Grandfather Mountain - October 2017 (CORRUPTED) 
October 10, 2017 (Blog Post #1)
This past week I embarked on a quick trip to the Grandfather Mountain area in Western North Carolina. This trip served two purposes. The first was to become familiar with a new camera to help prepare for a longer more serious photography trip later in the month. The second was to capture two very specific images. I have been to this area several times but never stopped to hike or take any serious photos. 
Day1 largely consisted of hiking and scouting out areas, as well as timing out the hikes to points of interest. This was necessary to get familiar with an area that I would be returning to the next morning to hike in the dark. The day also yielded some decent late golden hour images from the lower elevations on the Ruff Ridge trail. As well as a decent evening photo of a car traveling on the viaduct.  (Continued Below)
When planning such trips I try to calculate the location of the sun. However, once I arrive on location I also use an app called "Star Walk 2". The app will allow you to impose star charts over a live view from the camera on your phone. It provides the location of the sun throughout the day, allowing you to visualize what the sun will look like on the horizon. I use this to help setup my compositions well in advance. After checking the weather for sunrise, I now had my 2nd day plans finalized and returned to my hotel, after a disappointing sunset at Ruff Ridge.
On day 2, I got up at 4:00am and drove back towards Grandfather Mountain, which is about a 45min drive. My first stop was at Milepost 305.2 on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Beacon Heights Overlook. After a short 15 min hike, I arrived at a rock outcropping that I had scouted the prior day and waited for blue hour. I decided to arrive early to ensure I had my gear setup and spot claimed. The parkway crowds can get large during the autumn. However, in the mornings people are a rare sight on the trails especially on a weekday. As the sun began to rise, the rocks started to glow red exactly as I was hoping. I exposed two images and then packed up my gear and rushed down the mountain to my car to get to my second location that I had already scouted. This was to be the image that I had planned my trip around. As I drove over the viaduct, the sun was just now appearing over the horizon. I parked and got into location around 10 mins after the sun had been up. To my delight, I was rewarded with some of the best golden hour light I had ever witnessed and a spectacular view over the viaduct. This would be a post card worthy photo. Unfortunately, the first image at Beacon Heights did not turn out as I had hoped as I had drastically over exposed the sky without realizing it. After I snapped several photos at the viaduct, I stopped to take in the views and then returned towards my car. Heavy clouds began to move in. I then captured the unexpected below image with the crazy light and clouds. I immediately then fell back to my third and final location at milepost 302.8 on the Blue Ridge Parkway (Ruff Ridge). For prospective this is the location in the photo with the clouds and light. By this time the low clouds had moved into the entire area, including the viaduct so I decided it would be impossible to get a photo from Ruff Ridge. I pulled over on a pull off on the parkway below Ruff Ridge and watched the clouds break up around the viaduct and I snapped my final photo. By this time I was ecstatic I had accomplished what I had set out to do. (Continued below)
I took in the views and enjoyed the moment before heading back to my car to travel further north up the parkway. Before doing so I went to review my photos and upon doing so I received a heart sinking message "SD Corrupt". I had been shooting in spill over mode so that my 2nd card would be used once my primary card was full. I felt like this was necessary because I had planned on taking several photos in different settings trying to get a feel for the new camera. I was completely devastated. I had wanted to add the autumn photo of the viaduct to my portfolio for some time. Luckily, I was able to recover all images and in the future, I will only run in backup mode. 
If you take anything away from my story, I hope it will be that you will use your 2nd card slot as a backup. In addition I will be purchasing the WD My Passport Pro Wireless hard drive that will automatically backup inserted SD cards as an extra line of defense.

Check back in the future for new blog postings. If you would like to view additional photos visit my Instagram page HERE. (Updated daily)
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