A Soggy Autumn Excursion

· Reading Time: 30 minutes

Monday, October 12, 2020

I am suffering from a really bad case of deja vu right now.  I have been sitting in the office chair for the last four hours or so editing images which is exactly what I was doing for a large part of yesterday.  Now I am looking at the blog as the words are finding their way onto the screen.  It is all just a little fresh in my mind from yesterday’s adventure that ended up in 15 new images in my collection.  In fact, I can remember saying something like “I am tired so it will probably be a while before I go out again with the camera.”  Well…you know what…I lied.  It wasn’t on purpose, and I don’t think that it hurt anyone’s feelings.  The weather was just too interesting to pass up another trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  You see, we are dealing with the last bit of Hurricane Delta as it is moving slowly out of the NC mountains.  We have seen a great deal of rain since Friday evening and it is still falling as I am typing this.  The system was supposed to actually be working its way out of the area during the afternoon which was going to provide some particularly interesting conditions for photography.  Any time a weather system moves out of an area there is the potential for some really fantastic skies and that was what drew me out.

Looking at the weather after I got up  this morning I was seeing rain through the morning with partial clearing in the afternoon which was going to be my window of opportunity to go out and get some interesting images.  I wasn’t overly motivated, but with Fall in full swing right now I had to force myself to get out there and do something.  This Fall has been a little strange actually.  It seems that for the past several years the colors have been delayed for a week or two and then they come in very slowly.  This year is the exact opposite.  It seems that the colors just appeared over night, and about a week ahead of time.  I don’t even think that people had time to react to the change as it just happened over night.  The colors have been going through the process very quickly as well.  Most of the Parkway is now in peak with the upper elevations losing leaves quickly.  I’m actually quite worried about my workshop which is scheduled for the end of the month at Stone Mountain.  Last year the color was very late and I was ahead of it by about a week.  This year, it is looking like I will probably be a week late, but that is the gamble with Fall color, but I digress.

With the color looking about as good as I expect it to get this year, I needed to get out as much as I could to capture it.  With the rest of the week falling under sunny skies, I knew that this would be my last chance for a cloudy day which I much prefer to shoot in for a while.  That partial clearing in the afternoon meant the possibility for a lot of drama in the sky which I really was interested in.  I ended up leaving just before 11am and found there still to be a light mist in the Purlear area.  I didn’t exactly know where I would end up, but I was prepared for waterfall photography and I had my tall boots on.  My route started towards the area of Boone, with the intention on heading down to Little Switzerland while looking for anything along the way that caught my eye.

The closer I got to the mountains the more socked in the weather became.  The clouds were low and it caused a fog as I climbed altitude.  When I hit the Parkway visibility was limited which didn’t bother me, but the heavy mist and rain showers that I was driving through did bother me quite a bit.  The further South I got the worse it got.  By the time I reached Blowing Rock the rain was ridiculously hard and according to the weather radar it was only going to get worse in that direction.  I made the choice to turn around and head back North with no idea what I was going to be shooting.  These are fun days, but they have the potential of getting frustrating very quickly if I don’t find anything to photograph.

The weather was improving, at least in the area of the precipitation.  The fog was still really thick, but I can shoot in the fog….I can’t in a driving rain.  The problem was there was just not enough visibility to capture much color, and I needed some very prominent subjects to build an image around.  This meant that I was going to be looking for woodland images primarily with the structures of trees taking center stage.  It was a great formula for the fog, I just needed to find something to put in front of the camera.  It really wasn’t looking promising though as each mile ticked by.

Foggy Memories“, Canon 5D Mk3, 70-200mm f/2.8L Mk2, No filters

My answer came when I entered EB Jeffress Park and passed by the Jessie Brown Cabin display.  It has been so many years since I have photographed this historic cabin.  My most favorite image of it was captured in 2006 I believe and that image found its way on several of the t-shirts that I used to wear as advertising for my photography.  It has probably been about 10 years since I have released the shutter on this one.  What I saw today was something completely different from that image I had in my mind which was shot on a clear day with the tree behind the cabin in full red dress.  Today, the cabin was muted in the fog and the tree was mostly bare with just a few leaves still hanging on but showing off the structure of the tree so well.  This was going to be worth stopping for.  The rain had let up enough that I wasn’t going to have too much issue with the camera.

