Each year, Toni and I head to the mountains for our anniversary. This year was about to be different though. With some other commitments happening in the same week, we decided to cancel our normal vacation and stay at home. She kept the week off from work, and I gave back all but Wednesday so that I could spend the day with my bride. When Tuesday rolled around, Toni mentioned that she had things under control with school, and wanted to go somewhere for the day. We quickly decided that we would make a day trip to the mountains, more specifically--Boone, NC.
Boone holds a special meaning to the both of us since we were married at the Crystal Wedding Chapel just outside of Boone. It was a great day, and we have returned in some form or fashion to the mountains each and every year since. It was a nice treat to be able to go back to where it all started this year. Of course, being in the mountains after a snow storm would necessitate bringing the camera. Fortunately, Toni understood, and agreed to either go with me, or let me go out alone in the morning to get some pictures. This was going to work!
It was going to work until I really looked at the weather. Nothing but full cloud clover and rain off and on for the day. Well, I was going to give it a try since I was there. At least I really enjoy photographing in the clouds. The rain...not so much though. I set out after we ate breakfast shortly before sunrise. Toni remained in the hotel room and worked on some of her projects and school work. It was raining, but not too bad. Even though it was pretty cold, the roads were fine and I had no issues getting to the Parkway. However, once I turned off of 421, I was shifting into 4WD for the needed traction to make it.
|Top of the Morning|
After packing up the camera, I got back in the truck for another edition of slip and slide down the Parkway. It was just a matter of taking it slow and steady, while looking for another scene to photograph. As I was looking over to the right, I saw some nice mountains with low clouds moving past them. This was going to be my next scene, and I was rather excited about the possibilities for this one. I got everything out of the truck and started to look at what I was working with. I decided that I needed to swap out the lens for my 24-70mm to allow me some flexibility with the foreground. I again chose to avoid any filters since the lighting was so even already.
|Slight Chill in the Air|
|Keeper of the Field|
I feel like I did a lot of driving at this point. I wasn't fast though. I fact, I was rarely out of 2nd gear as the Parkway was getting increasingly worse with the rain falling. Even though the temperature was above freezing, the rain falling on the ice and slush on the road was starting to glaze a little bit. There were a few times that the truck got a little squirrely which rarely happens in that truck. The clouds were getting thicker, and I was not seeing much chance in getting any more pictures. Thinking back to the hourly forecast, I was looking at the real rain starting in about another hour. I figured that it was time to get off of the Parkway, and go elsewhere to hunt for some pictures. This was a great day for finding barns, and that was what I was looking to do at this point.
|Through the Ages|
However, I happened to see this green metal roof in the distance that caught my eye. Normally, I don't like new roofs, but this one looked different. As I pulled up close to it, I saw that it was at the base of a slight hill, which had a small cemetery on it. There wasn't anything really close to it, and the sky above looked pretty good. All of the major ingredients were there for this picture, so I pulled off of the road and got the camera out. Once again, I fitted the 24-70mm lens with no filters.
In my haste, I hadn't seen the power lines that were draped over the road next to the barn. I was going to have to get to a different vantage point to be able to capture it without the lines in the shot. Fortunately, the driveway was inset into the fenced perimeter about a truck's length. I was able to get in there, which turned out to be the perfect location to shoot this barn. As I was setting things up, I noticed that one of the horses in the field had started wondering about me. He was working his way toward me, which could be a good thing, or a bad thing. I would have loved to have had the horse in the frame as a foreground element, but if he stopped in a bad location, I would have to either accept the composition, or clone him out. I don't like cloning, so I fired off a quick shot before the horse got into the frame. It worked out, and the exposure looked like a winner in the histogram. However, I stayed around to see what the horse would do.
|Through the Ages in B&W|
|A Soft Glow|
With that, it was time to head back to the hotel room to start the rest of the day together with Toni. We did some more exploring and saw a bunch of really cool sights, but it was more about the exploration than the photography at this point. It was a great day, and a wonderful sixth anniversary. It was also pretty productive in the photography department with 10 new images added from 68 frames.