At the southeastern edge of the Appalachians along the state borders of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia the mighty mountains take a nosedive, dropping elevation rather precipitously.  The Cherokee referred to this area as “The Blue Wall.”  Today, it is known simply as the Blue Ridge Escarpment, an area stretching from the Mountain Bridge Wilderness in the east to the National Wild & Scenic Chattooga River in the west.  At the center is the Lake Jocassee Wilderness Area, a large plot of land owned and managed by Duke Power.  Unlike the National Parks nearby, the Blue Ridge Escarpment is a patchwork assemblage of National Forest, private lands, state forests and wilderness areas, together comprising some 150,000 acres at the base of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

The Blue Wall is all about water.  A massive headwater ecosystem, the Blue Ridge Escarpment features some of the most amazing and intense shows of flowing and dropping water you’ll find in the entirety of the Appalachian range.  Two of the four total National Wild & Scenic Rivers occurring within the southeastern United States are found within the Blue Ridge Escarpment.  No less than five deep gorges cut down the wall and spill into Lake Jocasee, a deep blue-green mountain lake created by Duke Power.  And waterfalls–did I mention the sheer quantity and beauty of the waterfalls!  The Blue Ridge Escarpment is an area of largely unspoiled wilderness that is thick with adventure for those willing to engage the rugged landscape.

I attended college at nearby Clemson University in Upstate South Carolina and for over eight years and multiple degree efforts I crawled around the terrain of Upstate South Carolina, exploring the Escarpment and cutting my teeth in digital photography.  I’ve been away too long now and plan on returning to the Blue Ridge Escarpment strong in the coming years.  It is clear to me that the Blue Wall is a place of exceptional and standout beauty that deserves my full attention.  Want to join me?

Availability

Two weeks during the spring season:

May 1-8, 2017

May 8-14, 2017

Use the form at the bottom of this page to chose any day or combination of days for a private or small group photo tour.

Details

The Blue Ridge Escarpment is the most adventurous overall location that I offer guiding and field instruction.  It is steep and difficult terrain without the refinement of more well-used National Park locations.  To optimize the experience in the Blue Ridge Escarpment, one must be prepared for technical hiking around steep waterfalls and through thick forest.  The best attractions are usually a mile or more down a trail, and to navigate around the base or top of waterfalls requires the utmost respect and attention.  I will not attempt certain locations unless I’m comfortable with both of our abilities on the trail.  We can certainly design less-intense itineraries to explore the Escarpment; however, much will be off limits without a certain degree of effort on our parts.

What will we see?  The Blue Ridge Escarpment offers stunning views at the upper-most edge, where we’ll attempt sunrise / set.  As we descend into the forests we’ll follow the flow of beautiful headwater rivers that will eventually find us at the foot of numerous waterfalls.  The waterfalls are largely scaled for interaction; neither too large nor too small to approach, the waterfalls of the Blue Ridge Escarpment are wonderful for landscape photography.  Hopefully, the spring season will also find us bumping into early season wildflowers, such as trillium as we approach various waterfalls.

Average temperatures in May should be around 75-80 degrees in the afternoon, with lows dipping into the high forties in the evening.  Layers are best, with the morning in the high mountains being chilly and the afternoon hikes down into the forests warming quickly.  Rain gear is a must, as hopefully, we’ll encounter some spring showers!  Sturdy, waterproof boots are recommended as the trails around waterfalls can be quite soggy at times.  Physically, the demands are real.  Trails all eventually feature significant up and down to reach waterfalls, and the terrain is often technical with large and slippery rocks.

Photo tours recommended for:

  • Those seeking an individualized and fully customizable experience
  • Those already competent with the basic functionality of their camera(s) and associated gear
  • Those seeking location-guidance services to become better acquainted with an area
  • Those seeking adventure and outdoor experience beyond what is possible in more traditional large group workshop settings

 

Photo tours not recommended for:

  • Those who are seeking formal classroom instruction and structured experiences
  • Those who are not familiar with the basic functionality of their camera(s) and gear
  • Those who are not physically able to travel by foot over varied uneven terrain with gear
  • Those under the age of 18

 

Pricing

2-3 Attendees*

small group tour
$850/Day
  • full-day photo tour
  • price covers up to 3 shooting attendees
  • personalized small group setting
  • sunrise to sunset shooting
  • location guiding + field instruction

*The small group should be fully formed at the time of registration.  All e-mail correspondence and invoicing for small group tours will go through one party only–the individual who registered the group for the photo tour.

Register

Request a photo tour date:

The process:

Please use the fillable form to request your desired workshop location, dates and format.  I’ll respond to the provided e-mail address to verify schedule availability (usually within 24 hours) and provide any additional details regarding the workshop.  Payment will be invoiced through PayPal via the e-mail address provided.  Finally, we’ll meet up at a predetermined location and begin a wonderful day or days of field-based adventure behind the lens!

Not seeing the date(s) that you or your small group were hoping for?  My schedule is pretty fluid throughout the year!  Drop me an e-mail with the desired location and dates and any other pertinent details and I’ll get back to you regarding availability.

Interactive Map - The Blue Wall

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