It is normal, and for that matter expected, that when you visit a remote location in the state of West Virginia for the purpose of photography that you will be rewarded with solitude. This is especially true if you make your arrival before daybreak.
So, on a recent trip to the Bear Rocks area of Dolly Sods to shoot the sunrise and autumn color, I was shocked and amazed to find the parking lot absolutely crammed with vehicles upon my arrival. There were people scurrying with their tripods out to various promising viewpoints, pointing their DSLR’s toward the glow of the pending sunrise. A photography group was stationed at one prominent vantage spot, and in every direction I looked I could see small groups of 2 or 3 people huddled against the ever present wind awaiting the lightshow.
Being one who considers solitude and reflection to be essential elements to any success I manage to achieve with my own photography, I elected to tool around at my truck and have some breakfast rather than joust for tripod position with other photographers. After a short time the sunrise dissipated, and the other folks made their way back to their vehicles and sped away toward their next appointment with Mother Nature.
But the light was still soft and inviting, so I walked out to the same vantage point that had been occupied mere moments previously and made a few images of my own. The image attached to this post was the best of the lot.
I’ve always felt that West Virginia is the nation’s best kept secret, but on this day I had to admit that my little illusion of the state being a private playground known to only a lucky few was forever shattered. So, if you ever make your way to the beautiful Bear Rocks at Dolly Sods for sunrise, here’s hoping that you find some empty tripod holes to shoot from.