At the end of July, 2012, my wife, Catherine, and I went on a photo outing to Sweet Creek Falls,
not far from the village of Mapleton,
about 15 miles east of Florence.
It's only a 1.1-mile hike to the end of the trail at Sweet Creek Falls, with about a dozen small waterfalls along the way. Unfortunately for Catherine, she was hiking with a photographer, so it took us about THREE HOURS to reach the end! She imagined that we were going on a long walk with minimal stops, but for me, the photography is more important than the hike — although the hike is important too, it's just LESS important.
It seemed like every five minutes' walk down the trail, a beautiful new vista would open up, begging to be photographed. With all the richness of falling water, dappled sunlight and mossy rocks, it was easy to spend 30 minutes or more in just one location. In order for the rushing water to have a smooth, milky look, I needed to set the camera on a tripod and use slow shutter speeds. That right there makes photographing take longer. Also, I needed to try different lenses to see how that would affect the images. Then, because so much time had passed, the sunlight had changed, and I would want to take the same pictures again in the different lighting!
My wife had the patience of a saint, but it was eventually hunger that drove me on with greater speed. We finally reached the multi-tiered Sweet Creek Falls a bit after noon, found some rocks to sit on with a good view of the falls, and enjoyed our picnic lunch. After a few more photos, we made our way back to the parking lot. This time we hiked the 1.1 miles in record time — 45 minutes instead of three hours! — with only a handful of pictures along the way.
Next, we drove a mile or so further up the road to the path leading to Beaver Creek Falls,
just short of a mile's hike on a somewhat-overgrown trail. Once back to the car, we crossed the road, and took another path which led back to Sweet Creek Falls, but on the other side of the creek from where we ate our lunch. It was still worth making this extra hike, because the view of Sweet Creek Falls is much better from this side of the creek.
This was my first photo hike with my new Olympus OM-D E-M5
camera system. I was very happy with how it performed. I took a total of 195 pictures, which I have refined down to the best 47, including a few three-image composite photos which attempt to present the difficult-to-photograph falls along Sweet Creek.