After finding this amazing field of Goldenrod on the north end of Jefferson Notch, I decided to return on several occasions at sunrise and sunset. Over the course of 4 days back and forth, I was treated with great light only once. Luckily this was on my fourth and last visit and I had already scouted out a few compositions. Of course the clouds and light never lined up that night in such a way that I was able to fully realize those previous comps. The good news was that I had begun to get into a rhythm with the location and when the magic happened I was able to quickly react and shoot a few comps that worked really well.
Thanks for having a look and best of light!
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This past week I sumitted Old Rag Mountain and spent the night up top with friend and fellow photographer Chris Kayler. This is not the first time I have done this hike to the summit of Old Rag, but was in fact the first time for me to sleep on the summit. In fact, this hike is featured in my book 50 Amazing Things You Must See and Do in the Greater D.C. Area: The Ultimate Outdoor Adventure Guide . In hopes of getting away from the record high temps and humidity crippling the DC area, we picked a day that forecasted a cold front moving in across the mountains in hopes of cooler temps in the mountains and the chance of thunderstorms at or near sunset.
We started the hike in the afternoon and quickly realized just how hot and humid it still was! With the temp hovering around 90 degrees and the humidity at 85%, we knew we were in for a long and hot haul up the trail! As soon as I hoisted my 45 pound pack filled with camera gear, sleeping bag and pad, overnight food, rain gear and 5 liters of water for an overnight on a dry summit, we quickly hit the road on the 1/2 mile approach to the actual trailhead. By the time we arrived, I was already drenched in sweat and decided to take a did in the swimming hole along the river to cool off before tackling the upward climb towards the ridge and the approach to the summit proper.
After about 2 mile of an upward climb through the sweltering heat of the forest, we arrived at the summit ridge and were greeted with the most refreshing breeze sweeping from west to east across the ridge line. It was just what the doctor ordered! In contrast to the cooler temps and great vies now comes the most challenging section of the hike, a .9 mile summit approach across a boulder strewn ridge that involves constant rock hopping, over hand climbing, bouldering, chimneying and in a few spots crawling on your hands and knees through rock cuts and small caves. This is usually a pretty moderate climb with a day pack or just camera gear, but add-on an 45 pound overnight pack and it becomes strenuous and in some cases very difficult. Below are a few shots I snapped of our climb across the ridge towards the summit.
We arrived on the summit of the mountain after a long and exhausting 2 hour climb across the ridge and were greeted with an afternoon thunderstorm raging across the mountains and huge thunder heads to the east. It rained but briefly over the summit followed by strong 30 to 40 mile an hour winds. We had some nice although brief light at sunset. I found a nice composition of a jumble of car sized boulders on the summit with dramatic sunset skies and painted light at sunset. After the light faded, we settled down into a rock depression of the summit for a quick diner of freeze-dried Chili Mac and then a long night under the stars. Myself or Chris did not get much sleep over night due to the constant battering of the wind sweeping across the summit. I awoke around 3am and spent the rest of the night until civil twilight watching shooting stars and the constellations track across the night sky.
After a great sunrise session and feeling really exhausted from lack of sleep and a hard climb the day before, we settled back down at our camp for some calories and bit of caffeine before packing the gear and tackling the summit ridge back down into the woods. The temps were pleasant that morning and we arrived back to the trailhead parking a little before noon. It was a great little adventure and yielded some new images for me! All in all, a great time in the back country of the mountains.
I found this wonderful meadow of blooming Lupine up Gothic road north of the quirky ski town of Mount Crested Butte. The monsoon was a little weak on this afternoon, but the clouds happened to hang around until sunset providing me with some great shapes and nice color. I used an ultra wide-angle lens getting in close to the most profuse blooms and framed in the spectacular sky waiting until the color in the clouds reached its peak before tripping the shutter.
See more of my Colorado images in the Mountain Magic gallery on my website.
I spent a long 3 day weekend camping and hiking with my son Phoenix in the Mountains of West Virginia and western Maryland. On Sunday, we hiked and scrambled down to Elakala Falls and Second Falls of Shays Run. After climbing around on the rocks and waiting in the plunge pool below the falls, I took a chance to work a few comps of the scene. For this shot I was in the water with Phoenix. He was kind enough to hold the shutter release and trip the shot when i told him I was ready. Great kid!!
Porphyry Basin Falls at sunset, San Juan Mountains, Colorado.
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Summer is ending and autumn is beginning to take over in the Appalachian Mountains. This shot is from a favorite location at sunrise in Shenandoah National Park from this past weekend. I took my family camping and hiking on Saturday and Sunday. I managed to steal away for a bit and was rewarded with some great light at sunrise.
This is a manual blend of 2 exposures (Adobe CS4).
Thanks for your feedback! Joe
Still going through images from the Colorado trip and processing the best of the best. Here is one from Great Sand Dunes National Park. I climbed the dune field to the top to be in position when the magic happened. The sunset was simply incredible!
Don’t forget, we still have 1 spots left for our Great Falls One Day Field Workshop on August 13th. Click here for more detils and to register.
Originally uploaded by Joseph Rossbach(www.josephrossbach.com)
For years I have been attracted to this old snag in Shenandoah National Park and for years the light and clouds never worked out for me. On my last trip into the park on the last day of the workshop, I took the group down to this spot. As the sun rose it illuminated the underside of the clouds floating by. I shot at f22 to get the sunstar and used a 2 stop ND grad to open up some additional detail in the mountains. I cropped this shot to 4:5 ratio to remove the empty space on the right of the composition and better balance the photo.
Our Shenandoah Spring Workshop kicks of this afternoon but I have been in the park for a couple of days scouting and shooting new images. Here is one from this morning at Buck Hollow Overlook. The light broke for only a few minutes illuminating the scene with soft pink light and really nice glow. It looks like it is going to rain and generally be cloudy for the rest of the day, so we will be shooting waterfalls, forest scenes and streams. Hopefully we get lucky and get some light at sunset!
Please visit my website for a full list of photo workshops and classes for 2009: http://josephrossbach.com/