Carol and I made a scouting trip to the New River Gorge National River and the Gauley River National Recreation Area for an upcoming trip in September when I will be photographing whitewater kayakers and rafters during the annual water release from the Summersville Dam on the Gauley. My mission was to get a feel for the land, the rivers, and to conduct research with the park service for the fall trip.
I didn’t know what to expect of West Virginia and the Appalachian Mountains. While I had been to Great Smokies National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina as a child, those memories aren’t as clear, nor do they account for the fact that I now carry on assignments quite a load of photographic equipment.
Our weekend visit to West Virginia was somewhat rainy, though there were breaks in the weather that allowed me to get some practice photography time shooting kayakers and rafters on the New River. While I didn’t get in quite as much whitewater photography as I had hoped, I now have a good sense of the area, and what things I need to account for logistically when I return.
The close friends that we were staying with welcomed us into their new home allowing us to catch-up on our various lives. They also gave us a good overview tour and cultural insight of the area including trips to the Vandalia Gathering, the state’s annual celebration of the traditional arts, music, dance, stories, crafts and food, and to Tamarack, a showcase venue for West Virginia arts, crafts and food items and those who produce or perform them. Hopefully, there are some opportunities for editorial stock photography sales to illustrate West Virginia travel and culture from these two places.
The trip was much too short but I took away two key impressions: 1. That this is rugged, remote country, particularly with accessing the river and 2. That West Virginia is beautiful. I can’t wait until I return in September.
RIGHT: Unnamed waterfall on Dunloup Creek near the abandoned mining town of Thurmond, in the New River Gorge National River in West Virginia. Photographed using a Nikon D3 with a Nikon 70-200 mm f2.8 lens, mounted on a a on a Slik Pro 804 CF carbon fiber tripod with a Really Right Stuff BH-40 ballhead. Image capture: 1/13 at f20
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