Blue Ridge Imagery: Blog http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog en-us (C) Blue Ridge Imagery (Blue Ridge Imagery) Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:57:00 GMT Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:57:00 GMT http://blueridgeimagery.com/img/s12/v174/u464524288-o284985993-50.jpg Blue Ridge Imagery: Blog http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog 120 80 Photographing Appalachian Mountains: Beauty Mountain Trail http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/10/photographing-appalachian-mountains-beauty-mountain-trail Photographing Beauty Mountain Trail

Location: New River Gorge, West Virginia 

Best time of year to photograph: Spring, Summer, and Fall

Subject Focus: Landscape, Nature, Sunset

Popularity: Low

Distance: 1.5 mile out and back

 

The New River Gorge in West Virginia is beautiful and full of great viewpoints, but some of the best are along the Beauty Mountain Trail.  This short but fun out and back hike has a new outlook every few hundred years that are great for watching the sunset.  

Beauty Mountain TrailBeauty Mountain TrailThe New River Gorge in West Virginia is beautiful and full of great viewpoints but some of the best are along the Beauty Mountain Trail. This short but fun out and back hike has a new outlook every few hundred years that are great for watching the sun set.
 

The Beauty Mountain Trail Head is located less than 10 miles form Fayetteville, WV.  To reach the trail head, you will have to travel down some very narrow roads, and I recommend going old school and printing out the directions because cell service in the area is not the best.  Once at the trail head, park along the side of the road; there is no formal parking area.  There is also no sign marking the trail, but if you are looking for the trail, it is very easy to find.  The trail starts at the corner of Buckhorn Rd and Beauty Mountain Rd underneath some power lines.  

Rams HeadRams HeadThe New River Gorge in West Virginia is beautiful and full of great viewpoints but some of the best are along the Beauty Mountain Trail. This short but fun out and back hike has a new outlook every few hundred years that are great for watching the sun set.

 

Once on the trail, you will quickly come to your first overlook.  This is a great spot, but there are better overlooks further down the trail.  There are no formal trail markers, and the trail splits a fews times, but I found the side trails always rejoin the main.  The easiest trail to follow and the trail with the best views is the main trail, which winds along near the cliff’s edge.  The Beauty Mountain Trail is mostly flat because it follows a ridge line and is about 3/4 of a mile to the Rams Head overlook, which offers a 180 degree view of the New River Gorge.  

Beauty Mountain Trail OverlookBeauty Mountain Trail OverlookThe New River Gorge in West Virginia is beautiful and full of great viewpoints but some of the best are along the Beauty Mountain Trail. This short but fun out and back hike has a new outlook every few hundred years that are great for watching the sun set.

 

Most of the outlooks before the Rams Head look West, which makes it ideal for photographing sunsets.  There is a bend in the river which could be used for a leading line.  The Rams Head is also a well-known climbing location, and if you are lucky, you will be able to capture some climbers scaling the cliff face.  If you are photographing at sunset remember to bring a flashlight for the return to your vehicle.

Click here for some photography tips!

Click here to find more adventure in the Appalachian Mountains!

]]>
(Blue Ridge Imagery) allegheny mountains appalachian mountains appalachians babcock state park beauty mountain trail blue ridge imagery blue ridge mountains camping fall hike hiking landscape landscape photography nature nature photography new river gorge photograph beauty mountain trail photograph new river gorge summit sunrise sunset west virginia http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/10/photographing-appalachian-mountains-beauty-mountain-trail Sun, 01 Oct 2017 21:05:03 GMT
7 Essential Fall Photography Tips http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/9/7-essential-fall-photography-tips 7 Essential Fall Photography Tips

1. Plan Your Trip:

Planning your fall color trip is very important because photographers have a very small window to photograph fall colors once the leaves begin to turn.  The weather.com fall foliage map is a great place to start especially if you are planning to travel.  This map will give you an idea when a region of the U.S. typically hits peak color, but keep in mind every year is different.  The fall of 2016 was VERY warm, so the leaves turned very late (if they turned at all), and the fall of 2017 is shaping up for early fall colors because of how cool it has been.  This map just gives you an idea of when the region typically hits peak color, which is good if you need to buy airline tickets earlier in the year.  Another great resource are trail cameras.  A lot of the national parks and state parks now have live trail cameras, which will show you in real time the fall colors.  Some of the bigger parks also give at least a weekly fall color report on their websites.  If that area doesn’t have a trail camera, I use social media. I look at the most recent pictures posted to Instagram and Facebook and reach out to people I know living in the area I plan to visit to help me gauge when I want to travel to that area to photograph the changing leaves.  But when in doubt, it is better to be early than late.

Sunset at Lindy PointSunset at Lindy PointFall in West Virginia is always beautiful and Lindy Point near Blackwater Falls State Park was no exception.

 2. Lens Choice:

When most people first start photographing landscapes, they only use a wide angle lens; a few examples of wide angle glass are the 16-35mm, 14-24mm, or 18-55mm.  This can be great for showing the whole scene of a large vista, but the problem is everything in the frame will be small including all of those beautiful trees turning colors.  Usually unless I am able to get really close to my subject (i.e. a tree or waterfall) and am able to fill the frame with the subject, during fall my wide angle lens usually stays in my camera bag.  Typically, I have found medium and telephoto lenses for example a 24-70mm or the 70-200mm, work best for capturing the fall colors. Using these focal lengths will help you isolate your subject, making it big in the frame, which will help showcase the fall colors.     

Red TreeRed TreeA red tree in West Virginia.

3. Composition:

Having a great composition can make or break an image; luckily the beautiful fall colors offer photographers some unique opportunities.  Usually simple compositions that highlight the color of the leaves work really well, for example isolating a bright and vibrant tree in your fame with little or no distractions is a great place to start. Also consider using patterns for your composition. People love looking at patterns, and they generally pleasing to the eye, which will help draw them into your image.  Leading lines is another great compositional technique to consider using in your image because they help guide the viewers’ eyes to the subject.  A road, stream or mountain ridge are just a few examples of leading lines.  When the leading line is a diagonal line, it will not only help guide the viewers’ eyes to the subject, but it can also add depth to the image by showing the distance between elements in the foreground and background.  There are many different ways to compose the your image to highlight the fall colors, which makes it important to know the different rules in order to apply them to different situations. For more landscape composition techniques, click here.

Fall West Virginia RoadFall West Virginia RoadFall in West Virginia is always beautiful and the Canaan Loop Road that runs through Blackwater Falls State Park was no exception.

4. Use a Circular Polarizer Filter:

Most landscape photographers use a CP filter to enhance the color of the sky, but it can also be used to remove the glare on the leaves.  Removing the glare will help enrich the fall colors to a deep natural look.  Most CP filters also block 1- 2 stops of light, which will slow the shutter speed, which can lead to negative effect when trying to photograph leaves.  If the shutter speed is too slow, the leaves will blur as they move in the wind, but as long as you keep your shutter speed fast enough for the situation, the positive effect of using a CP to remove the glare heavily outweighs this negative effect. 

Trail to Table RockTrail to Table RockHiking the trail to Table Rock is very beautiful.

5. Add Green:

This may sound a little unusual, but adding green really helps the fall colors pop in your image.  Without getting into the nuances of color theory, adding just a little bit of green, especially dark green, will create contrast in your image, which will make the fall colors look brighter and more vibrant.

Fall in the Allegany MountainsFall in the Allegany MountainsFall in the Allegany Mountains is very beautiful.

6. Time of Day:

I love photographing at sunrise and sunset, but during the fall, photographing during this time can lead to more subdued colors.  If you are trying to capture bright, vibrant colors, think about photographing about an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset.  During these times, the sun is low enough in the sky to provide beautiful soft light but still high enough in the sky to illuminate the leaves.  If the sun is out, look for back light trees, the sun shining on the leaves on the trees can make look like they are glowing.  If there on an overcast and cloudy day, don’t worry: these days also work well for photographing fall colors.  Overcast skies provide even light across the landscape, which prevents bright highlights and dark shadows from creating dappled light. The overcast sky also brings out the rich fall colors. But one of the best things about overcast skies is the ability to use longer shutter, which is great for photographing waterfalls with the fall colors.   A long exposure is what creates the smooth silky effect in the water. Click here for more waterfall photography tips.

Blackwater Fall During FallBlackwater Fall During FallFall in West Virginia is always beautiful and Blackwater Falls in Blackwater Falls State Park was no exception.

7. Experiment With Your Shutter Speed:

Fall is a great time to experiment with your shutter speed.  Whether it is a really fast shutter speed to capture leaves falling or speed to capture the leaves swirling in a pool at the base of a waterfall, experimenting with different shutter speeds will help you create unique, one of a kind images.  In the below image, I experimented with different shutter speeds to create this unique, abstract image.  I pointed my camera at a group of trees and pushed the shutter as I slowly tilted my camera up to create the motion blur.

Fall Color AbstractFall Color AbstractFall Color Abstract image

For more photography tips click here!

]]>
(Blue Ridge Imagery) composition essential fall photography essential fall photography tips fall fall photography fall photography tips fall tips framing gear image landscape landscape photography landscape photography gear landscape tips long exposure long exposure photography magic hour nature nature photography outdoor outdoor photography photo photographer photography photography gear rule of thirds scale slow shutter speed tip tips tricks tripod waterfall http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/9/7-essential-fall-photography-tips Mon, 18 Sep 2017 02:37:30 GMT
7 Essential Tips For Long Exposure Photography http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/8/7-essential-tips-for-long-exposure-photography 7 Essential Tips For Long Exposure Photography

 

1. Something Moving

For a long exposure photograph to be successful, there must be movement in the scene you are capturing.  One of the most common uses of long exposure is to show water moving over a waterfall or down a stream, but any movement that conveys the passage of time will work for long exposer photography.  A few other example are clouds moving in the sky, vehicle lights driving on a road, people walking, oceans waves, star trails, etc.  As long as there is movement, long exposer can make an average image into an outstanding, one of a kind image.

Devils Knob Overlook PanoramaDevils Knob Overlook PanoramaDevils Knob Overlooks is a great spot to take image of the Blue Ridge Mountains at sunset. It has a Southwest View of Three Ridge Mountain and The Priest.

 

2. Use a Tripod

Long exposer photography requires slow shutter speed, and the camera has to be completely still while the shutter is open.  The best way to ensure there is no movement is through the use of a sturdy tripod.  If there is any movement or camera shake during the exposure, no matter how minor, the image will not be sharp.

