|Spring at Rough Ridge|
Well, I did manage to get up at 2:30 somehow, and was out the door a little before 3. The trip to the mountains went smoothly except for the fog that developed as I was climbing into the mountains. It was so bad, I couldn't tell my turn to get on the Parkway and turned onto what developed into a one lane dirt road. There was no way to turn around, so I had to back down to the road to get another block up. That was fun...well not really...but I did get back on track and found the Parkway. It was slow going through most of the 30 some miles I had to travel to get to Rough Ridge, and I was really wondering if I was going to be able to see a sunrise with all of the fog and low clouds.
I had no problems with the hike at least. This is the second or third time I've done this hike in the dark now. When I got up to the rock outcropping, I decided to build the camera with my 24-70mm lens and the Lee Filter Holder. I figured that would give me enough flexibility to handle most of my compositional needs. I went out on the lower level of the rocks and aimed roughly Southeast to get the distant mountains. I was expecting the sun to come up behind the mountain, so I would not be dealing with the direct sunlight. I opted for a 3-Stop ND Grad filter to control the sky, and allow the foreground to expose a bit brighter. There was a nice pink bush and a rock outcrop that I was able to use for my foreground interest. These lead the eye to the cloud covered distant mountains.
|Above the Showers|
|Life on the Blue Ridge|
I didn't stick around here long though. I was hunting something a bit more dramatic. I wasn't sure what that was, but this scene wasn't it. The camera was packed away, and the 24-70mm lens was stored away one more time. The realization hit that I was using this lens more than any other once again. I had gotten out of that habit not that long ago, but found myself back in that rut once again.
I continued North on the Parkway, until I was actually in Doughton Park. Wow!! The idea was to end up here at the end of the day. The sky was doing me no favors though, and I was at a complete loss as to what to photograph. As I got into the park, I noticed a fence that I had photographed years ago when it was broken. It has now been repaired, and is functional for the most part.
After about 30-45 minutes, I decided to call it quits. I wasn't having much luck with the sky at all. In fact, it was starting to get completely white which means I can't do much with it. I went ahead and packed the camera up, and ate my breakfast. Well, it was too early when I got up to bother eating. Now that it was nearly noon, I realized I was hungry. After breakfast, it was back on the road to see what Alligator Back was looking like.
When I got to Alligator Back, I didn't even bother stopping because the clouds were horrible. There wasn't going to be anything that I could do there. I decided to move on to the main area of Doughton to see what was there. When I arrived, I found very little that interested me so I turned around and decided to work my way back to 421 to go on home.
|Mountain to Sea Trail|
|Overgrown Red Gate|
|Bales in the Field|
|Christmas Tree Farm|
|New Holland at Work|
After getting gas, I was headed down 421 and thought I would do that section between the old and new highways one last time. That tree happened to be in that section, so I was hoping that the sky would work out for that one this time. It didn't take me long to get to the tree, and I found that the sky was actually pretty good. Well, at least in one direction anyway.
|Dare to Bare in B&W|
|Dare to Bare|
I went ahead and leveled the tripod, and did a dry run through the entire picture I planned on capturing to make sure the camera stayed level through the track. Then I started to fire off the exposures. The resulting image is a compilation of a half dozen images shot vertically. It is a huge file, but also a very detailed one. Once I was done with the panorama, I played around with some other compositions, and even swapped in my 24-70mm to see if I could get the gate to work that way. It was a no go. I was spent, and I was tired. It was time to get home.
By the time I got home, I had been gone for 16 hours. Now that I am finishing up on the computer, I have been awake for 22.5 hours. It is long past time to go to bed!
Edit: June 27, 2017
I started to go through some of my pictures from the day to see about doing more monochrome conversions. I had originally done a couple and only liked the one of the fallen tree. However, with fresh eyes (and more awake eyes) I saw the potential in a couple more.
|Clearing Storm in B&W|