Hiking along the Appalachian Trail in fall often produces wonderful photography. Couple the hike with a rocky foreground and sunlight streaking the sky with brilliant rays and you have the makings of a pleasant Virginia afternoon. This photograph also shows distant pastures spotted with sunlight that managed to slip through the heavy clouds on this day.
This western facing overview is located near the Blackburn hikers hostel in Loudoun County, Virginia. After reaching the mountain top above the cabin, this particular spot can be found about one mile north along the Trail. Due to the ever changing weather along the Blue Ridge Mountains, this view is subject to change every few minutes. Often the sky here is filled with soaring Turkey Vultures, which are always a pleasure to watch.
Being a lover of beautiful landscapes, this photographer visits here often. I've come to appreciate the few generous views that the northern Virginia mountains offer. Both sides of the ridge tend to be covered with thick, young trees that hinder such terrific views.
As the locals know, Loudoun County, Virginia has been inundated with stink bugs over the last year. The rocks and boulders in the foreground were covered with these insects on this day. It was difficult to simply walk on them without crushing one of these small, smelly creatures. As a photographer, I strive to leave a location untouched, including the sparing of bugs. I won't pick the vegetation, tear down branches or change the living environment to suit my photography needs. I will, however, move something around to get better shot.
The Blackburn cabin offers through hikers a place to stay for the night as they journey along the east coast. Aside from the main lodge, this hostel also features several small cabins and a place for tent camping. On a clear day, visitors are treated to views of the Washington Monument from the front lawn. This is also a fine place to simply sit in a chair and ponder.