There was an interesting phemomenon taking place during the exchanges between acscenders and descenders along the trail at Crabtree Falls in Virginia. Every group that we met coming down as we were climbing, even in the beginning at the lower levels, told us that we were almost at the top. Maybe it seems that way on the way down; but on the way up, it never seemed like we were almost at the top!
Until we got here. This is the topmost cascade at Crabtree Falls. It starts at the top of a 1 mile climb up 900+ feet along a rough path built a long time ago and ‘maintained’, well…not much! We had a much higher opinion of our stamina than was warranted, but made it up anyway and it was well worth the effort. Good thing I carried those cameras all the way up in the backpack with the tripod over my shoulder!
This waterfall is composed of several major cascades and a lot of smaller ones. This smaller one seems to be funneling the entire output of the falls down these steps and out through this small spout.
There are many scenes with interesting contrasts here: this one between the water crashing down out of the sunlight and into the apparant stillness of the water in the shade. The bright green ferns stand out from the grey rocks and the muted colors in the bottom of the pool.
In some places, Crabtree Falls is almost still and serene, shaded by the canopy of trees with only a splash of light coming through.
And in other spots, the Wye River crashes unabated down the hillside, witnessed only by these magenta flowers and anyone willing to climb the 900+ feet up the mile long trail and whose eyes can still focus clearly after the effort!
Each of these scenes had a much wider dynamic range than the camera could capture in one exposure. The human eye is capable of discerning detail in the deeper shadows and in the bright, sunlit water at the same time.
In order to preserve all of that detail so that the photo truly represents what we saw, we took several different exposures to capture the detail in the sunlight and in the shadows. These exposures were blended in post by painting in the various areas of one exposure onto the too light or too dark areas of the others. The end effect is to retain a wide range of light and dark, just what we saw when looking at these scenes