March 26, 2012

Photographing the Shenandoah Mountains


took the above picture of my son leaning on the roots of an overturned tree on the Shenandoah Mountains. It was bright and sunny that day and easy to take beautiful pictures in such a scenic location.

But this past Saturday I decided to take a ride up into the mountains to photograph some different weather. When my son and I left our house, the sky was cloudy and somewhat ominous looking. But just five miles from my house, as we ascended the mountain, we entered cloud cover with heavy rain, dense fog, and eerie mist slowly making their way across the landscape. I parked the car and took pictures just before we entered the clouds and then I parked at the Skyline Drive Front Royal Ranger Station to take pictures in the fog.

Because of the somewhat rough weather, there weren’t any other photographers around—at least not any that I saw. But the scenes were great. I may make this a regular happening. If there’s rain, it’s time to head up into the hills.

As we approached the cloud cover I decided to pull over and take a few pictures before we entered the clouds. Spring in Virginia is beautiful and the redbud trees (the purple blooms) are in abundance on the mountains
At this height, we were above some of the lower wispy clouds, so I took this picture of the valley through a few of those clouds before heading on into the fog.
On the outside edge of the fog the woods began to get misty. I love this look.
The mist reduced the contrast and the color saturation of the redbud trees, but they were still gorgeous.
I loved the way this redbud tree forms a frame around the mossy rock.
The Front Royal Ranger Station is about five miles from our house. I usually stop at the overlook there to take a few pictures. It’s amazingly scenic—usually. But on this day the view was only of rolling dense fog, and no one was sitting at the overlook bench.
When we arrived at the ranger station, the fog was a bit thick, but much denser fog was rolling in. A few minutes after I took this picture the ranger station totally disappeared and I could barely make out the bench and tree from this same distance.
As I headed back down the mountain towards my home I drove in and out of the light rain, mist, dense fog, and torrential downpours. I stopped to grab this picture in one of the heavy rain areas. My son wisely stayed in the car.

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