Banakas | Photography

Falls Branch Falls

Over the weekend, my family and I drive up the Cherohala Skyway in the Cherokee National Forest and hiked the Falls Branch Falls trail. This mile and a half trail starts off pretty easy and I would have to say that a very large majority of the trail is downhill. Once you start getting closer to the falls, the trail becomes a bit steeper and you notice that parts of the trail are actually part of a very small creek, flowing down the mountain. Towards the very end of the trail, you will come across a river that you will have to cross, by stepping carefully on some large boulders and rocks (I have some iPhone photos that I may post later showing this portion of the trail). Also, as you get closer to the falls, you can start to see it from a distance, and instantly you notice how tall this waterfall is.

I didn’t keep track of the time, while we were hiking, but I would have to estimate that it took us about 45 minutes to hike in. We brought in some sandwiches for a picnic, but while my wife was setting the kids up with their meals, I went and leap frogged some rocks and setup the camera for an experiment that I tried; time lapse. I’ll post that project in a couple of days, with a quick how-to attached.

After we ate our lunches, we stayed around the falls for a good 3 hours. My wife and kids were great support and gave me the opportunity to move around these falls and get some wonderful shots.

This particular image was shot in Manual at f/22 with an ISO of 100 for 1/3 of a second, using my Tokina 12-24mm lens. I took a single image and using Lightroom created 7 virtual copies and adjusted the exposure on each copy to create a +3 to -3 exposure bracket. Then took those into Photomatix Pro and merged them. Next I imported the image into Photoshop and used Topaz Adjust 5 to add a very slight “Spicify” filter. Finally I cleaned up the little bit of noise.

This shot was taken using a NIKON D5000 at ISO 100, f/22, for 1/3sec

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