Saturday, 23 November 2019 08:37


I was always taught that when the weather is changing, it's time to go outside. So about a month ago I took a student to Pounding Mill Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway for sunrise. We knew from the forecast the day prior that there was a good possibility that the valleys on the south side of the great run of the Pisgah Ridge above the Cradle of Forestry in America would be filled with fog. When we arrived we were not disappointed; and to our delight, the clouds below us were a vast sea of tumultuousness, weather in motion as it were, and the sun rising above the fray gave birth to meterologic energy in motion.

A focal length of 200mm gave me the moderate telephoto angle-of-view I wanted, creating compression and magnification, and allowing for the isolation of a specific portion of the valley below me. An aperture of f/16 provided depth-of-field from the camera-to-subject distance. It also allowed me to hold the ISO at 100 and still have a shutter speed of 1/30th second, fast enough to essentially stop the motion in the moving clouds.

It's raining in Western North Carolina today. When it begins to slow to stopping, get your gear and go play. You will likely be rewarded for the effort.


Read 138 times
More in this category: « Who Do?


  • Comment Link Donald McGowan Friday, 29 November 2019 15:37 posted by Donald McGowan

    Good afternoon Everyone. Thank you all very much for joining me for this discussion. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope it was filled with the love of family and dear friends, and the joy of good company; and I hope you will carry forward with you the understanding of how richly you are blessed. Bonnie and I are keenly aware of, and grateful for, the good fortune that enfolds us, even in the most tumultuous of times.
    Hi Ray. Thanks very much for being with me and your your kind and thoughtful observations.Your references to the water cycle and to the Blue Ridge's famous receding ridges are well-made. I'm thinking of the many ways an image from one aspect of the cycle can be seen to appear as if it were another aspect: vapor for water, water for ice; and the visual wonderment that these comparatives produce, often with an energy that is palpable. I think of Brother David Steindl-Rast and his gratitude for the joys that vision affords us. Hope your week ahead is filled with much visual joy.
    Hi Nancy K. It's always good to have you join the discussion. Thanks for your kind comment. I hope you have been well. Doesn't high energy often incite us to energetic descriptions; and I very much appreciate yours.
    Hey Lynne. Thanks for being with us; I am honored by your kind words. I return to my comment for Ray's observation. The water cycle is such an amazing aspect of the world we inhabit on so many different levels. I remember that one of the basic exhortations of Taoist masters to their students is to become "like water," and I have to believe that they were inclusive of all of water's forms and aspects. Looking forward to our next adventure.
    Hey Mike. What a kind and much-appreciated comment. Hope you have been well. Walk in Beauty.
    Tammy, it is so good to hear from you. We'd love to hear what you've been up to. Thank you very much for that kind word; it is very much appreciated.
    Hey Win. Hope you had an excellent Thanksgiving, as well. We've missed seeing you recently and hope to begin to catch up this coming week. I am deeply honored by your kind words for I know how carefully you attend to them before they are offered. Walk in Beauty, my friend.
    Hey Kev. It's always great to have you with me. I hope you and Elizabeth had an excellent Thanksgiving gathering with family all around. I much appreciate your analysis of this image: some amount of the ridgeline significantly less than 1/3 seemed appropriate for the reasons you suggest. Your thought about the "bright spot" is interesting. Of course, the spot is the sun peeking from behind the clouds, but not seen directly. I wanted to include it because it would reveal the source of the light illuminating the tops of the cloud. Finally, I'm going to have to enlist Nancy T's help; I have yet to locate the cloud-face you found, but I don't doubt your discovery. Be well. Talk soon.
    Hey Nancy T. I hope you've had an excellent time with family in the Sunshine State and a wonderful Thanksgiving. The tumult I shared was the product of some of the fiercest wind I ever encountered at Looking Glass Overlook, but it was more fun than you can imagine. Only setback was that that wind reached over and snatched my favorite Smokies baseball cap right off my head and delivered it about halfway from where I was standing to Looking Glass Rock. Hope I can find a replacement. Take good care.
    Thank you all, again, for sharing your thoughts and your energy. We are about to head into December and when it concludes, we will have endures eight years of my offerings, and winter will have begun. I am blessed to have had you around with me for all or much of that time, and I appreciate what I have learned from each of you. Walk in Beauty.

  • Comment Link Nancy Tripp Sunday, 24 November 2019 17:27 posted by Nancy Tripp

    This is a powerful image and quite a contrast to what you would expect in on a foggy morning. Thanks for being there to capture it. It is comforting to see some of the ridges there so we know all is well. It must have been an awesome experience to see all that tumultuous behavior when it was probably very quiet. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  • Comment Link Kevin Desrosiers Sunday, 24 November 2019 16:17 posted by Kevin Desrosiers

    Great image! If I didn't see the ridgeline, I would have thought we were viewing water. Several things I like. First, you had just enough of the ridgeline so the viewer knows what it is and puts it into perspective. Giving the mountains 1/3 would have been too much so ignoring that "rule" here was good. Second, keeping the ridgeline darker, rather than bringing out some of the shadows keeps our focus on the clouds. Another good choice, this time in post. Third, although I normally do not like it, the bright spot in the upper left adds rather than distracts me. I usually avoid bright things that can be distractions, but in this case, it added to the picture. Once minor critique. The 3 spots that look like a face in the middle cloud distracted me some. maybe you could have used the healing brush or close tool there.

    Wishing you and Bonnie a very safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.

  • Comment Link Win Southworth Sunday, 24 November 2019 16:13 posted by Win Southworth

    Another stunning nature photo, Don. Your photographic skills I find truly amazing. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Bonnie, Win

  • Comment Link Tammy Sunday, 24 November 2019 15:47 posted by Tammy


  • Comment Link Mike Sunday, 24 November 2019 13:56 posted by Mike

    Very Cool

  • Comment Link Lynne Diamond-Nigh Sunday, 24 November 2019 12:54 posted by Lynne Diamond-Nigh

    Beautiful; first I thought it was water.

  • Comment Link Nancy Kelly Sunday, 24 November 2019 09:26 posted by Nancy Kelly


  • Comment Link Ray Foote Sunday, 24 November 2019 09:14 posted by Ray Foote

    Don, what an energetic photograph. I'm not sure I can add anything more descriptive than your "vast sea of tumultuousness!" The resemblance to water is striking, and it's also a new twist on the cliche of the bands of Blue Ridge Mountains in various shades of blue and gray. Yes, you've captured vapor as if it were far more solid. Hope you have a good week. Ray

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.

Site copyright © 2001 - 2019 Don McGowan & EarthSong Photography. 

All Rights Reserved.