A Digital Journal

Photography of Tony Triolo

Welti Falls

Welti Falls

A few days ago, I had a chance to visit Welti Falls in Cullman County, Alabama. Located in the town of Welti, the falls are created from the spillway of Forest Ingram Park. I had been to the falls once before, but at that time, it wasn’t flowing near as well as it was last week due to all the rain we have been getting. Now that things are drying up, I fear that the falls will too. What was equally nice about this recent visit was the fact that I had the place to myself. For a photographer, there is nothing more disturbing than to have other people milling about, ducking in and out of your shot. While they may think that they are not in your field of view, they never realize how wide some of these landscape lenses are. I often have to stop and wait for folks to have their experience and then finally move on.

For those interested, this shot required a 45-second exposure in order to get the water to blur to this degree. Since it was a sunny day, I had to use a 10-stop neutral density filter in order to dramatically reduce the exposure. It’s a bit difficult to work with because it is so dense that you can barely see through it. You must compose your image and have your focus dialed in before placing the filter in front of the lens. The exposure can be a bit tricky too, because the camera’s meter is often not sensitive enough to read the dim light filtering through. For that reason, I use a handheld light meter and adjust the exposure factoring in the 10-stop reduction.

The falls are located on Brindley Creek. There is a wide shoulder along Welti Road suitable for parking and next to the trailhead. A half-mile hike will take you to the falls. It’s a pretty easy hike, but the rocks can be slippery if it has recently rained. For you fellow photographers, pay attention to the creek itself. There are numerous photographic possibilities to be had well before reaching the falls.

April 17, 2017 Posted by | Photography | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blue Ridge Color Tour

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Nature’s palette of colors in Banner Elk North Carolina

Once again, we did not have a very spectacular display of Fall colors this year here in Alabama. Blame that on the very dry and warm weather we have endured. So, last week my wife and I drove up to the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway to see if the colors were any better up there. While some locals I met along the way thought that their color was not very impressive at all, to us from the deep South, it looked just fine.

Our trip began in Banner Elk, North Carolina and then we moved through Boone, Blowing Rock, Grandfather Mountain, then south via the Blue Ridge Parkway. We made stops at the craft center at Cone Memorial Park and also at Linville Falls, before ending up at the edges of the Smoky Mountain National Park. The following day, we made our way through the park climbing to the highest point at Clingmans Dome, crossing over to Tennessee before stopping for a family reunion in Sevierville.

A few photos from our trip.

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At a pumpkin patch near Boone, North Carolina

 

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Mingus Mill north of Cherokee, North Carolina

 

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Linville Falls

 

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Barn doors in Banner Elk, North Carolina

 

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Fall’s Show

 

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Horseback riders at Moses H. Cone Park near Blowing Rock, North Carolina

 

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Sled window in Banner Elk, North Carolina

 

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Linville Falls, North Carolina

 

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River Birch bark

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Smoky Mountains National Park

 

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A barn in Banner Elk, North Carolina

 

 

 

 

November 3, 2016 Posted by | Nature, North Carolina, Photography, Tennessee, Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Dismals – Summer’s Last Green

I cannot remember a hotter or dryer fall here in North Alabama. It has been so hot and so dry that I have hesitated venturing out with my cameras much at all. The waterfalls have all but dried up, and I fear a very lackluster display of autumn colors this year, perhaps even worse than last year. On top of that, this dry weather has brought the armadillos out of hiding to ravage my lawn looking for grubs, but that’s a story for another time. So, I decided that I needed to get out from behind the computer and go somewhere, anywhere, even if what I ended up photographing was less than spectacular. I decided to check out the Dismal Canyon located in the northwest part of the state. Now, I have been to the Dismals maybe thirty times, but I have not been there in a couple of years. I contacted a photographer friend of mine down in Helena, Alabama to see if he’d like to join me. Since he had never been there before, and since the trip wouldn’t interfere with Alabama football (we went on a Sunday), he was all in.

The Dismals is located near the town of Phil Campbell and it is on private property. There is an entry fee to enter the canyon, but I think it’s well worth it. One reason for settling on the Dismals, is the fact that the canyon floor is some fourteen degrees cooler than the average Alabama summer temperatures. The trail loops 1.5 miles around the property passing huge towering boulders, peaceful waterfalls, caves and sandy bends along the Dismals Branch. As suspected, the water levels were low, but the main Rainbow Falls was flowing well due to the fact that a damn feeds it. What surprised me was the fact that most of the canyon was still pretty lush and green. The rocks were covered in dark green moss and the ferns were standing tall.

Here are a few shots from my most recent visit.

 

 

Rainbow Falls and the Swinging Bridge

Rainbow Falls and the Swinging Bridge

 

Moss and Vine

Moss and Vines

 

A Fern Takes Hold

A Fern Takes Hold

 

Cyprus Tree Roots

Cypress Tree Roots

 

Indian Head Rock

Indian Head Rock

 

Weeping Bluff

Weeping Bluff

 

Creepy Tree

Creepy Tree

 

Rocks and Roots

Rocks and Roots

 

Tower Cliff

Tower Rock

 

 

 

 

October 13, 2016 Posted by | Photography | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Rutledge Falls

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Rutledge Falls

     Last week, I took a drive up to our neighboring state of Tennessee. Living in Athens, Alabama, less than 20 miles from the Tennessee border, I have the opportunity to visit that beautiful state on a fairly regular basis. The contrast between the two states is quite stark and the changes become apparent almost as soon as you cross the state line. The generally flat Alabama landscape gives way to rolling hills and beautiful vistas. Farms come into view along with red barns, hay bales and beautiful woodlands.

