Running to the Mountains

Whenever I am feeling off-center in my life, I run to the mountains to regain my perspective. And that is just what I did this past weekend. I drove south on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia to a couple overlooks that I hadn’t been to in a while. My first stop was the Pine Spur Overlook.

Pine Spur Overlook is on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia at an elevation of 2,703 feet.

This first shot was with my iPhone13. I converted it to HDR (high dynamic range) in post-processing. It was much later in the morning than when I typically visit, so the sun was high in the sky. But the clouds were magnificent and helped deflect the glare of the sun. It was a breathtaking view!

Rock Castle Gorge Overlook is on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. The valley is 1,800 feet below.

My next stop was Rock Castle Gorge. This photograph was also made with my iPhone13 and converted to HDR. An hour had passed since I was at the last overlook, so the sun was even higher in the sky. I used the tree to mask the brightness of the sun in my eyes. The tree also served to create beautiful shadows underneath. And look at those clouds!

I did make some photographs using my “big” camera (Canon EOS80D), but they didn’t turn out as wonderfully as the iPhone HDR images did. What I was seeing with my naked eye was somewhere in between what the Canon saw and what the iPhone saw after HDR editing.

Rock Castle Gorge overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway

I’ve always been a photographer that does as little post-processing as possible. I try to “get it right” in the camera, using my settings and filters. Sometimes, though, the image requires color or exposure editing — not to make it more dramatic, but to make it more “real” and closer to what I was seeing with my naked eye.

The time of day has a lot to do with how a photograph will look. In these images, I was out at mid- to late morning and the sun was high in the sky and very bright. The cloud formations were spectacular, but by late morning, the sun was out of the clouds. It tended to create a rather harsh and bright landscape. That is when I decided to frame the image with the huge tree so that I would have a balance of light and shadows.

My run to the mountains was a success! It got my mind off my troubles, and I was able to enjoy the mountain views and work on my photography. I have several different go-to places, depending on the season.

Where do you go to re-center yourself?


Deb is a landscape photographer living in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The story behind the photographs are found here at Beautiful Sun Adventures. Her galleries can be found at Beautiful Sun Photography. Prints are available as wall art and home décor for your home, office, or business. Or as the perfect gift for someone special!

11 Comments Add yours

  1. LA says:

    Book store. Seeing proof of all the stories out there helps me

    1. I love this! Yes, I do feel at home in a bookstore, any bookstore. Or the library. So many choices.

    1. That’s wonderful! And very true!

  2. jim hughes says:

    Hmmm. I don’t know if I’d say “re-center” or just “clear my head”, but I bicycle to some odd part of the city, find a coffee shop and hang for a while. Maybe I bring my camera and find some crazy urban scene to shoot.

    1. Ahhhh, I love that idea. It reminds me of what I miss about living in a large urban city – where going to another suburb is like going to a whole ‘nother area of the state or country.

  3. sienablue says:

    The woods and meadows near my house are all I need. In the early morning when the traffic noise nearby is at a minimum

    1. Isn’t it lovely to have something so close to your house!

  4. Steve Heap says:

    Lovely images of the mountains. That is a beautiful road – I used to drive it from the top in Virginia – great views and very calming. I try to get out in my canoe on the local lake, although I must admit these past weeks have been a little too hot and humid, even in the early morning. So I will go with a glass of red wine and a photography magazine!

    1. Sounds like an excellent option, Steve! I know what you mean about the heat and humidity. It has been a lot cooler on top of the mountain in the early morning hours.

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