Great Falls of the Potomac

Great Falls Snow

Late Afternoon, Great Falls of the Potomac

(Technical: Nikon D800E on tripod with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens extended to 24 mm; Exposure 1/160th sec. @ f/16, ISO 400)

As some readers know, I will be leaving in a few weeks for my first trip to Antarctica and I have been obsessing about my preparations for the journey. I even wrote about it in a guest post on Leanne Cole ‘s blog last month. (it can be found here.)

The Washington area was treated to a nice little snow storm yesterday and some pretty cold temperatures (for us) today so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to practice with my new gear in real-life conditions.  (The temperature was 20 degrees and the wind chill was about 5 degrees with the nice stiff breeze)

The image above shows the Great Falls of the Potomac River, a truly wild river scene that is only about 15 miles from Washington, DC and only 3 miles from my home.  For those not familiar with this location, it was photographed from Overlook 3 in Great Falls Park which is managed by the National Park Service. The waterfalls in the center have a drop of about 20-25 feet. The left bank is the state of Virginia and the right side is the state of Maryland.

The practice session was worthwhile.  I was able to test the cold weather effectiveness of some clothing, as well as finding some better ways to manipulate the camera gear in these conditions.  The advice I had received from a number of readers of the blog post mentioned above  proved to be very helpful.  As always, I’d be most interested in any comments from readers who have been to Antarctica or have experience in shooting in cold weather.

20 thoughts on “Great Falls of the Potomac

  1. Beautiful shot, Robin. Congratulations on capturing that burst of sunlight. Hope you didn’t have to wait too long for it. I know it was cold out there. –Greg


    • Thanks, Greg. Mother Nature was kind to me. The light was there when I arrived, stayed long enough for about 10 shots, then faded. I waited another 20-30 minutes until the sun was behind the tree line and then headed back to the car.


  2. Glad you got a chance to work out some of the kinks close to home. You managed to capture a lovely, moody image. It feels like Antarctica here this morning. It is -5 with a wind chill of -20. Brrrr. Have a great trip!


  3. Ha! You’re probably the only Northern Virginian who welcomed the brutally cold weather, Robin 🙂 But smart thinking on your part about trying out your gear and your techniques. And this shot is just beautiful, so clearly you’re going to do wonderfully in Antarctica!


    • Thanks, Molly. Good to hear your thoughts. Yes, Great Falls Park is very cool and has a lot going for it. It’s an easy drive from downtown DC. In addition, there is another park on the other side of the river that also has an overlook, although not as spectacular a view. However, the focus of that park is the C&O canal which was built in the 19th century and enabled mule-drawn barge traffic to carry goods from Cumberland, Maryland to/from Washington, DC (a distance of 186 miles). The canal towpath still runs the full length of the system and many of the lifting locks are still in place.

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