Spring is my favorite time of year here in the mid-Atlantic. Flowers bloom, the landscape erupts in a pageantry of green, and unstable weather patterns bring the most interesting and dramatic light we'll see all year. Plenty of rain and variable temperatures create interesting and photogenic conditions. During spring, I love to get high into the mountains when it appears likely that fog will form in the valleys below at dawn.
In my eBook Five Landscape Challenges 2, my co-author Joe Rossbach and I discuss how best to optimize your chances of getting above-the-clouds conditions, and how best to shoot such scenes when the opportunity arises. Usually, a soaking rain during the day followed by clearing skies and cool temperatures at night will give you the best chances of valley fog the next morning. Shenandoah National Park is a favorite local place of mine for capturing above-the-cloud images. This image, taken from Loft Mountain Overlook off of Skyline Drive, is one of my personal favorites from the park. The spring trees in the foreground were glowing with vibrant green color in the pre-dawn light, and made a perfect complement to the cooler tones elsewhere in the image. In terms of composition, I was attracted to the repetition of shapes between the cloud in the sky, the fog in the valley below, and the curving outline of the foreground trees, allowing me to unite the various elements of the image. I hoped to capture a sense of the peaceful and calm mood of the morning, and to help tell the story of this gentle landscape.
Joe and I are leading a Shenandoah Spring Photo Workshop from June 10-12. We still have a few spaces left, we hope you can join us to chase moments like this.
Technical details: Canon 5D Mark II camera, 14-24mm lens (@24mm), ISO 400, f/11, 2 seconds.