"Approach of Darkness" - Sunset at Blackrock Summit, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

I wouldn't lie to you, would I? As promised, here is the second in the series of images taken during that wonderful autumn sunset on top of Blackrock Summit in the southern portion of Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. I actually created quite a few more images in between my previous post and this one, but I chose this photograph to best display the feelings of that sunset. Graceful pink light slightly kissing the edge of a massive storm front, ethereal fog roaming below. The conditions displayed here, as the darkness of night approached, pluck some hidden strings deep within my heart. 

"Approach of Darkness" - Autumn sunset from Blackrock Summit, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

Techs: Canon 7D, Canon 10-22 @ 12mm. 15 seconds, f/14, ISO 100. Blend of two exposures, one for sky, one for land.

"Idealist's Viewpoint" - Sunset at Blackrock Summit, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

As I began my travels home from the New River Gorge in West Virginia, I knew the potential for a stunning sunset was high. A massive 1,000 mile long patch of moisture hung overhead, with the east full of clouds and the west (where the sun would be setting) completely clear. Since the cloud pattern had remained this way for almost a full day, I found the nearest picturesque location that sat right in the middle of the transition from cloudy to clear. That spot happened to be at one of my favorite locations, Blackrock Summit. I made my way to the summit a couple hours early and perfected my compositions. As the sun began to set, fog lingered on the ridges to the east, while autumn foliage was backlit by the intense setting sun to the west. The shapes of the clouds lined up perfectly with my composition. It was certainly a great afternoon to be up in the mountains! Up next ... an image taken after this one when the clouds began to turn pink. Keep watch!

"Idealist's Viewpoint" - An autumn sunset from atop Blackrock Summit, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

Techs: Canon 7D, Canon 10-22 @ 10mm. .4 seconds, f/14, ISO 100. Blend of two exposures, one for sky, one for land.

Foggy forests along the New River Gorge, West Virginia

I may be done with the focus shifted images for a while, but to ease the transition here's a couple of subtle and soft foggy atmospheric photos. Both of these images were taken on the same foggy morning on the steeply wooded banks of the New River as I ascended up the canyon. Enjoy, and thanks for reading.

"Released, Again" - Foggy foliage near the edge of a pond, New River Gorge, West Virginia.

Techs: Canon 7D, Canon 70-200 f/4 @ 87mm. 5 seconds, f/13, ISO 100.

 

"The Sound You Made For Me" - Foggy forest, New River Gorge, West Virginia.

Techs: Canon 7D, Canon 70-200 f/4 @ 98mm. 4 seconds, f/14, ISO 200.

"Falling Leaves" - Fall foliage in a reflection, Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia

This is the last in my mini series of focus shifted images (for now!). Quite different from the ethereal feeling evoked by my previous two images, this photograph of fallen leaves floating on the surface of a colorful reflection tells a story and contains much sharper detail. By starting my exposure while focused on the upper canopy of the trees in the reflection, and then defocusing my lens as the exposure commensed, I was able to show the sharp details on the tree canopy and create movement and blur in the leaves on the surface. I thought the end result told the story of a tree transitioning from fall to winter, as it appears that I am looking towards the canopy as leaves plummet towards me.

Techs: Canon 7D, Canon 70-200 f/4 @ 70mm. 1 second, f/10, ISO 100. Focus shifted during a single exposure.

"It Grows from Within" - Lichen on a boulder, Blackrock Summit, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

I've always enjoyed the patterns of lichen and moss atop the many boulders at Blackrock Summit in the southern portion of Shenandoah National Park. Oddly, however, I was never in the right mindset to photograph them. I was always rushing. Rushing, for some internal unknown reason. There were always "better" things to photograph than some lichen patterns on a rock. Well, that mindset is in the past now. These tiny silent subjects are just as beautiful, captivating, and worthwhile as the most majestic sunset. Enjoy!

"It Grows from Within" - Lichen on the surface of a boulder, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

Techs: Canon 7D, Canon 70-200 f/4 @ 81mm. .6 seconds, f/16, ISO 100.

Two Black/White Rock Details, Great Falls National Park, Virginia

Just a simple post with some simple photographs today. I enjoy taking photographs of glorious sunrise and sunset light just as much as the next photographer, but on this particular visit to the Virginia side of Great Falls National Park, the light never came. Since I live so close to Great Falls, I'd typically just head home and catch a nap before starting my day, but on this day I was feeling a bit more inspired and decided to stick around and try to create some interesting photographs of miniature details I could find in the myriad of rocks surrounding the Potomac River. 

