Oconaluftee River After A Storm

Oconaluftee River After A Storm

A light fog hangs over the cool water of the Oconaluftee River after a summer thunderstorm has saturated the atmosphere with moisture

As often happens in the Smokies in the spring and summer, afternoon thunderstorms popped up during my first full day of shooting there. Years ago, I would have had to wait for the rumble of thunder or to actually feel raindrops to know that rain was imminent. Now weather radar on my iPhone takes all the guesswork out of determining if it will rain. On this day, it *was* going to rain and I could tell it would probably be significant rainfall.

The weather radar did not lie and storms popped up around noon. These weren’t small storms that lasted fifteen minutes and moved on either. These were massive, drop two or three inches of rain in an hour storms that lasted for several hours. Fortunately, I had a hotel room to hunker down in and wait out the lightning and torrential rains.

When I ventured back outside, it was still a few hours before sunset. I decided to work my way slowly up the Oconaluftee Valley looking for stream shots in the late afternoon light. Soon after heading out I knew that I very well might find epic conditions. The cooler moisture-laden air left after the thunderstorms was hanging in a light fog over sections of the cooler Oconaluftee River. The lingering fog made for some unusual and interesting scenes.

I pulled over multiple times trying to capture the fog hanging over the river. Even though the fog is very light here and only really visible in the left background of the image, the soft lighting created by the thick cloud canopy made for awesome shooting conditions. The humidity was still close to 100 percent and I sweated a good bit, but the images in front of me were epic.

This image was shot at f/18 for two seconds on my D800 at ISO 100. It was shot from a tripod, of course. The resulting image is tack sharp and retains some of the vibrant green that is present after storms. I suppose the ozone released by the forest canopy creates unusually clear air. It is certainly refreshing to be out and about in those conditions. Enjoy the image. There is more to come from the mountains soon.

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