Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blueberries, Butterflies galore, wildfowers, and great vistas at Dolly Sods WV

It's been a super busy month with Ines designing wedding albums for all of our June brides, creating slide shows and also dealing with our July Arlington Memorial Service albums, videos and slide shows. We finally reached the point where we could attend a concert at Wolf Trap last night (Steve Miller Band) and than turn off the computers today and jump in the Pathfinder for a totally extemporaneous trip.

It's something I've always done. Just get out and go and explore new roads. Today we ended up at Dolly Sods Wilderness area in West Virginia. When we left the house my only goal was altitude with cooler temps. I was thinking Skyline Drive but I was pulled to the west. Our route required navigating some gravel and rutted roads but we ended up at a bit over 4000 feet away from the DC heat with a nice breeze and wonderful vistas that would remind you of the western US.

Actually the area is compared to the ecology of Canada above tree line with rugged rock cairns and paths meandering through blueberry patches. I think Ines could have parked and just spent hours plucking and eating sweet blueberries free of chemicals and whatever.

The streams were quite dry climbing up and down from the high country but what amazed us on top were the huge numbers of butterflies of all types crowded next to each other on the thistle plants. I've been to butterfly habitats at places like Brookside Garden in Montgomery County and Meadowlark Garden in Reston and although they are a great place to photograph butterflies what we found at Dolly Sods was a huge step up in quality and quantity of these lovely creatures.

I would of course want to use a nice short telephoto with macro capability but what I had handy was the Nikon 70-200 f2.8 lens with VR function. This is an image from a quick series I did in just a couple of minutes.

We were home by 6:30PM after a wonderful day of decompressing and now back to processing our July weddings and corporate work. We now have a goal to visit what for us is a new discovery Dolly Sods in the evening and different seasons plus stuffing more blueberries down our gullets. Dolly Sods is very different from lower Canaan Valley and the ski slopes although they do adjoin each other.

One note you may want to avoid this wilderness area if you don't have an SUV or car with good tires.
Don Harper

The Edge Photography Studio

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