Colorful Shenandoah Mornings

Fall in Shenandoah National Park along Skyline Drive is usually amazing. This year is no exception as the leaves are turning pretty colors. This is a companion piece to my last blog which chronicled my night photography along Skyline Drive. You can read it here if you missed it. And if you want to view the YouTube vlog of my morning shoot you can see it here. And if you just want to read about Colorful Shenandoah Mornings then read on dear friend.

Antlers
Antlers

“Antlers” is an image of a dead tree. A very old dead tree. But, in my mind at least, a very beautiful dead tree. And in the right light I think it is actually quite a nice photograph. This tree resides in the Big Meadows section of Skyline Drive. I arrived early and had to wait almost an hour for the sun to light up the tree, but I am not complaining, it was a beautiful sunrise to watch. I used my Nikon 70-200mm f/4 lens to isolate my subject matter. Keeping the aperture wide at f/4 in order to have as little depth of field as possible. I wanted to isolate the tree not only in the light but in what was in focus and what was not. Using a circular polarizer helped to increase the contrast in the frame.

I love the layers in this image. You have areas in sun and areas in shadow and bands of light and dark in the background. The golden sunlight was so warm and inviting after having been out all night.

Enchanted Road
Enchanted Road

“Enchanted Road” was a very reactive shot for me. I saw it while I was driving. I knew the moment I saw it that it was a shot I just had to have. So, with no cars behind me, I hit the brakes and jumped out with camera in hand. Standing in the middle of the road I composed the shot and captured it using the histogram to ensure I had both highlight and shadow detail. Then I jumped back in my car before I got hit and started up again. Sometimes shots take years of planning and preparation, other times they are as simple as step out of the car and press the shutter once and walk away.

If you hope to get shots under pressure like this one you really need to have taken the time to get to know your camera. You also need to have a rock solid grip on the technicals of photography. If you are standing in the middle of the road fooling with your shutter speed trying to not over expose your image you are going to get squashed. Get to know the basics before you need to know them in a pressure situation!

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