|Casualty of Spring|
I started to formulate a plan to take advantage of the clouds should they continue to form like this. I needed to wait a few hours since the sun was still very high in the sky and providing some harsh light, too harsh to really work with for what I was wanting to do. I was needing somewhere close that I could go where I could do some grand landscapes. I thought about Hanging Rock, but I was very limited there. The next obvious choice was Stone Mountain. I've always had good luck here, and the past 6 or so times I've been here I have been down in the lower sections focusing on waterfalls and streams.
Well, that was an easy fix once I found a branch that had broken off of a dead tree up the hill. I grabbed it and positioned it just so, in the foreground of my composition. That made the difference, and it helped to accentuate the different hues of the exposed rock I was shooting from. The exposure didn't look too difficult, so I didn't use any filters on my 16-35mm lens. I did get the lens right above ground level to really capture the dramatic quality of the dead branch.
Some hikers joined me shortly after I got started which didn't really surprise me considering the amount of cars that were in the parking lot. What did surprise me was that when I arrived at Wolf Rock, I had to the place to myself. It was short lived, but I could deal with two hikers better than a crowd of people. I just moved over to another section for a bit to see what else I could find to shoot.
|Stone on the Mountain|
I started to look around for other things that I could use as a foreground interest. Typically, I would look for trees, but I wasn't really wanting to do the same things with this set of images. I wanted more emphasis on the sky, and didn't really want a lot intruding into the clouds. What I found next was pretty nice, and was only possible from the recent rains that we have had. I found a puddle, but not just any puddle. This one had moss growing on the side of it. How cool is that?
|Into the Looking Glass|
It was time to move on anyway, I wanted to check out Cedar Rock to see how the clouds looked on that side. I also couldn't remember how long the hike was to get there. Turns out, it was only 5 minutes down the trail, so that was no big deal at all. I made my way to the top and moved around to see Stone Mountain. I worked my way in close and stood on a very steep part of the slope. I knew that if I dropped anything, like a lens cap, it would be gone forever as I couldn't even move quickly for fear of losing balance and tumbling myself.
I could hear thunder in the distance, and was starting to wonder if I was going to get caught out in the rain since I had about a half hour hike ahead of me to get back to the car. I decided to risk it and stick around shooting pictures. I had a poncho, and other wet weather gear for the camera. I did decide to get off of the slope I was on just in case a downpour happened. I knew that this surface would be very slick when wet and I wanted no part of that at all. I moved back to the other side of the trail and found a nice clump of greenery.
There might be a little confusion about the title to this one, so I will clear it up. I called this Casualty of Spring because one of the elements that my eyes are drawn to is the fallen tree in the midground. It is orange, and you can tell that it recently died since it still has leaves on it. The trunk is shattered and completely charred. It was hit by lightning, undoubtedly from one of our recent storms. With the stormy sky above, I thought that would be a fitting name for the image.
At this point, the light was fading, but instead of going to another location for another 30-45 minutes, I decided to move on down the trail to get to the car. I was wanting to get home, and if I played my cards right, I would make it home before everyone started to go to sleep.
In the course of my 3 hours, covering two sections of the trail, I had shot 117 frames. The culling process was difficult because I really liked each and every one of the images. However, I had to cut images that were similar to others, and that meant that about 10 that I wanted to keep were thrown in the bin as they were similar, but not quite as good as another one. My one black and white image started life out in the bin as a third round cut, but when I came back evaluating black and white images, it made a comeback. In all, I came away with 10 images that I am reasonably happy with. It was a quick trek, but a pretty good one. I hiked a bit over three miles and had a really good time out in nature.