Mammoth PeakMammoth PeakThe Dana Fork Overlook has an outstanding eastern facing view, making this an ideal location to photograph the sun rising behind this section of the Sierra Mountains or capture the beautiful alpenglow on the mountains as the sun sets (click here for some photography). With some of the best unobstructed views of Mount Dana and Mount Gibbs to the East and Mammoth Peak to the Southeast, Dana Fork Overlook offers photographers the chance to glimpse some of the stunning scenery of Yosemite. The Dana Fork also meanders and snakes through a beautiful sub alpine meadow; it offers photographers a lot to work with in the foreground including some amazing “S” curves (click here for composition tips). The sub alpine meadow also makes a great home for some of the park’s wildlife and offers the chance for photographers to capture these animals in their natural habitat. As easy as this location is to get to plus the sheer beauty of the views, one would think this would be a very popular spot in Yosemite National Park, but every time I have been there, I have always had the view to myself.

 

3. Use a Shutter Release

Like a tripod, a shutter release is another tool to use to create tack sharp images.  Pressing the shutter button on the camera can cause the camera to shake.  A shutter release is a tool that releases the shutter to start the exposure without touching the camera.  The most common type of shutter release is a cable release, but there are also wireless shutter releases.  If you are on a budget, utilizing the camera’s self timer feature is another great way reduce the chance for camera shake when the exposure starts.

Sunset at Falling Spring FallsSunset at Falling Spring FallsSunset at Falling Spring Falls

 

4. Filters

During the day, the use of filters is required to achieve the slow shutter speeds needed to show the movement in your image.  Neutral density (ND) are the best filters to achieve the slow shutters speeds required for long exposure photography. ND filters are a dark piece of glass placed in front of the lens, reducing the amount of light passing through the lens. This allows photographers to use long exposures even on bright, sunny days.  ND filters come in strengths that block anywhere from 3 to 15 stops of light.  

Great Falls SunriseGreat Falls SunriseThis was a 7 Minute exposure taken of the Great Fall in Great Falls National Park.

 

5.  Manual Focus 

One downside to ND filters, especially when using a filter 6 stops or greater, is that the camera autofocus will not work.  The ND filter is so dark that it’s hard for you to see through, so there is little to no chance that your camera will be able to find something to focus on.  To get around this, before you put the filter in front of your lens, compose your image, and use the camera’s autofocus to make sure the image will be sharp.  Next, turn off your autofocus using the switch on the side of your lens.  Push the switch to “M” or manual focus; this will ensure your lens will not try to refocus once the filter is on.  Lastly, carefully place your ND filter on the front of your lens.

Nubble Light, ME B&WNubble Light, ME B&W

 

6. Close View Finder

Since your eye will not be against the viewfinder after you compose your image, light creeps into the camera resulting in a purple line through the middle of the image ruining all of your hard work. When using a really long exposure, greater then 10 seconds, you will need to close your view finder.  Some Nikon cameras have a built in viewfinder curtain, which will stop all light from entering through your viewfinder.  Some Canon cameras come with a plastic eye cap that can be placed over your viewfinder.  If you do not have either, the next best thing is a piece of gaffers tape.  Placing a piece over your camera’s viewfinder will work allowing you to create amazing long exposure images.  

Yosemite FallsYosemite FallsYosemite Falls from Swinging Bridge

 

7. Composition

Having a great composition can make or break an image; just because you are taking a long exposure doesn’t mean that you do not have to take the time to find and compose your image. The key to composition is finding the subject and then composing the scene to draw the viewer’s eyes through the image to the subject.  There are many different ways to compose the landscape, which makes it important to know the different rules in order to apply them to different situations. To learn more about photography composition techniques, click here. For more photography tips click here!

Milky Way Over Range View OverlookMilky Way Over Range View OverlookThe beautiful Milky Way over Range View Overlook in Shenandoah National Park.

]]>
(Blue Ridge Imagery) composition essential long exposure photography essential long exposure photography tips framing gear image landscape landscape photography landscape photography gear landscape tips long exposer photography tips long exposure long exposure photography long exposure tips magic hour nature nature photography outdoor outdoor photography photo photographer photography photography gear rule of thirds scale slow shutter speed tip tips tricks tripod waterfall http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/8/7-essential-tips-for-long-exposure-photography Mon, 21 Aug 2017 19:57:18 GMT
Photographing California: Dana Fork http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/8/photographing-california-dana-fork Photograph Dana Fork

Yosemite is filled with some amazing views but rarely do you get to experience these views by yourself.  This hidden treasure is located off of Tioga Pass,  is near some of Yosemite’s most popular hikes, and offers outstanding sunrise and sunset views without the crowds.

Mount DanaMount DanaThe Dana Fork Overlook has an outstanding eastern facing view, making this an ideal location to photograph the sun rising behind this section of the Sierra Mountains or capture the beautiful alpenglow on the mountains as the sun sets (click here for some photography). With some of the best unobstructed views of Mount Dana and Mount Gibbs to the East and Mammoth Peak to the Southeast, Dana Fork Overlook offers photographers the chance to glimpse some of the stunning scenery of Yosemite. The Dana Fork also meanders and snakes through a beautiful sub alpine meadow; it offers photographers a lot to work with in the foreground including some amazing “S” curves (click here for composition tips). The sub alpine meadow also makes a great home for some of the park’s wildlife and offers the chance for photographers to capture these animals in their natural habitat. As easy as this location is to get to plus the sheer beauty of the views, one would think this would be a very popular spot in Yosemite National Park, but every time I have been there, I have always had the view to myself. (16mm, F/16, 1/6sec, ISO 100)

Located 2.5 miles South of the Yosemite National Park East Entrance and less than 6 miles East of Tuolumne Meadows, Dana Fork of the Tuolumne River allows photographers to photograph three different mountains Mount Dana, Mount Gibbs, and Mammoth Peak without all of the crowds normally found in Yosemite.  Dana Fork originates between Mount Dana and Mount Gibbs, and when it meets the Lyell Fork in Tuolumne Meadows they form the mighty Tuolumne River.  Dana Fork Overlook has a nice flat pull off along the side of Tioga Pass that could easily fit 6-8 vehicles.  If you are entering through Yosemite Eastern Entrance, Dana Fork Overlook will be on the left side of the road.   If you are coming from Tuolumne Meadows, it will be located on the right side of Tioga Pass. Once parked there is a lot of space to spread out and to  explore to find the perfect composition.   

Mount GibbMount GibbThe Dana Fork Overlook has an outstanding eastern facing view, making this an ideal location to photograph the sun rising behind this section of the Sierra Mountains or capture the beautiful alpenglow on the mountains as the sun sets (click here for some photography). With some of the best unobstructed views of Mount Dana and Mount Gibbs to the East and Mammoth Peak to the Southeast, Dana Fork Overlook offers photographers the chance to glimpse some of the stunning scenery of Yosemite. The Dana Fork also meanders and snakes through a beautiful sub alpine meadow; it offers photographers a lot to work with in the foreground including some amazing “S” curves (click here for composition tips). The sub alpine meadow also makes a great home for some of the park’s wildlife and offers the chance for photographers to capture these animals in their natural habitat. As easy as this location is to get to plus the sheer beauty of the views, one would think this would be a very popular spot in Yosemite National Park, but every time I have been there, I have always had the view to myself. (70mm, F/11, 10sec, ISO 100)

The Dana Fork Overlook has an outstanding eastern facing view, making this an ideal location to photograph the sun rising behind this section of the Sierra Mountains or capture the beautiful alpenglow on the mountains as the sun sets (click here for some photography tips).  With some of the best unobstructed views of Mount Dana and Mount Gibbs to the East and Mammoth Peak to the Southeast, Dana Fork Overlook offers photographers the chance to glimpse some of the stunning scenery of Yosemite.  The Dana Fork also meanders and snakes through a beautiful sub alpine meadow; it offers photographers a lot to work with in the foreground including some amazing “S” curves (click here for composition tips).  The sub alpine meadow also makes a great home for some of the park’s wildlife and offers the chance for photographers to capture these animals in their natural habitat.   As easy as this location is to get to plus the sheer beauty of the views, one would think this would be a very popular spot in Yosemite National Park, but every time I have been there, I have always had the view to myself.

Alpenglow on Mammoth PeakAlpenglow on Mammoth PeakThe Dana Fork Overlook has an outstanding eastern facing view, making this an ideal location to photograph the sun rising behind this section of the Sierra Mountains or capture the beautiful alpenglow on the mountains as the sun sets (click here for some photography). With some of the best unobstructed views of Mount Dana and Mount Gibbs to the East and Mammoth Peak to the Southeast, Dana Fork Overlook offers photographers the chance to glimpse some of the stunning scenery of Yosemite. The Dana Fork also meanders and snakes through a beautiful sub alpine meadow; it offers photographers a lot to work with in the foreground including some amazing “S” curves (click here for composition tips). The sub alpine meadow also makes a great home for some of the park’s wildlife and offers the chance for photographers to capture these animals in their natural habitat. As easy as this location is to get to plus the sheer beauty of the views, one would think this would be a very popular spot in Yosemite National Park, but every time I have been there, I have always had the view to myself.

(30mm, F/16, 13sec, ISO 100)

]]>
(Blue Ridge Imagery) alpenglow california camping dana fork hiking landscape landscape photography mountain mountains national park nature nature photography outdoor photographer photography reflection sierra nevada sierra nevada mountains sierras sunset tuolumne meadows yosemite yosemite national park http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/8/photographing-california-dana-fork Wed, 02 Aug 2017 20:24:48 GMT
Photographing California: Lake Tahoe’s Inspiration Point http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/7/photographing-california-lake-tahoe-s-inspiration-point Photographing Lake Tahoe’s Inspiration Point

Lake Tahoe's Inspiration PointLake Tahoe's Inspiration PointLake Tahoe’s Inspiration Point has the best view of Emerald Bay and faces East making it ideal for photographing the the sun rising over Lake Tahoe!

(30mm, 1/50 sec, F/16, ISO 100)

Lake Tahoe’s Inspiration Point has the best view of Emerald Bay and faces East making it ideal for photographing the the sun rising over Lake Tahoe!

Lake Tahoe's Inspiration Point SunriseLake Tahoe's Inspiration Point SunriseLake Tahoe’s Inspiration Point has the best view of Emerald Bay and faces East making it ideal for photographing the the sun rising over Lake Tahoe!

(42mm, 1/50 Sec, F/16, ISO 100)

Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay is a national natural landmark and is one of the prettiest parts of the lake.  Inspiration Point is located along route 89 on the Southwest side of Tahoe about 10 miles from South Lake Tahoe or about 33 miles South from Truckee.  It is very easy to get to, and its high vantage point allows photographers to see all of Emerald Bay as it leads into Lake Tahoe.  Inspiration Point has a pull off allowing photographers to safely park while taking pictures and is large enough to accommodate 5-6 vehicles.   Inspiration Point faces East making it ideal for photographing the sun rising over Lake Tahoe. The sun will rise behind the Sierra Mountains which if timed right can help create a beautiful sunstar. Fannette Island, which lies in Emerald Bay, makes a great focal point when photographing the bay.  During the morning, if the wind is calm, photographers are able to capture some of the lovely sunrise colors as they are reflected in the lake.  For some photography tips to help you improve your images click here.  