I got out of the truck and sized up the situation.  I looked for compositions before getting the camera out.  I knew I was going to have to minimize the sky which meant a horizontal composition, and that would benefit from a long lens to minimize the background.  I still wanted to keep the tree behind the cabin though which added a degree of difficulty to the composition as I should have the “breathing room” at the front of the cabin, but with the tree included I was going to be placing the front of the cabin right at the corner of the composition which was not the best thing to do.  The atmosphere was just too good to pass up though, so I decided to get the camera wet and give it a try.  I fit my 70-200mm lens because the focal length would work the best for my idea.  Also, I had the added benefit of being able to use a deep lens hood to keep the front element dry in the mist.  The tradeoff to that was that I wasn’t able to use any filters for the images.  I need to throw my 82mm Polarizer back in the bag for times like this, but it still wouldn’t work for the long lens as it is a 77mm thread, but it would work for the other two lenses.  To keep the glass clear, I was happy to use the lens hood even with the inability to use filters.  As it turned out, there wasn’t too much need for any filters with the flat light.

I had the camera built and I was ready to find the place to set it up.  That took a little bit of doing because I didn’t want the roadway in the background to be a distraction, so I elevated the camera to that sweet spot where the road wasn’t an issue and I had separation between the cabin and the tree.  I moved to the side of the cabin to get separation between the trunk and the corner of the cabin and found a balance between the two elements that worked for the composition.  I still wasn’t happy with how close the front of the cabin was to the corner of the frame but it was going to be what it was going to be.  I shot a series of these as the fog moved around through the scene.  I wasn’t sure exactly which one was going to work out the best, but I had different fog in each image and I would adjust the composition slightly as I went.

I actually had to take a break from the cabin before I got the shot that I ended up keeping because the fog just wasn’t working for me.  I turned my attention to the tree behind the cabin for a bit and then returned to the cabin and tried changing the focal length and getting a little tighter while backing away from the cabin.  That seemed to work better and gave me more room at the front of the cabin which made me a good deal happier.  It was another long series of images as the fog moved through the scene, but one of the last ones in that second series became the keeper of the bunch.  It had the right composition, the right fog, and the best exposure.

Autumn Splendor“, Canon 5D Mk3, 70-200mm f/2.8L Mk2, No filters

The tree that I had shifted my attention to was just a supporting element to the cabin, but I was seeing so much potential to it as a star in a composition of its own.  I flipped the camera on its end and framed up a vertical composition to emphasize the trunk of the tree.  The trick here was to keep the tree from being in the center of the frame.  I needed to introduce some visual tension, but didn’t want to just arbitrarily shift it over to the side.  Looking around, I saw an opening in the trees where the trail entered the woods which added a sense of mystery.  It was surrounded by Fall Color which cemented it as an element for me.  I positioned that bit of visual mystery in the lower left corner while I put the tree along the right third of the frame.  I was able to keep a good deal of the tree’s structure in the upper half of the frame which managed to reach out over my supporting element for that perfect balance.  I just needed to elevate the camera to provide the separation of limbs and leaves to make this effective.

Once I had the composition set up, the fog was rolling in thick and I pretty much lost the image that I had just set up.  No worries…I’ll just hang out here and wait for a while for the fog to thin out a bit.  It actually didn’t take but about 10 minutes and during that time, I was firing off exposures and fine tuning the composition along the way.  Eventually, the fog thinned out just enough and the light kicked in with a warm quality that really suited the scene so well.  I grabbed that shot and knew when I saw the LCD that I had the winner image right there.  As it turned out, that was the image that I ended up processing and that you see here in this entry.  When I showed it to Toni, her immediate thought was that she wanted to pastel it.  Really???  Talk about a challenge.  This ranks right up there with the difficult scenes that she likes to do in chalks.  If it were me, I would go with something easier, but she liked the image and that was good enough for me.  She is one of my best indicators of whether or not an image will show well online.  She is rarely wrong, even if I disagree with her from a technical point of view.  This is one of those times when I am in agreeance with her.  I think that this will be a very successful image for quite some time and it is one of my favorites from the day.

