Photographing Shenandoah NP: Range View Overlook

June 07, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

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)

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