Landscape and Panoramic Photography

long exposure

Cabin Creek, Grayson Highlands, VA

Early in July, I spent the weekend camping and hiking around Grayson Highlands State Park, Virginia. Although I think the really spectacular open views of the landscape are found along the Massie Gap – Wilburn Ridge – Mt Rogers trail, there is a nice, relative short (~2-3 miles) loop hike down in the valley near the ridge that goes to Cabin Creek Falls. We decided to hike clockwise around the loop (I’d go this direction again so I can see the falls as I hike up to them along the stream), and I stopped briefly at this small set of falls (not the ‘actual’ Cabin Creek Falls) thinking this was the ‘big attraction’. Cabin Creek Falls next week.

Cascading Water below Cabin Creek Falls, Grayson Highlands State Park, VA (15″x22″)


Spouting Rock and Stream

A vertical panorama of the stream and falls above Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon, Colorado. This panorama is composed of three horizontal single-frame images stitched together so I could capture the mini-falls and stream in the foreground below where I was standing as well as Spouting Rock in front/above.

Spouting Rock and Stream (B&W, 2021), Hanging Lake, Glenwood Canyon, CO (19″x20.5″)


Crater Lake and Maroon Bells

Even at nearly 10,000 feet elevation, the trailhead at Maroon Lake was a bit warm. Fortunately, the relatively short (~1.8 mile) hike to Crater Lake only ascends about 600 feet and is partly shaded through evergreens and aspens. The views of the mountains and gathering clouds above Crater Lake were as beautiful as usual, so the walk, despite the warmth, was worth it. I was glad I had a 15-stop ND filter to make a 4-minute exposure of the lake and the movement in the clouds around noon. I shot the photo at f/16, so I could have even made an 8-minute photograph at f/22 (wish I would have now- the clouds could use a little more blur!).

Crater Lake, Maroon Bells, and Passing Clouds (B&W, 2021), White River National Forest, CO (13″x23″)


Spouting Rock, Hanging Lake, June 2021

There is a long history in my family of hiking up to Hanging Lake and Spouting Rock- my maternal grandmother had heart problems and still managed to make her way up to the lake most years up until she died. After the fire in the summer of 2020 in Glenwood Canyon, I expected the vegetation to be burned out, but most of the trees are still standing in the canyon. There is an occasional charred tree trunk that has fallen into the canyon along the trail, but most of the area around the trail made it through unscathed. Despite the heat wave, it was a nice walk up to the lake. I hope the remainder of the canyon recovers from the fire- the scrub oak are already regrowing.

Spouting Rock (Color, 2021), Glenwood Canyon, Colorado (14″x21″)

Falls near Mortimer Campground, NC (Color)

Color version of the falls upstream from Mortimer Campground (black and white last week). I go back and forth about which I like more. There’s a bit more depth in the color I think.

Falls above Mortimer Campground (Color), near Collettsville, NC (15″x15″)


Falls near Mortimer Campground, NC

In late May I took a weekend trip out to western North Carolina just south of Grandfather Mountain. We stayed in Mortimer Campground for several nights- a lovely location where you can hear the stream flowing by as you fall asleep. We hiked up the trail that follows the stream out of camp and came across a few sets of beautiful falls. Here is one of my favorite images from the hike- this week the black and white version, next week the color version.

Falls above Mortimer Campground (B&W), near Collettsville, NC (15″x15″)


Bridges over Tennessee River, Part 2

More long-exposure photographs of clouds and bridges over the Tennessee River using a 15-stop ND filter. Here, I liked how the leading lines of the clouds and the bridges direct the eye to the right third of the image, but the boardwalk in the foreground leads the eye back to the bridge on the left.

Tennessee River, Bridges, and Clouds (Part 2), Knoxville, TN (14″x21″)


Bridges and Clouds over Tennessee River

Visited Knoxville, TN for the first time a few weeks ago- it was cloudy and moderately chilly. I took a walk along the Tennessee River and used a 15-stop filter to make a few photographs of the passing clouds over the river. So much time and history has passed by this spot.

Tennessee River, Bridges, and Clouds, Knoxville, TN (14″x21″)


Tracks and Self Help, Durham

Buildings and railroad tracks under clouds passing at sunset in downtown Durham, NC. 80s exposure time.

Time and Self Help, Downtown Durham, NC (12″x20″)


Railroad Tracks and Clouds, Durham

Clouds pass over tracks through downtown Durham, NC. 121s exposure time.

Clouds over Tracks, Downtown Durham, NC (15″x15″)


Time Passes

Clouds mark the time passing by. Sometimes it feels slow, sometimes it feels fast. Sometimes we aren’t paying attention. Sometimes it’s all I can think about.

Clouds over White Building, Downtown Durham, NC (15″x22″)


Tree, Field, Passing Clouds in Eastern NC

On my way back from a short trip to the coast late last autumn, a storm blew in on the drive back. The clouds were really moving, so I pulled over on the side of a state highway to make a photograph of the sky over a blank field in front of a tree.