Fannette IslandFannette IslandLake Tahoe’s Inspiration Point has the best view of Emerald Bay and faces East making it ideal for photographing the the sun rising over Lake Tahoe!

(98mm 1/13 sec, F/16, ISO 100)

If you’re looking for a hike after watching an amazing sunrise, Eagle Falls is located about 200 feet up 89 for the pull off and has a great short hike to the base of the falls, which has some great swimming holes.

]]>
(Blue Ridge Imagery) california camping emerald bay hike hiking inspiration point lake tahoe lake tahoe's inspiration point landscape landscape photography mountain nature nature photography outdoor photographer photographing lake tahoe's inspiration point photography photography tips http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/7/photographing-california-lake-tahoe-s-inspiration-point Sat, 15 Jul 2017 02:37:17 GMT
Photographing Shenandoah NP: Range View Overlook http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/6/photographing-shenandoah-np-range-view-overlook Photographing Range View Overlook

Location: Shenandoah National Park: Northern District

Best time of year to Photograph: Year Around

Subject Focus: Sunrise, Sunset, Landscape, Nature, Milky Way 

Popularity: High

Mile Maker: 17.1 on Skyline Drive

Range View Overlook SunriseRange View Overlook SunriseA beautiful sunrise at Range View Overlook in Shenandoah National Park.

(18mm, 1/15 sec, F/11, ISO 400)

Range View Overlook in Shenandoah National Park is an amazing spot to watch the sunrise and sunset where the Blue Ridge Mountains meet the Virginia Piedmont.

Hogback MountainHogback MountainSunrise at Hogback Mountain in Shenandoah National Park. (28mm, 1/2 sec, F/11, ISO 100)

Range View Overlook has views of Jenkins Mountain to the south, Pignet Mountain and Mary’s Rock to the southwest, and Hogback Mountain to the west.  Range View Overlook is one of 72 beautiful overlooks along Skyline Dive. 105 miles long, Skyline Drive offers great views of the surrounding Blue Ride Mountains and valleys as it runs through the heart of Shenandoah National Park.  Range View Overlook is located at mile marker 17.1 along Skyline Drive and is located in the Northern District of Shenandoah, five miles north of Matthews Arm Campground. Looking southwest over the Blue Ridge Mountains, this 2,810 foot overlook has a great view of the Blue Ridge Mountains as they meet the rolling hills around Sperryville. The quickest way to reach this outlook is through the Thornton Gap entrance off of Route 211, and then drive North for 13.9 miles along Skyline Drive until you reach Range View Overlook, which will be on the right side.  Or if you are coming from D.C., enter through the Front Royal entrance, and drive south for 17.1 miles, and Range View Overlook will be on the left. 

Range View OverlookRange View OverlookA beautiful sunrise at Range View Overlook in Shenandoah National Park's Northern District. (26mm, 1/5sec, F/11, ISO 100)

Range View Overlook looks southwest, making it ideal for photographing side light at sunrises (click here for photography tips).   Side light is outstanding for adding texture and depth to an image.  There is a ridge directly behind the outlook, which helps photographing the ranges to the west, so they are not front lit until the sun is high in the sky, but the valleys to the north and south allow the light to slowly creep into the ocean, creating an amazing effect. Range View Overlook is also a great place to photograph the sun setting behind the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The only time of year without a great view of the sun setting behind the mountain ridges would be between May through July when the sun sets in the northwest. Also, because there are views to the south, this is a great location to photograph the Milky Way during the summer.  Range View Overlook is a huge overlook with plenty of places to park and to spread out along the overlook, giving photographers the chance to take a few different angles including a panorama (click here for tips on how to create a panorama). If you are in the Northern District of Shenandoah National Park and are hoping to photograph the sun rising, visit Thornton Hollow Overlook located about 10.5 miles south along Skyline Drive at mile marker 27.6.

Range View Overlook PanoRange View Overlook PanoA panoramic image of Range View Overlook in Shenandoah National Park. (18mm, 1/6 sec, F/11, ISO 100, 6 image Pano)

Milky Way Over Range View OverlookMilky Way Over Range View OverlookThe beautiful Milky Way over Range View Overlook in Shenandoah National Park.

(35mm, F/1.4, 15sec, ISO 3200)

Click Here for photo adventures in Shenandoah National Park!

Click here for more photo adventures in the Appalachians Mountains!

]]>
(Blue Ridge Imagery) Appalachian Appalachian Mountains Blue Ridge Blue Ridge Mountains Camping Hike Hiking Images Landscape Landscape Photography Matthews Arm Mountain Mountain Top National Park Nature Nature Photography Northern District Outdoor Outlook Overlook Photograph Tips Photographer Photographing Photographing Range View Overlook Photographing Shenandoah Photographing Shenandoah National Park Photography Photography Tips Pics Pictures Pictures of Range View Overlook Range View Range View Overlook Shenandoah Shenandoah National Park Skyline Drive Sunset Tips Trail Virginia http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/6/photographing-shenandoah-np-range-view-overlook Thu, 08 Jun 2017 04:20:15 GMT
Photographing Shenandoah NP: Pinnacles Overlook http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/6/photographing-shenandoah-np-pinnacles-overlook Photographing Pinnacles Overlook

Location: Shenandoah National Park: Central District

Best time of year to photograph: Year Around

Subject Focus: Sunrise, Landscape, Milky Way

Popularity: Low

Mile Maker: 35.1 on Skyline Drive

 

Pinnacles Overlook in Shenandoah National Park is a southern facing overlook in the Central District that provides one of the best views of Old Rag.  

Pinnacles Overlook PanoPinnacles Overlook PanoA beautiful sunrise at Pinnacles Overlook in Shenandoah National Park. (70mm, 2sec, F/10, ISO 100, 6 Image Pano) 

Looking south over the Blue Ridge Mountains, this 3,320 foot overlook has a great view of the southern Blue Ridge Mountains as well as a valley that leads the the rolling hills. Located at mile marker 35.1 on Skyline Dive, Pinnacles Overlook is one of 72 overlooks that are along Skyline Drive, which runs through the heart of Shenandoah National Park.  105 miles long, Skyline Drive offers great views of the surrounding Blue Ride Mountains and valleys. Just south of Mary’s Rock Tunnel and Hazel Mountain Overlook, the quickest way to reach this outlook is through the Thornton Gap entrance off of Route 211, and then drive south four and a half miles along Skyline Drive until you reach Pinnacles Overlook, which will be on the left side. 

Milky Way Over Old RagMilky Way Over Old RagThe Milky Way was shining bright over Old Rag in Shenandoah National Park.

(35mm, 15sec, F/1.4, ISO 3200)

Pinnacles Overlook looks due south, making it ideal for photographing side light as the sun rises out of sight to the east. Side light is outstanding for adding texture and depth to an image.  The valley that runs away from the overlook also provides a great leading line. If you are hoping to photograph the sun rising, visit Hazel Mountain Overlook or Buck Hollow Overlook- both are located about two miles north along Skyline Drive (click here for photography tips). Pinnacles Overlook is one of the best spots in Shenandoah to photograph Old Rag.  A valley runs perpendicular to the overlook to the base of Old Rag, providing a perfect leading line (click here for composition tips). Since this overlook faces south during the summer, you are able to photograph the Milky Way behind Old Rag.  

Pinnacles OverlookPinnacles OverlookA beautiful sunrise at Pinnacles Overlook in Shenandoah National Park.

(35mm, 1/4sec, F/10, ISO 100)

Click here if you want learn tips for photographing Hazel Mountain Overlook and here to learn tips for photographing Buck Hollow Overlook.

Click here for more photo adventures in the Appalachians Mountains!

Click Here for photo adventures in Shenandoah National Park!

]]>
(Blue Ridge Imagery) Appalachian Appalachian Mountains Blue Ridge Blue Ridge Mountains Camping Central District Hike Hiking Images Landscape Landscape Photography Mountain Mountain Top National Park Nature Nature Photography Outdoor Outlook Overlook Photograph Tips Photographer Photographing Photographing Pinnacles Overlook Photographing Shenandoah Photographing Shenandoah National Park Photography Photography Tips Pics Pictures Pictures of Pinnacles Overlook Pinnacles Pinnacles Overlook Shenandoah Shenandoah National Park Skyline Drive Sunrise Tips Trail Virginia http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/6/photographing-shenandoah-np-pinnacles-overlook Thu, 08 Jun 2017 03:18:24 GMT
Photographing Shenandoah NP: South River Falls http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/5/photographing-shenandoah-np-south-river-falls Photographing South River Falls

Location: Shenandoah National Park: Central District

Best time of year to photograph: Spring

Subject Focus: Waterfall, Nature 

Popularity: High

Distance: 4.4 miles out and back 

South River Falls is my favorite waterfall in Shenandoah National Park.  This 83 foot tall waterfall is a unique two-tiered waterfall.  The first tier is a single fall that flows into a rock shelf before separating into two parallel falls. South River Falls is located in the Central District of Shenandoah just north of the Swift Run Gap Entrance.  

South River FallsSouth River FallsSouth River Falls in Shenandoah National Park.

(17mm, 1.3sec, F/16, ISO 100)

The trail head for the South River Falls Trail is located at mile marker 63 off of Skyline Drive via the South River Picnic Area.  Loop around the picnic area until you reach the Eastern corner where you will find a sign and a map marking the beginning of the 4.2-mile trail.  Over the first mile hikers will descend down a well maintain and easy to follow trail.  The trail is marked with blue blazes.  At 0.2 miles, hikers will cross the Appalachian Trail; continue straight to follow the blue blazes down the mountain toward South River Falls.  After hiking down the mountain, the trail flattens out as it follows the South River.  There are two river crossings along this part of the trail, which will give you an idea of about how much water will be in the falls.  At 1.3 miles, hikers will arrive at a stone wall overlook.  This overlook is a great spot to take some pictures from above the falls.  There are a lot of trees, so depending on the time of year, you may not be able to see all of the falls.   

South River Falls Close UpSouth River Falls Close UpSouth River Falls in Shenandoah National Park. (70mm, 1.6sec, F/20, ISO 100)

To reach the bottom of the falls, continue along the trail past the overlook for 0.2 miles until you reach a fire road.  Turn right to follow the fire road 0.4 miles the rest of the way down the mountain until it ends.  Once you are at the end of the fire road, follow the blue blazes up the narrow rocky path for 0.3 miles to the base of the falls.  This is the best location to enjoy the beauty and to take pictures of the falls.  

