We spent a pleasant morning this morning at a charming Ottoman Bridge in the town of Nevestino. The sun was a bit bright and harsh to get those really amazing shots that only happen in the magic of sunrise and sunset, but it was a good place to practice with settings, experiment with composition, play with reflections in the water, try some silhouettes against the sunlight…that sort of thing.
Barb managed a really successful shot with the bridge reflection.
Our evening is a picnic at Goritsa Waterfall. This 40 metre fall is located just at the foot of the majestic Rila mountains. It is said to be named after the fair maiden, Goritsa, who threw herself from a high rock into the river below to avoid the unwanted advances of a Turkish governor. Sympathetic villagers are said to have named both the river and the nearby falls after her. No fair maidens nor vile Turkish governors in our group however.
Once we come to the village of Ovchartsi we follow a road up the river and park close to a village laundry service. This service is unique in that it employs old world technology to wash large blankets and rugs for people. An enormous, basket-like vat is built into the riverbed allowing the river water to flow freely through the gaps in its sides. Upriver from the vat, a long chute redirects the river toward the vat, funnelling it into a narrow channel in such a manner that by the time it shoots out from the narrow end into the vat the water is a raging torrent.
This pressurized river water is used to pulverize any rugs or blankets thrown into the vat, agitating them in a swirling manner much like an enormous washing machine. Eventually, once the river water has blasted the dirt out of them and rinsed them clean, the rugs are dragged out from the vat and hung to dry on long poles. It is dated technology but still very much in use. Ironically, if you are in need of such laundry services, the owner has his cell phone number on a sign outside so that he can be easily contacted.
Anyway, we have a waterfall to see and so make our way to the well-marked path and begin the inevitable climb…up. Fortunately, it is not a long climb…for most of us. However, having arrived at the falls and scouted out potential shooting positions for the evening, I notice neither Phil nor Barb have yet joined us…they had been right behind me. It would not be surprising if the two of them had stopped for a breather and a chat on the way up—neither of them really like walking up hills…but this was a long time now. So I went back down the trail a little ways to where I had last seen them… No Phil. No Barb. And really no other route than across the wooden bridge I was standing on with the big white arrow attached to it pointing the way to the waterfall.
Well actually there was a little trail that led up past the bridge. But I mean a little trail and I mean UP. Very steeply up. It seemed to be a popular route for ants, but didn’t look like many people passed that way, but it was the only way to go wrong. So I began the climb up, thinking that of everyone in the group these two would be the last to ever choose a steep uphill climb. After a few minutes of climbing I began calling their names as it seemed pointless to go to the effort of climbing the hill when it seemed so unlikely that they could have gone this way. Imagine my surprise to hear their far off answer…UP the hill.
Negotiating the way down the hill proved nearly as difficult as crawling up, but we made it. All the way Phil shaking his head and saying, “see I told you Barb” and Barb insisting that she had seen people take that route. It is lucky the waterfall was already named or it may have become Barb Falls, named for the poor, misguided photography student who was tossed from the rocks by her hapless, Welsh photography instructor who really hates walking up hills. Needless to say no one in the group is too keen to follow Barb anymore… particularly not Phil.
All in all though it was a good location. No sunset given its north-facing direction, but lots of opportunity to practice long exposure shots to turn the water silky smooth. Steve tried a little artificial lighting on the rocks as the sun went down and got some good results. The picnic was great and we all went home happy…even Phil.