Friday, August 6, 2010

Lake Jocassee

Jocassee Reflections

My sister and her family went camping recently at Devil's Fork State Park on Lake Jocassee in the South Carolina Foothills / Blue Ridge Mountains. They invited my son to come and stay the week with them, and I ended up visiting them for one day as well. We went out in their boat and got to see several of the waterfalls that feed in to the lake.

More after the jump.

Lake Jocassee is an artificial lake which was constructed by Duke Power for hydroelectric generation in conjunction with their Keowee-Toxiway project and the Oconoee Nuclear Station. It is basically a set of mountain gorges that has been dammed and filled with water. The deepest portions of the lake are around 300 feet or more deep which makes it a popular spot for SCUBA divers. There is even a dive shop on the road close to the park's entrance.

Just a couple of years ago, when we were in the midst of our most recent drought, my sister said the lake was as much as 20 feet below normal. All of the docks were stranded on dry lake bed and some of the lake's coves and branches were not accessible via boat. Luckily, we've had more rainfall the past couple of years and the lake was close to normal. The waterfalls that we saw had plenty of water flowing over them and were quite picturesque.

The biggest problem was that it was foggy and overcast all day long. I think that we only had thirty minutes to an hour of sunlight peeking through the clouds in the afternoon. The sunlight eventually went away as afternoon thunderstorms were starting their daily build-up.

The photograph above was taken as we were drifting into one of the coves to view a waterfall. I turned around and saw these interesting reflections caused by our boat's wake and took a few of frames. This was the best of those frames. Normally, I try not to place a horizon line right in the middle of the frame as that tends to make for a rather static and boring composition. However, I decided that the contrast between the well defined trees and the smooth, wavy reflection would look best with a symmetrical composition with the horizon line in the center of the frame.

It is also a good example of not letting yourself get "shot blind" with what you think you want to photograph. We were trying to get closer to a waterfall and I was kind of focused on that. On a whim, I turned my head and noticed the smooth wake and reflections. I was only able to get around three or four frames before the wake had settled down thereby loosing the interesting dichotomy between the two halves of the image.

Sometimes it is OK to break the "rules" of composition, and it is always a good idea to look around for other interesting things to photograph.

Keep shooting.

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