South River Falls - SpringSouth River Falls - SpringSouth River Falls in Shenandoah National Park

(35mm, 1.3sec, F/20, ISO 100)

The canyon leading to the falls runs east and west, so in the morning the sun will be shining directly on the falls, but in the evening, the sun will be setting behind the falls allowing photographers to get a sunstar through the trees above the falls.  South River can be used as a great leading line to help guide the viewer’s eye to the waterfall (for more composition tips click here).  There is also a nice large flat rock on the right side of the falls to sit or to place a subject on. Once you are down taking your pictures and enjoying the falls, backtrack the 2.2 miles to return to the trail head.  For tips on how to photograph waterfalls with silky smooth water, click here.  

South River Falls- Right FallsSouth River Falls- Right FallsSouth River Falls in Shenandoah National Park

(180mm, 1sec, F/20, ISO 100)

South River Falls is the 3rd tallest waterfall in Shenandoah National Park and is a popular hike because of the beauty of this waterfall and because it is located so close to the Swift Run Gap Entrance.  I have hiked to this waterfall on multiple occasions and have always seen other people, including the time I went during the middle of the week with 1 foot of snow on the ground.  South River Falls is at its best during the spring or after a lot of rain.  During the summer and fall, there isn't much water in the river resulting in water just trickling over the falls.  Dogs are allowed on this trail, which makes it a great hike for the whole family. 

Click here to find more photo adventures in Shenandoah National Park!

Click here for more photography tips!

]]>
(Blue Ridge Imagery) Appalachian Appalachian Mountains Blue Ridge Blue Ridge Mountains Camping Central District Hike Hiking Images Landscape Landscape Photography Mountain National Park Nature Nature Photography Outdoor Outlook Overlook Photograph Tips Photographer Photographing Photographing Shenandoah Photographing Shenandoah National Park Photographing South River Falls Photography Photography Tips Pics Pictures Pictures of South River Falls Shenandoah Shenandoah National Park Skyline Drive South River South River Falls Tips Trail Virginia Waterfall http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/5/photographing-shenandoah-np-south-river-falls Thu, 01 Jun 2017 02:37:03 GMT
Photographing Appalachian Mountains: 20 Minute Cliff Overlook http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/5/photographing-appalachian-mountains-20-minute-cliff-overlook Photographing 20 Minute Cliff Overlook

 

Location: Blue Ridge Parkway

Best time of year to photograph: Year Around

Subject Focus: Landscape, Nature, Sunset

Popularity: Low 

Mile Maker: 19 on The Blue Ridge Parkway

 

With an outstanding 180 degree western facing view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 20 Minute Cliff Overlook is a great spot to enjoy a beautiful panoramic vista during sunset while driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

Mountain LaurelMountain LaurelThe mountain laurel were in full bloom atop 20 Minute Cliff Overlook. While on the Blue Ridge Parkway, 20 Minute Cliff Overlook is a great place to watch the sunset behind the Blue Ridge Mountains. (26mm, F/11, 1sec, ISO 100, Facing Southwest)

Located at mile marker 19 along the Blue Ridge Parkway, 20 Minute Cliff Overlook is super easy to access and has an amazing 180 degree panoramic view. Looking West over the Blue Ridge Mountains, this 2,715 foot overlook has a great view of the Priest to the South, Maintop Mountain and Fork Mountain to the West, and Round Mountain to the Northwest.  20 Minute Cliff Overlook is located 19 miles south from the northern most entrance of the Blue Ridge Parkway just off of Interstate 64, making it super easy to get to.  There is no park entrance fee, and the overlook has plenty of parking.  I always thought it was called 20 Minute Cliff Overlook because to takes about 20 minutes to drive there once on the parkway, but the name 20 originated from farmers working in the White Rock Valley below the overlook.  When the sun hit the rocks the farmers knew they had 20 minutes left before the sun set behind the ridge line. 

Sunset at 20 Minute Cliff OverlookSunset at 20 Minute Cliff OverlookWhile on the Blue Ridge Parkway, 20 Minute Cliff Overlook is a great place to watch the sunset behind the Blue Ridge Mountains. (16mm, F/11, 1/10sec, ISO 100, Facing West)

There are two main rock cliffs but plenty of places to spread out along the overlook, giving photographers the chance to take different angles, including a panorama (click here for tips on how to create a panorama).  The White Rock Valley and the multiple layers of mountain ranges make 20 Minute Cliff Overlook an ideal place to photograph the Blue Ridge Mountain (click here for photography tips).  From the overlook, the White Rock Valley runs due West, but with views to the Northwest and Southwest, this is a great place to capture the sun setting behind the mountains year around. During May-July and November-January, photographers will be able to capture a nice sidelight during sunset for part of the valley, which adds depth and detail in the mountain ranges.  The White Rock Valley can be used as a leading line (click here for composition tips). With it being along the Blue Ridge Parkway, this makes it a great spot to stop and watch the sunset after a day on the trail.

Hiking in the Blue Ridge MountainsHiking in the Blue Ridge MountainsThe Blue Ridge Mountains are full of great hikes.

(27mm, F/11, 1/30sec, ISO 100, Facing South)

Click here for more photography tips!

Click here for more photo adventures in the Appalachians Mountains!

Click Here for photo adventures in Shenandoah National Park!

 

]]>
(Blue Ridge Imagery) 20 Minute Cliff Overlook AT Appalachian Appalachians Blue Ridge Blue Ridge Mountains Blue Ridge Parkway Camping Hike Hiking Images Landscape Landscape Photography Mountain Mountain Top National Park Nature Nature Photography Outdoor Outlook Photo Tips Photographer Photographing 20 Minute Cliff Overlook Photographing Blue Ridge Parkway Photographing Blue Ridge Parkway National Park Photography Photography Tips Pics Pictures Pictures of 20 Minute Cliff Overlook Rock Sunset The Priest Tips Trail Virginia http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/5/photographing-appalachian-mountains-20-minute-cliff-overlook Wed, 31 May 2017 21:44:18 GMT
Photographing Shenandoah NP: The Point Overlook http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/4/photographing-shenandoah-np-the-point-overlook The Point Overlook

Location: Shenandoah National Park: Central District

Best time of year to photograph: Year Around

Subject Focus: Sunset, Landscape

Popularity: High

Mile Maker: 55.5 on Skyline Drive

 

The Point is the best overlook off of Skyline Drive to watch the sun set behind the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

The Point Overlook During FallThe Point Overlook During FallThe Point Overlook in Shenandoah National Park at sunset during Fall.

(26mm, 4sec, F/16, ISO 100, facing North-Northwest)

The Point Overlook is one of 72 overlooks for people to enjoy the beauty of Shenandoah National Park as they drive along Skyline Drive.  Skyline Drive is the road that winds through the heart of Shenandoah National Park, starting at Front Royal in the north and ending at Rockfish Gap in the south. Over 105 miles long, Skyline Drive offers great views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains and valleys while simultaneously offering photographers the chance to glimpse the outstanding scenery of Shenandoah.  The Point Overlook is located at mile marker 55.5 along Skyline Drive.  Located in the Central District of Shenandoah 4.5 miles south of Big Meadows, the Point Overlook allows viewers to enjoy the amazing sunsets while in Shenandoah National Park.  The quickest way to reach this outlook is through the Thornton Gap entrance off of Route 211 if you’re traveling from the north or the Swift Run Gap entrance off of Route 33 if you are traveling from the South.

The Point OverlookThe Point OverlookThe Point Overlook in Shenandoah National Park at sunset. (18mm, 1/40sec, F/16, ISO 100, facing West) 

The Point Overlook is just over 3,200 feet in elevation and has a beautiful view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The proximity of the Point Overlook to the campgrounds at Big Meadows and Lewis Mountain mix with the outstanding view makes this a very popular spot in Shenandoah, but most people never leave the pull off.  In the middle of the overlook is a break in the stone wall, which is the entrance to a trail that leads down to a small rocky cliff.  It’s a short 0.1 mile hike to the rocks, but most people who stop at the overlook will never make the hike.  This rocky cliff makes an ideal place to photograph the Point Overlook. The Point Overlook is located in an ideal place in the Central District of Shenandoah.  The Blue Ridge Mountains widen allowing photographers the ability to capture multiple layers of the Blue Ridge Mountain ranges rather than just one or two ranges found at most other outlooks in Shenandoah.  The exposed rock can also make a foreground element.  I believe the best part of this view is to the northwest making it ideal to photograph during the late spring and summer around the summer solstice, June 21, when the sun sets in the Northwest. During this period, the sun will set directly behind multiple ridges of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which will add depth to your photograph.

Fall at The Point OverlookFall at The Point OverlookThe Point Overlook is just over 3,200 feet in elevation and has a beautiful view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The proximity of the Point Overlook to the campgrounds at Big Meadows and Lewis Mountain mix with the outstanding view makes this a very popular spot in Shenandoah, but most people never leave the pull off. In the middle of the overlook is a break in the stone wall, which is the entrance to a trail that leads down to a small rocky cliff. It’s a short 0.1 mile hike to the rocks, but most people who stop at the overlook will never make the hike. This rocky cliff makes an ideal place to photograph the Point Overlook. The Point Overlook is located in an ideal place in the Central District of Shenandoah. The Blue Ridge Mountains widen allowing photographers the ability to capture multiple layers of the Blue Ridge Mountain ranges rather than just one or two ranges found at most other outlooks in Shenandoah. The exposed rock can also make a foreground element. I believe the best part of this view is to the northwest making it ideal to photograph during the late spring and summer around the summer solstice, June 21, when the sun sets in the Northwest. During this period, the sun will set directly behind multiple ridges of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which will add depth to your photograph. (80mm, 1/30sec, F/8, ISO 100, facing Northwest)

To learn more landscape photography tips click here.

To learn about more locations in to Photograph in Shenandoah National Park click here.

]]>
(Blue Ridge Imagery) appalachian appalachian mountains big meadow blue ridge blue ridge mountains camping central district hike hiking images landscape landscape photography mountain mountain top national park nature nature photography outdoor outlook overlook photograph tips photographer photographing photographing shenandoah photographing shenandoah national park photographing the point overlook photography photography tips pics pictures pictures of the point overlook shenandoah shenandoah national park skyline drive sunset the point the point overlook tips trail virginia http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/4/photographing-shenandoah-np-the-point-overlook Thu, 13 Apr 2017 20:16:05 GMT
7 Essential Waterfalls Photography Tips http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/3/7-essential-waterfalls-photography-tips 7 Essential Waterfalls Photography Tips

Ever wonder how a photographer captures a waterfall with silky smooth water flowing over a cliff or cascading down rocks?  Below are 7 essential photography tips that will help you create this effect on your next adventure.