"Against the Wall" - Rock detail in Great Falls National Park, Virginia

Techs: Canon 7D, Canon 10-22 @ 22mm. 1 second @ f/11. ISO 200. Polarizer. Tripod.

"Portrait in Grayscale" - Rock detail in Great Falls National Park, Virginia

Techs: Canon 7D, Canon 10-22 @ 22mm. 4 seconds @ f/16. ISO 100, Tripod.

The first image is probably my favorite of the two. I really like the different types of lichen and how they all contrast and play off each other. I made sure to place the white "dominant" looking lichens at key points within the composition. I enjoy the second image because it reminds me of an aerial view of a lava flow. The rock pictured here had a seemingly high content of silica, as it glistened in the light. I intent on revisiting this location in the sun instead of during overcast to see if I can capture all of the sparkles better. 

"Curves", Ice Droplets, McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area, Maryland

With the intense cold snap that occurred last week, I took the opportunity to get out and photograph some truly amazing ice patterns. On the first day, I visited McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area in Maryland, where I found this smooth, curved structure. At first I attempted to photograph the scene with only one capture at f/22 to maximize depth of field. However, my magnification was too high and the scene too minute to adequately record all of the detail from foreground to background. Knowing this, I chose to set my aperture at f/13 and take a series of photographs at different focus points, later blending the five images together in Photoshop. This was my first time using this technique, and it was painfully easy. I will certainly be utilizing it in future situations!

"Curves", Ice Droplets, McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area, Maryland, United States.

Technical Spectacles: Canon 50D, Canon 70-200 @ 163mm, 500D Close-up Diopter, ISO 100, f/13, 0.4 seconds, Gitzo 1325 Tripod. Five images focused at different points, later blended together in Photoshop CS6.

"People of the Place of Flint", Mohawk Falls, Rickett's Glen State Park, Pennsylvania

Just a quick picture to post for tonight. This image is of Mohawk Falls in Rickett's Glen State Park, Pennsylvania. One of the first of 22 named waterfalls along one of the park's relatively short hiking trails. That's right, 22 substantial waterfalls! This place rocks. A photographer's paradise. During my quick visit, dusk was quickly approaching. Using the "shade" of dusk, I was able to shoot on what would have been a bright and sunny day without capturing distracting shadows. Additionally, I was able to control the contrast found within this scene, from bright highlights in the water to dark shadows within the crevices of the rocks. In bright sun, this is simply not possible without taking several exposures and blending them together in Photoshop.

"People of the Place of Flint", Mohawk Falls, Rickett's Glen State Park, Pennsylvania, United States.

Technical Spectacles: Canon 50D, Canon 10-22mm @ 13mm, ISO 200, f/11, 1.3 seconds. Gitzo 1325. Polarizer.

"The Inevitable Conclusion" - Sunset at Lindy Point, Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia

All lines lead to the same outcome. As it were, during this lovely summer sunset in the mountains of West Virginia, the lines in the clouds lead to a gripping open space on the horizon. I used this great luck, composing my image so that this brightly colored rock in the foreground led right into that open space within the image. Combined with the amazing stack to the left, and your eye will bounce around within this one for quite some time. I love it when things come together! When out photographing, always be actively aware of these situations. Doing so may just take your photography from being a mere snapshot to an artfully composed beauty.

"The Inevitable Conclusion", Sunset at Lindy Point Overlook, Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia.

Technical Spectacles: Canon 50D, Canon 10-22 @ 10mm, ISO 200, f/11, 1.6 seconds. Gitzo 1325 tripod. Blend of two images, one exposure for the sky and one exposure for the foreground.

Silence in Chaos - Great Blue Heron Amid Rapids in Great Falls National Park, Virginia

Hello world! I've been busy photographing quite often this summer in Great Falls National Park, Virginia. This image was taken from the Virginia side, and depicts a seemingly contemplative bird pondering who-knows-what! He stood in this location for about an hour, but only a few images made the cut that had the right light, head position, and good water flow. The rest ... ruthlessly deleted!

Silence In Chaos - Great Blue Heron Amid Rapids in the Potomac River, Great Falls National Park, Virginia.

Tech Specs: Canon 50D, Canon 70-200 @ 200mm, ISO 100, .3 seconds @ f/22. Gitzo Tripod. Polarizer.