Burgess Falls, Tennessee, USA by Craig Bill

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Picture Story

I had very limited time in Tennessee. My apprehension told me that I might not have enough time to find some great photo spots. After I visited a couple locations, I made my way to Burgess Falls. I knew right away that my time at these falls had not been wasted either.

Pretty much any state east of the Mississippi that year experienced a tremendous amount of rain. Meanwhile, the western US was in a severe drought. One of the side effects was heavy river, waterfall and stream flows. Waiting out the few tourists looking around the bottom these falls, I set up my camera with my back to the gale wind of mist until I was ready to shoot. I would spin around and snap away a few exposures before the camera was completely wet. I would turn around again and wipe off my camera, then spin again and again until I felt I had enough images to ensure a good shot. I love this image for the fact that the falls are not in a long exposure. The fast shutter speed freezes the water in place and shows the powerful tons of water leaping over the edge every minute.

Burgess Falls is a 350-acre natural area deep in the middle of Tennessee and is managed by Tennessee State Parks. Burgess Falls lies on the wild eastern edge of the Eastern Highland Rim resulting in the occurrence of sheer bluffs, narrow ridges, waterfalls, and diverse forest communities. Tom Burgess, for which the falls are named and an American Revolutionary War veteran, was deeded the land in 1793 by the U.S. Government as partial payment for his services. For many decades the Burgess family provided settlers with meal and processed lumber from their gristmill and lumber mill on Falling Water River above the falls.

Burgess Falls is most noted for its scenic value as Falling Water River dives almost 250 feet over three waterfalls. The last of these falls is the most spectacular and begins where the water comes to the sharp edge of the riverbed and plunges more than 130 feet into the gorge. Large rocks halfway down break the falling water and create a continuous mist around the base of the falls. The bluffs rise on each side of the gorge framing the picturesque falls in soaring gray rock.


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