Along the mountain ridges in the Shenandoah National Park this summer, I met some intrepid thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail. They began their journey in Georgia and were going to arrive in Maine in the fall, a distance of over 2,000 miles.
I saw this chance meeting as an opportunity to learn what they have learnt, and to try to document the freedom and adventure of their quest. They inspired me to remember to take some time to shed the trivial distractions, and the busyness that can so consume us in our modern lives – to stay in the moment, to simplify.
The low light conditions and rolling fog added to the mystery of this backcountry, and the challenge to have enough light to photograph. With my 35mm lens at f2.8 and ISO at 800, my shutter speed was 1/15 sec – not quite enough to freeze the action of the hikers moving on the trail. Mounting the camera on the tripod, I asked them to walk very slowly, and even freeze in mid-step in order to achieve critical focus.
If by chance you’re out on the trail this summer and happen to see them at a trailhead, open up your picnic basket, or fire up the grill at your Winnebago and offer them some tasty vittles. They will be most grateful.