This past weekend, I spent a couple days in Shenandoah National Park searching for cooler weather in the mountains. I needed to escape the northern Virginia congestion, heat and get back to nature. I also wanted to photograph a mountain sunrise and sunset, as well as some of the beautiful views. I had not been there since the fall.
Unfortunately, it was a cloudy, heavily overcast late afternoon, and shortly after taking the above image, it started to rain. Therefore, I was not able to see and photograph a colorful sunset, which can be spectacular from Skyline Drive. Nevertheless, the mountain views were beautiful even in the rain.
The following morning, the heavily overcast skies from the evening before cleared up and left behind just enough clouds to produce a gorgeous, colorful sunrise. Below is an image after the sun had risen, but was partially hidden behind a cloud. I liked this image so much, I cropped it and used a slightly different version for my blog banner (above). If you had not noticed, I periodically change the blog’s banner image.
While in the park, I saw an adult black bear, but was not prepared to photograph it. I had one of my cameras with me almost all of the time, except when I saw the bear. I was disappointed, but nevertheless, it was an awesome sight. I have been successful in the past in photographing a bear in Shenandoah National Park. If you have not seen my images of an adult black bear 75 feet up in a tree feeding on acorns, one can be seen at: http://stabone.com/p69726889/h36cfd4a3#h36cfd4a3
I was hoping to photograph some wildlife while in the mountains, but unfortunately, the only “wildlife” that was cooperating were the ubiquitous butterflies. Therefore, I did spend some time photographing them. They definitely are not as exciting as photographing a bear, but still make interesting images. Below is a Swallowtail butterfly.
Below are a few other images from the weekend in the mountains. The first is of Old Rag Mountain with an elevation of 3,291 feet. It is one of the park’s most popular and dangerous hikes, based on the number of rescue missions that happen each year. Old Rag is unique to most mountains in the Blue Ridge Mountains, because of its exposed, rocky summit. I climbed Old Rag about 10 years ago with my office staff as a “team building” project. Everyone made it safely to the summit, and the views from the top were stunning.
As you can see from these images, Shenandoah National Park is a great place to visit, enjoy spectacular views and refresh one’s spirit from the hassles and stress of busy, city life. I go there as often as possible.
The images in this article were photographed with a Nikon D800 and the following lenses: 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm.