Date Taken: 10/03/2016
Location: Woolyback Overlook, Milepost 452.3 on the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina
Camera: Nikon D2X
Lens: Nikkor 70-210 f/4
Focal Length: 145mm
How I Got This Shot: Sometimes when shooting a vast scene, as I did Monday on the Parkway near Cherokee, it sometimes can be more effective to zoom in with a telephoto lens to capture a small part of a larger scene for better effect. Since this view of vivid light rays was far off in the distance, I zoomed in considerably (to the equivalent of 218mm, if my Nikon D2X were a full frame camera) to compose the fading light as it beamed over Clingman’s Dome some fifteen miles away. Using a tripod at this focal length, with a slow shutter speed (1/40 of a second), is critical here for maximum sharpness.
I composed the scene so that the brightest light would take up the upper third of the image, with the layered mountains gradually darkening as you look to the lower two-thirds of the image, for a sense of depth. I metered my camera for the brightest part of the light and shot away, adjusting my shutter speed for the light without overexposing (using the histogram on your camera is very important here! Expose to the right!). I needed no filter since I was confident the light I was exposing for was enough to convey what I saw perfectly; and as such, developing the image to convey what I saw with my own eyes was quite simple.
There are over 200 overlooks along the Blue Ridge Parkway’s 469 miles.
More from Solitary Traveler Photography