Landscapes,  National Parks,  Nature

Photographing Dark Hollow Falls in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

The hike to Dark Hollow Falls is one of the shortest waterfall hike in Shenandoah National Park.  Dark Hollow Falls is a picturesque waterfall with a 70 foot drop.  The trailhead for the falls is well marked at mile marker 50.7.

Dark Hollow Falls

Dark Hollow Falls

The hike to the top of the falls is only 6/10th of a mile from the trailhead.  The top of the falls are partially visible from the observation platform at the top of the Dark Hollow Falls.  The better composition of the falls is at the base of the falls just 1/10th of a mile further down the trail.

The hike to the Dark Hollow Falls is mainly down hill.  This also means that the return hike to the trailhead can be a relatively challenging uphill hike.  Take your time on the return trip to the trailhead.  Hogcamp Branch runs close to the trail in several spots providing good photo opportunities on the return trip from the falls that will provide a break on the way back to the trailhead.

Up Stream Cascade, Dark Hollow Falls

Up Stream Cascade, Dark Hollow Falls

I found several good compositions at the base of the falls.  Make sure to bring along both wide angle and ultra wide angle lens to photograph Dark Hollow Falls.  The ultra wide angle lens can be used to capture close ups of the lower cascade while also capturing the main falls in the background. 

I used the Olympus 9-18mm Micro Four Thirds lens. I was able to save about $200 by buy-ing the international version on Amazon for my Olympus OM-D E-M1. If you buy the international version make sure you test the lens quickly so you can return a defective lens to Amazon, as the international version of the lens comes with no warranty. Full frame DSLR users can use a lens like Canon 17-40mm f/4 lens and crop sensor owners can use a lens like the Canon 10-20mm lens.

Dark Hollow Falls Close Up

Dark Hollow Falls Close Up

Also make sure to bring along several strengths of neutral density (ND) filter of a variable ND filter to help slow down the shutter speed to give the water a silky effect.

Dark Hollow Falls is a popular trail in Shenandoah so I began my hike very early in the morning. I started hiking to the falls right at sunrise and didn’t see another hiker until the return hike to the trailhead.

Written by Martin Belan

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