Monday, August 6, 2012

Photo Road Trip with Melissa

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of going on a mini road trip with my good friend, Melissa.  We met freshman year of college and have been friends ever since.  We have many things in common, but the one that took us on this trip is our love of photography.  I have many photos to show you, but I'll keep it short and sweet for now.

What started me thinking about taking this road trip was when I saw a commercial for PA Road Trips.  There are many different trips you can take that cover a wide range of interests - from history to shopping - and one of the themes was photography.

I took a look at the map and new that I wouldn't be spending 3 days and 2 nights on this trip.  So I condensed it down to three sites that we could hit in one day.



The one thing the website didn't provide was an address for each destination.  I spent a lot of time trying to find what I wanted so I could have something to plug into the gps (just an FYI if you're planning a trip with this tool).  While this was a great plan, we kept in mind that we didn't have to stick to it - this trip was all about what we wanted to do and not following a plan.



It's a good thing too, because we definitely changed our mind.  



I'll tell you what, as pretty as Blue Marsh Lake is - there's nothing photogenic about it.  Everything was one color - green.  There was no contrasting colors and beautiful light.  Just lots of green stuff and ginormous bugs that had us running for our lives (no joke)!  I'm pretty sure they were bees crossed with vultures - they were huge.



I got a few good pictures of some birds, but that's about it.  After 20 minutes and a $3 entry fee, we said goodbye to Blue Marsh.  I will say - it's a wonderful place to swim, so definitely go for the swimming!



Stop number two was Hawk Mountain.  We bought our $6 ticket and hit the trail.  It was a hot, humid, and foggy day, but we had a wonderful time laughing and sweating our way up the mountain (next time we'll remember to bring water).  I haven't sweat that much since 3-a-days in college.  It was nasty.



The view was worth the effort, time, and heat.  Even with the fog, we had a wonderful view of eastern PA.  I wish this photo did it justice.  We sat at the top of the mountain for a while and just relaxed.  It was beautiful. We decided that we want to do it again in the fall - when the leaves and weather change.

One of the guides told us that the fall is a great time to visit because that's when the raptors will be migrating and returning to the mountain.  I can't wait to see that!  We did see a few from a distance, but I missed an opportunity to photograph a hawk because I was updating my instagram - how sad is that?



One of the best parts of Hawk Mountain was getting to see the local wild life.  Oh wait...nevermind...I definitely took this photo at Cabela's.  We drove right past Cabela's on our way to destination #4 and we just had to stop in.  The place is huge and there is a lot to see!  I have never gotten to stand so close to deer, polar bears, muskox, or mountain wolves before.  It was a very cool experience!



Turns out it's a three hour walk to get to the highest point in Berks County, The Pinnacle.  After our long hike in 95 degree heat to the top of Hawk Mountain - we skipped The Pinnacle altogether and headed for St. Peter's Village (better known as St. Pete's).  It's a great little village with French Creek State Park right in it's back yard.  With our camera's in tow, we waded through the creek to cool off and snap some pretty photos.  It may not have been the best idea in the world to drag our cameras along as we waded through water, but we were too hot to care.

We had a wonderful day and I can't wait to do it again!  It's always good to get out there and get some practice taking photos and it's even better to do it with a great friend!

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