The Afghan Hound of Laurel Creek

Rapid on Laurel Creek - Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
Rapid on Laurel Creek - Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

view larger   •   see details   •   license this photo

This likeness of a sprinting Afghan hound emerged from a frothy rapid on Laurel Creek. It's the fruit of an afternoon spent hunting for such semiabstract shapes within the rippling streams of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Although this 1/8 second exposure was taken at mid-afternoon, the combination of deep shade, a small f/11 aperture, and a neutral-density filter reduced the ambient light's contribution to this photo. Most of the light came from flash, which was set to repeating mode so that it acted like a strobe light. Each flicker caught flying droplets in new positions, causing the sparkling effect.

The strobe also gave the ripples a translucent layered appearance that reminds me of an x-ray. You can see this in the following close-up of the hound's head.

Abstract ripples on Laurel Creek, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee