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How You Shot It: ‘Blue Ridge Days’ – Fall Family Portraits

By Wesley Reaves on March 4th 2014



The Concept

This was Parker’s first time in the mountains and there is no other way to get great photos than on the Blue Ridge Parkway at the peak of the fall leaf cycle. As my wife and I were riding down the parkway, we saw this beautiful overlook and decided to pull over for some pics of our little guy.

The Setup

Parker likes the camera so as my wife was walking towards the overlook, I saw this smile from him and decided to start shooting. I was in close and shooting at 40mm @f/2.8, so of course, he decided to grab for the lens. In my experience with photography, it’s the “in the moment” shots that lead to the best pictures for me.

Post Processing

The original photo was shot at ISO 250, 40mm focal length and f/2.8 aperture. The original is a little under exposed since the sun was directly overhead, but I wanted to stay at a lower ISO to achieve the sharpness with less noise. I figured I would be able to compensate the shadows with the SLR Lounge Presets and correct the shadows. I used the Preset 18b. HDR Max B&W, Increased the Shadows, used the IRIS Enhancement brush and added a little vignette to the shot.

Before and After


We had a great time in the mountains of North Carolina and got many more great shots on the Blue Ridge Parkway and at the Biltmore Estates in Asheville, NC. I would recommend a trip to this area during the peak of the fall leaf season for anyone looking for beautiful landscapes to take awesome pictures.

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Wesley Reaves is Co-Owner of Helios Aerial Cinematography and Photography, based out of Ocean Isle Beach, NC. They specialize in ground to air Cinematography and Photography through the use of their multi-rotor copters and Nikon DSLR’s. Our photography and cinematography is described by our clients as unique, engaging and exciting from beginning to end. You can see Wesley’s profile at

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Orlin Nikolov

    Cute :)

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