Yesterday, I hiked the Allegheny Trail to the Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory for the third time. The first time I went, I was still using a point and shoot camera. The second time I went, I had just recently bought my Canon Rebel and still barely knew how to use it. This time, not only do I actually know how to use the camera, I also have multiple lenses to play with. I even got to play with my newest photography toy : the macro lens tubes I got for Christmas. I was going to break in my new IR remote control too, but it turns out I don't have a screwdriver tiny enough to open the battery compartment on it, so I can't use it until I go buy a minuscule screwdriver.
It wasn't the best day for hiking a trail on top of a mountain. It was about 37 degrees at my apartment, and it didn't actually occur to me until after I left that it would be much colder at the higher elevation. Oops. Also, it was pretty windy up there. At least I'm smart enough to keep a pair of gloves in my camera bag!
this tree cracks me up every time
The trail from the parking lot to the observatory is about 0.6 miles. It's mostly uphill, and mostly rough terrain, especially with the semi-frozen ground. There were a lot of cool ice formations though, it looked like stalks of ice growing up from the ground.
I had fun experimenting with the macro tubes, I expect it will take me some time to figure out how to use them to their full potential, but it's the experimentation and learning process that I find most fun.
The sky was a gorgeous shade of blue, and there were no clouds in sight. No birds either. I had been hoping for a lucky glimpse of a raptor to photograph, but it is the wrong season for that...and I had no such luck. The scenery was a lot prettier when I was up there in the fall (over a year ago) and all the trees were colorful. I meant to go back this summer when everything was green, but I never made it. Even with the gray and brown landscape, the view is still incredible. I didn't take too many pictures of the view this time, because it wasn't that appealing to me with so many shades of brown. I will definitely plan on going back in the spring when it gets green.
The best part of the scenery on the hike was the way the sun illuminated the rocks and moss along the trail. The sun was going in and out of the clouds, so each time I saw it light something up, I had to be quick to catch it.
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