Mud Season

Raging Blackwater Falls, Blackwater Falls SP, West Virginia

It's that time of the year in between winter and spring, otherwise know as mud season. On some days it still feels like winter has a firm grip, but on others you can feel that spring is fast approaching. Most of the snow in the Appalachian Mountains is quickly beginning to melt. I recently visited Blackwater Falls State Park after three consecutive days of temps above fifty degrees. I was hoping that winter had lost her grip on the ice that form on the falls in the park so I could produce some images that showcased the power and sheer amount of snow-melt coming over the falls. What I didn't expect was for a brief snowstorm to move through late in the night before my shoot. This was a real treat as it coated all of the trees around the falls with a fresh dusting of snow.

In the image above, I framed the shot to give prominence to the falls letting then fill the frame and really showcase their thundering power. I included a small amount of snow covered trees in the top of the image to add some extra character to the shot. The yellow tone in the water is completely natural and is a common sight in the spring, or after a heavy rainfall anytime of the year. This is caused by tannin leaching from rooting trees in the marsh and swampy areas above Blackwater River near it's headwaters in Canaan Valley.

By Joseph Rossbach

2 Comments

    I suspect the tannins are *why* it’s called the Blackwater – even though it’s yellow-brown in at falls, when it slows down such water is blackish brown.

    My first time at Boulder Falls in CO the water was just as shown in the example. I was using a wooden 4X5 with Kodak Pan. I like soft water shots with sharp still surroundings. Using a small F stop and long exposure, Thats why they make ND filters, and the shot came out very good. With color the brown tint would show but for B/W it was fine. Now we have PS CS “$” to fix the color cast.

    Bill

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