Aspen trees in Canaan Valley Condition Park.
Since the late ‘ 90s, I have visited West Va many times, scouting for photo workshops and conducting programs. Several of the best locations are in the northeastern area of the state (Pendleton, Grant, Randolph and Tucker Counties), where I’ve spent most my time, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a few of my favorite fall locations farther south in the vicinity of the Brand new River Gorge. Both areas are usually within a day’ s drive from the large metropolitan areas in the Mid-Atlantic area.
The time for peak fall colour in West Virginia varies along with nightly temperatures, the arrival associated with frost, rainfall, elevation, wind as well as other factors. For Blackwater Falls Condition Park, Canaan Valley, Seneca Stones, Dolly Sods and the area northern of Elkins, color typically highs anywhere from the end of September straight into early October. In southern Western Virginia, autumn colors peak a little later, toward the end of Oct.
Blackwater Falls Condition Park
The park’ s access road is northern of the small town of Davis, which lies south of Oakland, Maryland. Its main appeal is the 60-foot-tall Blackwater Falls. There are two overlooks, with the first near the visitor middle. Here a trail with around 200 wooden steps descends towards the bottom of the falls. There are several systems and points along the trail where one can photograph the falls from various elevations. Using a wide-angle lens, you are able to frame the falls or separate portions with a telephoto lens. The 2nd overlook is on the other side of the Blackwater River and involves a short stroll to a platform where you can photograph the particular falls from a higher viewpoint. Simply by standing at the far end from the platform, you can frame the drops surrounded by colorful foliage.
Blackwater Canyon with the river below, chance from Pendleton Point, Blackwater Drops State Park.
Not not even close to the park’ s visitor middle is Pendleton Point. The ignore provides impressive views of Blackwater Canyon and the river below. Whenever leaf color peaks, the canyon walls are peppered with splotches of bright red, orange, yellow-colored and green. In the morning, my favorite point of view for photography is from the stones at the far right of the ignore.
Down the hill through Pendleton Point is Pendleton River. As temperatures drop at night, haze often develops in low places and above the surface of drinking water. Then as the sun rises, the particular fog slowly lifts, revealing exactly what lies beneath. I use the haze to my advantage when photographing. I actually select close, colorful points of interest regarding foreground, backed by ghostly designs and colors behind.
My favorite morning location is Lindy Point. It is located on Canaan Cycle Road, which can be reached by following the primary park road past Blackwater Hotel to its end. After generating a short distance, you will come to a little parking area on the right along with a trail marker. The relatively easy walk ends at a platform built on the rock outcropping with a view searching south down Blackwater Canyon. We often use the boulders around the system as a foreground in my images. I actually typically arrive just as the early morning sun begins to light the canyon. I prefer soft light to reduce the particular glare off of surfaces and avoid excessive contrast between the rocks and canyon wall.
Canaan Valley Resort
South associated with Davis on West Virginia Path 32 is Canaan Valley Holiday resort and Conference Center State Recreation area. Like many West Virginia recreational areas, it has a lodge, restaurant plus golf course, but it also has a number of panoramic trails and overlooks.
From the main highway, there is a made road that runs through the recreation area, providing access to the nature center, paths, lodge and cabins. If you carry on down the main road past the entry to the lodge, you will find Balsam Swamp Overlook, with capturing views of the area and the chance of spotting a black bear. Final time I was there, a pussy pond just below the overlook has been reflecting fall colors from the encircling hillsides. To capture as much of the particular water’ s surface as possible, We shot from a hill on the reverse side of the road with excellent results.
If you keep on along the park road, it descends through a large field often visited by deer and a wetland to might see beaver swimming with the channels. Scattered throughout the park are usually maples, oaks and a few aspens. Within the fall, they are beautiful when back-lit by the sun. For best outcomes, spot meter off the leaves to prevent the background from exerting undue impact over the exposure.
Golden leaves plus vertical trunks, Canaan Valley Condition Park.
The park street ends at the golf course parking great deal, where you can access a forest path connecting to a path across the Blackwater River. Views of the water, wetlands and surrounding mountains are specifically nice in the morning. Along the way, you will find appears of ferns turned yellow simply by frost and fallen leaves designing ground cover comprised of club mosses and lichens. The area is visited by geese, beaver and deer that, if included in your photos, will certainly add another dimension to your pictures.
