The Illuminating Lens

Catawba Falls – Old Fort, NC – 2021 – Part 4

Sometimes lesser-known locations can offer some amazing photo opportunities. About 10 minutes from our Old Fort rental house we found…

Catawba Falls! The actual falls were pretty great but as with some of the other falls we have visited, the hike to the falls offered up some very amazing shots that in some ways for me, were better than the falls at the destination!

We drove to the Catawba Falls Trailhead to park the vehicle. The trail is a moderate hike, with rocks to climb over and some slippery areas. The trail is about 1.2 miles one way and there is a moderate incline.

Along the Trail

There were stretches of the Catawba River that were inaccessible but along some sections, we were able to get closer to the water.

Since it was pretty dark with all the trees, I did not have to use a Neutral Density filter as we stopped along the trail.

There were many “small” falls along the trail that make great tiny landscapes!

There were also some wildflowers that I had to include!

I love backlit anything, but especially backlit leaves! Remember to look up!

At one place we found a trail that went down toward the river, and for me, this turned into my favorite side trip!

I found an area that was flowing down over a 30 foot stretch of rocks. There was a bit more light there so I added my ND filter to the lens!

This little waterfall was perfect!

This spot had just enough moss, branches, and the best angle! So many are disrupted with fallen branches and the tops have distracting debris. This falls has all the angles just so your eyes go right down the falls and come right back up!

I backtracked a bit on the side trail and found another offshoot that went back over toward the main trail. There I found a cliff from which a lot of water was flowing. There was a beam of light coming down right on this spot so I was concerned about it blowing out the highlights so I changed to my densest ND Filter (10 stops) and started shooting.

With a bit of post-processing to take care of the big dynamic range of light, I ended up with one of my all-time favorite waterfall images!

To me, this one looks like liquid rays of light!

I returned to the trail looking for more things to shoot!

As I waded one of the many streams that cross the Catawba Falls trail I saw this Tulip Poplar flower laying in the water in a spot of light!

At the Falls

After doing a bit more climbing over rocks and trying not to slip, (hiking shoes/boots with gripper soles are imperative), we finally reached the large falls.

By the time we arrived the sun was pretty high so even with my ND filter it was not easy to get great images.

It is still a pretty impressive waterfall, but I liked the small ones so much more!

We finished up shooting here and made the long trek back to the vehicle.

The sun was shining much too bright as we went down so I did not make any more images.

When in the Asheville, NC area I would highly recommend Catawba Falls. Just be ready for a bit of a hike!

My next blog will be on our visit to the iconic, Chimney Rock.

To see larger versions of these images, please visit my Gallery.

That is all for now!


Lynn Wiezycki

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