Morning in the Grayson Highlands

October 12, 2012  •  Leave a Comment
Grayson Highlands State Park is so sweet.  A short hike up the Rhododendron Trail yields some pretty impressive views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

At the Massie Gap parking area, you start off in a field of scattered trees, but as you ascend, the landscape becomes more and more open.  There are some rock outcroppings that, when climbed, give you a nice perspective of your surroundings. 

The only downside to the Highlands is the wind.  The wind, at times, can be punishing to say the least.  Today was no exception, actually, it was an exception, it was exceptionally STRONG today.

Just getting out of the car in the dark with that strong of wind is daunting.... I really didn't want to:)  But... I did, and it was worth it.  The wind presents multiple challenges.  First of all, everything is moving, A LOT.  Short exposures and high ISO is necessary, and a necessary evil at that.  Even the sweetest, most awesomest cameras suffer at high ISO.

This morning, a beautiful crescent moon was rising into the sky.  During the predawn hours, when the cloudiness is 'partly', the colors are beautiful.  The rich blue sky and rising sun create an awesome darkening gradient.


The wispy clouds wash out the crescent moon.


Big Pinnacle, the point off to the left, is the highest point within the park.  Lens distortion makes the hill to the far left seem higher.  You can see the trail on the bottom right of this scene, this takes you past the horses, and towards the Appalachian Trail.


This HDR(processed in Photoshop) was taken in crazy high winds, I had difficulty shielding the camera from the winds.


I took a break from most of the wind and headed down the hill towards the wild ponies.

A somewhat intimate portrait of a horse(my longest lens is 50mm)


Awesome fall color in the Highlands.  The road to the left of this scene, is the road you would take if going to the Grayson Highlands Visitor Center.  On the way back from the visitor center, you past the only place on a road where you can see Mount Rogers, the highest peak in VA.  It's not much of a spectacle, just a big hill.
After the sunrise, I hiked Big Pinnacle, a short and steep run up to the highest point in the park.

From Big Pinnacle, you can see the edge of Virginia, into North Carolina, and even the beautiful state of Tennessee.



On the way out of the park, I took a few shots of some awesome fall color.  I would highly recommend that all of you take a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains within the next few weeks:)





Thanks for looking.  :)

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