Hickory Run State Park, Pennsylvania thumbnails only

Lone Pine Tree in Hickory Run State Park Boulder Field Lone Pine Tree in Hickory Run State Park Boulder Field
After driving through seemingly normal Pennsylvania mountains into and through Hickory Run State Park, this incredible 400 x 1,800' (120 x 550m) boulder field appears just past the end of a parking lot.
 
While extremely interesting, getting good pictures of the rocks is challenging. This lone pine tree may be the only non-rock in the entire field if not counting the humans that are typically throughout the rocks. Another obstacle to getting good images here is the graffiti that inconsiderate people have left behind.
 
I solved the people problem by shooting late on a weekday and solved the graffiti problem with the clone stamp tool.
 
The lower the position you shoot from, the less you see of the distant rock field. Here I was compromising the tree in the sky with the field visibility. I should have shot from a very slightly lower position to allow a small amount of sky to show between the bottom tree branch and the background trees.
 
17mm  f/11.0  1/60s  ISO 100
Boulders at Hickory Run Boulders at Hickory Run
Clear skies can be beautiful, but they are not often what photographers prefer. Especially at the time of day when a great sunset could be lighting up clouds in the sky. What to do with the clear sky becomes the question that must be answered. And removing the sky from the frame is one possible solution.
 
When all of the rocks look the same, move in close to emphasize some of them and give the viewer a sense of presence.
 
17mm  f/11.0  1/40s  ISO 100
Hickory Run Boulder Field Hickory Run Boulder Field
To get the boulder field to fill a higher percentage of your frame, shoot from a high position. When shooting from a higher position, the foreground rocks are not emphasized in size relative to the more-distant rocks.
 
Once again, I was dealing with clear sky. In this case, I chose to only show enough to give the frame a clean blue border.
 
17mm  f/11.0  1/30s  ISO 100
Evening at the Hickory Run Boulder Field Evening at the Hickory Run Boulder Field
Long shadows stretch over the boulder field in the evening. Fortunately, the long shadows chased the other visitors away before covering the entire rock pile, allowing for a clean image.
 
17mm  f/11.0  1/40s  ISO 100
Lots of Rocks Lots of Rocks
Rocks are of course what you expect to find at a boulder field. To show a different perspective, I moved in and down to get close to the foreground rocks. This of course makes them appear much larger than the background rocks.
 
17mm  f/11.0  1/30s  ISO 100
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