Mountain Ridge Stories

Last week I had the opportunity to shoot photos in the Shenandoah National Park with my friend, Emily Carter Mitchell, a nature and wildlife photographer from Maryland. For those unfamiliar with the park, Skyline Drive runs a 105-mile north south path along the ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.

My friends were leaving to hike Old Rag Mountain as I was putting my gear in the Jeep. My plan for that day was to explore the area and stop at every scenic spot between the Swift Run Gap and the Thornton Gap entrances to the drive.

The traffic was light, as the trees were not yet showing full color. It was easy to stop and set up and shoot photos with little interruption. Many images were captured of the mountains to the east and the Shenandoah Valley to the west.

As I approached the South River Overlook, the mountains seemed to fade as this tree caught my eye. This image was different than the others captured that day. My camera was not focused on mountains or the valley.

Looking through my viewfinder, I was searching for the story being told by this beautiful tree. Was the story the low-slung branches, reaching out of twisted tree providing shade for travelers along the drive? Or was the story about the many children that climbed those low branches, only to have a worried parent yell and ask them to get down?

One of the reasons I like to shoot nature photos is because of the search for the story. The challenge to compose images using light, color, shadow, and texture.   Taking time to see the moment and capture a piece of time in the viewfinder.

On this lazy fall afternoon, it was my privilege to photograph this lovely tree, to record a moment in its history and share it with you.

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