As if to offer an encouraging wave to the passing waters, an old sycamore, whose roots long ago reached into the flow of Big Creek, extends an autumn colored branch to the rippling stream. Perhaps the golden throng will join an already-fallen sibling, poised on a rock below and ready to be swept away by the on-rushing foam.

Perhaps this single leaf will dash its way into the Pigeon hardly half-a-mile downstream, and if not otherwise impeded, perhaps it will find itself in the great French Broad, and avoiding the depths of Douglas Lake, reach the merging with the Holston just short of Knoxville, becoming the mighty Tennessee. Perhaps…

A focal length of 210mm gave me the angle-of-view I wanted, isolating the branch and a small section of the rock-laced streambed. An aperture of f/18 provided depth-of-field, and an ISO of 200 allowed for a shutter speed of 2.0 seconds, slow enough to show whitewater, but fast enough to allow for braiding in some places.

Autumn color is about more than stands of hardwoods. There are as many ways to express the wonder of the season as there are trees with which to express what we see.