After I got that image in the bag, I did go back to the cabin and ended up shooting the image that opened this entry.  Things were starting to fall into place for me again.  I wasn’t feeling quite as excited as I was on my last trek, but I was finally thinking that I was going to come home with workable images.  I do enjoy shooting in the fog, but it does come with some difficulties in finding good subjects.  I know that trees work well and that was what I was in search of at this point.  I started to walk around and look for woodland scenes that suited the conditions.  What I ran into was a lot of undergrowth around the trees and just generally cluttered scenes around the interesting trees.  Nothing was really working out for me.  I was now walking down the Parkway to the small overlook which was just to the South of the cabin by about 500 feet.  When I got there I was struck by a lone tree in the field across from the overlook which I had seen many times in the past.  It was a totally ugly tree with a very complex structure, but in the current conditions there was something quite beautiful about it.  Would it work in front of my camera?

Candelabra“, Canon 5D Mk3, 70-200mm f/2.8L Mk2, No filters

I got the tripod set up across the street from the tree and framed up a vertical composition.  It was very bland though and the tree had to be in the center of the frame which was far from ideal.  I tried shifting it to the left and right but without anything there to balance the composition it just looked overly arbitrary which was not what I wanted.  I just couldn’t find the way to capture this tree.  I was about to give up on it when I took notes of the growth on the right side that added a horizontal element to the tree.  While trees are usually shot best vertically, this one just wasn’t working out, and that long horizontal branch provided an out for me.  I could go with a horizontal composition based on that branch.  It would shorten the tree, but with the complexity that was present in the trunk that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

I recomposed the image as a horizontal orientation and it immediately got better.  I played with the framing a bit until I landed on what you see here.  The exposure was dead simple and was a nearly perfect bell curve on the histogram so I just put the peak in the middle of the box and let the shutter go.  Not surprisingly, I nailed the shot as I intended and there really wasn’t a need to go any further.  I still don’t think that this is a classically beautiful tree, but the shape of it really brings to mind a decorative candelabra which I think adds some depth to this story and provides some context to the composition.  I wish that it was a bit less complicated, but the fog did simplify it quite well.  This was another one that Toni really liked which I expected with her being the tree lover of the family.

Cedar Shake“, Canon 5D Mk3, 70-200mm f/2.8L Mk2, No filters

I wasn’t sure if that tree was going to work out, but I knew that I was still wanting to capture some woodland images.  I returned to the truck by the path that went between the overlook and the cabin.  Just as I was coming out to the clearing the small barn that was part of this historic display caught my eye.  I had only photographed this structure once before, and that was probably in 2005 or 2006.  It was a lousy image in bright sun shot with my first digital camera that saved files to a floppy disk!  This time, the lighting was perfect and there were some wonderful Fall colors in the background.  I made a quick detour to give it another try in lieu of another woodland image.

