In this captivating short film titled "Melancholy Gorge," Harun Mehmedinovic shines his lens on one of Earth's oldest rivers and the famous bridge that runs over it: the New River Gorge and Bridge in southern West Virginia.
Contrary to its name, the magnificent New River Gorge is quite old. Formed from an ancient river system between 3 and 300 million years ago (scientists still aren't sure of the exact time frame), the only river in the world that's older is the Nile in Egypt.
Over the past century, the area was the target of extensive logging operations, but the important 70,000-acre swath is now recovering after it gained federal protection as a national river in 1978. Because of this, we're now able to fully experience its ancient majesty, as seen in Mehmedinovic's work.
The video was filmed and produced as part of the SKYGLOW Project, a crowdfunded photographic initiative organized by Mehmedinovic and Gavin Heffernan to raise awareness about light pollution and its environmental effects. The time-lapse filmmaking duo have a knack for creating jawdropping visuals of our planet's starry skies, like the one seen below:
The bridge that crosses over the New River, known as the New River Gorge Bridge, is currently the third highest bridge in the United States and the longest steel span in the Western Hemisphere.
Recognized by the U.S. National Park Service as a "significant historic resource," the bridge is widely touted as one of the most photographed places in the state. Of course, the bridge's record-breaking stats and postcard-worthy aesthetics are just the cherry on top of its role as a vital piece of regional infrastructure.
As the National Park Service explains, "when the New River Gorge Bridge was completed on October 22, 1977, a travel challenge was solved. The bridge reduced a 40-minute drive down narrow mountain roads and across one of North America's oldest rivers to less than a minute."
Of course, the looming bridge and the ancient river aren't the only reason to visit the area. As Mehmedinovic explains on his Vimeo page, "Every year, around mid-October, this moody stretch of the river becomes the site of one of the most impressive displays of Fall foliage colors, and that transition of seasons has become one of the biggest tourist draws on the East coast."
That's why some of the most beautiful stills that Mehmedinovic captured for his "Melancholy Gorge" film are of the surrounding area's fall foliage. In the photo below, we see the iconic Glade Creek Grist Mill changing through the seasons in the nearby Babcock State Park.
The mill looks vintage, but it's actually a 1976 recreation of an old mill that once stood along the same creek.
According to the official website for Babcock State Park, the grist mill is a "living monument to the over 500 mills [that] thrived in West Virginia at the turn of the century. [...] Visitors to the mill may journey back to the time when grinding grain by a rushing stream was a way of life, and the groaning mill wheel was music to the miller's ear."
Continue below to see more photos of the picturesque mill and the surrounding forest, and be sure to check out the SKYGLOW website to learn more about the project.