Posted by: kerryl29 | August 19, 2014

Hocking Hills: Day 4

I’d spent quite a bit of time in the Old Man’s Cave section of Hocking Hills during the first two days of my time in the area.  During the limited opportunities I had on the evening of Day 1, I had noted several potentially interesting shots, but was limited in my ability to get what I wanted because there were too many people milling about.  On Day 2, I had more time to scout, but by the time I wandered back down to the Middle Falls area, hotspots–created by sunlight–were beginning to creep into the environ so I limited myself to identifying additional opportunities with the intention of coming back on a later day.  This was the “later day.”

Once again I arrived at the main parking lot at daybreak and, once again, it was blissfully empty.  I quickly made my way to the Upper Falls area to nab just a few additional images that I hadn’t managed to obtain on my two previous attempts.

Upper Falls & Bridge, Old Man's Cave Area, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Upper Falls & Bridge, Old Man’s Cave Area, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

I focused most of my attention on tighter, more abstract shots, with the intention of converting to black and white when it came time to process the trip’s imagery.

Upper Falls Intimate Black & White, Old Man's Cave Area, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Upper Falls Intimate Black & White, Old Man’s Cave Area, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

After wrapping up at the Upper Falls area, I slowly made my way downstream in the gorge, and stopped at Devil’s Bathtub again (I’d shot there previously on Day 2).  Before wading into the stream again, I decided to investigate perspectives from above the tub itself.  I was intrigued by the pattern of the water as it spiraled downward.  There was very little color of consequence in the frame, so I converted the shot to monochrome.

Devil's Bathtub, Old Man's Cave Area, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Devil’s Bathtub, Old Man’s Cave Area, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Then I moved back into the stream itself to work on the bathtub again from below.  The resulting image, taken at greater than 200 mm, was pieced together by focus bracketing three frames for extended depth of field.  Again, there was very little color, so a conversion was natural.

Devil's Bathtub Black & White, Old Man's Cave Area, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Devil’s Bathtub Black & White, Old Man’s Cave Area, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

On the way down canyon, in the direction of the Middle Falls section of the Old Man’s Cave area, I noticed a host of ferns, penetrating cracks in the canyon wall, at least 40 feet above where I was standing.  I couldn’t resist the temptation to capture an image of one of these “hanging gardens.”

"Hanging Gardens," Old Man's Cave Area, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

“Hanging Gardens,” Old Man’s Cave Area, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Further along, I photographed a small ephemeral waterfall that I’d noticed upon each of my entries into the Old Man’s Cave area of the park.  I spent quite a bit of time checking out different perspectives; it was difficult to eliminate a number of features that I felt detracted from the ambiance of the scene and ultimately settled on the shot you see below.

Unnamed Falls, Old Man's Cave Area, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Unnamed Falls, Old Man’s Cave Area, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

From this spot it was back to the area near the Middle Falls itself.  I had greatly admired an area of cascades immediately above the falls during my previous sessions in the area and I took this opportunity to capture the scene, from several spots.

Cascade, Old Man's Cave Area, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Cascade, Old Man’s Cave Area, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

It was a bit of a dicey proposition climbing down into the stream bed itself at this point.  The rocks were exceptionally slippery and I had to be careful, not only with my own footing, but also with regard to the tripod itself.  It was quite dark down in this small hollow, so long shutter speeds–several seconds in duration–were the order of the day.

Cascade, Old Man's Cave Area, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Cascade, Old Man’s Cave Area, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

On my scouting visit to this spot, back on Day 2, I had been intrigued by the presence of a few isolated ferns, perched on the rocky ledge above the cascades below.  I’d spent a lot of time sizing the shots up–with an attempt to incorporate the ferns in the foreground and the cascades in the background.

Ferns & Cascades, Old Man's Cave Area, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Ferns & Cascades, Old Man’s Cave Area, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

There was absolutely no way to obtain these images with a single frame; the depth of field was simply inadequate.  I ended up taking two shots of each, one focusing on the foreground and the other on the background, and then masked the shots into one manually using Photoshop.

Ferns & Cascades, Old Man's Cave Area, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Ferns & Cascades, Old Man’s Cave Area, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

This wrapped up the morning’s shoot.  Early that afternoon, some threatening weather blew in–a tornado watch was issued for the county–so I hunkered down at the hotel for awhile.  Early in the evening, I raced back to Old Man’s Cave, and came away with the shot below, showing the trail down to the stone bridge that crosses the creek immediately below the Middle Falls.