I would have been happier with my 24-70mm lens, but the rain was still falling and the lens hood was a nice tool to have with me.  Plus my other gear was still in the truck and I needed to take advantage of the light that I had.  I wish that I could say that this composition was simple and I was able to grab it quickly.  That wasn’t the case.  I tried the simple composition, but that just lacked balance and meaning.  I started moving all around and found that the best compositions had brush that got in the way since I had to be a good distance back in order to capture this at 70mm.  I was getting closer to the right composition though.  What I ended up doing was getting the tripod dropped down to the ground basically to shoot under the tree limbs from a slightly elevated hill.  The spot that I was set up happened to have a very narrow opening through the brush and it allowed me to have the tree trunks in the background sufficiently separated from the building.  I was also able to use the rock in the foreground as a framing element for the building.  I just wasn’t able to open the lens all the way to 70mm due to the brush.  I had to zoom in a little bit which forced me to have to cut off the back corner of the building.  At first I didn’t like that, but after I shot the image I started to see the benefit to doing it that way.  It visually shrank the building which provided a better visual balance to the image.  It also shifted the focus more to the overall scene so that the trees were more visible.  I had noticed that in the images where the entire building was captured, that became the primary focus which wasn’t a bad thing, but this was not a picture of just the building.  There were Fall leaves and some nice tree trunks in the frame as well which were just as important in my mind.

I played with this scene for a bit, but this turned into my favorite image from that location.  It wasn’t a great image, but it had merit I thought.  When I showed it to Toni, she said that it was very different from my normal image, but had the same feeling at the same time.  She liked it and that was good enough for me to add it to my batch of keepers from the day.  It was quirky for an image and I guess that made it a standout in a way.  It is growing on me, and reminds me of a very popular image that I shot of a restroom at Hanging Rock around this time of the year.  It looked like a cabin in the Fall woods, but nobody realized that it was just a restroom sitting off of the trail.  Sometimes the image is better than the sum of its parts and I was hoping that would be the case with this image.

When I was done here, it was time to pack things up and move on to the next location…wherever that might be.  I had spent a great deal of time at this location with just a single lens and no filters.  I was reasonably happy with the images that I had captured and hoped that they would turn out well when I got home.  It was time to find something different to work with though.  I continued North on the Parkway and found the rain was coming back with a vengeance.  In fact, it was pouring hard now.  The fog was relentless in most places as well.  When I got to 16 I made the quick decision to exit the Parkway and try to get out of this weather.  I took 16 out to Jefferson in search of some barns or hopefully some old cars to photograph.

A Bright Future“, Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer

I saw a bunch of potential during my drive, but nothing that really jumped out as a composition with the current conditions.  I ended up on 221 near where Toni and I would rent out anniversary cabin in January.  I was reasonably familiar with this area when it comes to rural subjects, but there was one place that I had considered for doing some landscape photography where I hadn’t yet tried.  It just so happened that the Mt Jefferson State Park was very close by so I decided to take a quick detour there to see what I could shoot.  It didn’t take but a few minutes to enter the park and I was climbing the mountain a short time later.  There are two overlooks on the way up the mountain.  The first one is the Sunset Overlook which overlooks Jefferson and while the sky looked great over here, there were just too many buildings at the base of the mountains for my tastes.  I continued up the road and came to the Sunrise Overlook.  This was was a bit more natural and benefited from having the sun on the other side.  The overlook was a simple one with a basic view.  The one thing that grabbed my attention was the bare trees among the green trees with the reddish brown leaves covering the midground moving into the green of the lowlands.  The clouds overhead looked really good and I thought that I could possibly do something with that.

I pulled over into the overlook and grabbed the camera along with the 16-35mm lens so that I could make use of the trees in the foreground.  I added my polarizer and framed up a composition that I liked.  I found that at 35mm the composition was a bit too wide and it just wasn’t going to work.  I went back to my bag and pulled out my 24-70mm lens and switched that in.  I still wasn’t liking the compositions that I was seeing and wanted to wait a bit to consider my options.  While I was waiting, I turned around and looked at the road that I had been on.  It curved sharply at the overlook and as it went up the mountain there was a bright yellow glow as the leaves just around the bend were full changed.  It was that contrast that captured my attention and I decided that I wanted to grab an image or two of this.  I grabbed the tripod and camera and redirected its attention back to the road.  It was not quite as easy a composition as I had thought since I wanted to get as much of the fall color as I could but with balance in the frame.  The balancing element was opposite of the fall color and the interesting trees so it became a juggling act on my part.  I tried about a half dozen compositions until I landed on the one that you see here.  It was the simplest one, but the most effective at putting your eyes right where I needed them to be.  The important part of the composition is just that yellow glow around the bend.  The rest of the image just supports that and leads you to it.

