January 28, 2010

Rocks and ice along Skyline Drive

I took this header photo in early January 2010, just a couple of weeks ago. I have been experimenting with HDR photography and thought Skyline Drive would be a good place to take some pictures to help me learn the HDR technique and process. I took this photo about 10 miles from the Front Royal entrance to Skyline Drive, so it is about 12 miles from our house.

After about a month of very cold weather, the temperature had finally risen to above freezing and the snow at the top of the mountains was melting. Some of the water from the melting snow is seeping through the rocks and then freezing as it drips down the rock face. Even though this is a common sight during the winter, I have always loved the way this looks. It’s a fascinating scene with the ice seeming to form out of solid rock.

After creating the HDR composite from seven different exposures I converted this one to black & white and really loved the result. The deep blacks and bright whites in this black & white photo remind me of the beautiful pictures Ansel Adams was known for. Although Ansel Adam’s photos are far superior to this one, I was excited to finally produce a photo with the depth of tonal range I have been trying to achieve in black & white photography for years. Now I need to try again with some more attractive scenes.


  1. I think B&W photography has charms with which color cannot always compete. Where is Skyline Drive?

  2. I'm glad there are more B&W photography fans out there. I have always loved doing B&W and have read Ansel Adams' books many times during my life.

    Skyline Drive is a wonderful 105-miles stretch of road that runs along the crest of the Shenandoah Mountains. The entrance to Skyline Drive is about two miles from our house and is directly across the street from my son's school, Skyline High School.

    I wrote about Skyline Drive here, if you're interested.

    And since we're so close to it, I've written quite a bit about it. If you ever make it to Central Virginia, you should try to visit our local hot spots, including Skyline Drive, Skyline and Luray Caverns, and the George Washington National Forest. It's wonderfully beautiful.

  3. Of course! I thought it sounded familiar. We have driven that many times when I was working in DC. (1980s)

    My husband was taught photography by Ted Organ, Ansel Adam's darkroom tech, and we got to meet Ansel at the opening of his Friends of Photography gallery in Monterey. (We were living there in the 1970s and have moved back since.)

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    (PS. My youngest son, Shenan, is named after that area. How silly of me to forget about Skyline Drive!)

  4. I'm a b&w fan as well! Loved this header.


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