I’ve been looking forward to getting some work done outside… spring has had a hard time coming this year here in Durham, North Carolina, however. We’ve had a string of a couple of warm days followed by many windy days of a cold blast usually accompanied by rain. Yesterday, the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro was closed due to snow… the high for the day barely broke 40°F (4.4°C). Asheboro is in the Piedmont, closer to the mountains. We never got snow here, though we did get a steady cold rain. It’s a clear blue sky here today and already 20° warmer than yesterday. It’s stated that if you don’t like the weather here in North Carolina, just wait a day or two and it will change… there’s some truth to that.
The day I shot this image was much like that. My wife and I help to produce the Alpha Marriage Course at our church, twice a year at eight weeks each course. It takes a lot of work to do that, and we’ve developed a good team to do it. One of those sessions is in autumn, prime time to be shooting in our mountains… I’m dedicated to the task, though it’s much like being between a rock and hard place when your camera mumbles to you from within the backpack: “Let me out of here!” What? Your camera doesn't talk to you? “No, I have things to do.” “It’s stuffy in here… I need to get some air (see last post)!” “You’re getting on my last nerve!” I never understood that last statement, but when parents say it to their kids, it means they’ve crossed a line of contention. “You know you want to…” The argument has led to the provocative, and I am weak in the moment. I hauled my camera kit to early church this day, and after the service, I made a beeline for the Linville region some 3-hours away to catch the last of autumn’s color.
This day started out relatively warm in Durham, but when I reached the high elevations from the Blue Ridge Parkway, the temperature dropped quickly! I was out shooting along Goshen Creek when I noticed fine stuff drifting in the air… I had to take a close look to realize that it was snow. It was quite blustery up there, so I thought it was just some debris being blown from the trees. It was the tiniest, finest snow I had ever seen… things just became interesting. As color was still quite good in the area, I made my way toward the Upper Creek Falls Loop Trail just off Highway 181 where this image was taken.
It’s a steep hike down to the waterfall, this day being complicated by a cold, strong wind. Though I tend not to shoot downstream of creeks and rivers, this shot from the maw at the top of the falls was much more dynamic than the falls itself. The bedrock here is treacherous even when it's dry. Where I'm standing here isn't dry, but I had on boots that provided some good traction. Going headlong into that maw and dropping some 40+ feet onto the rocks below was not part of the plan. Getting a good shot of this area was, and this was the best spot. The half-second exposure doesn’t make the snow obvious, though there is some obscuration on the distant ridge as a heavier snow is headed my way. There is some movement evident in the trees, yet I caught a moment of overall sharpness in a relentless wind. The maelstrom of water on the lower right of the shot looks much like a storm in the atmosphere of Jupiter. In other words, it’s an image I was happy to come back with. It managed to snow better than six-inches deep there and the Blue Ridge Parkway was shut down while I was making my way back home. It didn’t take too much snowy backroading to find Highway 421. I left the snow behind at around 1,000 feet elevation. A warm home beckoned to me as the camera snoozed in the bag... it must have been happy, as it didn't say another word on the trip back.