If you enjoy photographing nature you should pay a visit to Dismals Canyon. Dismals Canyon describes itself as a “Natural Conservatory”. It is located in Phil Campbell, Alabama. Details can be found at their website www.dismalscanyon.com.
The canyon is about 1.5 miles long. The “Dismals Branch” stream flows through it. There are many scenic spots and a few waterfalls of different sizes as you walk along the stream. I suggest that you wear shoes that you do not mind getting wet or muddy. An extra pair of shoes and socks to wear when you have finished the hike is a good idea.
Sonia, my wife, and I visited the canyon on a partially cloudy day. I found, that even with some clouds in the sky, the light in the canyon had very strong contrast. Probably more that the camera sensor can handle. As you take your images I suggest that you use the histogram on your camera to determine your exposures and decide whether you want to lose some of the highlights or some of the shadows when you capture your image. You may want to bracket your exposure and decide later which image you like best. If you are familiar with creating HDR images this is probably a good place to employ this technique.
The amount of light can vary dramatically in the canyon. I set my camera to Auto-ISO and the ISO varied from 200 to 3200 from one area of the canyon to another. Because of the low light in some areas using a tripod can be a good idea. I am planning to take a tripod on my next visit to deal with the low light and create some blurry pictures of the waterfalls.
I would recommend taking a wide angle zoom or prime lens on your trip. Most of the scenery lends itself to a wide field of view. I used my Olympus 17mm 1.8 lens for most of the images I took. This lens provided a wide field of view and a fast aperture to deal with the low light spots. A short telephoto would be handy if you want to take some portraits while you are there.
Below are a few pictures from my trip. They really do not do the beauty of the landscape justice.