The “Devil’s Bathtub”

The "Devil's Bathtub" - Click image to enlarge

Tens of thousands of years of weathering and erosion has created many unusual formations carved in the Blackhand sandstone of Old Man’s Cave Gorge located in Hocking Hills State Park near Logan, OH. Formed by Old Man’s Creek as it flowed through Old Man’s Cave Gorge, one of the more unusual formations you’ll find is the “Devil’s Bathtub.” The sandstone in this area was cemented together more tightly than the other nearby layers of rock, and because of this it forced the water to carve in the only direction it could, straight down. Over time, the swirling action carved out the “bathtub” shape in the rock. Legend says the swirling drain goes all the way down to Hades itself, thus the name “Devil’s Bathtub.” In reality, the so called bathtub is only a few feet deep and the water flows out under the footbridge and on downstream through the rest of the gorge.

Most compositions of the Devil’s Bathtub are made from the footbridge above the bathtub or from the hiking path for a side view. For my composition shown above, I wanted to give the viewer a feeling of the speed and swirling motion of the water as it sped down, around and through the bathtub. To create this unusual view I had to get a little wet. I stood in the creek, used a low camera angle and positioned the camera and tripod just above the edge of the bathtub. To give the flowing water the look of speed and motion and maintain sharpness throughout the image I used a small aperture (f/16) and a slow shutter speed (.8 sec). I also used a circular polarizing filter to reduce some (but not all) of the reflections on the wet rocks and water. The sun broke through the cloud cover as I was shooting and the streaks of sun added some nice contrast to the scene. I hope you enjoy this image. I had a great time photographing it, but I did have to hike back to the car and put on dry socks and boots when I was done!

You can see more of my images from Hocking Hills State park in my gallery here. If you have any questions about this image or my photography, please click here to email me.

To find out more about the Hocking Hills area of Ohio, visit

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