Monday, June 7, 2010

Grandfather Mountain Nature Photography Weekend

Every year Grandfather Mountain hosts a weekend gathering of about 150 nature photographers from around the country.   I attended for the first time June 4 - 6 and had a blast!   Most everyone camps on the mountain for the weekend.  This is a special privilege because they don't normally allow anyone to camp.  We had the full run of the mountain 24 hours a day from Friday afternoon through Sunday.   The weekend includes lectures and shows by some of the top nature photographers in the country.  It just doesn't get any better!  

After getting settled in I took off up the mountain looking for subjects.   I took a couple of wildflower shots before heading down for the first lecture.   The next morning I was up at 5:15 to get set for sunrise.  It was windy, overcast and the top of the mountain was fogged in.  If I had thought of it I would have headed up there to get a shot of the mile high swinging bridge disappearing into the fog.  Oh well, maybe next time.

The sunrise Saturday didn't have a lot of color, but there was a lot of fog hanging in the valleys below the mountain, making some interesting layer compositions.

After having a little breakfast I took of hiking in search of photos to enter in the weekend contest.   I didn't come away with any winners but I did find a nice trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway with some small streams and waterfalls to enjoy.

Saturday evening I was up on top of the mountain looking for that killer sunset shot.  Brilliant sunrises or sunsets just weren't in the cards for this year.   I did try some different compositions to see what I could make out of it.

One of the programs Saturday night was Nature Photography After Dark by Kevin Adams, which was an excellent program.  One thing I learned was how to take pictures of the night sky.   As soon as it was dark enough I headed down the road to an overlook I had noticed earlier and I thought would be a good place to try out my newly learned skill.   I wasn't the only one to have that idea and spent the next 30 minutes shooting the stars with about ten other photographers.  Here's my favorite night sky shot.  

I met a lot of nice people and had a great time on my weekend.  I'm already planning on signing up next year.

Remember to click on these images to get full sized views. 

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