Elakala Falls No. 1, Shay's Run, Blackwater Falls State Park, WV.
Hi everyone and welcome to today’s post. In my last post I presented an image from Elakala Falls No. 2, on Shay’s Run, in the Blackwater Falls State Park. Today I want to start at the beginning with Elakala No. 1. You might ask, as some have already done, why I did not start with this one. I am not sure really. Elakala No. 1 after all is the most iconic of the group of four waterfalls that tumble along Shay’s Run as it travels to meet the Blackwater River. But quite honestly Elakala No. 1 has been shot quite a bit and in truth I became enthralled with Elakala No. 2. It had such a thunderous power that kept me lingering and shooting for a long time.
You can’t argue about the beauty of Elakala No. 1 though. Where No. 2 was a pounding wall of water, No. 1 is a delicate veil of water linked by molecular glue. A study of this image will show a waterfall made up of smaller flows each one with its own series of cascades. The sound here is more symphonic. If you listen carefully, each cascade has its own sound, all part of the whole but with an individual voice. The amphitheater of rock is also quite interesting. It is a jumbled wall almost hand built in appearance, ancient, striated in layers, and painted with rich colorful hues. The walls are reminiscent of hand built farm walls I have seen throughout West Virginia. From above the sound of the waterfall is a rushing noise, a continuous sound of instruments warming up for the concert. Standing in the hall below the sound of water reverberates along the walls replaying the melody, each instrument clearly delineated.
The colors here are an intense, full-bodied, palette of tones. The water is a rich golden brown, affected by the concentration of natural dissolved organic acids such as tannins and lignins, which give the water the look of tea. Shay’s Run flows through a coniferous forest of pine, hemlock, and spruce. The brown needles shed by the trees degrade over time and mix with the run-off of organically rich plant and animal matter to give the water its brown color and a musty smell. The wetness supports vibrant green mosses and lichens. This is a place to delight the senses. Elakala No. 1 is also a place to reflect which is probably another reason why I did not start with this waterfall. Sometimes more powerful images surface to the top while the more sublime take a little longer to reveal their secrets. Slowly over the last few weeks this image has revealed its quiet secrets-the sounds, the smells, and the colors. A complete symphony I think.
Technical Details: The image was shot with a Nikon D3x and a Nikkor 17-35mm lens at 26mm. The image was exposed at ISO 100 at f11 for 1 second. To slow the down the shutter speed and remove specular highlights I used a Heliopan Warming Polarizer.
Thanks for stopping by today.