becoming completely frustrated until I finally found it. I then set up and shot 3 angles to form a panorama so I could get everything in the shot I wanted. It's very exciting when you successfully get what you want and exposed like you want as well.
  Unfortunately, by spending all my time working on this arrangement, when I started up to photograph the main waterfall, there were 4 or 5 newcomers up on the path shooting it. Tim had already started his descent down to the next lower cascade as well, so I passed on getting shots of the main waterfall and joined Tim in the steep descent down the river. I know that someday I will return and photograph Grotto Falls again so I didn't mind sacrificing it for the image in today's post.
  More to come from the Roaring Fork so stay tuned.


  1. Outstanding composition Jerry! I love how the log looks almost like smooth stone!