Black Balsam Sunrise
The Black Balsam area of the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Pisgah National Forest is one of my favorite sections along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I had been thinking about doing a sunrise her for a couple of weeks and finally decided to go ahead and just plan on going. Before I knew it, 3 am came and I was up getting dressed and packing my gear and trying my best to not wake up my wife. I stopped by a 24 hour gas station, grabbed some gas and a cup of coffee and by 3:30 am I was well on my way.
I ended up getting to Black Balsam about 5:15 am, I could start to see color in the sky. I thought I might really get a really colorful sunrise and was getting fairly excited. I pulled my camera out and set up my tripod color was starting to take over the sky, it looked like it was catching on fire. As I looked out over the valley I could see Mt Pisgah with some beautiful orange and yellow tones above it. About 15 minutes later the sky was putting on a colorful show. I spent about half an hour here enjoying the view and taking some photographs of scenes that caught my eye.
I decided to head down to the Graveyard Fields, I wanted to hike down to the upper falls and see how the water flow was. I had also heard from my friend Nick that Painted Trillium was blooming along the trail and I love photographing trillium's. Painted trillium's are rarer than most of the trillium's that bloom in our area, they typically grow later and at higher elevations as well. I started down to the Graveyard Fields and I noticed the sky over the Blue Ridge Parkway. This was sight I had not seen much, so I pulled off to take a shot of the orange sky over the road. Once I was happy with that shot I headed on down the road and pulled into the Graveyard Fields. Right beside the bathrooms I noticed the sun rising over the mountain, I really liked this shot a lot. After getting that shot I grabbed my camera and tripod and went walking down the Parkway. I cam across some beautiful pink shelled azaleas. I set up for a really nice shot of them with the sunrise. I got some great color and a really nice sunburst, I really couldn't be happier. I decided to just sit back and enjoy the rest of the sunrise, I was really happy with what I had captured and just wanted to enjoy the moment.
After the sun had made it up I decide to head on down the trail, I really wanted to find some painted trillium's. Shortly after jumping onto the trail that leads you to the falls I noticed the trillium growing all around me. Hundreds of them littered the forest floor and they had just bloomed. I was very excited and spent about an hour photographing them along the trail and next to the top of the falls. The water wasn't flowing so well, so I opted out of going on down to the lower portion of the falls and decided to just take my time going back and just enjoy the trillium.
I decided to just check out the next 20 miles of the Parkway, I wasn't sure if I would find anything I really liked at this point. The skies were clear and without the clouds the light gets really intense and doesn't make for to good of photographs. I did end up finding a couple of things I liked, but for the most part I was ready to head home. I decided to take Route 215 to Canton, NC. For those of you that don't know, this is a very beautiful drive down the mountains. On the way down I stopped by Green Creek and photographed the waterfall there. I could never find the name for this waterfall, so I just call it Green Creek Falls. The water was flowing nicely and the sun wasn't high enough yet to shine down on it, so I was able to get a nice long exposure of it. Once I left there I was heading towards Canton. As I passed Logan Lake I noticed how calm the water was, the reflection was looking really good, I pulled off the road and shot this as well. Sometimes you just come across stuff you really enjoy, so I always keep my camera with me ready to shoot.
I made it through Canton and jumped on I-40 and got off exit 435. I wanted to go the back road home and take my time enjoying the farms along the way. I decided to check out the Osprey nest I found the previous week on Douglas Lake. She was there on her nest and I decided to go grab a couple shots of her. I was about 20 yards away and she was chirping like crazy. I was on a bridge so it wasn't like I could really get to her nest, but whatever, it did not matter to her. She jumped up and flew down right at me. I hit the ground quick as she missed me and flew on past me. I jumped up, grabbed a shot of her flying away and decided to head back to the car. I didn't want her flying into a car and getting hurt. Plus her talons are crazy huge! I felt that was enough, time for me to go home and work on my images and maybe relax a little.
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