Making the most of February

February 11, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

The setting sun warms up even the grayest of winter scenes...

Groundhog Mountain Blue Ridge ParkwayGroundhog Mountain Blue Ridge ParkwayGroundhog Mountain lookout tower on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

February in the southeast can either be super awesome, or super lame.  So far this year it's been LAME!  Mostly because we have been pretty much snow free(except for far western Virginia), and I just got over one of the worst colds I have experienced in the last decade or so(seriously I forgot what they even felt like).

Even though I have been sick and fatigued the last few days, I still tried to make the most of it, getting out and shooting as much as I could.  

I bundled up, and went to the Hiwasee Trestle on the New River Trail.  I mounted the 10-Stop B+W filter to my K3, stradled my tripod over the railing of the bridge, and tried a few exposures.  It was a little tricky making sure I got the whole scene exposed properly, but since it was a fairly low contrast scene, it didn't prove to be too difficult.

New River Trail TrestleNew River Trail TrestleHistoric Train Trestles of the New River Trail State Park in Virginia.

This time around, I was drawn to the mount where they used to run power/telephone/whatever lines along the bridge.  There was a stream of bubbles flowing through this scene, but they must not have been bright enough to shine through the 10 stop filter.  I had hoped for some long wispy lines, and maybe a 6 stop filter would have allowed me that, but a 6 stop is a filter I do not have:)

New River Trail TrestleNew River Trail TrestleHistoric Train Trestles of the New River Trail State Park in Virginia.

If you follow my blog, you may be familiar with my 'Why the moon doesn't matter' post from last year(click the link to go back to that awesome day).  I was on this bridge when I met two of the most interesting people I have came in contact with.  And since I took the time to have a conversation with them, I now get to say "it's good to see you again".  The guy in the below photo is the one who takes down people's names and home states/countries.  He was walked over 37k miles!  He says he will keep walking as long the Lord lets him.  It was nice chatting with such a nice guy on such a grey day!

He is kinda like me in a sense... stopping occasionally to just look around:)

New River Trail TrestleNew River Trail TrestleHistoric Train Trestles of the New River Trail State Park in Virginia. After this little outing, my cold had my nose running and my bones shivering!   It was time to pack it in for the day.

Real quick, would you look at the size of these dog prints in comparison to the fearless Yorkie?  They are HUGE!

New River Trail dog tracksNew River Trail dog tracksA small dog standing near some large dog tracks on the new river trail state park. The next day, I started my afternoon by heading up to Rocky Knob for a few.  I was in search of some cool looking lichen!  I know that is kinda far to go just for that, but it's one of my favorite places that I haven't been to in a while.  While I was walking up to the rocks at the top of Rocky Knob, I spotted some nice moss with these little whatevers growing out of it.

moss on a treeRocky Knob dew mossRocky Knob I only got one decent image of the little lichen trees.  I don't have a macro lens for this setup, so I resorted to using my DA* 60-250.  It has an 'ok' minimum focusing distance for a 250mm.

lichen treerocky knob I have some better images in my archives at home.  I will update this page with those images soon.

As the sun started to drop, I headed for Groundhog Mountain.  Going by Groundhog Mountain on the Blue Ridge Parkway is my way of taking the scenic route home.. Instead of just jumping on 58 near Meadows of Dan, I go all the way to Fancy Gap and get on 52/i77.

Real quick, Groundhog Mountain is a great place to practice photography subjects like metering, hyperfocal distance, and dealing with composition challenges.  If you would like to learn more about these subjects and are ever near Groundhog Mountain, check out my Photography Workshops!

These photos were slightly previsualized... I had the idea of having this tower standing against a sea of moving clouds, but I didn't have it exactly put together until I got there:)  I mounted the got my focus and polarizer set, then mounted the 10-stop B+W filter to get some nice motion.  By now the sun had dropped a ways and was lighting up the tower with really nice light.

Groundhog Mountain Blue Ridge ParkwayGroundhog Mountain Blue Ridge ParkwayGroundhog Mountain lookout tower on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I took one without the ND filter just for good measure...  The amount of warming that the 10 stop adds is really noticeable when comparing the two images.

Groundhog Mountain Blue Ridge ParkwayGroundhog Mountain Blue Ridge ParkwayGroundhog Mountain lookout tower on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This rail fence is such a nice addition to the scene.

Groundhog Mountain Blue Ridge ParkwayGroundhog Mountain Blue Ridge ParkwayGroundhog Mountain lookout tower on the Blue Ridge Parkway. While the tower was still lit up by the setting sun, I moved a bit closer to the tower and took another long exposure.(this one is probably my favorite from the day).  This tower was built by men who never really stopped playing with Lincoln Logs.

Groundhog Mountain Blue Ridge ParkwayGroundhog Mountain Blue Ridge ParkwayGroundhog Mountain lookout tower on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I took one more photo as the sun went out of site, and then headed home.  By now I was freezing from being in the wind for so long!  That nasty cold made a wuss out of me!

Below are a few of my favorite Groundhog Mountain images from previous visits.  Thanks for looking!

Groundhog MountainGroundhog MountainGroundhog Mountain is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Fancy Gap Virginia. It is an old watchtower that visitors can go to the top of. It also features a picnic area. Groundhog MountainGroundhog MountainGroundhog Mountain is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Fancy Gap Virginia. It is an old watchtower that visitors can go to the top of. It also features a picnic area. Groundhog MountainGroundhog MountainGroundhog Mountain is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Fancy Gap Virginia. It is an old watchtower that visitors can go to the top of. It also features a picnic area. Groundhog MountainGroundhog MountainGroundhog Mountain is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Fancy Gap Virginia. It is an old watchtower that visitors can go to the top of. It also features a picnic area.


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