Before making my way out west to Arizona and Utah, I made a brief visit to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Having just had such great conditions in West Virgina, and wishing to squeeze what I can out of this (seemingly rare) stroke of good luck, I figured it would be a good idea to head down the Allegheny and into the Blue Ridge Mountains, in western North Carolina. Just as had been the case in West Virginia, most of the foliage reports proclaimed “past-peak” conditions for all of the the high country, yet conditions were incredible all over the region, save for the absolute highest elevations in the area. I think from this point forward, when planning autumn photo trips in the east, I will simply aim for mid to late season, and try my best to remember that many foliage reports or updates are just flat out wrong.
Anyhow, those of you familiar with photographing fall foliage may know just how magical it can be in a brilliant, autumn-hued forest on a foggy, misty, or drizzly day. I was lucky enough to have an entire day and a half of near-perfect conditions for photographing waterfalls and forest scenes; bright overcast skies, with a (usually) light mist falling from the clouds, patchy fog, and relatively calm winds. The bright overcast skies allowed me to keep my shutter speeds reasonably quick, while the precipitation brought water levels up considerably, and allowed my polarizer to do its job eliminating glare from wet and colorful leaves. On top of that, the intermittent pockets of fog provided an extra degree of dimension to many of the scenes I photographed, adding layers to otherwise flatter-feeling compositions.
I finally made my first visit to the Glen Falls, a spot in the Nantahala National Forest that I have wanted to visit for years. I was initially a bit disappointed by this fallen tree, and the way the deep green rhododendrons had come in and choked out many of the other plants growing alongside this stream, but as soon as I looked through my viewfinder, and that light fog blew in, I was absolutely elated. Sometimes I can be such a baby!