Blackrock Summit, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Easily one of my favorite locations in Shenandoah National Park, Blackrock Summit is a fantastic place to see and photograph stunning sunrises and sunsets over the Blue Ridge Mountains with unique rock formations in the foreground. Although it is an approximate 2.5 hour drive from Luray, it is accessible via a short 20 minute hike from a parking lot, with an easy scramble up rocks for an exceptional clear view of the Snenandoah Valley.

 

"Blackrock Summit Sunset," Shenandoah National Park

 

The view is one-of-a-kind, as one can separate the Blue Ridge Mountains on the Shenandoah side from the Allegheny mountains along the West Virginia border. Blackrock intersects the Appalachian Trail, which runs from Maine to Georgia along the length of the Appalachian mountain range. Photography-wise, compositional permutations are endless, with remarkable lichen-covered block-like rock formations in the foreground. At dawn or at blue hour, the Blue Ridge Mountains adopt a unique hazy bluish glow, making for wonderful captures.

Technique: The image above was achieved by shooting wide at 14mm, f/22 to obtain a nice sunstar as the sun was setting. Three images were taken – at 0 EV, -2 EV for definition in the sky, and -1 EV for greater clarity in the far foreground. These images were then manually combined in Photoshop, followed by contrast/polarization adjustments in Color Efex Pro and curves in Lightroom.

Caution: As a small note, there have been sightings of rattlesnakes at Blackrock Summit as the rocks make for a perfect habitat for these reptiles. Please watch your step if you are photographing at dawn or after sunset.

All images are ©2011 Alexander Filatov Photography. All rights reserved.

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