Amazing waterfall photo captured during impromptu side trip

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I was ready to get home April 28 after a week in North Alabama working with Bassmaster. I was tired, and just wanted to get unpacked and vegetate.

And then I saw the sign that read "Dunn's Falls." It's one I've seen a thousand times driving along Mississippi's I-59, but on this particular day I couldn't resist making a quick detour to investigate.

Boy, was it ever worth the side trip.

The only problem was the time of day and the position of the sun. It was late morning, and the sun was directly behind and above the 65-foot waterfall — so the light was awful. But I didn't let that stop me from capturing the beautiful image above.

In fact, it's times like these when black-and-white treatments are the answer. So I went ahead and shot the beautiful tiered waterfall, positioning myself so the 19th century grist mill and water wheel could be seen, knowing that I would be converting the image into a night high-contrast black-and-white photo.

I think it worked out perfectly.

Dunn's Falls is actually a manmade waterfall, created in the 1850s by John Cooper Dunn. The 19th century entrepreneur diverted water from the Chunky River to a pond, with the overflow powering a grist and cotton mill he built on the bluff overlooking the river. The mills were converted by the Confederacy to manufacturing blankets, clothing, hats and knives during the Civil War, and then returned to Dunn after the war ended. The mills were reopened and continued to operate until his death in 1904.

The mill that stands on the bluff today is not original, but it is a 1857 mill that was moved from another location to add authenticity to the site. Today, Dunn's Falls Water Park, as it is known, is open to the public (a small admission fee is charged). Visitors can walk through the mill building, climb stairs to the base of the waterfall and even wade into the Chunky River to cool off.

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