 

1. Shoot on Overcast Days

Light is everything in photography, and the best time to photograph waterfalls is on overcast days especially after a few days of rain.  An overcast day provides even light across the waterfall, which prevents bright highlights and dark shadows from creating dappled light. The overcast sky also brings out the rich colors in moss and fall colors. But one of the best things about overcast skies is the ability to use longer shutter speeds without filters. To achieve long shutter speeds, set your camera’s ISO to its lowest native setting (usually ISO 100), and use a small aperture (f/10- F/22).   A long exposure is what creates the smooth silky effect in the water.  Usually, a 1 - 5 second exposure will create this effect.  If your camera is at its lowest ISO and smallest aperture and your shutter speed is still too fast, then you will need to add a filter to the front of your lens.

Blackwater Fall During FallBlackwater Fall During FallFall in West Virginia is always beautiful and Blackwater Falls in Blackwater Falls State Park was no exception.

2. Filters

When photographing waterfalls, the two most useful filters are a Circular Polarizer (CP) and a Neutral Density (ND).  Most landscape photographers use a CP filter to enhance the color of the sky, but it can also be used to remove the glare from water and wet rocks while enriching the colors to a deep natural look.  Most CP filters also block 1- 2 stops of light which will slow the shutter speed allowing you to create the smooth water effect.  ND filters are a dark piece of glass placed in front of the lens reducing the amount of light passing through lens. This allows photographers to use long exposures even on bright sunny days.  ND filters come in strengths blocking anywhere from 3 to 15 stops of light.  I used a 10 stop ND filter in the below image which allowed me to take a 7 minute exposure.

Great Falls SunriseGreat Falls SunriseThis was a 7 Minute exposure taken of the Great Fall in Great Falls National Park.

3. Solid Tripod

A long exposure is the key to creating the smooth silky water effect, and a sturdy tripod is required to ensure the camera is completely still during the length of the exposure.  If there is any movement or camera shake during the exposure, no matter how minor, the image will not be sharp.

Rose River FallsRose River FallsRose River Falls is located in the Central District of Shenandoah National Park just north of Big Meadows. This waterfall is best seen during the spring or after a heavy rain.

4. Composition

Having a great composition can make or break an image; luckily waterfalls usually offer a photographer a few different ways to compose the image.  A few examples are using the stream/river as a leading line to draw the viewer’s eye through the image to the waterfall or adding a human element to the image to show the size of the waterfall.  Also, when composing a waterfall’s image, limit the amount of sky that is can be seen.  When shooting on overcast days, the sky is gray and boring and can take away from the overall image leading the viewer’s eyes away from the waterfall. The key to composition is in composing the image to draw the viewer’s eyes through the image to the waterfall with little or no distractions.  For more landscape composition techniques click here.

Lower Dark Hollow FallsLower Dark Hollow FallsDark Hollow Fall is a beautiful waterfall located in the Central District of Shenandoah National Park next to Big Meadows.

5. Shoot Tight

Most photographers put their wide angle lens on their camera to capture the beauty of the whole waterfall, which is great, but once you have the image you like of the whole waterfall try photographing the waterfall with a telephoto lens.  A telephoto lens will allow you to create unique abstract images of even the most famous waterfalls.  With a telephoto lens, photographers are able to isolate small section of the falls which highlights the magic of texture and colors of nature.  

Blackwater FallsBlackwater FallsBlackwater Falls durning fall.

6. Rain Sleeve/ Lens Cloth

The main element in a waterfall is water, and water and electronics don’t mix well.  Waterfalls can create mist and spray which will get your camera wet.  To protect your camera and lens from the water, consider buying a rain sleeve for your camera to keep it dry.  There are some expensive rain covers out there, but I use OP/TECH USA rain sleeves, which are less than 7 USD for a pack of two and have done a great job keeping my camera and lens dry as a bone.  Along with a rain sleeve, a lens cloth is a must item to have with you.  When water droplets freckle your lens’ front element or filter, you will need a way to wipe them away without smearing them.  A good habit for photographing waterfalls is you take an image and then wipe your lens before taking another image.   

Dark Hollow FallsDark Hollow FallsDark Hollow Fall is a beautiful waterfall located in the Central District of Shenandoah National Park next to Big Meadows.

7. Don’t be Afraid to get Wet

As long as it is safe, getting in the river or stream allows photographers to create some breathtaking images.  The best time to photograph waterfalls just after a heavy rain when the river or creek is full of water, but be careful walking on wet rocks because they will be slippery.  Also, consider wearing waders.  A decent pair of waders will keep you warm and dry, which allows you to remain a long time in the river to take images.  Remember be very careful with your gear because, once again, water and electronics don’t mix well.

Cedar Run FallsCedar Run FallsCedar Run Falls in Shenandoah National Park, located in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains

For more photography tips Click Here

]]>
(Blue Ridge Imagery) Composition Essential Waterfall Photography Essential Waterfall Photography Tips Framing Gear Image Landscape Landscape Photography Landscape Photography Gear Landscape Tips Long Exposure Magic Hour Nature Outdoor Outdoor Photography Photo Photographer Photography Photography Gear Rule of Thirds Scale Slow Shutter Speed Tip Tips Tricks Tripod Waterfall Waterfall Photography Waterfall Photography Tips Waterfall Tips Waterfalls http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/3/7-essential-waterfalls-photography-tips Tue, 21 Mar 2017 13:29:46 GMT
Photographing Shenandoah NP: Moomans River Overlook http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/2/photographing-shenandoah-np-moomans-river-overlook Moormans River Overlook

 

Location: Shenandoah National Park- Southern District

Best time of year to photograph: Year Around

Subject Focus: Sunrise, Landscape

Popularity: Modorate

Mile Maker: 92 on Skyline Drive

 

Moormans River Overlook is one of the few eastern facing overlooks in Shenandoah National Park’s Southern District, which makes this a prime location for watching the sun rise when in this part of the park. 

Moormans River Overlook PanoMoormans River Overlook PanoMoormans River Overlook is located in the Southern District of Shenandoah National Park just off Skyline Drive. Moormans River Overlook faces due east making it ideal to watch the sunrises over the Blue Ridge Mountains. (86mm, 1/20sec, F/11, ISO 100, Facing Northeast)

At mile post 92 off of Skyline Drive, Moormans River Overlook offers photographers a 180 degree view of the eastern most Blue Ridge Mountains and rolling hills surrounding Charlottesville, Virginia.  The overlook also provides a clear view of the Charlottesville Reservoir, which could be used as a nice foreground element.  At 2,975 feet, Moormans River Overlook is one of 72 beautiful overlooks that are on Skyline Drive.  Skyline Drive is the road that winds through the heart of Shenandoah National Park, is 105 miles long, and offers great views of the surrounding Blue Ride Mountains and valleys while simultaneously offering photographers the chance to glimpse the outstanding scenery of Shenandoah. The quickest way to reach this outlook is through the Rockfish Gap entrance off of Interstate 64 and then drive 13 miles North along Skyline Drive until you reach Moormans River Overlook, which will be on the right side. 

Charlottesville ReservoirCharlottesville ReservoirCharlottesville Reservoir at sunrise from Moormans River Overlook in Shenandoah National Park. (70mm, 1/6sec, F/10, ISO 100, Facing East)

One thing I really love about this overlook is the fact there are no trees growing right up next to the outlook to obstruct the view.  Photographers have a clear eastern view even during the heart of the summer when the trees are full of leaves. The 180 degree view allows photographers to capture Cedar Mountain to the Northeast and Calf Mountain to the Southwest and will also allow photographers to capture the sun rising year around.  When looking to the Northeast or Southwest, photographers are able to capture multiple mountain ridges providing layers to their image.  Since Moormans River overlook is so close to interstate 64 and one of few eastern facing overlooks in Shenandoah’s Southern District, it can be popular.  With that said, there are enough parking spots, and because of the clear view, there is plenty of room for people to spread out.

Cedar Mountain SunriseCedar Mountain SunriseCedar Mountain at sunrise from Moormans River Overlook in Shenandoah National Park. (150mm, 1/25sec, F/10, ISO 100, Facing Northeast)

Moormans River Overlook is near a lot of great hikes in the Shenandoah National Park Southern District.  After you enjoy the views, I highly recommend checking out one of these hikes: Blackroack Summit and Frazier Discovery Trail.

 

Learn More: Essential Landscape Photography Tips,  Photographing Shenandoah National Park

]]>
(Blue Ridge Imagery) Appalachian Blue Ridge Blue Ridge Mountains Camping Hike Hiking Images Landscape Landscape Photography Moormans River Moormans River Overlook Mountain Mountain Top National Park Nature Nature Photography Outdoor Outlook Overlook Photographer Photographing Photographing Moormans River Overlook Photographing Shenandoah Photographing Shenandoah National Park Photography Photography Tips Pics Pictures Pictures of Moormans River Ooverlook Shenandoah Shenandoah National Park Skyline Drive Southern District Stony Man Sunrise Tips Trail Virginia http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/2/photographing-shenandoah-np-moomans-river-overlook Mon, 27 Feb 2017 20:47:03 GMT
Photographing Appalachian Mountains: Photographing Devils Knob Overlook http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/1/photographing-appalachian-mountains-devils-knob-overlook Photographing Devils Knob Overlook

Location: Near Wintergreen Resort off the Blue Ridge Parkway

Best time of year to photograph: Year Around

Subject Focus: Landscape, Nature, Sunset

Popularity: Medium

 

With an outstanding Southwest view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Devils Knob Overlook is a great spot to enjoy a beautiful panoramic view during sunset. 

Devils Knob Overlook PanoramaDevils Knob Overlook PanoramaDevils Knob Overlooks is a great spot to take image of the Blue Ridge Mountains at sunset. It has a Southwest View of Three Ridge Mountain and The Priest.

(7 image Panorama, 70mm, F/11, 1.6 sec, ISO 100)

Located next to Wintergreen Resort, Devils Knob is super easy to get to and has an amazing 180 degree panoramic view. Looking Southwest over the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway, this 3,800 foot overlook had a great view of Three Ridge Mountain and the Priest. Located on Devils Knob Loop, the overlook is not marked, but it is a very obvious turn off and has plenty of parking.  

Devils Knob OverlookDevils Knob OverlookDevils Knob Overlooks is a great spot to take image of the Blue Ridge Mountains at sunset. It has a Southwest View of Three Ridge Mountain and The Priest.