Across Route thirty-two from the main drive through the recreation area is a ski slope with a raise that often operates in the fall, consuming hikers to the top of the mountain to get a bird’ s-eye-view of Canaan Area. Once there, you can follow the trail left and hike along ridge up hill, eventually reaching Bald Knob meant for my favorite panoramic views of the area. The rock outcroppings of the button provide stark contrast to the drop leaf color below.
Inside my quest for fall color, I will usually follow a circular route south through Canaan Valley on Route thirty-two to the town of Harman and to Route 33/55 toward Seneca Rocks. Seneca Rocks is a shear sandstone formation rising 900 foot vertically above the North Shell River. In autumn, from Path 28/33 and the visitor center car parking lot, you can photograph the outcropping, with colorful trees populating the low elevations.
Seneca Rocks along with fall color at the base.
If you have time, you can hike the particular 1 . 3-mile trail up the hill, following the switchbacks and steps to achieve viewpoints overlooking the surrounding countryside through high on the ridge. Climbers frequent Seneca Rocks, so you might wish to include them in your photos regarding added interest and a splash associated with color.
Dolly Sods Wilderness
Dolly Sods is a high, windswept plateau on nearly 4000 feet at the highest point. Fall color right here often arrives slightly before it will at Canaan Valley. Forest Street 75 is a gravel road that will follows the ridge across the level. Trails lead to rock faces looking over the Allegheny Mountains. This unique region resembles northern Canada more than Western Virginia. Winters are harsh, along with strong westerly winds. At the increased elevations are stunted one-side red-colored spruce trees, heath barrens, plus fields of blueberry and huckleberry bushes. In low areas are usually bogs with sphagnum moss, natural cotton grass, cranberries and beaver fish ponds.
Back-lit blueberry bushes along with glowing red leaves at Junk Sods Wilderness.
In the drop, this area is a “ should visit. ” After a hard frost on the higher sections of the plateau, the leaves of the blueberry bushes turn red. When backlit by late afternoon sun, they glow. In places, there are huge lichen-covered boulders contributing contrast to the scene. For best results, the sun must be low in the sky. Your lens is pointed toward the bushes with the sun behind, which means that lens flare is often a serious problem as the light bounces from the lens’ internal glass surfaces. Flare may appear as random bright spots in the image or as a wash light across the frame, reducing color intensity and image sharpness. Most likely, your lens shade will be of little help resolving the problem. Often , I will shade leading of the lens by holding a jacket, black card or umbrella over it. In the viewfinder, you can see if you have been successful. Be mindful that the object used to shade the lens does not appear at the edges of the frame. Depending on your shooting angle, a polarizer may help intensify colors.
Bear Rocks at the northern high end of the ridge road is another location well-liked by photographers in the fall. Trails meander through a boulder field and lead to a rock face overlooking the Allegheny Mountains and colorful slopes below. Mountain ash along with red berries can add a sprinkle of color to your images. Be cautious if climbing on the boulders. They could shift with your movements, and problems can have serious consequences.
To reach the top of Dolly Sods, you can approach from several instructions, but all involve driving upward relatively steep and often dusty tiny rocks roads with hairpin turns, hole and at times washboard-like surfaces. Through Canaan Valley, go south upon Route 32 until you see the to remain the left directing you to Junk Sods on Laneville Road. Through Seneca Rocks, drive north upon Route 28/55 turning left upon Jordan Run Road. Keep to the remaining on to Forest Road 19 leading to the top of the plateau.
Southern West Virginia
Cascade with golden leaves along the street to Thurmond in southern Western Virginia.
For your fall pilgrimage to southern West Virginia, several of my favorite locations near the New Water Gorge include the New River Gorge Bridge plus trails off of Lansing-Edmond Road leading to the canyon rim. Fayette Station Road, Sandstone Falls, Grandview, Glade Creek Grist Mill in Babcock State Recreation area, Hawks Nest State Park plus Cathedral Falls near Gauley Link, as well as the historic railroad town associated with Thurmond, are all photogenic locations to think about.
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