The Turn of Seasons“, Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer, Galen Rowell 2-stop hard edge ND Grad

While I was photographing the roadway, the light was changing behind me and it was time to give the overlook another chance.  I got the camera back in the basic position that I had been in before and started to frame up a vertical image like I had done before.  I still wasn’t liking what I was seeing.  There was just too much space for the trees, and not enough for the Autumn colors.  Not to mention, the sky took up a great deal of the image and I wasn’t sure that the clouds would carry a vertical composition like this.  I decided to flip it horizontal and recomposed it.  The balance was much better this way, but I had to be very careful of my edges as there were a lot of trees that were wanting to encroach into the frame.  I did find the sweet spot with the camera composed to go right to the ragged edge of the scene before the trees came into play against the sky.  I also elevated the camera as much as I could in order to see the live view so that I could get over the tops of the trees as best I could.  it wasn’t a convenient placement, but I could still work the camera.

The glare prevented me from seeing much of the LCD for exposure checking so I was relying completely on the histogram to determine if I had detail in the shadows and highlights.  Unfortunately, it was looking like the the shadows were getting too bunched up.  This was bad since they housed the color that I was trying to capture.  Since I had shifted the composition and now no longer had the tall tree to the left going into the sky, I was able to use an ND Grad filter.  I grabbed a 2-stop hard edge grad and slid that in behind the polarizer.  The histogram came back in line like it should and allowed me to lengthen the exposure time to get the ground in a much better exposure level without blowing out the sky.  This started the click every 30 seconds or so as the clouds moved around in the sky.  I found myself waiting for the darker clouds to close up the bright part right at the top of the frame.  Without that dark cloud, the bright clouds would have given a visual out for the viewer.  I could darken in post, but I was seeing a dark section of cloud getting ready to close in the hole for me so I just waited for it.  It finally did close that void and completed the image.  I spent a lot of time for this image and when I got it home I was not nearly as happy with it as I was hoping.  However, Toni liked it, so I’ll hold onto it.

That was the last image that I shot at Mt Jefferson State Park.  The sky was starting to get too bright for me and I was still wanting to find some rural subjects to photograph before heading home.  I packed everything up and started back down the mountain.  It was then down 221 until I got to the next big intersection where I turned left.  This put me on a road that I had only been on a handful of times.  I started to look down the side streets and eventually found one that looked like a good one to turn down.  I wasn’t finding anything, but I felt that I was onto something and was in the right direction at least.  I was seeing more and more farms and barns, just nothing that jumped out as a composition.

Crowns of Gold“, Canon 5D Mk3, 70-200mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer

I ended up following a road that was right on the side of a large creek, or small river.  As I was snaking through the route, I could see a red barn in the distance beside a large house.  I kept my eyes on that barn as I got closer.  When I got to it, I could see that it was surrounded by yellow/orange trees and the fact that it was a red barn was enough for me.  It was set aside from the house well enough that I had options for compositions.  The only problem that I had was that it was very far off of the road and there was a fence right at the road.  Oh, did I mention that it was an electric fence?  I still felt that it was worth a try.  The sky was interesting above the mountain and the light was really good on the scene.  I pulled off on the shoulder of the road and hoped that the soggy ground wouldn’t slide me into the water.  I managed to dock safely and got out to grab the camera.  I was sure that I was going to be using the 70-200mm lens and possibly the 2X teleconverter to get the reach that I was going to need.  I left the extender off for now hoping that it wouldn’t be that difficult.  I did add a polarizer to the long lens though before mounting it to the tripod.

