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I have photographed the moon rising over the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia from this location many times. Each time I do so, I marvel at the beauty of where I live, here in Nelson County, Virginia. There is just something mystical about this place, and I feel that I captured it in this photograph. As I look out upon this scene, I think I can almost see the ghosts of those who travelled these mountains before me. Virginia is known as "The Old Dominion". The city of Jamestown was the location of the first permanent English settlement in North America. The site is still being excavated to the present day. The settlers arrived in 1608, twelve years before the Mayflower arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts. As more people came to Virginia, the settlers moved west. The James River was an essential route for business and trade. People came to this area known as Appalachia to make a new life for themselves. Out here in one of the most rural areas in Virginia (one traffic light in the entire county) life is slow and more laid back. That is why people from Richmond, Washington D.C., and Raleigh, North Carolina come here on weekends. They want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I love talking about where I live. Like I said, there is something mystical about this place.
Let's talk about the photograph. It was taken on November 20th, 2016 at the occurrence of a superior super moon. Other than tonal correction, cropping for emphasis, and sharpening, I did not do any type of "gimmickry" to the photograph. What you see here is what I saw with my eyes. In many moon scrapes, the moon is enlarged for emphasis. Artistic expression is an individual thing so I will not criticize or judge. I could have enlarged the moon or processed the photograph to look more impressionistic, and in some of my works I do just that, but I chose not to do so here. It was my intent to show you, dear viewer, what I saw, i.e., a peaceful tranquil scene. When I look at this phograph I feel peaceful and calm. I would like you to have your own experience. Photography is more than just taking pictures. For me, it is a medium where I can communicate how I see the world around me, and how I relate to it. So how did I create this work? Read on.
Nature photographers often refer to "The Golden Hour", which starts about a half hour before sunrise, and again about a half hour before sunset. It is when the light is at its best. The light is even, i.e., there are no deep shadows or harsh bright areas. This photograph was taken just after sunset. If you notice the pink in the sky, that is "earth shadow". The sun had set behind me and as its light is refracted by the earth's atmosphere, a beautiful pink glow forms on the eastern horizon. When to shoot was the tricky part. The moon is very bright. So in order not to over expose the moon I had to photograph when the brightness of the moon and the darkness of the valley were within the camera sensor's dynamic range. If I had waited until after night fall, I would have had to take several exposures at different shutter speeds and combine them in post processing to get the same effect as what you see here.
I love what I do and I could write much more. But if I did I think I would bore you with all the technical stuff like f-stops, exposure times, and the like. So I will close here wishing you all well, and hoping that I added some beauty to your day.
Cheers, Paul ;-)