I had one last morning to shoot at Hocking Hills and I decided to spend that time tying up some loose ends–obtaining shots that I’d seen earlier in my stay but hadn’t been able to pull off for one reason or another. So, I headed back to the Old Man’s Cave area one final time. Each morning during my time in southeast Ohio it had been quite humid, but on this final morning it was really humid. I knew that low-lying fog was a possibility and, sure enough, as I drove to the park I ran into some, in the vicinity of a farmstead that I’d admired several times while making the journey to or from Old Man’s Cave. I stopped and took a quick shot, as a tiny bit of warmth from the rising sun penetrated the fog.
When I arrived at the Old Man’s Cave parking lot it was empty, as usual. I quickly made my way to Middle Falls. There was a shot that I’d found on my first day at Hocking Hills but couldn’t execute successfully that day. I’d set up on that evening and, after waiting for nearly 30 minutes, gave up. The shot required an ultra-wide angle lens–in my case, the 14-24/2.8–which meant an extremely broad field of view and that day, with copious activity in the area, people kept walking into the shot–through no fault of their own. I realized, after a bit of frustration, that it simply wasn’t realistic to try to obtain the shot when the park was crowded. The people who were getting into the shot couldn’t possibly have seen what I was doing, so they were straying into my frame without knowing it. I decided that I’d have to return when the area was empty–as it was this morning. So, again I placed myself in between two very large fallen logs that were pointing towards the Middle Falls, carefully adjusted my position, and produced the shot you see below.
After obtaining the above shot, I made my way down to the Lower Falls area. I’d done a bit of work there earlier, but this time I had my rubber boots on and waded well into the pool below the falls to investigate some different perspectives.
I wandered all the way to the right-hand side of the pool and played with several different foreground elements.
I then moved around toward the left-hand side to procure another shot or two.
When I was finished in the Lower Falls area, it was still early enough to do a bit more exploring, so–for the first time–I made my downstream from the Lower Falls. As I was wandering down the trail I heard the unmistakable sound of falling water. I waded across the shallows of Old Man’s Creek and found a mostly overgrown trail heading up a steep hillside, and I saw clear signs of runoff as I climbed up the trail. About halfway up, I noticed some interesting ferns and made a note to stop at the spot on the way back down.
The sound of the running water grew stronger as I moved up the heavily forested trail and, after a few minutes, I caught a glimpse of a waterfall. I had to do some rock hopping to get a better look. I was intrigued by what I saw, and poked around to gain an even better look. What I saw, when I climbed on top of a very large boulder, was a tall, narrow rock slot, with water pouring down it. It took some manipulating, but I was able to prop up my tripod and obtain the look I was after.
I later discovered that this waterfall had a name–Broken Rock Falls. I hadn’t heard of this waterfall when I was doing research on Hocking Hills, but I was extremely glad that I had stumbled across it on this morning. I converted the above shot to black and white to better emphasize the shapes and textures.
While still atop the boulder, I turned around and looked behind me. I saw a glen, thick with forest growth. I also saw the fog–which hadn’t been present around Middle or Lower Falls, but seemed to stick to the trees, plants and moss-covered rocks. It was an enchanting scene, reminiscent, at least to me, of the “magical hollow” shot I’d made on Day 3.
As I backtracked on the trail, I first stopped to take a shot of Broken Rock Falls at the spot from which I’d first glimpsed the cataract.
Finally, I returned to the intimate scene with the ferns that I’d spotted on the way up.
And with that, my photo journey at Hocking Hills came to an end. It had been a very productive last day, with the fortunate discovery of Broken Rock Falls–and its environs–added to the shots of the features with which I was already familiar. All in all, it had been a revealing trip to southeast Ohio and I hope to return to this area at some point in the future.
I hope you enjoyed my presentation as much as I enjoyed sharing it. In case you missed the earlier entries in this series, the links below will take you straight there.