Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Falling Water Creek

After a few days of heavy rains from the remnants of Hurricane Gustav, there was plenty of water around to make some cool waterfalls. The only problem - it was going to be sunny all weekend, which isn't good for waterfall pictures. I made up a plan: I would head up to the Ozark National Forest and hike the trails at Pedestal Rocks and Kings Bluff, then head over to Falling Water Creek to get some waterfall pictures when the sun sank low enough to put the creek in shadow. Like all of my plans, it didn't quite turn out as expected.

I ended up leaving later then I planned, and the drive took much longer than normal all thanks to Gustav. The heavy rains last week washed away a section of Hwy. 7 north of Russellville, so now you have to take a 60-mile detour to avoid it. I didn't have time to hike the 4 miles of trail at Pedestal Rocks and Kings Bluff, and just ended up going to Falling Water Creek.

Now Falling Water Creek might just be the most obviously named waterway in the state. The creek has a lot of falling water in it, so it does live up to its name. Also, Falling Water Drive follows the creek, passing by several waterfalls that are within view of the road. Readers of this site (all 2 of you) might remember my misadventures along here in February when I stopped there on my failed mission to reach Twin Falls at Richland Creek.

The highlight of the creek, and the first really scenic spot is the aptly named Falling Water Falls.
Falling Water Falls

The falls are about 12 feet tall, and the area is also a popular swimming hole. I managed to catch it when it wasn't too crowded.
Still water at Falling Water

Falling Water Falls

And a view looking down from the top of the falls. People were jumping off the bluff into the pool, which I'm not brave enough to try.

And some shots from below the falls. The falls were running well, which is amazing since we never have waterfalls here in the summer.
Falling Water Falls

Falling Water Falls

I loved that the sun was still hitting the trees in the back, and it really shows in this shot:
Part of Falling Water Falls

Falling Water Falls

Falling Water Falls

After that I headed back onto the road and tried to remember the places that I had stopped at on my last trip. I tried to squeeze my car to the side of the narrow road and went to this one spot, where a series of small waterfalls seem to stretch across the entire width of the creek. I think it was here that I managed to go right through some poison ivy, making me all nice and itchy now.
Falling Water Creek

And some detail on one of the little waterfalls:
Falling Water close-up

Falling Water Road is closed a few miles from here after a landslide in March, which the Forest Service hasn't been able to clear away. But there was just one last waterfall along the creek that was still in reach, Six Finger Falls. I got there to see, in horror, that people were camping at the falls. Not along the shore next to the falls, but actually on the rocks right on top of the falls. While a scenic spot for sure, I can't imagine it being a great place to camp. The roar of the water would be sure to keep you awake at night. But it was way inconsiderate to camp there since it means that no one else gets to see the falls. It's probably against Forest Service rules to camp near waterfalls, especially practically on top of one.

So I sadly turned around and tried to find a few more places to take pictures along the creek. Near a bridge over the creek, I stopped by where a couple was fishing. They looked at me a bit suspiciously as I walked by with the camera bag and tripod. "What are you taking pictures of?" they asked, acting like it was odd for someone to be out there. I said I was just taking pictures of the creek, to which they smiled and said "well it sure is pretty!" Well yeah.
Falling Water Creek

Walking back to my car a guy in a truck stopped on the side of the road and also asked me what I was out there taking pictures of. "For fun, dammit" I wanted to say. Next time somebody asks I'm just going to say that I work for National Geographic. But then he started talking about waterfalls, and asked if Six Finger Falls was the place where those yahoos were camping. He said that Six Finger were the falls he really wanted to see, but he didn't want to stroll right up into camp and disturb the idiots there. As we were talking I noticed that he had an open 22-ounce Miller Lite sitting in his truck's cupholder, which was amusing/scary.

But here is the view of Falling Water Creek from the bridge, hurriedly taken before any cars would come by and ask me why I was taking pictures.
Falling Water Creek

It was starting to get late, so there weren't too many other stops.
Falling Water Creek

More Falling Water Creek

As the light was starting to fade, I stopped by this creek that flows into Falling Water Creek, just downstream from Falling Water Falls. As I was taking pictures there, my Miller Lite buddy drove by and gave a nice friendly wave.
Stream near Falling Water Falls

And this was on that same creek, just about 20 feet from the above picture.
By Falling Water Creek

Now it was getting too dark, so I headed towards home. There was a nice sunset, but I couldn't find a good place to stop and get a picture. It ended up taking much longer to get home, thanks to a car from Iowa who decided to drive 35 mph down the road (must not be used to curves).

Most of the high water is gone now, but another hurricane is churning in the gulf, which might bring some more rain by next weekend...


Rob Jaudon said...

Hey man...I read your blog. You have great stuff. I frequent it daily as you always have some really impressive photos. I love the long exposure photos. Do you shoot with grads? The reason I ask is I live out in CO and there are a lot of water falls I have taken photos of but they never turn out as good as yours. Any pointers would be great.
Rob Jaudon

Cormackphotos said...

Thanks Rob! Guess that makes 3 then! I don't shoot with grads, the one I have is old and doesn't fit my lens, I usually just go with a polarizer for waterfalls. I need to get some grads, it'd help out though.
Checked out your blog, you have some cool stuff!

Cormackphotos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rob Jaudon said...

Thanks for the reply/comments. I really enjoy checking out all your photos. I love the long exposure stuff. What is the typical exposure time? The photos look so smooth.

Cormackphotos said...

Thanks Rob, I meant to reply to this last night but Ike came through and knocked out power at my apartment.

But I try to get as long of an exposure as I can. But for an example, going off the shots on this post, the first shots were a bit short because it was still bright outside. The exposure there was 10/13 (0.769 sec). I try to keep it below 1/5 a second if I can. The last few pictures were taken with very little light left, and the exposure was 10 seconds. Hope this helps!

Jonw said...

Great waterfalls as always...Rob, good to see to you here too! I love the shot with the trees reflected in the standing pools.

As a side note for both of you, you can order glass neutral density filters that screw on to the lens like any other filter. They of course get more expensive as you go up in density (I think they go up to 6 stops), but you can shoot milky waterfalls at mid-day and not polarize the light if you don't want to.

Here's a link to check out:

Jonw said...

Cormackphotos said...

Thanks Jon! I'll have to save up some pennies to afford that glass, though I need to get one sooner rather than later.