Bull Creek Valley backs up to the Elk Mountains below Elk Pasture Gap and Craven Gap; but it actually refers to the last buffalo (eastern bison) bull seen in the area, which was hunted in 1799 by Joseph Rice. From Tanbark Ridge the view into the valley and eastward can produce some of the most amazing sunrises anywhere on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

A focal length of 36mm, the very long extreme of wide-angleland, gave me the angle-of-view I wanted, with almost no compression and little distortion. An aperture of f/14, from the camera-to-subject distance provided adequate depth-of-field. With a shutter speed of 0.8 of a second at ISO 100, I minimized vibration and created a slightly darker-than-medium exposure. Of course, I was also using a cable release with a two second delay.

The Blue Ridge Parkway, as it passes through the Elk Mountains on its way to the Black Mountains and Mount Mitchell traverses some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in eastern North America. Our public lands are a sacred realm which we must be willing to preserve and protect for ourselves and thosecwho come behind us.