I unfortunately didn’t take the extra 5-10 minutes to walk around and shoot a few angles- I wish I’d moved closer and lower to the ground so the tree was bigger and extended more into the sky. Also, I mis-judged where the clouds were moving, so they lead the eye to the background on the left side of the photo- I think the center would have been better. Even after doing this photography thing for over two decades now, I still don’t get it ‘right’ or exactly the way I want most of the time, but the process is rewarding in itself.

Field, Tree, and Passing Cloud, eastern NC (14″x14″)


ND Awards 2021 Entries

Spent a bit of time thinking this weekend about my ND Awards entries for 2021- decided on the below images:


Trees in Shallows at Hatteras Inlet, NC

Shot from a stretch of quiet coastline west of the US Coast Guard station on Hatteras: long-exposure photograph of small islands and trees on the Sound side of the Outer Banks. 25-second exposure.

Trees in Shallows (Color), Hatteras Inlet, Outer Banks, NC (12″x22″)


Hatteras Island Sunset at Kite Point, Part II

Lens of light between darkening clouds – ~300 second exposure time to make this image of the moving clouds and water as the light faded.

Lens of Light over Sound between Dark Clouds (B&W), Hatteras Island near Avon, North Carolina (12″x22″)


Hatteras Island Sunset, Kite Point

I stopped near Kite Point between Avon and Buxton on Hatteras Island to make a few images of some pretty fantastic light reflecting off the Sound north/west of the barrier islands – I particularly liked the small structure out on the Sound in the center of the photograph along the horizon line. I shot this at ~1 second exposure time- wish I’d gone for ~30 seconds to really flatten out the water, but the light was changing so quickly that I didn’t have a change to get my filters out and set up properly in time.

Sunset over Sound near Kite Point (#1, Color), Hatteras Island, North Carolina (14″x22″)


Hatteras Island at Sunset

121-second exposure of passing clouds at sunset at a set of stairs over the dunes on Hatteras Island. I included one version in black and white, another in color, to emphasize different elements in the scene.

Stairs on Hatteras Island at Sunset (B&W), Hatteras Island, NC (12″x21″)

Stairs on Hatteras Island at Sunset (Color), Hatteras Island, NC (12″x21″)


Lucky Strike Tower, Durham at Sunset Part II

Another angle on the Lucky Strike Tower at sunset- image made back in December, 2020. I wanted to include more of the industrial building tops in the foreground on this one. 132s exposure time.

Lucky Strike Tower at Sunset (#2), Durham, NC (13″x21″)


Parking Deck and Passing Clouds over Downtown Durham

Another long-exposure photograph of passing clouds over the buildings around downtown Durham – I decided to go for the partially desaturated look instead of the color emphasis (previous sunset photograph) or the all black and white from a few weeks ago. 136s exposure time with an ND filter.

Parking Deck, Passing Clouds, and Lucky Strike Tower, Durham, NC (16″x16″)


Trees in Winter Fog along Mud Creek

Late in 2020, I went out for a bike ride between a series of chilly rain showers. While passing through a low-lying area, I noticed the fog hugging the ground in a flooded forest along Mud Creek. Hope you get a sense for the atmosphere that evening.

Fog and Flooded Forest, outside Durham, NC (16″x16″)


Passing Clouds over Downtown Durham

A few more long-exposure photographs of passing clouds over the buildings around downtown Durham – these focus more on the architecture, patterns, and contrast between the natural (cloud streaming) and the human-made (buildings) than an earlier post that was more about light and time at sunset.

Lucky Strike and Passing Clouds, Durham, NC (16″x28″)

Windows and Passing Clouds, Durham, NC (16″x16″)


Seagulls on Dock in Fog

Seagulls on wooden dock in fog at Lake Washington. From November, 2019, 40s exposure time.

Gulls on Wooden Dock (B&W), Seattle, WA (10″x18″)


Ocean and Clouds near Emerald Isle, NC

Clouds pass over Bogue Inlet where the White Oak River meets the Atlantic Ocean off the southern tip of Emerald Isle, NC.

90s exposure time, 10-stop ND B+W filter.

White Oak River meets Atlantic Ocean (B&W), near Emerald Isle, NC (12″x18″)


East Fork Pigeon River, Blue Ridge Parkway

Playing with exposure time. Basically the same subject and composition, but one photograph is made using a 10-stop ND filter, the other with a polarizing filter, which is ~2 stops. Both images get some amount of blur in the water, but one photograph has a 30-second exposure time, the other 1/6 second. I think a split down the middle (~2 seconds) may have actually been nicer, but I didn’t do it because I didn’t have a mid-range filter!

Falls along East Fork Pigeon River (10-Stop ND Filter), Blue Ridge Parkway, NC (12″x18″)

Falls along East Fork Pigeon River (Polarizing Filter), Blue Ridge Parkway, NC (12″x18″)