I then crossed the road and climbed the short embankment, still within the easement of the roadway.  As I was starting to set the camera up I noticed that there were power lines crossing the scene completely from right to left.  It was just two of them, but the bottom one was crossing right in front of the barn.  This was not going to be fun to remove and it was going to be distraction in the final image even though from this distance I could barely see them.  I examined my options here and found that if I got low enough, the power line would go above the barn which would make it much easier to remove in post processing.  To get low enough though, I was going to have to shoot between the two lines of the fence.  Did I mention that it was electrified?  I dropped the tripod and found that it wasn’t low enough and I was going to get the top line of the fence in the composition.  I ended up extending the center column and repositioning it horizontal which allowed me to go lower with the tripod.  That was what was needed, and I finally had the right altitude.  It was just very cumbersome to position the ballhead in this fashion though.  I did make due and found the composition that I wanted.  It was a vertical shot that had the sky above the mountain with the trees on the mountain framing the barn at the bottom.

That sky was bright at this point and was causing exposure issues.  I decided that I needed to get a 3-stop soft edge ND grad to control the exposure a bit better.  I ran back to the truck and grabbed the filter to slide it in.  That did the trick and the exposure was solid at that point.  However, the composition was too complex.  The sky was the brightest part and drew the eyes too far up in the frame that the only other element that they saw was the trees on the mountain.  The barn was lost…or more accurately dwarfed in the entire scene.  This wasn’t going to work at all.  I flipped the camera horizontal to see if cutting the sky out would make a stronger composition.

It actually did, and I was really liking how the yellow trees effectively took the place of the sky and allowed the barn to remain dominant in the composition.  I was even able to see the cows around the barn for that added element to tell the story.  I didn’t need the grad filter now though, so I removed it and ran it back to the truck.  It was now time to get serious with the composition and start making exposures.  Now that I had this part figured out, the rest of the process went quickly and I had a few images that I felt would work just fine.  This was a very uncomfortable position to be shooting in, and I was inches away from bumping the electric fence with the camera which I was pretty sure would do bad things to it.  I wasn’t worried about myself bumping it since I had done that several times with other fences and knew that it wasn’t terrible.  I just didn’t want to lose my camera over a bump.  I had what I wanted anyway and it was time to move on to the next subject.

Window to the Rapids“, Canon 5D Mk3, 16-35mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer

As it turned out, I was getting a little tired and the rain was now coming back once again.  I was ready to head home and that was what I did.  Since I didn’t know exactly where I was, I keyed home into the GPS and started that way.  It wasn’t long though before I saw something out of the corner of my eye that really caught my attention.  it looked like an old house sitting in the woods under a yellow tree.  I got turned around and the GPS lady said “Recalculating, why do you do this to me?  Can’t you just follow directions?  You are always turning around or veering off course!”  Well, it might not have said all that, but I could hear the disdain in her voice as I turned around.  I passed the road where I saw the house and confirmed that this was an awesome scene and one that I needed to photograph.  Not only was the light perfect on it, but there was a stream running beside of it with a bit of white water over some rocks.  This was a great find!  I got out and grabbed the camera.  I was figuring that my best choice was going to be my 16-35mm lens so that I could get the scene in the frame from the narrow bridge that I was going to have to stand on to get the angle that I was after.

Since there was water involved, I was going to need my polarizer so I added that to the mix.  While I was building the camera I could hear that the rain was coming back and it was getting a little too hard.  A smart man would have called it a day here and packed everything away, but I wasn’t that kind of smart.  I wanted to capture this house and I wanted to badly.  I was just thinking about getting the shot and moving on so I threw my hat over the lens and walked down to the bridge.  By the time I got there, the rain was falling hard.  I was hoping that under the trees I would be shielded.  That wasn’t the case though.  I was getting wet, and more importantly, the filter and lens element were in danger of getting drops on them which would mess with the image quality.  With one hand, I held the hat over the lens and with the other one I tried to set the tripod up in place and get a composition worked out.  That was easier said that done, especially when it came time to extend the legs.  There was no way to do that with one hand, so I had to hang the hat on the end of the lens and use my hands to get the tripod set up.  Once that was done, it was a matter of positioning the camera with one hand while holding the hat with the other and looking through the viewfinder.  It was awkward and made the process very difficult.