(16mm, F/11, 1/3 Sec, ISO 100)

There are a few places to spread out along the overlook giving photographers the chance to take a few different angles, including a panorama (click here for tips on how to create a panorama).  The multiple layers of mountain ranges make Devils Knob Overlook an ideal place to photograph the Blue Ridge Mountain (click here for photography tips).  During the winter near the Winter Solstice (December 21), the sun sets in the Southwest allowing photographers to capture the moment the sun dips behind the mountains.  During the Summer and Fall, photographers will be able to capture a nice sidelight during sunrise and sunset, which will add depth and detail in the mountain ranges.  The outlook also has a wooden fence photographers could use as a foreground interest and leading line for their composition (click here for composition tips). With it being so close to Wintergreen Resort and the Blue Ridge Parkway, this makes it a great spot to watch the sunset after a day on the slopes or on the trail.

Sunset at Devils Knob OverlookSunset at Devils Knob OverlookDevils Knob Overlooks is a great spot to take image of the Blue Ridge Mountains at sunset. It has a Southwest View of Three Ridge Mountain and The Priest. (21mm, F/11, 6 sec, ISO 100) 

For More Photo Tips and Location Ideas Click Here

]]>
(Blue Ridge Imagery) AT Appalachian Appalachians Blue Ridge Blue Ridge Mountains Camping Hike Hiking Images Landscape Landscape Photography Mountain Mountain Top National Park Nature Nature Photography Outdoor Outlook Photo Tips Photographer Photographing Blue Ridge Parkway Photographing Blue Ridge Parkway National Park Photographing Devils Knob Overlook Photography Photography Tips Pics Pictures Pictures of Devils Knob Overlook Rock Sunset The Priest Three Ridge Mountain Tips Trail Virginia Wintergreen Wintergreen Resort http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/1/photographing-appalachian-mountains-devils-knob-overlook Tue, 10 Jan 2017 17:31:51 GMT
7 Essential Technique for Creating Amazing Panoramic Images http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/1/7-essential-technique-for-creating-amazing-panoramic-images 7 Tips for Creating Amazing Panoramic Images

 

You just summited to the peak of a mountain or hiked to a beautiful outlook and want to create a panoramic image of the view; follow these tips to help you create a stunning panoramic view to show off your adventure.

Devils Knob Overlook PanoramaDevils Knob Overlook PanoramaDevils Knob Overlooks is a great spot to take image of the Blue Ridge Mountains at sunset. It has a Southwest View of Three Ridge Mountain and The Priest.

1. To create a panoramic image: first, you need a tripod and some type of head that will allow you to rotate the camera. Most tripods have a bubble level; make sure your tripod is level. 

 

2. Turn your camera vertically, and compose the middle part of the picture, making sure your horizon is level. 

Table Rock PanoTable Rock PanoThis is a 7 image pano of Table Rock in West Virginia.

3. Put your camera to Manual (M) mode, and dial in your camera settings.  It is important to be in (M) so your setting will not change as you rotate your camera to create the panoramic.  If you are not comfortable using (M), put your camera on aperture priority (A or Av).  Remember the setting, and then put your camera in (M) using those setting. 

 

4. Focus your lens, and then turn off auto focus.  This way your lens will not refocus as you are rotating your camera. 

Moormans River Overlook PanoMoormans River Overlook PanoMoormans River Overlook is located in the Southern District of Shenandoah National Park just off Skyline Drive. Moormans River Overlook faces due east making it ideal to watch the sunrises over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

5. Go to your start point, either all the way to the left or right, and take the first image. 

 

6. Rotate the camera to the the second image making sure you have at least 20% of the previous picture still in the frame for overlap.  Repeat until you have finished.  

Mount VesuviusMount Vesuvius

7. Upload your images to your computer and then select all of the pictures for the panorama. Open the selected pictures in a photo software program like Lightroom or Photoshop to create your panorama image.  The 20% overlap will help the software stitch time pictures together and give you your final image. 

 

What to lean more essential photography tips click the Links Below

7  Essential Landscape Photography Techniques 

7  Essential Landscape Composition Techniques

Photographing Shenandoah National Park

]]>
(Blue Ridge Imagery) Composition Composition Tips Depth of Field Essential Landscape Photography Essential Landscape Photography Tips Foreground Element Framing Gear Image Landscape Landscape Composition Tips Landscape Photography Landscape Photography Gear Landscape Tips Leading Lines Magic Hour Nature Outdoor Outdoor Photography Pano Panorama Panoramic Panoramic Images Photo Photographer Photography Photography Gear Rule of Thirds Scale Tip Tips Tricks Tripod http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2017/1/7-essential-technique-for-creating-amazing-panoramic-images Tue, 10 Jan 2017 17:29:22 GMT
Favorite Images From 2016 http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2016/12/favorite-images-from-2016 What a great year 2016 has been!  I got to do a lot of exploring this past year.  I discovered some amazing new places and was also able to return to some of my favorite spots.  Some of my favorite memories from this year were:

-Exploring Shenandoah National Park which included hiking through shin deep snow in the dark to watch the sunrise from Bearfence Mountain, hiking with my boys to six different waterfalls, and watching some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets I have ever seen.

Sunrise atop Bearfence MountainSunrise atop Bearfence MountainBlackrock Summit is located in the Central District of Shenandoah National Park. Just off the Appalachian Trail, the 360 degree view from the summit give hikers one of the best views in the park of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains for both sunrise and sunset.

Sunrise from Bearfence Mountain, Shenandoah National Park

Upper Doyles River FallsUpper Doyles River FallsUpper Doyles River Falls is located in the Southern District of Shenandoah National Park. The main prat of this two tier water fall is just under 30' and is the best waterfall in the Southern District.

Doyles River Falls, Shenandoah National Park

Sun Rising at Blackrock SummitSun Rising at Blackrock SummitThe sun rising over the Blue Ridge Mountains from Blackrock Summit located in the Southern District of Shenandoah National Park. Located along the Appalachian Trail, the 270 degree view from the summit give hikers one of the best views in the park of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.

Sunrise from Blackrock Summit, Shenandoah National Park

Stump at Hazel Mountain OverlookStump at Hazel Mountain OverlookStump at Hazel Mountain Overlook in Shenandoah National Park.

Sunrise from Hazel Mountain Overlook, Shenandoah National Park

Sunset on top of Frazier Discovery TrailSunset on top of Frazier Discovery TrailSunset on top of Frazier Discovery Trail in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia at the second outlook looking Northwest.

Sunset along the Frazier Discovery Trail, Shenandoah National Park

Sunrise at Buck Hollow OverlookSunrise at Buck Hollow OverlookSunrise at Buck Hollow Overlook in Shenandoah National Park.

Sunrise at Buck Hollow Overlook, Shenandoah National Park

Cedar Run FallsCedar Run FallsCedar Run Falls in Shenandoah National Park, located in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains Cedar Run Falls, Shenandoah National Park

-Experiencing an amazing sunset from Raven’s Roost along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Ravens Roost Overlook SunsetRavens Roost Overlook SunsetSunset at Ravens Roost Overlook off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia.

Sunset from Ravens Roost, Blue Ridge Parkway

-Watching the Milky Way travel over Bodie Island Lighthouse

Milky Way over Bodie LighthouseMilky Way over Bodie LighthouseMilky Way over Bodie Island Lighthouse in the Outer Bank in North Carolina.

Bodie Island Lighthouse, Outer Banks

-Exploring Lighthouses in Rhode Island 

Castle Hill LighthouseCastle Hill LighthouseSunset at Castle Hill Lighthouse.

Sunset at Castle Rock Light, Rhode Island

-Backpacking with friends in the Adirondack Mountains and summating the two tallest mountains in New York

Backpacking Mount MarcyBackpacking Mount MarcyBackpacker on Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains, in New York.

Mount Marcy, Adirondack Mountains

-Camping with my parents (who came to visit from California) in Black River Falls State Park and enjoyed seeing all of the amazing fall colors

Sunset at Lindy PointSunset at Lindy PointFall in West Virginia is always beautiful and Lindy Point near Blackwater Falls State Park was no exception.

Sunset at Lindy Point, Blackwater Falls State Park

Table RockTable RockSunrise from Table Rock in West Virginia During Fall

Sunrise at Table Rock, Canaan Valley Back Country

-Hiking along the mighty Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers

Shenandoah River State ParkShenandoah River State ParkSunset above the mighty Shenandoah River in Shenandoah River State Park. Sunset above the Shenandoah River, Shenandoah River State Park

Great Falls SunriseGreat Falls SunriseThis was a 7 Minute exposure taken of the Great Fall in Great Falls National Park.

Sunrise at the Great Falls, Great Falls National Park

This past year, I got to explore with old friends and new friends, spent lots of time hiking and camping with my two boys, and watched them grow up loving being in the outdoors and exploring new locations with me.  If 2017 is only half as much fun as this past year, it’s going to be a very good year.

]]>
(Blue Ridge Imagery) AT Adirondack Appalachian Backpacking, Adirondack, Blue Ridge Blue Ridge Mountains Camping Hawksbill Mountain Hike Hiking Images Landscape Landscape Photography Lighthouse Milky Way Mountain Mountain Top Mountains" National Park Nature Nature Photography New York North Carolina OBX Outdoor Outer Banks Outlook Photographer Photographing Betty's Rock Photographing Shenandoah Photographing Shenandoah National Park Pics Rhode Island Rock Shenandoah Shenandoah National Park Skyline Drive Sunrise Sunset Trail Virginia Waterfall http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2016/12/favorite-images-from-2016 Tue, 27 Dec 2016 15:09:58 GMT
7 Essential Landscape Photography Composition Techniques http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2016/12/7-essential-landscape-photography-composition-technique Are you looking for a fast and cheap way to improve your landscape photography?  Below are seven composition techniques that, when applied, will help you improve your landscape photography and take it to the next level.

 

1. The Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is one of the most used rules of composition and one of the most powerful.  To apply this rule, visually divide the view finder into 3 equal parts both horizontally and vertically to create a grid.  Next, place the subject at one of the intersections.  Another use of the rule and the fastest way and easiest way to improve the quality of your landscape images is to the move the horizon from the middle of your view finder to along the line at top 1/3 or bottom 1/3 of the view finder.   When both parts are combined, the rule of thirds can create a strong impact on the landscape image.   In the image below, the tower is located on the left third of the frame and intersects the bridge at the bottom third of the frame.

Golden Gate Bridge, CAGolden Gate Bridge, CA

2. Leading Line

When landscape photographers incorporate leading lines into their images, it helps guide the viewers’ eyes to the subject.  A road, coast line or mountain ridge are just a few examples of leading lines.  When the leading line is a diagonal line, it will not only help guild the viewers’ eyes to the subject, but it can also add depth to the image by showing the distance between elements in the foreground and background.

