Falls on the Fourth

This year the idea of staying in DC for all of the Fourth of July craziness, the heat, and the crowds held little appeal to me and my husband. So my husband – the king of finding off the radar destinations that appeal to our simple and odd tastes – got online and found us an overnight getaway in Davis, West Virginia.


We have always like waterfalls, so the main focus of this outing was to travel to Davis to visit Blackwater Falls State Park. And as I am currently reading up and practicing long exposure landscape photography, this was a perfect destination for me to put my new knowledge and equipment to good use!



We arrived in Davis, shortly before noon. So we checked in to our B&B, had some lunch and then headed out on the first day’s mission – scouting out the falls to see what we were dealing with.



There were plenty of people at Blackwater Falls on the 4th, but it wasn’t overly crowded. Everyone was courteous and good at sharing the views. And the falls themselves were spectacular. After spending about an hour at the falls, we drove around, taking in the natural beauty of the state parks in the area and scoping out possible activities for the next visit to Davis.


We drove out to a smaller, more remote waterfall near Davis’ sister city of Thomas. It would be an understatement to say that the gravel road was in bad shape. But we made it out to the end of the road with the car intact and set out on foot in search of Douglas Falls. Douglas Falls is not as visitor friendly as Blackwater Falls – a knotted rope helps you not tumble down the steep path to the bottom (as compared with the well maintained wooden staircases and platforms of Blackwater) and the vantage points for those of us not terribly sure footed enough to travel a little downstream were rather limited. So after a few shots with the phone’s camera, we headed back to home base.

The real show for me was the next morning. After reading a couple of tutorials and buying a neutral density filter and a remote release trigger, I was ready to try my hand at long exposure photography. We left the B&B bright and early and headed back to Blackwater Falls. The storms from the previous afternoon had swollen the rivers and the amount of water flowing over the falls increased dramatically. Gone were the rocks jutting out of the falls that you could see the day before. And the spray kept us from going all the way down to the main viewing platform.

Blackwater After the Rain

Blackwater Falls after the previous day’s rain. Notice you can’t see any of the rocks visible in the first photos.


Instead we headed up to the other viewing site just off the road to the lodge and set up for the shot I was looking for there. I set up the tripod, put the neutral density filter on my lens, and attached the remote release trigger to the camera. Luckily we had the platform to ourselves and I had the freedom to play and experiment with the settings until I was relatively sure I got the shot I came for.

Blackwater Falls in the Morning

Blackwater Falls – shot using long exposure, a neutral density filter, and a remote trigger release.

Our little adventure was a perfect, short getaway for us. Davis and Thomas are both great little towns to stay in, giving you access to state parks, a national forest, a ski resort, bike trails, river activities, and even artistic ventures. Our bed and breakfast, the Brightmorning Inn, was SUPER dog friendly and the food was excellent (I didn’t expect the European quality pastries!). I can’t wait to go back to explore more of the towns, with their historical buildings, unique shops, art galleries, and delicious restaurants!


Davis, West Virginia








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