Tennessee also has no shortage of waterfalls. I have a book that lists all the waterfalls in the state, and it numbers well over 300. I have photographed a number of them, but I have never photographed the falls in, or near, Tullahoma. The waterfall most identified with the town, located in southern Middle Tennessee, is Machine Falls. It is an impressive 60-foot waterfall when the water is flowing. It is located in the Short Springs Natural Area. I had hoped to make this my second stop of the day, after checking out another smaller waterfall I had heard of called Rutledge Falls.

Rutledge Falls is located just northeast of Tullahoma, along Crumpton Creek. It is located on private property, but visitors are welcome. Numerous signs greet you, but warn you to stay on the path, alerting you to the slippery rocks and informing you that you are venturing forth at your own risk. I should have heeded the warning better, because, as soon as I began to navigate the boulders which led to a prime viewing spot, my feet went out from under me, and I landed hard on my elbow. It was at that point that I began contemplating just why they call it a “funny bone” when there is nothing at all funny about it. Boy, did that sting. It took me a few minutes to recover, but once I did, I had to admit that my mishap was almost worth it, because Rutledge Falls did not disappoint.

Although a good portion of the falls was dry, the far right side still had a fairly decent flow. I set up my tripod and began taking some shots, experimenting with a new neutral density filter that I had just purchased. I got maybe thirty shots off before, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted something move. It turned out to be a teenage boy, who appeared out of the forest, on the opposite side from where I was. He had on a bathing suit and was followed by at least a dozen others, who were headed for the swimming hole just below the falls, and right in the middle of my picture. A few brave souls even climbed the thirty-foot waterfall in order to jump off the top it. I knew, that at that point, my shooting for the day was over. That’s alright though. I’d gotten my picture and the kids got some well-needed relief from the ninety-plus temperatures. Besides, they were not about to stay out-of-the-way of some fool photographer.

As it turns out, I never did get to photograph Machine Falls. I heard rumours that it was pretty dry, so I figured I’d just pass on them that day. I’ll just have to keep them on my “to do” list and try again on a cooler day and after a good soaking rain.

July 20, 2016 Posted by | Nature, Photography, Tennessee | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Chihuly at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Last week, our son got married in Atlanta. My wife, daughter and I drove over from Alabama a bit early in order to help out with the preparations, the rehearsal dinner and to help welcome friends and family members who were arriving from long distances. My sister, who came by way of Wilmington, North Carolina, had heard that there was a Dale Chihuly exhibit at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Being a fan of the glass artist’s work, she very much wanted to see it. Since we had a bit of free time, she invited us to join her, my brother-in-law and our father. Although my wife and I had already seen a Chihuly exhibit at the Cheekwood Gardens in Nashville a few years ago, it didn’t take much coaxing on my sister’s part to convince us to join them the next morning. We got to the ABG main gate early, when it opened at 9 am, in an attempt to avoid the crowds and the hottest part of the day.

We were not disappointed. I am always amazed at how Chihuly adapts his installations so perfectly to the particular venue. In Atlanta, his pieces of glass seem so perfectly placed. It almost makes one think that the garden designers created their fountains, pedestals, basins and general landscaping with Chihuly art glass in mind. It obviously was the other way around, but you have to wonder how they achieved such a perfect marriage of art and presentation. The show we saw in Nashville shared some similarities, but for the most part, was totally unique to that mostly wooded setting. We also couldn’t help but wonder how Chihuly manages to transport his delicate glass pieces, all over the world from his Tacoma, Washington studio, without breaking them. They look so fragile. Perhaps he is prepared to have some breakage while having the ability to repair and replace broken pieces on-site. That would make sense.

The exhibit at the Atlanta Botanical Garden runs through October 30. Night tours are available Wednesday through Sunday and provide a unique way of seeing the artistry of this amazing craftsman whose work has appeared in over 250 museums and gardens around the world.

Here are a few photos from our recent visit to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. They mainly highlight the Chihuly exhibit, but there are a few images of a general nature that I included. #atlantabg

 

Fiori Boat and Niijima Floats at the Cascade Garden

 

Three Graces Tower at the Gardenhouse

Three Graces Tower at the Garden House

 

Levy Parterre

Levy Parterre

 

Chihuly Fountain in front of Mershon Hall

Blue and White in front of Mershon Hall and part of the permanent Chihuly collection.

 

Carmel and Red Fiori

Carmel and Red Fiori

 

Fiori Boat Detail at the Cascade Garden

Fiori Boat Detail at the Cascade Garden

 

Sapphire Star

Sapphire Star

 

Waterlilies and bamboo at the Fuqua Conservatory.

Waterlilies at the Fuqua Conservatory

 

Glass detail

Glass detail

 

Black and Green Striped Herons with Icicle Clusters

Black and Green Striped Herons with Icicle Clusters

 

Topiary Fido

Topiary Fido

 

Ikebaba inside the Fuqua Conservatory

Ikebaba inside the Fuqua Conservatory

 

 

June 12, 2016 Posted by | Photography | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment