Great Falls Trip

Karl Barth

On November 3, 2012 I along with members of the Calvert Photography Club went to Great Falls for our monthly photo trip.  This was going to be my first trip to the falls and I was really excited.  I’ve heard great things about the falls and how beautiful they are.  I’ve also heard how dangerous the falls were too but that certainly didn’t deter my excitement.

Photo by Karl BarthWhen planning for this trip, one of my main goals was to shoot in shutter priority mode or manual mode with a low shutter speed.  I wanted to create the silky look for the movement of the falls.  I’ve seen numerous photographers create that look in pictures and I’ve always wanted that look.  I also knew that I would definitely need my tripod.  There is no way I can hold my camera still enough to get a good shot.

The falls are viewable from the Virginia and the Maryland side.  I met the other club members early in the morning on the Virginia side with hopes of catching the sunrise.  Unfortunately we didn’t actually see the sunrise but there was some color in the sky that added to the beauty of the falls.  I can understand why the falls are such an attraction.  There were other photographers there shooting the falls as well.

When I started shooting, I set my camera to shutter priority mode and I quickly learned that I needed to use my wireless remote for my camera or a 10 second delay.  I was using the right settings but when I hit the shutter the camera moved enough to create a blur besides the water motion.  I used the 10 second delay for several shots but the countdown was getting on my nerves with the beeping.  I was thankful I had my remote with me. 

Photo by Karl BarthAfter spending a few hours on the Virginia side, we drove over to the Maryland side which is located in the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park.  I have to say I liked the Maryland side better.  While the Virginia side had 3 overlooks, the Maryland side had bridges that went over the water and allowed us safely to get close to the water.  There were also a lot more trails on the Maryland side.

I was truly in awe at Great Falls.  It is a sight to see and the falls are gorgeous.  Although being cloudy and chilly, the weather was great and it was a beautiful day to be outside.  If you’ve never been to Great Falls you absolutely must go.  I recommend visiting both sides to see which one you like better.  They both have great views of the falls.  I’m already thinking about going back to the Maryland side with my family.

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