My wife and I love going on adventures to places we have never been to. Since we moved from Michigan to Virginia, this sense of adventure has been refreshed! Last time we ventured out into the beautiful Virginia country side, we went south on the parkway. You can find that blog here!

This time, we went north, and we brought Jordy!


The day started out 7 AM when Steph and I participated in a local craft show for the church she works for. She provided baked goods for the bake sale and I showed off my work and gave people the opportunity to buy prints!

The show only went until 2 PM so we got on the road shortly after. BUT we both didn’t get a ton of sleep so as soon as we hit the road, I fell asleep. Hats off to Steph for driving. Evidently my snoring kept her awake. Sadly it also got Jordy’s attention and he almost licked me awake.

I woke up at just the right time! She never tells me where I am going, she just says I need to have my batteries charged and my photo bag packed! I also enjoy not knowing because I am a sucker for a challenge and using my experience to dictate what I should do! I was even more excited to know sunset was around the corner!

We drove north and stopped at as many overlooks as we could. Some overlooks I skipped taking photos of because they were great views in person, but I didn’t feel like I needed to take a picture. The real impact came from being in person and I implore you to go! Here are some pictures from the initial “recon” drive!

As the sun dipped in the sky, we drove back the way we came. I fell in love with the Sawmill Run overlook. It had great texture and the sun was setting just beyond the biggest ridge. The challenge with these photos is as the sun sets, the foreground gets darker and your photos tend to have more and more disparity in exposure.

A great way to try and get around this is to use bracketed exposure. It takes three shots that you have captured and varies the exposure by however many stops you set it to. It’s a great way for landscape photographers to try and get their photos evenly exposed.

I was not the only photographer there at Sawmill Run outlook. It was great to see so many different cameras and approaches to capturing this sunset. While we seemed to have missed peak color season for the trees, the sunset was well worth the trip. Here are some of my favorite shots from the evening!

These last three are for those camera nerds out there! These are photos that were taken with bracketed exposure, and then in Lightroom you create an HDR image. It took the three different exposures and merged them to help get the best picture!

I hope you enjoyed this blog as much as I enjoyed the trip! All of these pictures are available to print! Just email me at

Visit the National Parks website here:

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