An attempted Fall trip to North Carolina, Georgia and Northern Florida, to capture trees and waterfalls and Bald Cypress swamps.
Hello fellow photographers and travel junkies!
I've just returned from a wonderful roadtrip to North Carolina, Georgia and North Florida. As luck would have it we got there at the tail end of the falls colors. We arrived there in a thick fog, which didn't clear for 2 days, then it rained and was overcast for another 3. The sun eventually appeared as we left on our final morning. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful escape from the flatness and heat of Florida and provided perfect weather for hiking (with our dog Toby) and made for some eerie looking photos.
We hiked Catawba falls, just out side Black Mountain on our first day. I think it was my favorite hike, along the beautiful Catawba river. There were still hints of yellows and oranges and beautiful cascades all the way to the falls! All the photos taken here were with my Nikon D90, using a 17-70mm Sigma Lens.
Heading North, we visited the stunning Linville Falls on route 221 North (just off the Blue Ridge Parkway). There are a number of hikes to different viewpoints of the falls. The weather was still very foggy, so views of the falls were limited. I forgot my ND filter at home and the only one I was able to find en route was a 12-stop. This proved a little too dark for the weather we encountered, but I managed to get a few acceptable shots. I think a 4 or 8-stop would have been quite sufficient.
We attempted to return to our cabin via the Blue Ridge Parkway, but the fog proved too thick and we could barely see 5 feet in front of us.
Returning the following day we hiked down to Linville Gorge - all down one-way and all up the other. For South Floridians I think we faired pretty well and certainly got fit pretty quickly. The reward at the bottom was worth it - stunning views of the falls from below.
Today we did return to Asheville via the Blue Ridge Parkway, although at times we faced the same fog as the previous day. We managed to see some expansive views - there are no lack of viewpoints - but the colors were a little disappointing.
The next morning we were greeted by heavy rain - not the day I was anticipating as I'd planned a number of waterfalls stops en route to our next cabin in North Georgia. We landed up heading straight there as the rain did not cease!
With still no sign of sunshine the following two days, we hiked Long Creek Falls, Fall Branch falls, both an easy drive from our cabin near Mineral Bluff, GA and the Old Copper Trail (in Tennessee) - just across the border.
Friday we awoke to a heavy fog, followed by a beautiful sunny day and blue skies - unfortunately the entire day would be spent driving down to Wewahitchca (in North Florida). I know you've probably never heard of it, but it is the gateway to one of the most beautiful lakes in Florida - Dead Lakes. Surprising (especially for me as I'm always trying to get away from Florida) this was the highlight of my trip and totally exceeded my already high expectations.
I had organized a sunrise pontoon ride with Matthew Godwin from "Off the Map Expeditions". I had to be a the dock by 5:30am, which is an early start even for me. It was still dark and rather chilly when I arrived. Matthew greeted me with a gorgeous southern accent (which I also didn't expect to hear in Florida) and was the perfect guide. Having taken many photographers and film makers out on the lake before, he knew just where to take me.
I had seen photos online, but nothing was to prepare me for the incredible beauty of the place, especially at sunrise. It turned out that although I had missed the falls colors further North, I was just in time for the peak color in North Florida. Words cannot do this place justice - and you'll have to take a look for yourself. Do yourself a favor - if you like landscape photography and trees - visit this beautiful, little known area of Florida. You won't be disappointed.......