For a bunch of years I have made it to Shenandoah National Park during the fall foliage season. I tend to go and have had some of my best luck on October 20th.
In general I get there an hour before sunrise, and then drive south along Skyland Drive, and check various overlooks and then shoot sunrise from one of them. As the day progresses I will drive further south and continue to check out the overlooks and shoot photos from them.
I've not explored the trails at SNP at all really, just a tiny bit of walking here and there but nothing that would be considered a hike. I know I am missing out on a lot of great areas and things to see, but that's not how I have shot there and I don't know the area well enough to go looking without doing with the potential for nothing coming of it if it isn't a good spot to explore or to shoot from. In the future I may change that, but for now not so much.
But there are great views from the overlooks. Here is one from 2012 that I like a bunch. The sky was great and the foliage was pretty good too.
Oct 20 2012
This is from 2007, my first visit to SNP.
Oct 20 2007
This photo is from the second year I've been to SNP, and I like this since it has the "blue ridge mountains" in it!
Oct 26 2008
Finally, in 2012 I got really lucky!
I was driving along Skyline Drive and had my 200-400mm lens on the front seat next to me. As I drove down the road, I had the though that I'd like to find a little foliage detail and shoot it with the longer lens. So I slowed down, and was looking for interesting and colorful patches of leaves. After just a few minutes of this mindset, I saw directly out my driver side window, this Barred Owl! It was sitting along the side of the road and wow. I was so lucky to be going slowly, to have the window down, and to be planning to shoot with a long lens. Normally I would have a couple of wide angle lenses at the ready to capture a landscape scene... But I was ready and I was very lucky.
The owl stayed there for just a few moments, and then flew away. My shutter speed was only 1/250th, but it worked even though the car was running, I was hand holding and there was an unexpected owl there.
Oct 20 2012
I'm planning another visit next month and I hope to get lucky and I hope to make some nice images.
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