The beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Pounding Mill Overlook, just west of Wagon Road Gap by about 2 miles is well-known to the photographers in Western North Carolina and the Southern Appalachians beyond. The most coveted view from the overlook is looking to the east/southeast across the Pink Beds/Cradle of Forestry area of Pisgah National Forest. Yet, it is quite often worthwhile to go to the western end of the overlook and work looking south and southwest in the general direction of Looking Glass Rock.

Occasionally the reward is a rolling sea of turbulent air, sometimes punctuated with the hidden peaks underneath. It is energy in a swirl of motion lit by a rising sun lighting the tops of the moving clouds.

A focal length of 200mm gave me a somewhat narrowed, but interesting, angle-of-view of the swirling air masses. An aperture of f/11 provided depth-of-field from the camera-to-subject distance of about a mile. This aperture also allowed for a shutter speed of 1/60th of a second at ISO 100. At that speed I could somewhat freeze the motion of the clouds and avoid too much of a sense of blur.

Of course, the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of our most well-known public lands units; but here it merges into another wonderful piece of that common ground, one of the most beautiful national woodlands of our country, Pisgah National Forest. It is a real pleasure to visit this treasure at any time of the year.