Favorite Images From 2017

December 21, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Favorite Images of 2017


With the year starting off with a great snowfall that covered the landscape with its beautiful fluffy white snow, it’s only fitting that 2017 should end with a snow, once again covering most of the east coast.  This past year has been another great year for my family and me.  I got to explore areas of the east coast that I have never been but have been on my bucket list of places to explore and photograph.  One of those places was Falling Spring Falls in Virginia’s Allegheny County.  This is one of the prettiest waterfalls in Virginia as well as on the east coast, and if you have not been to this waterfall, it is well worth the trip.  My family and I also continue to photograph and explore areas of Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway, hiking through some of the best terrain in Virginia.  

During the summer, my family and I traveled back to California to visit my family.  It was great to see my family, and while there, I made a trip through the Sierra Mountains, which included stops at Alpine Lake, Big Trees, Desolation Wilderness, Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe and gold panning at Coloma.  It was great to finally see the lakes and reservoir filled to the brim with water alongside the snowy mountain peaks.  

The fall season out here on the east coast was very interesting this year.  In some areas it came very early, and other areas it came VERY late.  While photographing areas in West Virginia, fall colors would be peaking in one area, but the next valley over would still be 90% green.  One of my favorite trips I took this fall was a camping trip with my sons to Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia.  This is one of my favorite areas to explore and photograph, and I was able to capture some amazing images on this trip, including my favorite image that I took this year atop Twin Pinnacles Trail.  2017 was a great year, and I looking forward to the adventures of 2018. Below are my 15 favorite images from this year.  Click the link below each image to read more about the location, which includes some helpful photo tips. 

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.

Click here for photography tips for photographing Devils Knob Overlook

Falling Spring FallsFalling Spring FallsFalling Spring Falls

Click here for photography tips for photographing Falling Spring Falls

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.

Click here for photography tips on photographing 20 Minute Cliff Overlook

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

Click here for photography tips on photographing Range View Overlook

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.

Click here for photography tips on photographing Dana Fork

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!

Click here for photography tips on photographing Lake Tahoe's Inspiration Point

Yosemite FallsYosemite FallsYosemite Falls from Swinging Bridge

Yosemite Falls from Swinging Bridge

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.

Click here for photography tips on photographing Beauty Mountain Trail

Humpback RockHumpback RockWhen I woke up a 3:30am I quickly rechecked the weather which still said partly cloudy, so I grab my camera gear and headed to the Blue Ridge Mountains. As I drove, the close I got to the mountains the less stars I could see until I could not see any out the window. As I drove up Afton Mountain and turned onto the Blue Ridge Parkway I started driving was driving through thick fog and I was just hoping it would get above it or it would burn off. Nothing changed when I reach the the trail head for Humpback Rock. As I hiked up the trail I finally pop out of the fog as I neared the summit and I was rewarded with a breathtaking sunrise!

Click here for photographing tips on photographing Humpback Rock

Fall at the Glade Creek Grist MillFall at the Glade Creek Grist MillThe best part about camping in the Babcock State Park is the location! It is close to some amazing places and is great spot for a base camp while you are out exploring the New River Gorge and the surrounding mountains. Within the park, a must stop is the Glade Creek Grist Mill. The Grist Mill is located right on Glade Creek and during the summers is open for tours.

Click here for photography tips on photographing Babcock State Park

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.

Click here for photography tips on photographing The Point Overlook

Sugarland OverllokSugarland OverllokThe Sugarland Overlook is located about a mile up from the ranger station and is on the righthand side of the road. Sugarland Overlook is easy to access and has a lot of parking spots for visitors to enjoy the amazing view. There is a small park fee to enter the park, but the views and hiking trails make it worth it. The overlook is large, which will allow photographers to spread out. Since it provides an outstanding northeast to east view of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains, it makes this location ideal to photograph the sun rising behind the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Outlook is named Sugarland because of the many sugar maple trees that are visible from the outlook. The view to the east has multiple valleys and mountains ridges, which will help add depth to your images. After photographing the sunset, make sure you check out some of the amazing trails in the park.

Click here for photography tips on photographing Sugarland Overlook

Wilburn Ridge SunriseWilburn Ridge SunriseAt the junction of the AT, turn right and follow it north for 0.5 miles. This section of the AT is called Wilburn Ridge. It had a lot of rock piles for hikers to explore. Also, if you like rock climbing or bouldering, there are a lot of great spots to climb along Wilburn Ridge. There are three main rock piles spread out along the ridge, all of which offer outstanding 360 degree views of the surrounding Appalachian Mountains. On clear days, hikers can see over 70 miles away. I personally like the view from the third rock pile, and it usually isn’t as crowded as the first two. In fact, I often have the whole rock pile to myself. The best view is to the East making this an ideal place to watch the sunrise beehive the Blue Ridge Mountains. Anywhere along Wilburn Ridge is a great place to stop and eat lunch/snack while taking in the amazing views.

Click here for photography tips on photographing Wilburn Ridge

Little Pinnacles Fall SunsetLittle Pinnacles Fall SunsetLittle Pinnacles Outlook as a few rock that you can scramble up on top of to help get above some of the plants and trees for an unobstructed view to the West and Southwest. But the view from the base of the rocks is also outstanding. The rocks can easily be used as a foreground element to add some texture to your images. This view has so many mountain ranges and valleys which could be used to add layers and depth to your images. Little Pinnacles is an ideal location for photographing sunset because of the views to the West and Southwest.

Click here for photography tips on photographing Twin Pinnacles Trail

Fall Color at Buck Hollow OverlookFall Color at Buck Hollow OverlookBuck 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 for photography tips on photographing Buck Hollow Overlook


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