Appalachian Highlands

March 20, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Related Links: 

Grayson Highlands State Park Gallery

Whitetop Mountain Gallery

 

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Yesterday I started off my afternoon in Grayson Highlands State Park photographing cloudscapes.  The sunny, partly cloudy day made for some great scenes.  And since the foliage has yet to turn colorful, focusing more on the clouds and sky are a nice way to add color and keep things more vibrant.  I also shot some black and white when I felt that the color scenes were kind of bland.

I started shooting up on Wilburn Ridge, an area where the Appalachian Trail and Rhododendron Gap Trail intersect in Mount Rogers Recreation Area.  The first photo was taken with the B+W 77mm ND.  This allowed me to draw some contrast between the moving clouds/grass and the stump with Wilburn Ridge in the background.

Stump on Wilburn Ridge

The wind was so intense up here that after this shot I threw the tripod on my backpack for the rest of the hike.  I found that hand holding the camera was a lot more productive and easier than setting everything up in the high winds.

Sign at Wilburn Ridge in Grayson Highlands State Park

The hemlocks in Grayson Highlands are totally awesome.  They are all over the place!  I really wanted to get a long exposure including a large hemlock but the winds were much too high.  They do shake quite a bit!

Sunstar and Hemlock

On the way back from the Mount Rogers Area and Wilburn Ridge, I spotted a few of the ponies as I crossed back into the Highlands State Park.

A Grayson Highlands Pony near the Park Map

Grayson Highlands PoniesGrayson Highlands PoniesImages of the Wild Ponies in Grayson Highlands State Park and Mount Rogers Recreation Area.

Grayson Highlands Ponies graze near hemlocks.

After this I left for the sunset on Whitetop Mountain, and I could NOT have been happier with the result!  The crepuscular rays were intense from the get go and had me shooting non stop for a couple hours!  The only concern I had was the wind, when I got there it was hard to get my car door open against all the wind.

Black and white image of crepuscular rays on Whitetop Mountain.

And a wider, color shot of the clouds above the rays.

Color image of Crepuscular Rays on Whitetop Mountain

Then I mounted the telephoto Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS, and I am REALLY glad I had the Image Stabilized version of this lens!  The winds were INSANE!  I would stand up on top of rocks only to have the wind push me back and cause me to lose my balance!  

In the below photo, you can see the Appalachian Trail where is passes by Whitetop Mountain.

Crepuscular rays over the Appalachian Trail

Crepuscular Rays over the Blue Ridge Mountain.

A single Crepuscular Ray

I then walked down towards the Appalachian Trail and mounted the wide angle Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L

Crepuscular Rays near the Appalachian Trail.

As the initial rays passed by, I mounted the 10 Stop again.  I probably lost some sharpness on this photo because the winds were so intense, and the winds were coming up from the bottom of the hill, so I was unable to block much of it my standing in front of it.

WhiteTop MountainWhiteTop MountainWhitetop mountain is an open area near the Mount Rogers Recreation Area and Grayson Highlands State Park. It is a good area to view the stars, watch the sunset, or start/end a hike on the Appalachian Trail.

And then I got one more little burst of rays before the sun got lost in the clouds for good...

WhiteTop MountainWhiteTop MountainWhitetop mountain is an open area near the Mount Rogers Recreation Area and Grayson Highlands State Park. It is a good area to view the stars, watch the sunset, or start/end a hike on the Appalachian Trail.


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