Posted by: David Vernon | October 28, 2010

PDT Special #4 – Parks

When Stacy and I were standing on an abandoned bridge over the Mackinaw River many weeks ago taking pictures of the stars, we decided on the perfect bonus project for Project Double Take. We knew we were already heading to Smoky Mountain National Park in a few weeks so why not do parks? This is how it works on PDT – we decide and then everyone participating has to keep up. For the most part this group project is about us.  It all makes perfect sense to me.

So off to the Smokies we went – in search of the short that we both knew we’d find and come back to PDT with. It’s just that we didn’t expect that the “shot” we selected would be taken from virtually the same spot, and virtually the same time, looking virtually at the same thing. But sometimes that’s just how it works out.

The Smokies actually have numerous vistas for a park that is so steeped in forests and streams. We mostly saw just two vistas – Newfound Gap and Clingman’s Dome – and they were only a few miles apart and looked over the same basic things. The shots we chose to go with were both taken on a Monday morning at Newfound Gap on Highway 441 which runs north and south to the park. Newfound Gap is practically the high-point of the park so the views are pretty wonderful. If you drive up a narrow road that starts at Newfound Gap and heads west for about seven miles up a hill you will get to Clingman’s Dome – but the views to the east are pretty darn good in the Gap.

I typically talk about my shot and then I typically talk about Stacy’s shot. We’ll do it differently today – I’ll talk about both shots together. We trekked up to Newfound Gap before sunrise on a Monday morning – our getaway day. And we shot through the Blue Hour, into a nice twilight and finally finished with a wonderful sunrise. And yet it seems we were both drawn to the color late in the process – during civil twilight but just before the sun was up. The orange hues in the skies starting to give way to blues. I underexposed my image more then Stacy did. You can see it in the trees – mine are dark and hers are well seen. When you underexpose like this you tend to get more saturated colors so my orange wins that category. While Stacy’s oranges were more subtle, she really hit upon the other colors in the image. You figure out which one you like. And just to be safe, head over to Stacy’s post to see what she’s whipped up for the same story.

And with that – we’re back next week for our regular PDT – where it’s all about waterfalls – here in the very dry Midwest.

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