Roaring Fork II - "Overbite"
I risked life, limb & camera to get this shot.
Given the fact that GSMNP sees about 10 million visitors per year, I knew it would take some creativity to leave with any unique shots. Flowing water has always been a favorite subject of mine and I often shoot by Ian Plant’s philosophy, “If your lens isn’t getting wet, you’re not close enough.” It had rained all night and Roaring Fork was really gushing. When I saw the way water was fanning out over this rock I knew it would make a killer shot but I was leery of wading out into the potentially dangerous rapids. Feeling brave, or perhaps foolhardy, I donned my chest waders and tested the more than waist deep water sans camera. Keeping my balance was difficult and I knew it would be extremely risky to carry my camera into the turbulent water.
“You only live once,” I thought, as I readied my gear. After a close call or three I managed to find a composition I liked and struggled to set up my tripod in the swift water and uneven, rocky riverbed. Even putting all my weight on the tripod did little to quell the vibrations caused by the rapids. The camera was positioned only about a foot above the water and was constantly splashed (for which my Rocket Blower proved very useful). After snapping several exposures I held the camera high above me in case the current overtook me as I carefully made my way back to the shore, anxious to dry off my gear; water and electronics do not play well together.
I knew it was worth it once I reviewed the images on the LCD, but once my adrenaline rush faded I decided to be a little more cautious because (1) I was completely alone and (2) I would have been pretty sad if I had killed my camera when I still had half of my vacation ahead of me!