With the recent winter weather that came upon the Mid-Atlantic coast and surrounding regions, I felt a desire to wander up to West Virginia to check out a beautiful state park there in the north eastern part of the state.
Thankfully, my wonderful parents agree when I asked them if they'd want to go as well. It was a several hour drive one way, and frankly, I'm not a big fan of doing things alone. Great career choice with landscape photography, huh?
I digress, before I get into the meat of this, here is a little tech stuff for those that care...
I used my trusty Canon T2i, and I brought a 10-18mm, 55-250mm, and my Tamron 150-600. I shot in RAW this go around, and kept it in neutral or faithful picture style, I forget, and I ignored the white balance settings. I did bring a tripod, and some filters, but only used my ND filter outside of the ones that are always on.
So... Onto Blackwater Falls State Park. It was an uneventful drive, though the last stretch was breathtaking. As we neared the park it's as if the whole earth only had three inhabitants, and the land was frozen in time covered in a white blanket of snow. Every tree and bush was glistening in white and ice.
When we arrive, we simply drove around some. First stop was the ever popular Pendleton point overlook. Awesome view, but it was so frigid cold that I could not focus (not my camera, me).
In fact, I focused so poorly, that I didn't realize how crooked the photo was. So I straightened it, and cropped it significantly. A slightly different perspective than normal for this location.
After that, we headed towards the lodge, talked to someone there, and then headed to Elkala Falls.
From there, it was over to the Gentle Trail that headed to an overlook of Blackwater Falls. I attempted some abstract close ups using my 150-600 lens, figuring I'd get closer with the wide angle when I got to the closer, lower boardwalk.
We headed to that main view point, and after walking down the stairs, we were surprised to find a locked gate. The lower section of boardwalk was closed, I suspect due to ice and snow.
Before we left, my mom suggested I try to get a shot of the falls from where we were, so I did.
Perhaps not a great shot, but I find it (and the situation) interesting. Had the gate been open, I would never have thought twice to attempt a shot like this from there. While I do trust my abilities in handling sketchy wilderness traveling situations, I didn't feel right going past the gate, even though I could have easily.
I feel like, in some ways and at some times, God will allow or place a block, a 'locked gate' on our paths. We can either ignore Him and try to push past, usually to our own hurt. We can stop and complain and let it ruin our day (me most the time). But maybe, perhaps, this showed me that sometimes we can choose to see things that we would not have otherwise seen if God didn't lock the gate.
Anyways, just thoughts I wanted to share.
After that, we headed back to the Gentle Trail so I could spend some time getting more shots of the falls.
Then there was a bridge that had a nice view of a river.
Finally, we left, half frozen and tired.
As we traveled homeward, the weather became incredibly eerie and gorgeous. We stopped at a scenic overlook somewhere in West Virginia.
Well, that's it for the trip! Blackwater Falls State Park, a very beautiful place in the Mountain State. What beauty God creates!
by: Jeremey Voit
Jeremey is a photographer based in the Mid-Atlantic U.S. He loves travel, nature, and experiencing and sharing the beauty of God's creation.