Snow already?!

Snow already?!

Craggy Gardens Visitor Center
Snow at the visitors Center!

Our local NANPA chapter was planning for some end-of-season fall foliage photography (say THAT 3 times fast).  The plan was to get there just after sunrise, to catch ‘golden hour’ sunlight.  When I came through the last tunnel (Craggy Flats), the temperature dropped under freezing, and I saw a dusting of snow on the ground.  I soldiered on, to find this (above) at Craggy Gardens, and 29F with a strong (20-30 mph) wind.  Not great for photography, and frankly, horrid for fall photographs.

I waited an hour or so, and then started back down the Blue Ridge (from there, ‘down’ is south, towards Weaverville and Asheville).  I stopped at the next few overlooks and caught some decent pictures, and ran into a few other NANPA members who were in the same boat.  I’ve made a gallery page of this trip here.

I am also trying to budget some time to put the road trip onto YouTube.  I splurged and got a Go Pro Hero 8 black, which does AWESOME video, but the sound is a bit off, so I’ll compress and do some voice-overs.

I’ll do that video AFTER I put out “the story”, to explain why I haven’t been publishing videos this summer.  It has been a bit challenging since Fathers’ Day, but I’ve got a new workflow, and am starting to get back on track.

What did I learn during this outing?

  • Lesson 1: Don’t give up…there is always something to capture, even if it isn’t what or where you originally planned.  While there was nothing much at Craggy except some snow scenes, at Bull Run and Lane Overlooks, there was a nice gathering of color.  
  • Lesson 2: (my mistake): Don’t over-focus on the original plan… you might miss opportunities along the way.  There was a brief red-burst at sunrise, but I was focused on getting the the Gardens, and missed that potential shot.
  • Lesson 3: Try new stuff.  When I got into the color areas, there was a lot of light issues… too bright of a sky, a little to dark of ground, and color to bring up.  This was a good recipe for some HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography.  That’s where you set the camera to bracket the exposures, and have a tool like Lightroom that re-combines the images so you have good highlight, miidtone, and shadows at the same time.  Most of the HDR work I did on this shoot was +/- 2 stops from meter.
  • Lesson 4: You’re not done when you think you are.  A friend of mine (David Avigdor) was part of the Weaverville “Art Safari”… meaning he opened his house and studio up so people could see his work.  I went over to wish him luck after the parkway shoot.  On the way there, I found a really neat lawn surrounding an old, abandoned home that was covered in vines.  My camera was still out, so I took a few shots in HDR from the car.  It turned out better than I had expected.

I’ll add notes and links to this article as I get some YouTube work done.  As it stands, I don’t have my logo or my bumper, so I’m trying to make a decent replacement for both.


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