Fall West Virginia RoadFall West Virginia RoadFall in West Virginia is always beautiful and the Canaan Loop Road that runs through Blackwater Falls State Park was no exception.

3. Framing 

Seeing your subject through a frame is a powerful way to draw your viewers' eyes to what is important.  Landscape photographers can use many things to frame the subject including a window, tent door, trees branches, or even a cave.  Landscape photographers can become very creative on what to use to frame the subject, but keep in mind, you want the frame to add to the final image and not become the focal point or be too distracting. When selecting a frame, make sure it is not too bright, the human eye naturally travels to bright objects.  Also, make sure the the camera is focused on the the subject and not the fame, because, like bright objects, the human eye naturally travels to the sharpest point in the image.  

American Golden FinchA golden finch sits on a branch.

4. Scale

When you take a 3D world and turn it into a 2D image, depth perception and the size of the subject can get lost in the transformation.  When a landscape photographer wants to convey how large or small the subject is in the image, they typically use an object that is recognizable such as a person or a vehicle.  When the recognizable object is next to the subject, it emphasizes the actual size of the subject.  For example, when a person is standing next to a waterfall, the viewer automatically understands how large that waterfall actually is.  In the image below the human element provides the viewer a scale for the size of the valley and surrounding mountains. 

Hiker Atop Table RockHiker Atop Table RockA hiker sits atop Table Rock to enjoy the view.

5. Clear Subject

In photography, simplicity is key.  When a picture is too busy and does not have a clear subject, the viewer does not know where to look and where to focus their attention.  This can lead to the viewer becoming frustrated and then no longer engaging in the image.  To prevent this, landscape photographers make sure they have a clear subject for their viewers to focus their attention. 

Red TreeRed TreeA red tree in West Virginia.  

6. Patterns 

Nature is full of patterns, and once a landscape photographer teaches his/her eye to spot them, they are easy to find.  The flowers next to the trail, ripples in the lake, leaves on the trail, or a hillside full of trees are a few examples of patterns. In order for the pattern to have the full effect in your image, it must be isolated from everything else and take up the entire frame.  This will convey to the viewer that the pattern continues beyond the edges of the images.    

Flowers in ShenandoahFlowers in ShenandoahFlowers along a trail in Shenandoah National Park

7. Know when to break the rules

Ansel Adams said, “There are no rules for good photographers.  There are just good photographers.”  After you become comfortable with the above composition techniques and how to apply them to your images, you are now ready to break them.  There is no right or wrong way to compose your image, but applying these techniques to your image could make them more appealing.  Someone told me a when I first got started in photography, “If you want to break a composition rule, you need to learn and understand it first.  This will to ensure that when you break the rule, it will be more effective.”  Just keep in mind, an image that is poorly composed will result in the viewers not having a clear subject or focal point causing them to be unsure about where they should look and to lose interest in your image. 

Cedar Run FallsCedar Run FallsCedar Run Falls in Shenandoah National Park, located in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains

If you want to lean more Landscape Photography tips click:  7 Essential Landscape Photography Tips

To learn more photography tips click here 

]]>
(Blue Ridge Imagery) Clear Subject Composition Composition Tips Depth of Field Essential Landscape Photography Essential Landscape Photography Tips Foreground Element Framing Gear Image Landscape Landscape Composition Tips Landscape Photography Landscape Photography Gear Landscape Tips Leading Lines Magic Hour Nature Outdoor Outdoor Photography Photo Photographer Photography Photography Gear Rule of Thirds Scale Tip Tips Tricks Tripod http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2016/12/7-essential-landscape-photography-composition-technique Fri, 23 Dec 2016 04:13:09 GMT
Photographing Shenandoah NP: Betty's Rock http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2016/12/photographing-shenandoah-np-bettys-rock Photographing Betty’s Rock

Location: Shenandoah National Park- Central District

Best time of year to photograph: Year Around

Subject Focus: Landscape, Nature, Sunset

Popularity: Low

Distance: 0.7 mile Out and Back

 

This hidden treasure is located in Shenandoah National Park Central District between two very popular hikes, Hawksbill Mountain and Stony Man Mountain, and offers an outstanding sunset view without the crowds.   

Sunset at Betty's RockSunset at Betty's RockSunset atop Betty's Rock in Shenandoah National Park, located in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains.

(22mm, 1/5sec, F/16, ISO 100)

 

To reach Betty’s Rock, park at Crescent Rock Overlook located at mile marker 44.5 along Skyline Drive. Betty’s Rock Trailhead begins on the north end of the outlook where the sidewalk and rock wall end.  Around 100 yards past the outlook, hikers will come to a trail junction - stay straight at the junction. The trail parallels Skyline Drive for the first 0.1 miles before slowly drifting west. If you start descending toward the Appalachian Trail, you are heading the wrong way.  Betty’s Rock Trail is well marked and easy to follow.  Over the 0.35 miles, hikers will only gain about 150 feet in elevation.  The trail dead ends into the the rock, so it is impossible to miss. After hiking to the top of the rock, hikers will be rewarded with a great west facing view.  

Betty's RockBetty's RockSunset atop Betty's Rock in Shenandoah National Park, located in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains.

(18mm, 1.3sec, F/16, ISO 100)

Betty’s rock gets hikers above the trees creating a 180 degree west facing view.  Hawksbill Mountain is located to the southwest and Stony Man Is located to the northwest.  If you are photographing from Betty’s Rock around the summer solstice, June 21, the sun sets in the northwest behind Stony Man Mountain.  If you are photographing Betty’s Rock in the fall or winter near the winter solstice, December 21, the sun sets in the southwest and will dip behind Hawksbill Mountain. Betty’s Rock is a large greenstone outcropping with some interesting vertical pieces, which can easily be used as a foreground element to add some texture to your images.  If you are going to be photographing the sunset, remember to bring a headlamp or flashlight for the hike back to your vehicle. To complete the hike, follow the same trail 0.35 miles back down to your vehicle.  

I hiked Betty’s Rock during the peak fall season when Shenandoah is packed with visitors, but I did not see a single person on the trail or at the rock.  This is a great hike to view the sun setting in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains while being able to enjoy the quiet of nature.  Also, if you are like me and have small kids, this is a outstanding beginner hike for them. It’s short, not too steep, and has a great vistas for them to enjoy.  If you would like to add another short hike, check out Little Stony Man Cliffs which is located 5.5 miles north along Skyline Drive.

Learn More: Essential Landscape Photography Tips,  Photographing Shenandoah National Park

SaveSaveSaveSave

]]>
(Blue Ridge Imagery) AT Appalachian Betty's Rock Blue Ridge Blue Ridge Mountains Camping Central District Hawksbill Mountain Hike Hiking Images Landscape Landscape Photography Mountain Mountain Top National Park Nature Nature Photography Outdoor Outlook Photographer Photographing Photographing Betty's Rock Photographing Shenandoah Photographing Shenandoah National Park Photography Photography Tips Pics Pictures Pictures of Betty's Rock Rock Shenandoah Shenandoah National Park Skyline Drive Stony Man Sunset Tips Trail Virginia http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2016/12/photographing-shenandoah-np-bettys-rock Tue, 20 Dec 2016 23:09:31 GMT
Photographing Appalachian Mountains: Table Rock http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2016/11/photographing-appalachian-mountains-table-rock Photographing Table Rock

 

Location: Canaan Backcountry, West Virginia 

Best time of year to photograph: Spring, Summer, and Fall

Subject Focus: Landscape, Nature, Sunrise

Popularity: Low

Distance: 2.4 mile out and back

 

This hidden gem is located near Lindy Point and Blackwater Falls State Park.  Unlike Lindy Point, which is very popular, hikers are usually able to enjoy the views from Table Rock all by themselves.  

Table RockTable RockSunrise from Table Rock in West Virginia During Fall

(Table Rock looking South, 21mm, F/16, 12sec, ISO 100) 

 

The Table Rock trail head is located off of Canaan Loop Rd.  I highly recommend driving to the trailhead from Highway 32 (Appalachian HWY).  It is possible to reach the trailhead from Blackwater State Park and is only four miles down the road from the Lindy Point Trailhead, but those four miles are very rough.  A lifted 4x4 wheel drive vehicle with a short wheel base is required driving this section of the Canaan Loop Road.  The road from Highway 32 is a lot tamer.  Its a normal gravel/dirt road with small potholes and some shallow ruts, but any vehicle will be able to drive this section of Canaan Loop Road. While driving down the road, stay right at all of the road forks to stay on the Canaan Loop Road. The Table Rock Trailhead is about 9.5 miles down the road and is located on the lefthand side and is marked with a wooden sign.  There is a nice turn off to park in so your vehicle will not be on the side of the road.  

Fall Road in West VirginiaFall Road in West VirginiaFall in West Virginia is always beautiful and the Canaan Loop Road that runs through Blackwater Falls State Park was no exception.

(Canaan Loop Road, 86mm, F/10, 0.5sec, ISO100)

 

Once at the trailhead, follow the Table Rock Trail Southeast for 1.2 miles.  Even though the trail is not very popular, it is very well marked and easy to follow.  Unlike the drive, the trail is very easy, and hikers will gain under 200 feet in elevation over the 1.2 miles.  Most of the hike has a very gradual incline resembling a false flat.  After a great hike though the Canaan Backcountry, hikers will be rewarded with an outstanding 200 degree view.  

Trail to Table RockTrail to Table RockHiking the trail to Table Rock is very beautiful.

(Table Rock Trail, 31mm F/4, 1/60sec, ISO 400)

Table Rock offers a breathtaking panorama view of the Allegheny Mountains.  This 200 degree, unobstructed vista allows hikers views from the north, to east and south, and even south southwest making it ideal for sunrise images.   A nice deep valley zigzags to the northeast away from Table Rock, which can be used as a natural leading line for pictures, but at the same time offering some layers to show depth while being able to photograph the sun rising over the Allegheny Mountains.  That same valley continues directly below Table Rock zigzagging to the southwest and intersecting with another valley heading southeast.  This south view will allow hikers the ability to capture side light at sunrise, which is great for seeing all of the texture in the mountains ranges, and during the fall, it helps showcase all of the beautiful fall colors. Table Rock offers a very large quartzite outcropping, which can easily be used as a foreground element. If you are going to be photographing the sunrise, remember to bring a headlamp or flashlight in order to make the hike easier.  While on the Table Rock be mindful of snakes bathing in the sun.  The first time I was there, I saw a copperhead.  I left it alone, and it left me alone, so just watch your step.

