Red River Gorge

Even though we live in a booming metropolitan area where there’s plenty to do, sometimes you just have to get out of town. So, a couple of weeks ago we packed up and headed out for a quick trip up to Kentucky’s Red River Gorge and Natural Bridge State Park. I wish I could regale you with very specific historical and geological details about the area and what we saw, but I’m not that kind of guy. Suffice it to say that it was secluded (mostly) and beautiful. I imagine that the color in the hills would have been spectacular had we gotten there a few weeks earlier…maybe next time.

And if YOU ever get there, check out the Red River Rockhouse—a great East Nashville-type restaurant in the middle of nowhere.

Now…on to the pics.

Red River Gorge, KY November 2014

Gear: Sony A100 in manual mode, handheld
Settings: f/8, 1/60s, ISO 400, 18–70mm kit lens, 45mm
Processing: I processed this twice in RAW, once to expose the background (which was initially pretty blown out) and once to expose Katy (who was mostly in shadow, as we were inside a tunnel). After that, I did a little more tweaking in PS Elements to better bring her out.

Always time for a few poses…

Gear: Sony A100 in manual mode, handheld
Settings: f/8, 1/30s, ISO 100, 18–70mm kit lens, 35mm
Processing: Both of these were procressed in PSE only, and pretty lightly at that. A few Auto-Fixes and a little sharpening via the High Pass Filter.

Below are a couple more of these same tunnels, processed with Phototmatix HDR software.

Red River Gorge, KY November 2014

Gear: Sony A100 in manual mode, handheld
Settings: f/8, 1/125s, ISO 400, 18–70mm kit lens, 60mm
Processing: HDR created from processing one exposure three times in RAW, and a little High Pass Filter sharpening in PS Elements.

Gear: Sony A100 in manual mode, handheld
Settings: f/8, 1/200s, ISO 100, 18–70mm kit lens, 45mm
Processing: HDR created from processing one exposure three times in RAW, straightened and cropped in PS Elements.

Below is the Nada Tunnel, created in the early 20th century by a logging company that needed to get timber out of the area (hmmm, maybe I did learn something while I was there). It’s a short—but nerve-wracking—ride not too far from the tunnels above.

Nada Tunnel, Red River Gorge, KY November 2014

Gear: Sony A100 in manual mode, handheld
Settings: f/16, 1/60s, ISO 100, 18–70mm kit lens, 50mm
Processing: Exposure corrections in RAW, B&W conversion in PS Elements.

There is a “skylift” that you can take to access the Natural Bridge; unfortunately (or maybe not…it looked pretty rickety), it closed for the season a couple of weeks before we got there. Here’s an HD shot of part of the lift:

Gear: Sony A100 in manual mode, handheld
Settings: f/8, 1/250s, ISO 100, 18–70mm kit lens, 70mm
Processing: HDR created from processing one exposure three times in RAW.

With the sky lift closed, we hiked up to the Natural Bridge…and even though there was a sign at the start of the trail proclaiming it the “shortest and easiest route”, it was in fact a fairly challenging uphill hike for a fat old man like myself. Here’s the first good look you get from below the Bridge.

Gear: Sony A100 in manual mode, handheld
Settings: f/10, 1/50s, ISO 100, 18–70mm kit lens, 50mm
Processing: Exposure corrections in RAW, contrast and sharpening fixes in PS Elements.

An HD shot from the other side of the arch:

Gear: Sony A100 in manual mode, handheld
Settings: f/8, 1/320s, ISO 100, 18–70mm kit lens, 60mm
Processing: HDR created from processing one exposure three times in RAW, sharpened in PS Elements.

Once you get up onto the Bridge itself, you can walk over to another bluff—past the skylift—for an eye-level view.

We took the harder alternate trail back down, past some beautiful rock walls and stone formations. The trail was arduous, even in descent.

Gear: Sony A100 in manual mode, handheld
Settings: f/8, 1/200s, ISO 100, 100–400 mmlens, 100mm
Processing: Exposure corrections in RAW, contrast and sharpening fixes in PS Elements.

Gear: Sony A100 in manual mode, handheld
Settings: f/5.6, 1/50s, ISO 100, 18–70mm kit lens, 45mm
Processing: HDR created from processing one exposure three times in RAW, sharpened in PS Elements.

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