One of my absolute favorite places to get photographically lost in is the Rock City Trail within the 12,747-acre Coopers Rock State Forest near Morgantown, West Virginia.

It is a fairly easy hike to the entrance of the long crevasse that is surrounded by lofty outcrops.

When we recently entered Coopers Rock State Forest on an overcast morning in July, I was proven wrong when I said to my wife Jennifer that the forest seemed too dark to go hiking, that there wouldn’t be enough light for photographic purposes. On this day the big soft box created by the overcast sky helped to soften the ragged beauty of the Rock City Trail.

The Rock City Trail in Coopers Rock State Forest in Morgantown, W.Va., offers many natural wonders, including beautiful rhododendrons, West Virginia’s state flower. (iPhone 6 Plus photo by Mark A. Shephard)

As a photographer the possibilities are endless, and today the color palette runs from endless variations of greens through the soft pinks of rhododendrons, the state flower of West Virginia. On a good day, the colors and textures will have you visualizing your surroundings like a hawk. If you’re like us, you’ll make your way through the crevasse, and then want to see whats up above, and the view down onto the trail.

The Rock City Trail in Coopers Rock State Forest in Morgantown, W.Va., offers many natural wonders, including beautiful rhododendrons, West Virginia’s state flower. (Photo by Mark A. Shephard)

Jen and I have only hiked and photographed the trail twice thus far, as we just moved to Morgantown at the end of 2015. The first time we were assisted by a fellow hiker in finding the trail after a long, hot hike on several other trails. It was a pleasing end to our excursion, and I captured a hiker on my iPhone as he headed the way we had come from.

These photographs were all captured with an iPhone 6Plus, and I can’t wait to see what I’ll be able to do with my Nikon gear as time and the seasons goes by.

The Rock City Trail in Coopers Rock State Forest in Morgantown, W.Va., offers many natural wonders, including beautiful rhododendrons, West Virginia’s state flower. (Photo by Mark A. Shephard)

www.markashephard.com

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