Table Rock Sun StarTable Rock Sun StarSunrising behind Allegany Mountains in West Virginia. This was taken from Table Rock. (Table Rock looking Northeast, 18mm, F/16, 1/20sec, ISO 100)

This is an out and back hike, so after taking pictures, enjoying the view, and being out in nature, follow the same trail back down to your vehicle. If interested in camping overnight, back down the trail about 500 yards from Table Rock is a clear, flat area big enough for two tents.  There is no water source, so backpackers would have to bring in everything they would need. Also, if you are like me and have young kids, I would highly recommend bringing them. This hike is a great hike for kids; it’s short and not steep with the reward of an outstanding view.  While in the area, I also recommend exploring Blackwater Falls State Park, Lindy Point, and the Dolly Sods Wilderness.  

Epic View From Table RockEpic View From Table RockHiker enjoying the epic view from Table Rock.

(Table Rock looking North, 35mm, F/16, 1/60sec, ISO 100)

 

]]>
(Blue Ridge Imagery) allegheny mountains appalachian mountains appalachians blackwater falls blackwater falls state park blue ridge imagery blue ridge mountains camping canaan valley fall hike hiking landscape landscape photography lindy point nature nature photography summit sunrise sunset table rock west virginia http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2016/11/photographing-appalachian-mountains-table-rock Fri, 18 Nov 2016 14:41:45 GMT
Photographing Shenandoah NP: Frazier Discovery Trail http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2016/9/photographing-shenandoah-np-frazier-discovery-trail Photographing Frazier Discovery Trail

 

Location: Shenandoah National Park-Southern District

Best time of year to photograph: Year Around

Subject Focus: Landscape, Nature, Sunset

Popularity: Low

Distance: 1.3 mile loop trail or 3.7 mile out and back

 

If you are looking to for a great location to photograph sunsets in Shenandoah National Park while enjoying the view by yourself, then you need to hike the Frazier Discovery Trail.  

Sunset, Sunstar at Frazier Discovery TraiSunset, Sunstar at Frazier Discovery TraiSunset on top of Frazier Discovery Trail in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia at the second outlook looking West. (Second outlook looking West, 18mm, 1/3sec, F/16, ISO 100)

There are two ways to the summit: the first is a 1.3 mile loop that starts at the Loft Mountain Wayside parking lot at mile marker 79.5 off of Skyline Drive in the southern district of Shenandoah National Park.  The second way is a 3.7 mile hike out and back from the Loft Mountain Campground, but keep in mind the campground is only open certain months of the year-usually May through October.  If you plan to photograph from the outlooks atop Frazier Discovery Trail during the off season, then you will have to park at the Loft Mountain Wayside.  

Last color at Frazier Discovery TrailLast color at Frazier Discovery TrailSunset on top of Frazier Discovery Trail in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia at the second outlook looking Southwest.

(Second outlook looking Southwest, 200mm, 4sec, F/16, ISO 100)

Both trails are well-marked and easy to follow.  If choose to hike the 1.3 mile loop, start at Loft Mountain Wayside. Hike across Skyline drive, and the trail loop starts about 0.1 miles from the parking lot.  It doesn't matter if you go left or right, but I chose to take the left trail up to the top.  Follow the blue blazes as it winds up the 473 feet up to the summit.  In 0.6 miles, you will be at the first of two rocky outlooks.  This outlook looks mostly Northwest to North making it ideal to photograph this first outlook during the late spring and summer around the summer solstice, June 21, when the sun sets in the Northwest. During this period, the sun will set directly behind the Blue Ridge Mountains facing this outlook.  If you are photographing Shenandoah National Park during the fall or winter, then you are able to capture some nice side light on the mountain ridges, which will help illuminate the textures and the fall colors. If you are photographing Shenandoah National Park during the late summer through mid spring and want to actually capture the sun setting behind the mountains, then I suggest hiking to the second outlook.  

Frazier Discovery Trail First outlookFrazier Discovery Trail First outlookSunset on top of Frazier Discovery Trail in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia at the first outlook looking North.

(First outlook looking North, 16mm, 1/60sec, F/13, ISO 100)

The second outlook is atop the Frazier Discovery Trail 0.1 miles from the first.  Hike back to the Frazier Discovery Trail, and turn right at the junction with the Appalachian Trail.  Follow the white blazes of the Appalachian Trail 0.1 miles along the ridge line.  This part of the trail is relatively flat.  The second outlook will be on the right hand side of the trail.  If you reach the second junction on the Appalachian Trail and the Frazier Discover Trail, you have gone too far, so backtrack up the trail about 300 yards to locate the unmarked side trail that leads to the second outlook.  

Frazier Discovery Trail looking SouthwestFrazier Discovery Trail looking SouthwestSunset on top of Frazier Discovery Trail in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia at the second outlook looking west. (Second outlook looking Southwest, 16mm, 30sec, F/16, ISO 100)

The Frazier Discovery Trail’s second outlook looks mostly West to Northwest.  This outlook is ideal anytime of the year to photograph sunset in Shenandoah.  But if you are photographing the Shenandoah from late summer to mid-spring, then I suggest photographing at this outlook in order to photograph the sun dipping behind the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Both outlooks offer a very large greenstone outcropping, which can easily be used as a foreground element.  The greenstone also allows photographers a way to get above the trees.  If you are going to be photographing the sunset, remember to bring a headlamp or flashlight for the hike back to your vehicle.To complete the loop, hike back to the Appalachian Trail, and turn right.  In about 300 yards, you will reach the Appalachian Trail and the Frazier Discover Trail junction.  Turn right at the junction, and follow the blue blazes 0.6 mile down the mountain back to the Loft Mountain Wayside parking lot.  

Sunset on top of Frazier Discovery TrailSunset on top of Frazier Discovery TrailSunset on top of Frazier Discovery Trail in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia at the second outlook looking Northwest. (Second outlook looking Northwest, 18mm, 1/2sec, F/16, ISO 100)

The Frazier Discover Trail is a great hike in the park if you like to enjoy nature by yourself.  I was there on a free park entry weekend and only saw one person on the trail. I photographed both outlooks for a few hours and saw no one.  Also, if you are like me and have have small kids, this is a outstanding beginner hike for them. It’s short, not too steep, and has two great vistas from them to enjoy.  If you would like to add another short hike, check out Blackrock Summit, which is located 5.3 miles south off of Skyline Drive.  Blackrock Summit is a great location for sunrise pictures. Click here to learn how to photograph Blackrock Summit.

Family atop Frazier Discovery TrailFamily atop Frazier Discovery TrailFrazier Discovery Trail in Shenandoah National park, Virginia.

(Second outlook looking Northwest, 16mm, 1/160sec, F/8, ISO 100)

Learn More: Essential Landscape Photography Tips,  Photographing Shenandoah National Park

]]>
(Blue Ridge Imagery) AT Appalachian Blackrock Summit Blue Ridge Blue Ridge Mountains Camping Frazier Discovery Trail Hike Hiking Images Landscape Landscape Photography Loft Mountain Mountain Mountain Top National Park Nature Nature Photography Outdoor Outlook Photographer Photographing Photographing Frazier Discovery Trail Photographing Shenandoah Photographing Shenandoah National Park Photography Photography Tips Pics Pictures Pictures of Frazier Discovery Trail Rock Shenandoah Shenandoah National Park Skyline Drive Southern District Sunset Tips Trail Virginia http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2016/9/photographing-shenandoah-np-frazier-discovery-trail Thu, 29 Sep 2016 13:00:00 GMT
Photographing Shenandoah NP: Buck Hollow Overlook http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2016/9/photographing-shenandoah-np-buck-hollow-overlook Photographing Buck Hollow Overlook

Location: Shenandoah National Park: Central District

Best time of year to photograph: Summer

Subject Focus: Sunrise, Landscape, Nature

Popularity: Low to Modorate 

Mile Maker: 32.8 on Skyline Drive

 

Buck Hollow Overlook is one of 72 beautiful overlooks that are on Skyline Drive.  Skyline Dive is the road that winds through the heart of Shenandoah National Park. Over 105 miles long, Skyline Drive offers great views of the surrounding Blue Ride Mountains and valleys while simultaneously offering photographers the chance to glimpse the outstanding scenery of Shenandoah.  Buck Hollow Overlook is located at Mile marker 32.8 long Skyline Drive.  Located in the northern part of the Central District of Shenandoah less then one mile south of Mary’s Rock Tunnel, Buck Hollow Overlook allows viewers to enjoy the beautiful sunrises while in Shenandoah National Park.  The quickest way to reach this outlook is through the Thornton Gap entrance off of Route 211 and then drive south 1.8 miles along Skyline Drive until you reach Buck Hollow Overlook which will be on the left side. 

Sunrise at Buck Hollow OverlookSunrise at Buck Hollow OverlookSunrise at Buck Hollow Overlook in Shenandoah National Park.

(Buck Hollow Overlook, 17mm, F/16, 1sec, ISO 100)

Buck Hollow Overlook has an outstanding view of the some Blue Ridge Mountains and is less popular because of its proximity to Mary’s Rock Tunnel Overlook and Hazel Mountain Overlook.  Buck Hollow Overlook looks Northeast making it ideal to photograph during the late spring and summer around the summer solstice, June 21, when the sunrises in the Northeast. During this period, the sun will rise directly behind the Blue Ridge Mountains.  If you are photographing Shenandoah National Park during the fall or winter, then you are able to capture some nice side light on the mountain ridges which will help illuminate the textures and the fall colors. If you are photographing Shenandoah National Park during the late summer through mid spring and want to actually capture the sun rising, then I suggest traveling south along Skyline Drive 0.2 miles to Hazel Mountain Overlook, which is an overlook that has a spectacular due east vista.  Click here if you want learn how to photograph Hazel Mountain Overlook.

 

Learn More: Essential Landscape Photography Tips,  Photographing Shenandoah National Park

]]>
(Blue Ridge Imagery) AT Appalachian Appalachian Mountains Blue Ridge Blue Ridge Mountains Buck Hollow Buck Hollow Overlook Camping Central District Hike Hiking Images Landscape Landscape Photography Mary's Rock Tunnel Mountain Mountain Top National Park Nature Nature Photography Outdoor Overlook Photographer Photographing Photographing Buck Hollow Overlook Photographing Shenandoah Photographing Shenandoah National Park Photography Photography Tips Pics Pictures Rock Shenandoah Shenandoah National Park Skyline Drive Skyline Drive Outlook Sunrise Tips Trail Tunnel Virginia http://blueridgeimagery.com/blog/2016/9/photographing-shenandoah-np-buck-hollow-overlook Tue, 20 Sep 2016 02:38:43 GMT