Old Man's Cave, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Old Man’s Cave, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

I was literally standing below the Old Man’s Cave overhang when I captured the above image and while I was doing so, I heard several loud claps of thunder.  I hotfooted it out of there and back to my vehicle, and headed back to the hotel.

It was still about an hour before sunset when I got back to town, but the sky was awfully angry looking.  It wasn’t raining, but it appeared as though it could pour at any moment.  I kept seeing lines of storm clouds blowing in from the southwest.  As sunset approached, some incredible light began to appear in the sky.  I decided to see if I could find somewhere nearby to capture it.  There was no point in heading back to Hocking Hills–it was too far away, for one thing, and down in the gorge the sky (and great light) wouldn’t be apparent anyway.

When I headed back to town on Day 3 from the Cantwell Cliffs area of the park I had taken a detour past Lake Logan, to see if there were any intriguing sunset (or sunrise) locations to take advantage of.  I’d seen a couple of interesting spots, but I’d been frustrated in my attempts to realize any of them, by fog in the mornings and an absence of sunsets in the evening.  But here was an opportunity.

It was less than 10 minutes to one of the spots I’d found alongside Lake Logan–a small area of boat slips–and I raced over there.  It was getting quite dark, but when I arrived at the deserted parking area there was enough light, I thought, to attempt to do something with the and the interesting sky.  I had to “make do” with the composition, but in all I was relatively satisfied with what I ended up with.  I took a series of exposures and what you see below is a blend of five bracketed frames.  The “glow” you see on the boats and the docks in the foreground is a function of a street lamp immediately out of frame to the right.

Lake Logan Sunset, Lake Logan State Park, Ohio

Lake Logan Sunset, Lake Logan State Park, Ohio

With that, Day 4 was put to bed.  I had one more morning’s worth of shooting to go and it turned out to be a good one.

Next:  Hocking Hills, Day 5 – The Lower Falls Area and Rock Crack Falls

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Responses

  1. Amazing pictures!! Which type of filters do you use?

    Visit my blog: http://www.capturaviaje.com. Many thanks.

    • Thanks!

      Re filters: I’m down to just a polarizer and/or neutral density filter, if I use a filter at all. I still own a set of graduated neutral density filters but I abandoned them in favor of blending and/or HDR years ago. Ditto warming and cooling filters, which have become superfluous if shooting RAW.

      • Many Thanks for your information, I am practising with this type of photos a few months ago but I haven’t use HDR, need to prove.

  2. You are truly a master of your craft! I appreciate your descriptions as to how you were able to get the images that you have, for they really help me out.

    • Thanks very much. Glad you found some of the technique descriptions helpful.

  3. Fabulous shots!

    • Thanks very much!

  4. Again, what a spectacular area. I’m planning a trip to Ohio in November and must try to see if I can fit in a visit.

    • If you do make it, just be prepared for a very different look than what you see represented in most of the images in these blog entries. The foliage issue is obvious, but it’s also likely that there will be little if any water flowing in November, unless it’s a particularly wet autumn.

  5. Che scatti fantastici e che luoghi meravigliosi!!

  6. I absolutely love the bridge photo, the first in your series; you really captured the beauty of this setting.

    • Thanks very much!

  7. These are beautiful! Your persistence certainly paid off!

    • Thanks very much!

  8. Fantastic–love all your textures and colors!

    • Thanks very much!

  9. Hi Kerry: Some nice images. I live close enough and have admired long enough that I don’t know what my excuse for not visiting Hocking Hills is :-). Your “iconic” shot of the falls with the bridge in the background is a good as I have ever seen. But the one I like best is the last shot of the steps leading down and the footbridge. Perhaps mainly because I hadn’t seen that image done before.

    • Thanks, Andy.

      I think you’d find Hocking Hills worth the trip, assuming you timed it to insure good water flow.

  10. Gorgeous shots!

  11. […] Day 4 […]

  12. Your Devil’s Bathtub is absolutely wonderful and breathtaking! I am speechless just by looking at it. I am such a fan of black and white photography and this just simply explains why. Epic success!

    • Thanks very much!

  13. Thanks for the walk-through, Kerry. Really like your 3rd shot in particular, although they all are very worthy.

    • Thanks–much appreciated.

  14. Amazing nature photography!


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