Date Taken: 03/25/2014
Location: Soco Falls, near milepost 456
A snowy Soco Falls, located near milepost 456, adjacent to Cherokee and Maggie Valley, NC.
Camera: Nikon D7000
Lens: Tokina AT-X Pro 12-24
Focal Length: 14mm
Shutter: 1/3 second
How I Got This Shot: I awoke this morning to a surprise – the original forecast of light, slushy snow totaling a half-inch became three heavy, wet inches when I looked out my window of my room in Maggie Valley. So naturally I wanted to explore, and I ventured just past the Parkway on US 19 to the popular-but-tricky-to-access Soco Falls. Tricky, because to get to the base requires rappelling on a flimsy rope down a steep, muddy, rocky drop off. Adding snow and ice to that equation only makes it trickier, but I made it without a hitch.
I tried a couple different compositions – one with the falls to the upper left and the cascading river flowing at bottom right (similar to the popular composition of Looking Glass Falls that many photographers use), and the other being a more straightforward composition, zooming in closer with the falls at center and the river flowing in the foreground. I chose the first composition as it seemed more compelling and eye pleasing.
Taking the image itself was fairly simple – after shooting a few frames with a circular polarizer, I removed it and shot without a filter. My camera’s meter was fooled a little by all the bright snow and suggested a quicker shutter speed, so I “overexposed” by two stops which brought the shutter speed in line with what I wanted – slow enough to capture movement, yet quick enough to retain texture in the water. I find either 1/3 or 1/4 second shutter speeds do that trick well.
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