The problem was, by the time I chased it down, it was too low on the horizon, and had lost the impact I was wanting. Well, I was now about 10 miles away from where I was thinking about being for sunrise, so I moved on down to Thunder Hill since I know that there are several good options out there for different weather conditions. It was also pretty close by which was a bonus.
I arrived about 45 minutes before sunrise, and found myself sharing the parking lot with about 3 other cars. By the time I was done, the parking area was completely full! I set up the camera with the 24-70mm lens since I was seeing some color already in the sky, and wanted to get a nice large field of view. I went ahead and screwed on my Lee Filter System so that I could use my 4x6" filters when the time came. I found my composition, away from the other photographers, and waited for the light to happen.
Fairly quickly, I realized that I was going to need a reverse grad filter to control the sky, which I slid into the filter holder. It worked great, but with the moisture in the sky, I found that it kept getting covered in dew. That meant that after about every exposure, I had to pull it off and wipe it down with a lens cloth. It was like being at the beach on a humid morning! I continued shooting the sunrise as the sun came up, but before long the colors started to wash out of the sky, and I lost my interest.
Funny thing was, there were now about a dozen or more photographers still going at it while the sky was getting blown out. Now was the time for my secret for this overlook. The best view is actually across the street, and up a little hill. The clouds were right for this one, and I just had to wait for the sun to finish coming up.
|Blue Ridge Autumn|
When I decided to call it a morning, I looked around and there was nobody left at the overlook. The portrait photographer had left just a few minutes before, leaving me all alone. This was a much more relaxing environment for me, but the light was all gone at this point. It was time to move on to the next overlook and find some great scenics.
Well, all that moisture in the air caught up with me. The clouds were now enveloping the Parkway, and nothing was looking good to me at that point. In fact, it was very much overcast above, with a haze at ground level. This lighting is best used for intimate landscapes, deep in the woods. Well, I was close to EB Jeffress Park, so I continued back up that way. I stopped for a moment at the historic cabin and fired off a few frames, but the lighting was not near good enough to make this a satisfactory image. I packed it in, and continued up to the main portion of the park. I was hoping to take advantage of the clouds and get a quick waterfall image for the morning at the Cascades.
I continued North, but found very little that caught my eye. The weather was starting to clear, but the color on the trees was not all that great. I was hoping for something a little better when I got to Doughton Park since it was a little higher up than the areas I was in today. When I arrived, there was a music festival going on, and they were directing traffic into the park. I almost decided against turning in for fear that there would be a lot of people in the park. I'm glad I opted to go in though....I was just about alone in the actual park area.
|Meadow in Full Color|
|Doughton in the Fall|
After Doughton, I was running out of usable light. It was high noon, and the light was too contrasty for my tastes. I could have stuck around and killed time till later in the evening when the light started to improve again, but there was no guarantee that I would have good conditions. So, in order to make the most out of my day, I decided to pack it in, and head home...with one more stop.
|An Old Chevy|
By the time I rolled in the garage, I had a total of 132 frames on the camera. Most of those were me repeating shots waiting for the light conditions to change. Because so much of the images were repeats, I don't feel bad at all that only eight of them were deemed keepers. For a half day worth of shooting, that was pretty good.