|Carpet of Clouds|
I started my day off very early with the hopes of getting a sunrise in before getting started on other subjects. I was running a little behind and was hoping to get to Carol Gap which has a nice viewpoint to take advantage of low lying clouds which I had experienced on the way through Wilkesboro. As I arrived on the Parkway, I came across a viewpoint near the Elk Mountain Overlook which gave the view that I was really interested in so I decided to abandon my original plan and see what developed.
I arrived a bit later than I normally would want to, and there was already a good deal of light in the sky, but we were still about 25 minutes from sunrise so I set up very quick and started to grab pictures. The sky was moderately interesting with clouds, and there was an overall reddish tone to the atmosphere, but the clouds below really captivated me, and they changed constantly over the half hour I was there. To make the best advantage of the light that was there, I used my ND Grad filter and nothing else to keep the sky from over exposing and losing the color that I was seeing. While I got a large number of shots, the one that worked out the best between composition and exposure was the one that opened this entry. It was the third shot of the morning after I had fine tuned the original composition to my liking. I was really hoping for a better sky, but I have to work with what I am given.
As the sun came up, the light was lost, and the clouds below started to get very bright causing too much contrast. It was time to move on to see what else I could find. My ultimate goal was to scout Flat Rock Trail for a possible sunset on another day, but there was lots to see between here and there.
I decided to let that work for me, while I looked at other compositions. When they all came over to my location, I quickly moved back to my original spot and found the field of view to be clear once again. I was able to snap a few quick exposures with a 3-stop ND Grad attached to control the sky. The moody feel of this image really appealed to me as it captured what I had been after with this tree since I had seen it driving by. I wasn't done yet though...I had found another view I wanted from the other side, but the cows were still there. I went across the street for a bit to see if they would lose interest. They did in a few minutes and roamed on to the far side of the field, far away from the tree, and from me.
With this picture, I was pretty much done at this location. I got back in the truck and headed South, looking for Flat Rock Trail. The clouds had pretty much taken over the sky, and it was misting, at times heavily. I was starting to think about doing some waterfall photography, but I wasn't really in position to do any new falls which was what I would want to do. I knew I would be close to Linville Falls and Crabtree Falls which are both fun, but ones I've done a number of times in the past. The same conditions that make waterfall photography so fun also work for intimate landscapes, which was what I was hoping for at Flat Rock.
|Flat Rock Trail|
|Giants of the Forest|
As I continued on, I came to the overlook in a very short amount of time. The view was pretty good from what I could see, but the clouds were too low, and lacked enough visual contrast to work for a shot at this time. Checking on the directions, I think it will make a really good sunset spot that I am looking forward to sharing with Toni in the near future if scheduling works out. As I continued down the back side of the trail, I came across another one of those scenes that always draws my eye...
It has been a while since I've been out on a Trek where I've been really happy with the results, but this was one. I didn't get as many images as I would have liked, but the ones that I got I'm really happy with, and feel like the trip was worth my time. I'm actually looking forward to my next Trek, and hope that it comes along soon.
Be sure and check out my Landscapes Gallery and see the new arrivals, as well as some of my favorites from other Treks.