Most of my photography travels take me down the Cherohala Skyway. This particular roadway is a 45 mile road that connects Tellico Plains, TN and Robinsville, NC. The Tennessee side of the skyway winds through the Cherokee National Forest which then turns into the Natahala National Forest on the North Carolina side.
Both of these forests border the Great Smoky Mountains with the highest point on the skyway being 5290 feet.
There are several hiking trails that branch off the skyway. One particular morning me and my good friend, Tim Owen, decided to hike on a photo excursion on one of these trails in order to catch some fall color with the sunrise. The trail we had chosen was called Hooper Bald. Hooper Bald is at 5100 ft and is about 7 miles into North Carolina.
After an eventful hike at 6:30am up the trail in the dark with the only light being that of my cell phone (neither of us thought to bring a flash light), we successfully made it to the top of the bald which is at 5100 ft. The light was gorgeous, however the vantage point was blocked by the brush that surrounded the outer rim of the mountain. This was very disappointing. Tim was determined to find a view of the sunrise. I, however, elected to try and find a shot of some kind.
After trying to get some silhouettes of some small bushes I looked opposite the sunrise and saw some amazing color. The sky separated into 3 different colors down to the western horizon. I found this baron tree in the dead center of the bald that was surrounded by hay grass. I found my shot!
I knew that this would lend itself to HDR to expose the tree, grass, and not to overexpose the light that sets the shot off. So after bracketing several shots, I came to this one as the one I liked.
Details: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 @ 28mm, 3 exposure HDR at f/8.0