I took some time during a recent camping trip to enjoy the scenic beauty of Skyline Drive in Virginia. I was able to catch a gorgeous sunset from Big Meadows and also hiked down to Dark Hollow Falls for some of the most spectacular falls in Virginia. Big Meadows also gives you the beautiful big sky. The sun itself sets on the horizon and drops below in about two or three minutes. But for me the sunset begins a few hours before, scouting locations and setting up shots. The shutter starts going off about an hour before the actual sun sets, while it is still in the sky. Then after the sun has disappeared beyond the horizon the sky continues to change and evolve, so I can continue to stay out well past the sunset itself. With High Dynamic Resolution photography (HDR) I can take several exposures and merge them into one, combining every detail in both the bright sky and the dark landscape.
The hike down to Dark Hollow Falls was a nice, gentle 3/4 mile trek. Sure, it was steep, but who cares when you are going downhill? So I brought the heavy tripod, extra lenses, bag, gear, stuff. I was loaded down. I was time restricted because this was a family hike, so I knew I would be there at midday, not during optimal sunrise or sunset. But that is OK- I still got some spectacular shots, and the play of sun and shade on the rocks and water added some depth to the images. I almost lost my footing, and all my camera gear, when I found that the sign for slippery rocks was very accurate! Then on the hike out the constant uphill climb was challenging! But it was worth it for some great photos.
See all the images in the gallery here.