Friday, March 14, 2008

December 29, 2007 Skyline Drive North--Sunset Chasing

The purpose of this trip was to drive up to Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park and watch and take pictures of a sunset. We chose the Northern section, beginning at Thornton Gap and driving north. At this time of year, we are very close to the winter solstice, so sunsets come very early--~5pm or earlier, depending on access to the horizon.

We discovered that Skyline Drive closes at 5pm, and everyone is expected to be off [or at least heading to an exit] the Drive due to rampant deer hunting around the Park. However, the rangers want visitors to take sunset pictures, so we were OK.

Unfortunately, we didn't gauge our time and locations well. In hindsight, Pass Mountain overlook would have a great place to observe--but we kept going. Around Jeremy's Run Overlook, the sun was getting low, but the sun was dropping behind a mountain at the end of the Overlook. So, we continued on towards Gooney River Overlook--our final place to take pictures. After Jeremy's Run, we found the not yet set as we descended to Gooney River.

Finally, I experimented with the black and white settings for several locations--and I like the effects,

Pass Mountain Overlook, looking west to New Market Gap (left of center)

Pass Mountain
Just north of Pass Mountain
Continuing north from Pass Mountain
On or about Jeremy's Run Overlook
Looking into valley below, towards Signal Knob

Jeremy's Run
Nice sun burst developing

Valley below, again
Dramatic Front coming through

Finally, Gooney Run Overlook

Dramatic in B& W

Valley in the foreground

Looking west

Some red appearing in the sky

Monday, March 10, 2008

Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Va December 31 2007

This trip to Huntley Meadows Park, off of Lockheed Blvd and Rt#1 in Fairfax County. This was New Years' Day Eve, from noon to mid-afternoon.

This was an experiment for me, using my Canon Rebel XTi with a Canon 300mm lens and a TC II doubler. Using the doubler drove me into a totally manual mode--no autofocus or automated means to capture birds in flight. All pictures were taken with this arrangement.

In-coming Canadian Goose

Some form of a sparrow.

Close-up of another sparrow

I like this reflection

Interesting reflection of some reeds

Canadian Goose

Male and female Lesser Scaup

Mallard splashing himself

Two ducks I could not identify--even in Sibley's. I could not find any ducks with that 'stripe' on the neck

Two turtles sunning themselves in an 'un-official' part of the park

I'm not sure what this is--but I liked the look of it

This is my favorite picture from the set--a reflection of a walk-way barrier. My wife Madonna introduced me to finding reflections in the water of Huntley Meadows (from previous visits)

Close-up of a cattail top

Seed Pod

Close-up of a berry

Interesting plant growing up by the walk way

My second favorite picture from the set--a cattail reflected in the water (with with wind stirring up the water)