A splendid waterfall tour

I spent a Saturday with WNC Photo Tours hiking to some remote waterfalls in Upstate South Carolina. I met J, Annie, and Fox the "Chorkie", who I am told is the safety officer for WNC Photo Tours, in Asheville. We gathered up and then drove down to South Carolina, with a brief drive through Georgia.


On the way down we listened to the podcast Tooth & Claw, which tells true stories of animal attacks. This two-part series focused on leopards in India. It was a horrifying tale of man-eating leopards. If you like that kind of stuff, I highly recommend the podcast. I can tell you there is another two-part series about a black bear attack that made the leopard attacks pale in comparison. Again, not for the faint of heart to listen to the harrowing details of the attacks, so please exercise caution.


Anywho, after about an hour and a half drive which included some off roading, we arrived at the first hike of the day which took us down to Long Creek Falls. The hike was decent on the way down, but to get to the waterfalls you were on hands and knees to get to a prime shooting location. You could also opt to walk through water, but at the bottom of the falls the water was moving fast.


Once we got to the prime spot, Annie and I took turns taking our photos. J from WNC Photo Tours was going over different ways to approach shooting the waterfalls and going over what settings might work and what might not work. I learned a lot and fired off a bunch of shots and moved out of the way and enjoyed the waterfall, while Annie took her turn getting shots. Once we were done it was time to hike back up and out. This part of the hike was quite a doozy. Not awful by any means, but you will expend a bit of energy and your heart rate will get pumping.


We then headed to Brasstown Falls which had three separate cascading waterfalls. We stopped at the upper falls first and then hiked back down to get to the lower falls. This hike was easy compared to the first hike and was a good break to prepare for the final hike of the day, Lee Falls.


The hike to Lee Falls (about 3 miles roundtrip) started out flat and we walked through open fields of grass before we got on the main part of the trail. On this hike we crossed water a few times so my feet got wet, but I wore wool socks as I figured the feet would get wet at some point in the day. As we got deeper and deeper into the hike, the path got narrower and narrower and became denser with foliage, poison ivy, stinging nettle, and a lot of rock terrain. This is not a terribly hard hike, but it was the toughest one of the day. As we got closer you could hear the water and through the dense foliage you could see a magnificent waterfall waiting for us. I was left awe struck when we finally got to the spot to take some photos. In all honesty, I was just soaking in how remote we were and just how beautiful the waterfall was, that taking photos was secondary. By far my favorite waterfall of the day. Once we were satisfied with the photos taken, we trekked back to the car and headed back to Asheville.


It was a fun time with J and Annie. I highly recommend WNC Photo Tours if you want to get to some beautiful locations. J, who owns WNC Photo Tours, was an awesome guide. They offer a variety of tours throughout the year. Head to their website and book a tour!!!!


Below are the photos I got of the magnificent waterfalls.


Thanks for reading!!

Long Creek Falls

For this photo I opted to go with smooth silky water up top and then a little more texture towards the bottom. This is a focus stack with slow shutter speed up top, and a bit faster shutter speed on the bottom. Photoshop masks are great for this. I personally liked the way it came out.

Brasstown Falls

Not much to this one really. This one has a bit of motion blur in the trees and I liked that so I went with it. I was primarily experimenting with what would work and what wouldn't. In some instances you want to freeze motion and have crisp foliage all around you, other times you want some motion blur.

Lee Falls

Just a stunning waterfall when you get to this point to soak it all in. I sat here just snapping various images but for me this one was really all about soaking it in. The hike to here was a bit challenging but the reward was great. My favorite waterfall of the day.