My plan this morning was to visit two waterfalls that I have not visited (Panther Falls and Angel Falls) near Lakemont, Georgia. When I arrived the National Park Service had the entrance gated and closed. I was not leaving the area without a new gallery shot. So, I went to Minnehaha Falls that was about a half hour away on a tiny ice-covered, one-lane dirt road. (Obviously since I am able to post this blog, I didn’t slide off the side of the mountain and die in a fiery car crash. But, I did test the limits of the Suby.)
Walking up the trail to the falls, I decided since I have shot the falls twice before that I would find a different perspective. Beneath the falls I found exactly what I was looking for. There are two small patches of earth beneath the falls that will accommodate a grown man and a tripod. They were easy enough for me to get to and difficult enough that no one else attempted the feat while I was there. So, with no competition for real estate, I had a most pleasant morning shooting until I was content. And for my efforts I was rewarded with a couple of gallery images.
This image was captured using my 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII with a circular polarizer and it was tripod mounted. I recently updated my gallery images. You can see them on my site at http://tobygant.com/gallery/index.html.
On my recent trip to Florida, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go back to Merritt Island and drive the Black Point Wildlife Drive again. I was pleased to see that the water levels all appear to be back to normal. And with the normal water levels there was wildlife everywhere. As a matter of fact, I think there was more birds than I have ever seen there at any one time. While following my normal modus operandi (searching for osprey), I stumbled across this magnificent bald eagle. Armed with only my 70-200mm VRII and 2x teleconverter, I was not able to get as close as I would have liked. But, I had a great time observing it all the same.
I got an early start this morning to visit the DeSoto Falls Recreation Area in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest near Blairsville, Georgia. I visited the lower falls in March of 2012. I made an attempt to visit the upper falls in October 2012. (See http://www.tobygant.com/2012/10/12/plan-b/) But, this morning I was far more successful.
This morning was uncharacteristically warm for this time of year. And there was a heavy fog hanging over the higher elevations of the Blue Ridge. This allowed me to shoot late into the morning. While some photographers try to avoid foggy conditions, I embrace it. Not only can you shoot later into the morning. But, colors are more saturated. And it also adds a “moody feeling” to your captures.
The upper falls are incredible. The hike is much longer than the hike to the lower falls. But, it has a slower grade and was far less strenuous. With near perfect weather conditions, I found myself at the falls alone for well over an hour before others started straggling up to the falls. I could not have asked for a more perfect outing.
This image was captured with my 16-35mm f/4. Please stop by and see my updated gallery at http://www.tobygant.com/tobys-gallery-images/.
Wildlife is abundant in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We have yet to drive the Cades Cove Loop Road and not see plenty of wildlife. The usual suspects are deer and turkey. We’ve seen elk, coyotes, wolves and bobcats in other areas of the park.
I captured this image of a whitetail buck on the loop road. I used my 70-200mm VRII at 200mm shooting from the Suby using my Puffin Pad.
The Puffin Pad is a great tool to use when shooting wildlife. As long as you shoot from your vehicle, most wildlife will not even be remotely concerned by you. It’s when you get out and set up a tripod they tend to want to go elsewhere. The Puffin Pad was indispensable to me on my vacation between visiting both Cades Cove and Black Point Wildlife Drive.
I have recently added new images to my gallery. You can see them at http://www.tobygant.com/tobys-gallery-images/. Thanks for stopping by.
It was an incredibly busy holiday for my family. We visited friends and family back in Florida. I was able to break away and spend a day at Merritt Island. As usual it did not disappoint. I was honestly shocked at how much wildlife there was at this time of year.
After leaving Florida and returning home to Atlanta. It was late in the evening. My wife checked to see if there would be snow in the area. She found that it was snowing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I’d been up since the early morning hours, it was already 10 PM EST. We headed out to see snow. We stayed in the park until early afternoon and then returned home. We I was finally able to go to bed, I had been up for more than 36 hours straight.
But, it was all worth it. I was able to spend time in a couple of my favorite places on the planet with the people I care about the most. I got some great shots. And I had some much-needed time away from my normally hectic life. I simply cannot wait to go back.
I hope everyone else was able to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. I have plenty of images to share and will be doing so over the next few weeks. Thanks as always for stopping by. Please feel free to leave your thoughts.