The Illuminating Lens

Pisgah National Forest – North Carolina – Part 2 – 2021

Along the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway, there is a national forest I had never heard of. It turns out it is a very important place,…

the Pisgah National Forest.

Details from Wikipedia

The Pisgah National Forest was established in 1916, one of the first national forests in the eastern United States. The new preserve included approximately 86,700 acres that had been part of the Biltmore Estate but were sold to the federal government in 1914 by Edith Vanderbilt. Some of the forest tracts were among the first purchases by the Forest Service under the Weeks Act of 1911. While national forests had already been created in the western United States, the Weeks Act provided the authority required to create national forests in the east as well. Although tracts in the future Pisgah National Forest were among the first purchased under the Weeks Act, the very first to receive formal approval was the 31,000-acre (130 km2) Gennett Purchase in northern Georgia. On March 25, 1921, Boone National Forest was added to Pisgah, and on July 10, 1936, most of Unaka National Forest was added. In 1954 the Pisgah National Forest was administratively combined with the Croatan and Nantahala national forests, collectively known as the National Forests of North Carolina.

American forestry has roots in what is now the Pisgah National Forest. The Cradle of Forestry, (Biltmore Forest School), located in the southern part of the forest, was the site of the first school of forestry in the United States. It operated during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The school was opened and operated at the direction of George Washington Vanderbilt II, builder of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. The Forestry Education offered at Biltmore was taught by Carl Schenk. A native German, Schenk was referred to Vanderbilt when Gifford Pinchot resigned to operate the newly formed Division of Forestry. The Cradle of Forestry and the Biltmore Estate played a major role in the birth of the U.S. Forest Service. Today these lands are part of an educational and recreational area in Pisgah National Forest.

Our Visit

As we drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway, we saw that there were a number of “scenic overlooks”, the hard part was deciding which ones to check out! Some were better than others.

Early Morning Light – Nikon Z7

We stopped at the Cradle of Forestry in America which has a discovery center with a great movie about the birth of the US Forestry Service and the very first forestry school. There are also trails and a gift shop.

From there we went to Looking Glass Falls. This large waterfall is close to the road but there are quite a few steps down to get to the base.

Looking Glass Falls – Nikon Z7

This is a very popular spot for visitors and so getting an image without people is not easy! But I really wanted to capture the rainbow effect at the falls so I used my iPhone to capture a video!

From here we drove up along the Blue Ridge Parkway to see more of the forest.

Nikon Z7

I eventually decided to pull out the infrared converted Nikon Z6. What a different look!

Looking Glass Rock – Nikon Z6 (converted to Infrared 590nm)
Along the Blue Ridge Parkway – Nikon Z6 (converted to Infrared 590nm)

I also had to try some multiple exposures.

Multiple Exposures – iPhone 12 Max Pro – Avg Cam Pro app

We were looking for some more creative setups.

Framed Looking Glass Rock – Nikon Z6 -IR

I had to pull out the longer lens for a slightly different perspective.

Looking Glass Rock – Nikon D850

And then a couple pulled in, brought out their lunch, and sat down in the perfect spot for both them and us!

Looking Glass Rock – Nikon Z6 IR

We drove a bit further and stopped at one more scenic overlook! It was a perfect day for infrared photography!

Along the Blue Ridge Parkway, NC – Nikon Z6 IR

It was time to head back to our house on top of the mountain for that day’s glorious sunset. (See Part 1)

Definitely check out the Pisgah National Forest when in the Asheville, NC area. The drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway is amazing!

My next blog will be on our visit to the beautiful Biltmore Estate.

To see larger versions of these and even more images, please visit my Gallery.

That is all for now!


Lynn Wiezycki

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