N 35°17’45.63″ W 82°46’9.89″ Google Earth Location
This one was slightly tricky to pin down, not because I wasn’t quite sure where it was – I could almost certainly take you to within four meters of this exact spot – but because the location is so shrouded in trees and shadow that it’s extremely hard to pinpoint from aerial photos. It did not help that, of all the waterfalls nearby that have distinct markers on Google Earth, Looking Glass Falls isn’t one of them – you have to zoom in on almost the precise spot before something appears.
I’ll draw your attention to the fact that the location was not on the pathway or the overlook deck provided, but down in the creek that feeds from the falls, and while it was crowded in the easy access areas, I was all by myself at my shooting location, though I did have to wait a bit for people exploring at the base of the falls to get out of the picture, a frequent practice there. And I’m not sure there’s any time of day, or year, when the spot where the tripod stood gets any direct sunlight at all – the cleft is deep and under a dense canopy of foliage. There may be specific times where the lowering sun shines directly on the falls themselves – I was aiming almost due east for this composition – but the mountains are significant enough right here that the disappearance of the sun, and astronomical sunset, are two entirely different times, so nice sunset colors on the falls are unlikely.
This is in Pisgah National Forest in Brevard County, NC, by the way, and for giggles, follow that road in either direction; if you begin from this point and head northeast (ever so briefly,) it will eventually connect with the Blue Ridge Parkway, but the linear distance and the driving distance are not on speaking terms. You will be zig-zagging, is what I’m saying, and on one of my few mountain trips, I ran this leg down from the Parkway while sharing it with loaded logging trucks going in the opposite direction; I cannot recommend this.
I have yet to do a trip out to this region when the fall colors are peaking, but I’ll manage it one of these days. My first trip out there was supposedly timed to capture the new spring foliage, occurring May 1st (2005, damn,) and I discovered that I was a couple of weeks early – the mountains lag behind the Piedmont (where I live) by close to a month for the spring bloom, and of course the fall change occurs earlier. Key to a fall colors trip would also be finding the best points overlooking valleys of varied deciduous trees, instead of the ubiquitous ugly longneedle pines, to maximize the scenic factors, so some scouting or research would probably be in order too. One of these days…