Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sill Branch

Lower Sill Branch falls might be the most visited waterfall around here. It's located in the Clark's Creek which is centrally located for three counties, the trail to the falls is short for a waterfall hike around here (about a 1/2 mile), with a manageable increase in elevation, and only one creek crossing which is easily made by young and old.

I made the trip this A.M. thinking the recent rains would put lots of water over the falls and make some nice pictures. I crossed the Nolichucky river near Tn-107 and noticed that it was high and muddy, a good sign. I crossed Clark's Creek bridge and it was low, and clear, and low, really low ... krep.

The road to the trailhead follows Clark's Creek and it got more depressing the farther I went, but I parked and hiked the 1/2 mile or so to the falls. The trail follows Sill Branch until it breaks off and crosses the creek then follows North Sill Branch. This is where you encounter the only steep part of the trail but even that doesn't last long.

I've been to these falls several times over the last few years and this was the least amount of water I've seen coming over. It was supposed to be cloudy, but it wasn't, and the bugs were in rare form. But I was here, and I decided to use it as a learning experience.  I put my camera bag and tripod down and walked around the dry plunge pool for quite a while until I found a spot that I could work with. I snapped my first bracket it was just barely ok. krep. I walked around some more, got bored and spent a few minutes stacking the flat rocks. I snapped fresh set of brackets, you can see the fruit of my stacking skills in the lower let corner. 

the rock pile is staring at me
BTW, is there a name for these piles of rocks that folk make at waterfalls and swimming holes - other than the obvious?

The next two pictures were made on the way out. They were at the ends of side trails the fly-fishermen use. I normally would have passed them up because the sun was so bright, but I wanted to work on technique, right? This one has a dynamic range that was almost wider than the three shots I made, but Photomatix v4 and LR4 did some nice work here.
I usually don't have much success working with shadows, but this one is pretty good.
The last one has a nice green and gold reflection above the cascade, and it took some effort to get the exposure right so that the reflection was clear, and the cascade still had some 'fluff'.

I really like the reflection above the cascade.
So what began as a loser of a trip turned out some decent pictures, and some much needed practice at getting it right in the camera, and that makes it easier to get it right in post-processing.

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