“By all these lovely tokens September days are here, With summer’s best of weather And autumn’s best of cheer.” (Helen Hunt Jackson)
In the days of waning heat and the promise of balmy autumn days the mountains call to me. This is one of my favorite times of the year although I find magic in every season of the year. But the warm days and cool nights bring forth dreamy atmospheric conditions.
This week, I timed my visit to Sugarloaf Mountain southwest of Frederick, Maryland just as the rain ended. When I arrived it was as if I had traveled to a cloud rain forest. The countryside wet from the rain, and the subtle autumn colors were shining through. The mountain was completely enveloped with the rain’s fog and I wondered if I had really reached the base of the mountain.
Upon entering the park, I followed the one-way road to the East View parking area. The mountain was silent with the exception of song birds calling in the distance. The misty remnants of the rain enveloped the mountainside and welcomed me to its forest.
I was on the mountain to scout out a hike for a group that I will be leading soon, and it was easy enough to find the trail. Hiking up the mountain, each step took my breath away. Ok, well I was hiking UP the mountain in a boulder field at a higher altitude than sea level. But really, the forest was spectacular in its misty glory.
I reached the peak of the mountain fairly easily but with the fog, there was no view. But the view of the huge boulders and misty forest was truly beautiful.
I tried my hand with some leaf photography and managed all right, but quickly I realized that I really needed a diffuser to help offset the highlights on the leaves. Even with a cloudy day the wet leaves reflected the light.
Usually when I get to the mountains in the fall, most of the trees have already started to change color. This is the first time I’m aware of that I was out photographing a forest when the autumn color was just starting to begin. The contrast of green with yellows and oranges was fascinating to me. I saw once grouping of branches that I particularly liked and thought it would be nice with the application of a Topaz Impression painterly effect.
It was a fantastic outing and I can’t wait to get back on the mountain to enjoy its majesty again.