To make matters worse, I had an element that I was fighting in the scene.  There was a really cool diagonal tree that framed the house so well, but bisected the frame keeping the house separated from the small cascade.  I decided early on to avoid the cascade and just concentrate on the house which worked well, but it was just too simple of an image.  Basically, I was just filling the frame with the structure which was just too snapshot-ish for me.  No matter what I tried, the composition was boring…just very, very boring.  I had to get the stream included in this shot somehow.  There I was trying to keep the lens dry with a hat while moving the camera and tripod all around and getting a composition fine tuned with the lens.  I looked awkward at best, and spastic at the worst, but I was getting the compositions put together.

One of the last ones that I shot placed the tree across the house which I tried not to do, but this way made it more of a part of the image rather than a line dividing it.  By putting it across the house, I was able to use it as a framing element for the window which was above a missing slat of siding.  The tree started to have a function in the image.  The window now became a primary element rather than the house as a whole.  That window was looking at the white water at the lower edge of the frame which helped to overrule the tree and make the image more cohesive.  Yeah, there were a lot of thoughts going through my head as I was rushing to get out of the rain while protecting the lens from that rain.  Nobody ever said that photography was easy.  However, it is moments like this that, while frustrating, are quite exhilarating for me and prove to myself that I do know what I’m doing because I can produce quality images under stress.

After I captured this composition I decided to quit while I was ahead.  I didn’t see any other possibilities that I wanted to try with this scene and the rain was getting harder.  It was time to get the camera back in the bag.  I hung my hat on the front of the lens and walked the extended tripod back to the truck.  I opened the hatch and tried to get the camera under the cover, but it was taller than would fit under the hatch which tells you how high I had it to get the composition that I wanted.  I just left the hat hung on the lens and disconnected the camera from the tripod to get it broken down under cover.  I was relieved to see that the polarizer was completely dry when I took it off.  Well, I spoke too soon, there was a long drip on the back side of it on the right side.  I wasn’t sure if this had happened before or after I was done with the captures.  I wiped the water off and put the filter away.  I then turned the camera back on and looked at the last few images for any signs of the water drop.  I didn’t see any, but that was not a guarantee that it wasn’t there as it is easy to hide in the small resolution of the LCD review.  Looking at the rain, it was falling too heavy to try and reshoot the last composition so I was stuck with what I had.  It was either going to work or it wasn’t.  There was going to be no reshooting of this scene.

The rain officially ended my trek as it got harder and harder.  I just went on home and started to process the images.  Here we are seven hours later and the images are all edited and uploaded.  The blog entry is all but done and I am wrapping up my day after what will be nearly 15 hours of work when I am finally finished.  It was a successful day and I really do like the images that I have from today.  There are a few here that really stand out in my mind, some because they are just that good, and others that are just different from my normal captures.  I’m thinking that I am going through a growth spurt in my photography over these last few treks.  I am going for the much more difficult compositions now and coming away with really nice images.  I’ve been attempting images that a year ago I would have never considered.  In fact, I am looking for the challenge at this point and I think that is really making me grow as a photographer.

I do hope that you enjoyed the trek today and hopefully you stayed dry during it.  Something that I am thinking about for the future is doing Lightroom tutorials on Skype for folks out there.  If this is something that might interest you, please leave me some feedback as this is not a platform I am very familiar with.  I just know that it will open up a lot of possibilities for folks to benefit from my knowledge (what little there is) all across the country. I do enjoy teaching and am looking forward to getting back to it in whatever way I can make work.  Don’t forget that there are still three workshops scheduled for the remainder of the year so sign up to make sure that you have a spot.  Also, don’t forget to subscribe to my website to be sure to get email notifications of new posts which equates to new images in the gallery.

It is time to get a shower and get some sleep.  I have to get the mud off of the truck tomorrow morning.  Thanks for joining me on this adventure!

Until next time…

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