Lower McDowell Creek Falls (at the Base)
This is Lower McDowell Creek Falls, one of the park’s waterfalls with little developed access. A bridge crosses the stream above the fall, which can be seen just above it in the distance. The bridge doesn’t give a view of the falls, of course, but some trails lead to the stream itself at a couple points. They are good trails, with the brush cleared from around them, but they are natural trails without gravel or bark dust.
This picture was obviously taken during a time of very low flow, in early October 2012 when the weather had been unusually nice (and therefore dry). The stream varies quite a bit, ranging from this trickle to a fair torrent when it carries runoff from both rainfall and melting snow. This location would not be available during those times, of course, but during the summer this spot is frequented by people playing in the pool at the base.
I did not take a downward-looking shot, and the tripod position was too complex to edit out easily. So I left it in, and it’s fun to see how it was positioned on the rocks. I may develop a logo for such situations in the future, but for now just live with the tripod. Sometimes photographers use a distorted version of the panorama itself, which makes it look like the scene is being reflected off a spherical mirror. I’ve never used that, and thought it more fun to show the tripod in this case.
My daughter took this picture of me taking the VR, straddling the rocks like the tripod. It was tough to find a place where all three tripod legs could sit on the ground and stay dry. Finding this spot was easy, but I didn’t appreciate how tough it would make removing the downward view.
Although this is an HDR combination of multiple exposures, I didn’t spend a lot of time tweaking it. As a result, some of the highlights are a little blown out. But it mostly came out ok, especially for a casual shot.
A more year-round viewing location is provided by the rock jutting out downstream from this spot. I’ve never seen that rock submerged. It sits at the top of another drop of six feet or so, and another VR was taken from that vantage point, although in the dry stream bed rather than on the rock. There are paths that seem to go further downstream, possibly providing views of the lower cascade, but I haven’t explored those yet.
For more information on McDowell Creek County Park in general, check out the Majestic Falls post.