Blackwater Falls State Park #2

On December 31, 2010, in DC Photography, Photography Tips, by admin

Elakala Falls #1, Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia

This is an image of the first waterfall on Shay Run in Blackwater Falls State Park.  Known as Elakala Falls, there are four separate waterfalls as Shay Run descends the Blackwater Gorge.  The falls get progressively more difficult to access as you descend the gorge.  Kevin Adams book, Waterfalls of Virginia And West Virginia, contains a great description on how to access each of the four falls.  I made it the third fall, but by that point my wife could not go further.  If you ever have plans to descend to the fourth fall let me know, I will go with you!

The swirls in the water are the result of the two second shutter speed.  This slow shutter speed also gives the falls that veil appearance that I prefer.

Blackwater Falls State Park is a small park and all of the major falls are easily accessible.  An easy three hour drive from DC makes this a scenic day trip, especially in the spring and fall when colors abound.

View from Lindy Point Overlook, Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia

Okay, so it is not DC photography, but Blackwater Falls State Park in West Virginia is a “long” day trip from DC that is worth the effort.  We went the third weekend in October and just missed the peak of the fall foliage colors.  While there was good color, high winds that week had blown many of the leaves off the trees.

One of the best features of the park (besides the waterfalls!) is the short walk from the various parking lots to the scenic vistas.  These short walks allow you to cover much of the park and not have to worry about what photography gear to take on each trail.  In most cases, if you leave something in the car, it isn’t that far of a walk back.

The image on the right above is from the Lindy Point Overlook.  This is one of the furthest walks, so make sure you have what you need.  The image on the left was taken on the trail to Lindy Point.  We spent quite a bit of time at the overlook, there are some neat rock formations to sit on and just enjoy the view.  A great lunch spot.

As far as the waterfalls at Blackwater, well, that is a topic for another post…

Shutter Speed

On October 24, 2010, in Photography Tips, by admin

Blackwater Falls, Blackwater Falls State Park, WV

The images above show how shutter speed could be used to improve your nature photos.  These two images were taken at Blackwater Falls State Park, WV.  The image on the right was taken at a shutter speed of 1/800 second.  Note the choppiness of the water as it flows over the falls and how you can see individual drops of water in the splashes.

The image on the left was taken using a shutter speed of 1/6 second.  Note how the water almost appears to be a veil covering the rocks.  The left image appears to be more peaceful and less anguished than the right image.  While the right image presents the falls as our eye sees them, the slower shutter speed on the left makes for a more pleasing image.

Of course, there are times when one would prefer the anguished look of the right image, but in general, waterfalls should be shot at shutter speeds less than 1/60.  The slower the shutter speed, the more of a veil effect you can achieve.  However, a longer shutter speed used on larger falls could result in a white blob on a rocky background.  The shutter speed you decide to use will depend on the desired effect and how you want to compose the scene.